There is still plenty of time left in summer to visit Sesame Place. And with this fabulous weather we are having, what better time? I have been there so many times I can’t even count. I’ve learned many tips and tricks along the way and I’m sharing them with you. Some of these tips are for visiting with a child with special needs or sensory issues, and some of them are just “I wish I knew that ahead of time!” things from past visits. We have been going regularly since Kevin was 2. I’ve been an Ambassador for the for three or four years. I’ve learned all the tricks on saving time and the discounts at Sesame Place.
How to save money at Sesame Place
Whenever I start gushing about Sesame Place, one of the usual comments I get is “but isn’t it expensive?” Yes and no. It is a very special outing but so many kids love Sesame Street and the characters so of course you want to visit. I find their prices to be in the ballpark of the other amusement parks and attractions of this caliber.
You can make the most of your money there by using a variety of techniques.
- Get a season pass, and preferably buy it either in the winter during their sale or in mid-July when you can get the rest of one year and the whole next year for one price. For the parent or adult that is going to be going there most often, get them the pass that includes parking. I could talk all day about the benefits of a season pass-store and restaurant discounts, early members only ride times and so on.
- If you cannot get a season pass, look for discounts. These vary from year to year. Sometimes Sesame Place has coupons at McDonald’s or through different retailers, sometimes it’s only online on their website. Join their email list and you will be notified of special sales.
- You can go after 3 pm when it’s $20 less per ticket and less crowded.
- Go when it’s cloudy but warm. It’s less crowded so you get more ride time.
- They also have a Sunny Day guarantee. If it rains for more than an hour on your day, you can come back.
- If the water rides and slides are not a priority for you, then go for either the Count’s Spooktacular or A Very Furry Christmas. The water rides are closed but dry rides are open and tickets are less.
- Sesame Place is one of the few parks that allows you to bring in a cooler. You may bring in one, so that helps cut down on food costs. I love the refillable drink things and popcorn things. We get a souvenir plus we get cheap/free drink and popcorn refills so then I don’t pack snacks in our cooler. Makes sense if you are getting a season pass to get these.
- Sesame Place has a large variety of stay and play options with area hotels. Even if you are within day-trip distance, it might be worth your while to stay if it maximizes your play time. Or you can do after 3 pm one day and then go early the next day.
- Consider going all out and renting a cabana. Then plan on going from open until close. Having a cabana gives you a home base, a down time and eating place and just makes the day more enjoyable. When we rent a cabana we can stay from open until close without the kids unraveling. Adults too!
- Transferable Passes: Transferable Passes are a brand new pass! They are a little complicated to explain, but let’s use myself as an example! If I bought myself a Big Bird Season Pass, I could purchase a Transferable Pass. My Big Bird Season Pass would be considered the “host” pass. When I wanted to come to Sesame Place, I could bring anyone (my mom, my grandma, my sister) as my guest. The Person with the Transferable Pass must arrive with the host pass member, and Transferable Passes are limited to one visit per person per day.
- Sync your credit card to the mobile app to make quick and convenient food and merchandise purchases! Once you’ve entered your credit card information, just open your app, and a team member can scan your phone to complete the purchase. They also have arm bands/bracelets that you can link to a credit card for faster paying.
How to make the most of your time at Sesame Place
- If you are only going for one or two days, you have to make the most of your time, right?
- For starters, do things backwards. Most families ride the water rides early in the day, dry off, then do dry rides. Do yours backwards–do the dry rides first and then the water rides starting in the late afternoon. You will find most lines are shorter that way.
- Again, if your schedule permits it, try to go on a cloudy day and the crowds will be less. I like it because I don’t have to constantly stress about reapplying sunscreen.
- Do one of the character dining options. This way you get a meal and all your photo opps with the characters in just 60-90 minutes. You won’t spend time waiting in lines to meet with characters instead of riding rides. It’s also a lot of fun for the kids and you get to sit for a while, plus they have family restrooms in there.
- Bring snacks or try to plan your meals around peak meal times so again, you’re not spending time waiting in line. Eat earlier or later than what most people do.
- You have to wait in line for shows so split up so that one parent can wait in line and the other can either do bathroom breaks or another ride. Use the published schedule to pick what shows you want to see.
Other tips for navigating Sesame Place
- Back behind Ernie’s Bistro there are picnic tables and bathrooms that are rarely used or crowded. You can go there to chill out and relax and get some down time, especially if you have a child that needs breaks.
- There’s another corner getaway spot–behind Teeny Tiny Tidal Wave. If you get there early, go back there and grab a chair under the giant umbrella. I use this as our home base while we are doing the water rides. It’s off the beaten path and often quieter.
- Families start “staking their spot” for the parades about an hour ahead of time. Go find a front row spot by using the dots on the pavement. Park your stroller or blanket there and then you can still go do a ride or two until the parade starts. This is on the honor system, but I’ve never had my stroller or towels moved while I was gone. There is a special area for disabilities, but it too can get crowded and it’s in the sun depending on time of year.
- The second parade of the day is almost always much less crowded than the first. The exception would be fireworks nights.
- Check in at Guest Services when you arrive and get a Fast Pass arm band for paying for stuff or a Handicapped Access arm band if you need it.
- If you go during the Count’s Spooktacular and you take the kids Trick-or-Treating around the park, you don’t have to pack snacks that day. You’ll get plenty!
- If you eat at the Elmo restaurant, your souvenir plate will be Elmo. If you eat at the Cookie Monster restaurant, your souvenir plate will be Cookie Monster. Just in case your kids see them and want one, that’s where you get them.
- Don’t forget about the water slides that are at the other end of the park-behind the dry rides like Elmo’s Flying Fish and Blast Off. Visitors seem to forget that they are back there and quite often the lines are not very long.
- They have special dining areas for kids with allergies.
- If you purchase certain meal options (some of the boxed lunches) online ahead of time, they are discounted.
- It sounds weird, but if going in the summer and doing the water rides, plan on walking around the amusement park in your bathing suit and water shoes. The first time I took my MIL with us, she asked me that once we were there. But you look around and that’s what people do.
- I like the bathrooms and changing rooms down by the Count’s splash area the best. They are all over the park but I find those to be the most spacious. There are rooms for nursing mothers too. Ask about it or look for them on the map.
- If you are in the metro Philadelphia area and register your special needs child with the Variety Club of Philadelphia, they often have freebie days for our kids.
Taking your family to Sesame Place is a wonderful experience and a must-do for all families, in my opinion. Hopefully I’ve given you a few tips to help you make the most of these special, sunny days! Bookmark this so you have it and check back, as I think of new tips I will add them.
This was originally published in 2014 but was recently updated to correct broken links.