Here's all about how our day went and some tips/tricks we learned along the way:
Sesame Place is about 2 hrs and 45 minutes away from us. We took this trip in the fall for a couple of reasons:
- Because it's when my husband has time to take off on the weekends
- We were hoping that, since school was back in and it wasn't peak season, the crowds would be better than normal
Turns out, it was a great time to go, although not as crowd free as I would have guessed!
When I went to book our tickets for the character dining experience, lunch was all sold out- a month ahead of time! All they had left was 8:45 am breakfast. I was hesitant to do this, since that suddenly meant getting on the road at around 5 am to be there on time. I had a feeling that the dining was going to be Caroline's favorite part, however, so we went with it!
We had everything ready, and woke Caroline up a little before 5 am. We'd been telling her all about Sesame Place and visiting Elmo for about 2 weeks. She was super excited as a result. When we woke her up, we asked her "Where do you get to go today?". She was struggling to wake up, but then looked at us and smiled. "Elmo", she said! We got her dressed and all ready to go and were off by 5!
She didn't sleep during the drive there (of course). She was way too excited! We brought some snacks to munch on for an early early breakfast to help tide everyone over until our main breakfast at 8:45. We stopped for one potty break when Caroline asked to go. She was scared of the bathroom, however, so we just continued on and hoped she'd stay dry. She managed to make it all the way there without an accident!
We were literally the first ones in the parking lot when we arrived at Sesame Place. The bathrooms are outside the ticket gate, so we got to stretch our legs and use the restroom while we waited for the gates to open. They opened right at 8:45.
There were a decent amount of people there, and it was all very organized. Again, we were the first ones in, and they looked up our reservation and gave us a table number. When we found our table it already had a highchair and was ready to go. We fixed our plates at the buffet and had a seat. Not long after, the characters started coming out!!! Ernie came right up to Caroline since we were one of the only tables seated already. She smiled so big. He touched her nose, and she touched his. You never know if kids are going to be scared of the big characters, so we waited and hoped. She loved it! And then..... out came Elmo!!! We saw him before she did, so we pointed him out (sorry Ernie) LOL! When she saw him she said "Elmo! Elmo!".
We were all instructed to not go to the characters...they would make their way around to us at our tables. Elmo had a special corner. We could get in line and get pictures with him. We ran over and got in line before it got too long. Caroline waited patiently. When it was her turn, she ran right up to him and gave him a hug! She turned around and motioned for Mama to come over. I joined her and Elmo. I tried to get her to turn around for a picture and offered for her to sit with me. She clearly told me no and put her hand out for me to wait. She wanted to sit with Elmo! :) She was in heaven. They let us take a few pictures and enjoy our moment before moving on. Joe and I were so impressed with how brave she was to just walk right up and hug him! That moment right there was worth the drive!
Caroline didn't eat much breakfast, since she was so distracted by all that was going on. She met Ernie, Elmo, Bert, Zoe, and Cookie Monster. She didn't really know who the other characters were (other than Elmo), so it was equally impressive that she was interacting with them and saying hello, etc.
When we were done with breakfast, we wandered out into the park. The park didn't open until 10 am, so we had about 15 minutes to kill. We went into a gift shop, where Caroline managed to pick out only 1 Elmo to take home. We then saw that the carousel was open, so we took her on that first. Once the rides opened, we immediately started going on them! Again, we weren't sure how Caroline was going to react to the rides. We'd been talking about going on roller coasters and getting her ready, but all the talk in the world can't get you ready enough!
Her first ride was on Captain Cookies High C's. She went on with Daddy. When it was over she said "more, more!". Whew! She then went on Flying Fish with Mama, and even went on Blast off! Blast off is a vertical ride that rises and falls. She had to sit in her own chair with her own harness. Again, she did awesome and said "more, more, more!". Since we were in the park for breakfast already, the main entrance ticket holders hadn't had a chance to make their way all the way in to the rides super quickly. This early morning time was THE TIME to be going on rides. We rode rides until about 11:30 and hardly had to wait in any lines. I think we did almost every ride she could do, and she loved all but the big swing. Her favorite was probably Blast off! It was perfect.
At that time, we were all getting hungry and Caroline was definitely tired from not having a nap yet and having gotten up at 5 am! We decided to head out and eat lunch out of the park, but nearby. The lines were getting long at this point, and as we exited we saw the lines to get in. It was getting super crowded. We were glad to be headed out at this point for sure! There were lots of fast food options that were much cheaper and less crowded than eating in the park. We had lunch and hit the road to come home.
Caroline took a quick nap on the way home, and went to bed early that night! She had an amazing time. This adventure was well worth it, and I think it really was the perfect age. She was old enough to really get excited and enjoy herself. We'll probably plan on going again next year, and when we do, we'll plan on doing the breakfast option and leaving by lunch. It was just perfect timing to beat the crowds and enjoy ourselves. This is such an amazing place for little ones, and the rides are great!