Sesame Place – the OWTK recap

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street, er, Place?

Sure! It is a ½ mile off of Route 1 in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.

Our first family visit was Friday, September 1st (as previously announced). 76 and Sunny, it was not. This is a good news/bad news story – as the clouds, wind, sub-70 degree temps, and eventual rain chased away the usual summertime crowds and kept most of the lines very manageable but those same factors also kept the OWTK extended clan from taking pleasure in the water attractions (almost).

We arrived, parked in the general lot ($10/$14 for preferred) and walked to the gates just as they opened, releasing the modest throng of excitable young people and their adult counterparts onto a gray park hungry for the energy of Elmo-loving kids. Although your family’s bottled up joy may cause you to sprint right passed them, the walk from the lots to the gate is sprinkled with Hollywood Boulevard-style imprints of all The Street’s beloved characters. Elmo’s hands are seen below.

Just inside the park is a beautiful topiary display featuring Bird Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Snuffy. This area is an ideal backdrop for the first family photo of the day.

We headed directly for Elmo’s World, the newest “land” in the Place. Our girl was most excited about two new rides: The Peek-a-Bug and the Flying Fish. (I should state here that the reason our 2.5-year-old even knew of the specific rides was due to our giving her a map of the park to gear her up for the trip during her potty training). The Peek-a-Bug, a whirly, spinning, lose-your-lunch kind of ride was our initiation into the Sesame Place experience. Our daughter screamed from start to finish – and not with joy, rather with terror! The feeling the Peek-a-Bug instills in one’s stomach is not for everyone and me and my girl could have done without it. Next up was the Flying Fish. This was a winner. The passenger “cars” are Elmo fish, decorated as a myriad of animals (Dog, Pig, Cat, etc) – most certainly this is a reference to the Elmo’s World segment of the Sesame Street television program, in which Dorothy imagines Elmo as various creatures (corresponding with whatever Elmo is thinking about that day). The Fish go flying round-n-round with controllers that allow for the kids to make their particular fish rise and fall.

(a full scale model of the “actual” Sesame Street. kids can wander in and out of the storefronts, sit on the steps of 123 Sesame St. and in a huge firetruck replica. a great, relaxing photo spot)

A short stroll from the Flying Fish exit is the pleasant Sesame International Tea Cups, called Grover’s World Twirl (each cup painted in the colors of a different nation and featuring one of the characters acting the part – Big Bird in a beret, with a baquette and flowers, for example), Big Bird’s Hot Air Balloon Race, and an expansive, three story playzone called the Nets ‘n’ Climbs. Also in this section is a photo area in which you and your kids can meet and have photos taken with assorted Sesame characters. While we were in and around this area we took pics separately with Elmo and Big Bird, and saw Zoe from afar. The Elmo “session” was terrific. The person dressed as the big red guy was very engaging with the little ones and their was no rush (which can be good when you are at front of the line, and quite frustrating while positioned at the back). Elmo offered hugs, high-fives, and quick games of peek-a-boo all on extended/post-photo time. There is very little pressure to purchase the “professional” photo(s) taken by the Sesame Place staff (digital viewing station around the front of the building). You can easily snap away with your own camera(s) and walk away without denting your wallet or purse ($13.99 each – Ouch!)

By now, it was time for some lunch. The dining options inside Sesame Place are both cafeteria style and limited. Diners had four choices: Personal Pizza – Plain or Pepperoni (surprisingly ok), Chicken Fingers and Fries (sub-par), Hot Dog and Fries, or Garden Salad with marinated chicken (the other two eateries in the park also offer a club sandwich). All of those “entrees” are between $5-$7. Additional menu options include Musselman’s Green Applesauce ($1.59), Elmo Cupcake ($2), Chocolate Chip Cookie ($2), side salad ($2), Fruit (Strawberry w/ or w/o whipped cream in collector’s Cookie Monster bowl or Watermelon ($2 each). Beverages included three varieties of milk (2% white, chocolate, or strawberry), bottled water, & assorted sodas and fruit punch. Expect around a $30 price tag for a family of three.

The skies opened up as lunch came to a close. The bigger kids and some of the adults headed over to the Vapor Trail – a roller coaster for the older kids (age 6 and up). Reports were very positive: no lines and good fun – they rode three times! We then ventured over to the Mix-n-Match Twiddle Tracks. This simple “ride” lay underneath the mammoth waterslide in Twiddle Bug Land. Kids sit by themselves in little handcars and must push and pull the lever to make the car go. There are bumpers on the front and back to cushion the blow when the more skilled drivers zoom (and I use that term very loosely – it appears near impossible to go fast regardless of how fast a child works the handle) along.

While the kids (suitable for all ages, even our tall 8 year old niece could fit inside the little traincars) took a few more spins around the short track, my daughter and I hopped into the chilly tidal wave pool. Despite the now steady rain, we agreed that we both just had to get in some water play. Mrs. OWTK, the only one in attendance to have a bathing suit on underneath their clothes, decided she to wanted in on the water play. She set her sights on something a bit more dramatic then the tidal wave pool – The Sky Splash. Not being able to ride alone, she had to catch a ride with another family and, though the water was quite chilly, she said it was a blast!

On the way out we purused the gift shop and came out relatively unscathed, spending only $45 on two shirts (a snuffy for the Mrs. and an Elmo for the little one) and a fork/spoon set with matching bowl and plate (both of which were chipped by the time we got back home – ugh!).

All in all, a good day. We are contemplating purchasing 2007 Passports for next year. This would allow for frequent little visits (early A.M / late P.M.) to get in some fun and miss the heavy crowds.

Out With The Kids

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