ROAD TRIP: Sesame Place

This weekend, DH and I took both Ava and her cousin Jaylen to Sesame Place… Despite my DH’s protest, I still had high hopes for this adventure. I remember when we first took Jaylen when he was about the same age as Ava now, and just how excited and happy he was… Now the key thing was Jaylen wasn’t even really familiar with Sesame Street when he went, Ava was… she loves loves loves Sesame Street so I was expecting an even greater amount of excitement than Jaylen’s, if it even was possible. Joining this little adventure with us was Ava’s friend Jake and his parents.

To prep for our adventure, I was happy to read that you were permitted to bring in a small cooler no larger than 12″ x 10″ x 10″. The night before I froze some bottles of water and juice boxes. Pack a “Park” bag with swim diapers, pull-ups, baby’s swimsuit, sunblock, change of clothes, burt’s bee’s red capped chap stick, some regular strength Tylenol (for any headaches that might ensue), a small tube of sarna for my eczema, baby powder (my pet peeve and yet my friend during this pregnancy), some organic rice crispy bars and cliff kid’s organic fruit twists for those times when the kids might need a little boost.

I was already prepped for the cost ($50.95 per person over the age of 2)… one mom said to me, they’re heading into Disney prices aren’t they… despite endlessly searching on the Internet – which usually always turns up something, even checking the corporate discount sites, even twittering endlessly asking for discounts or savings tips… even the coupons found at Walmart and Burger King only yielded $6 OFF excluding Saturdays, the very day we were going. We turned up nothing more than using our AAA discount which reduced the cost to $47.95 (big whoop!). The only bargain I could see was in getting the 2- any day pass – it is the same exact cost as the one day ticket – head scratching may begin… so $155 dropped right before we got into the park… Ava, just 30 days past her 2nd birthday, was luckily was passable for “under” 2…

The first stop was the Vapor Trail roller coaster which Jaylen first conquered at the age of 2 years, 3 months… Ava… wouldn’t go near it… instead Ava and Jake made their way over to the souvenir shop… Yes, I know it should have been our last stop… but it was our first… luckily Ava wasn’t demanding for stuff… not so lucky for Jake’s mommy when Jake spotted Elmo dolls everywhere and would only let his grip go if it meant his other hand was on another Elmo… The funny thing, he was also barely familiar with Sesame Street. Our first and last stop before lunch was the new Count’s Splash Castle… the kids had a blast! Jaylen dragged DH to the water slides over and over again while Jake and Ava were content to be splish-splashing around the edge of this attraction while the mommies kept watch on the shore… Stupidly, I assumed I wouldn’t be getting into the water or get wet to any extent, and didn’t bring a suit. Not that I would have fit into anything in my 4.5 month pregnant state, but what I didn’t consider was that I actually wanted to get wet… I was melting away slowly… and I have to say the pregnancy eczema didn’t help the situation either… under the unforgiving fluorescent lights in the bathroom I saw the damage I created… blotchy red patches all over… DH kept urging me to get under shade and sit down, but exactly where I could do that in this packed park defied me… So I just went close enough into the attraction to get some sprinkle relief… even just stepping into the cooler water was refreshing…

After a nice amount of time had past, off we went to lunch… I actually considered this one of the highlights of the trip… is that sad? DH balked at having spent $30.95 for our meal… but I actually didn’t think it was so bad… Ava’s kid’s meal came with an adorable re-usable Elmo plate and her own sippy cup… Our own jumbo-sized souvenir cup cost $4.99 with Elmo’s cute face on it could be refilled all over the park for only $1.49… I thought that was a mighty fine deal… and the food wasn’t terrible either… I had the cheese pizza and was pleasantly surprised to find it had a whole wheat crust! Kudos to the chef for that! The fries of course, the kids devoured… Ava mostly used it as a dipping utensil to get her fill of ketchup… a nasty habit I hope that breaks soon… We also indulged in a Cookie Monster Sundae ($4.95) which also came in a souvenir cookie monster bowl… yea, maybe mommy enjoyed this little touch a little more than the kids… Afterwards the kids ran off to the next water attraction… en route Ava nodded off for a quick nap while Mommy indulged in sundae #2 and another souvenir bowl to go home with… We only refilled the cup once, but I still felt it was a bargain especially when I wanted some water and the attendant told me I could have a cup filled with water and ice for FREE instead of the bottled water at $2.49… what a nice guy!

A couple of times we spotted characters around the park, but Ava for some reason is still petrified of seeing her favorite TV characters actually walking around her. She seemed curious at one point when spotting Bert & Ernie, but would only stare…

Another round in the water rides and a trip to the Nets for Jaylen while Ava played around Big Bird’s Nest and made her rounds through the toddler playground… and we were finally heading home much to my protest and Jaylen’s disappointment in not getting to have another round on the Vapor Trail… Sadly we had barely touched 1/2 the park but thankfully I had the good sense to get the 2- Any Day pass and DH promised we could return again before year end on one condition… we return on a WEEK-day… hopefully Ava would be brave enough to go beyond the water attractions and actually attempt some of the rides… it seems either being a girl or those two months between her and Jaylen’s first visit to Sesame Street really makes a difference in her enjoyment.

One last stop into the souvenir shop where I was completely shocked that both kids didn’t WANT anything! Jaylen’s request was a souvenir bucket of popcorn from the vendor outside and Ava was so finicky… wants this… then doesn’t want it.. then wants it and then doesn’t want it… DH timed it to walk out as she didn’t want it… whatever that was… All in all when asked, both kids declared it was an AWESOME day! what more could we ask for?!

Lessons Learned on the Road – Sesame Place Style:

  • If you’re going on a Saturday bring your valid AAA card for $3 Off. It’s the only discount accepted that day and Get the 2 – Any Day Pass for the same price. Even if you don’t go back, it doesn’t cost you any more or less.
  • If you’re going on any other summer day, use the Burger King or Walmart coupon for $6 Off OR get the 2 – Any Day Pass with the AAA discount (coupon cannot be used)
  • Maybe I didn’t need to freeze the water bottles after all if cups of water with ice is FREE…
  • Glad I didn’t bring the cooler into the park, I simply emptied its content into my “Park” bag.
  • If you’re going to do rental anything, it’s cheaper to book ahead ONLINE. ie. Locker ($20 on-site with $5 deposit returned with key), double stroller – which is really great for dumping your bags on, a regular stroller doesn’t seem adequate when you’ve packed more than you need… and you usually do on these trips.
  • Buy the Souvenir Jumbo Cup ($4.99) as soon as you get in for the best value and refill all over the park for only $1.49. One cup for the family should suffice. If you’ve got Popcorn munchers, they’ve got a similar deal with refills as well…
  • Some extras to consider: Bring an umbrella for those who don’t like baking in the sun the whole day… a light weight collapsible chair – even one of those small 3 leg with a little triangle piece is fine… being pregnant, that would have been a godsend. I might have brought that little water bottle with the fan for a refreshing spritz whenever I needed it.

ECO|NOTE: I was thrilled to see the eco-friendly straws through-out the park that I had heard many theme parks had adapted… although I was quite disappointed when just a few sips from my nephew rendered it a wet soppy papery mess I couldn’t suck anything through thanks to his biting of the straw and whatever else he might have done with it in his mouth…

About Suzanne Chan

Suzanne is student, daughter, wife, (labor & delivery) certified registered nurse, certified lactation counselor, friend, entrepreneur and blogger – but the job she's most proud of is mother… She shares her journey on this blog and The Disney Files. Read more about her here.

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    Have a nice day

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