In Langhorne, PA is an amusement park specifically designed for little kids, Sesame Place. It opened in the early 1980’s and I remember going there as a kid, so I definitely wanted to take Eli there. With our Pampers Rewards points, I was able to get 2 one-day admission tickets, so we only had to pay for one admission ticket. Because I didn’t know how Eli would react (he hasn’t really ever seen the larger than life size characters), I thought we could try it for one day and then if things went well, we could decide to go back again at a later date.
I had checked the weather prior to driving up and figured that Monday would be a great day due to temperature and it being forecasted to be partly cloudy to overcast so it wouldn’t be blazing hot. We drove up on a Sunday evening, after Eli’s nap, and arrived at the hotel a little after Eli’s normal bedtime. He did have some issues going to sleep in the hotel room, but we figured that out and made do. Anyway, by driving up on Sunday evening, that gave us all day Monday to be at the park, do the activities, ride the rides, and get our money’s worth. Then, we stayed the night at the hotel again on Monday night and drove home Tuesday. If you live close enough, I would recommend this plan for a few reasons (listed later). Some tips….
(1) Dining with Elmo and Friends – You can do breakfast, lunch, or dinner with Elmo and Friends. Breakfast is less expensive than lunch or dinner and also gives you extra time in the park before the park opens to the general public. The breakfast is at 8:45 am and is over by 9:30 so you have 30 minutes of time on some of the rides that are open and running (not everything is open). This is a good time to do the water rides and stuff that will get packed later in the day. This is also a perfect opportunity to get time with characters one-on-one as each character comes to each and every table, interacts with the children (and adults) at the table, and lets you take pictures with them. Elmo is the only character that stays in one place and you have to line up for. There is also a staff person taking pictures at the Elmo line for purchase later. BUT you can take your own pictures with Elmo, too.
(2) Wear your swimsuits and water shoes (and swim diaper for non-potty trained children) to the park – Even if you do the breakfast experience, WEAR your swimsuits. It is SOOOO much easier to do that than to try to change clothes in the bathroom. We brought swim diapers but forgot them in the hotel room so we had to buy one from the store at the park and they sell them individually. Swim diapers are REQUIRED for all non-potty trained children on ANY of the water rides they are allowed on. Do not worry about trying to take your own life jacket…there are plenty available at the rides that require them. After you finish the water rides/activities, you can change into dry clothes/shoes later. I would also recommend watershoes for everyone. Though some rides don’t allow them, you can take them off and use the shoe storage provided at that ride/activity.
(3) Ernie’s WaterWorks & Big Bird’s Ramblin’ River – GREAT for the little ones that aren’t big enough for the water slides and other water activities. Spacious, LOTS of water, sprinklers, sprayers, a tunnel, etc. Big Bird’s Ramblin’ River winds around this area. Also a good ride/activity for little ones…they can ride with an adult. The staff at this activity are extremely helpful. My husband did this with Eli and he got in the inner tube first and then the staff person handed Eli to him. Then, at the end of the ride, the staff person (different from the one at the beginning) picked up Eli and put him on the sidewalk area so my husband could get out of the inner tube. There is a second entrance to the river ride by the cabanas, but it seems if you use this entrance, you don’t get as long of a ride (different colored inner tubes).
(4) Shows – See at least one show. We saw Let’s Play in Abby Caddabby’s theater (near Big Bird’s Ramblin’ River). It was a cute show about friendship with lots of music and dancing. The theater is outdoors but does have large fans (not running when we were there, but they do turn on when the day is REALLY hot).
If you sit right behind the “reserved” sections of the theaters, the characters will be up close and personal. We were a bit higher up in the seating as we got there about 5 minutes before the show started. It wasn’t hugely crowded the day we went, though I’m sure it is different on the weekends. Elmo the Musical is in the air-conditioned theater near the carousel.
(5) Food – Other than purchasing the dining experience, you should definitely take your own food. You are allowed a cooler (10 x 10 x 12) so you can take sandwiches, snacks, fruit, drinks, etc. We did this for lunch, but not dinner. The food at the park is of the amusement park variety (burgers, pizza, chicken fingers, fries, etc.) and they don’t have milk as a drink option with the children’s combos (which I think is weird for a park designed for children). Others have suggested buying the souvenir cup and then you can get it refilled for .99 throughout the day, which is another option, I’m just not sure it’s worth the money you spend on the cup at the first purchase, unless you drink A LOT throughout the day.
(6) Tickets – If you are purchasing tickets, purchase ONLINE prior to going to the park. They are $10 cheaper and you get a second day admission. With this type of ticket, they will take a picture of the ticket holder (so you can’t transfer it to someone else) and then check the picture against the person in front of them on the second day. There are other deals online through the Sesame Place website as well. This is also where we purchased the dining experience.
(7) Characters – There are characters in the park throughout the day. The more popular characters are available at different locations and for longer times. Many characters are at the 123 Smile With Me studio (somewhat indoors) and this offers more snuggle time with the characters than what you would get on Sesame Street (where lots of characters are) or other locations in the park. You can check the schedule for the characters at 123 Smile with Me on the App. You can see some characters just walking around. We encountered LOTS of characters on Sesame Street when we returned to the park after Eli’s nap time. The lines at these characters moves pretty quickly so it’s worth waiting in line for them. Like at Disney, you can get the characters to sign an autograph book (you can buy them in any of the stores) or bring your own. Eli’s not old enough to know what that is so we didn’t do that.
(8) Plan (but leave time for play) – You can look up the times for the shows, characters at 123 Smile, and other activities on the Sesame Place website or you can download their app. The app is especially useful on the day you are there, as it will use your location and then when you are looking for a specific ride or whatever, you can find it by name, and then click “Take Me There” and it will show you exactly how to get there from wherever you are in the park. But don’t overplan or everyone in your group will be stressed out and not have very much fun at all.
(9) Hotel – We stayed at a hotel close by. It offered a shuttle service from the hotel to the park and back, so we didn’t have to pay for parking. However, it did not offer complimentary breakfast. While this was not an issue the day we did the breakfast with Elmo thing, I would have liked it the next day before we left to drive home. Instead we went to an IHOP close by for breakfast. I would recommend finding a hotel that does have complimentary breakfast, and definitely one that offers the shuttle service (many of the hotels in the area do as they are well aware that many people at the hotel are going to the park). Having the hotel was really helpful for us so that we could keep Eli on his somewhat normal schedule with his nap time and bedtime, etc. You know your child and if they can deal with no nap. Eli can be a pain without a nap, so we needed to be able to have a place for him to nap during the day.
We will definitely go back again, now that we know Eli is good with the characters and being in an amusement park, etc.
Disclaimer: We did not receive any compensation for this review from any parties involved. All of the opinions shared are mine alone.