Our Sesame Place Story: Jo-Ann and Family

January 23, 2019 by Jo-Ann T.

When our family became season pass members back in 2004, I never envisioned we would still be Season Pass Members 15 years later. Sesame Place feels like home to us, and so many employees feel like family. Our son will be turning 15 years old this year, and Sesame Place is still his favorite place on Earth. It’s easy for me to tell you why:

Furry Friends

Our boy has autism, and he experiences trouble with social connections and communication. However, no words are needed to form a friendship at Sesame Place. I can see the excitement each and every time we visit from my son when he sees his favorite guys, and usually I will have to catch a tear or two leaking from my eyes when I see the genuine excitement the characters also show when they see my son. I hope, pray and wish for human friendship like this for my son, but until then, I am so grateful for the “friends” he has at Sesame Place.

Turning Oscar

Human Friends

The employees are something extra special, too. I remember how many people messaged our family when it was announced that Sesame Place became the first theme park in the world designated as a Certified Autism Center. I was like, really? Wow! They went above and beyond to ensure they could accommodate so many families that have a loved one on the autism spectrum. I personally remember my comment on their announcement was something like “This is awesome, but Sesame Place and their employees were pretty amazing already even before the training!” From the security staff, to entertainment, to management, and of course the photographers and characters — they make you feel important and valued. Just ask someone for help, and if they can make it happen for you, they will.

Perfect Sized Park

For so many years, we were worried about losing our son in the park, but it’s really the perfect sized park for any age! Whether you are young or old, you won’t have far to walk to get to your next memory. For our son, he loves to see the characters, so even though it’s a compact park, we walk many miles during the day!! It is sparkling clean, beautifully decorated throughout the seasons and has something fun for everyone. If you like water rides, there are so many fun slides to race down; or if you’d rather stay dry - so many adorable rides for the kids (and the roller coasters will make even your teens happy!). The shows are always super fun and give you a moment in the shade during the summer or warmth in the colder months, but they certainly will warm your heart all year round when you look around and see the sparkle in the eyes of the young and old!

Variety of Food Options

Amusement parks are not usually known for their food, but I personally have always thought Sesame Place has a very good menu throughout the park. Last summer, they also started to bring in different food trucks throughout the year. The food trucks made it even easier to find food options without waiting in lines, and also find something for every picky eater in your family. I might have the pickiest of them all, but thanks to Cookies Cafe, bacon on a hot dog bun is on the menu for our son!

Sunny or Rainy Days Filled with Smiles

Some of our best memories have been walking down Sesame Street in the pouring rain, or watching my crazy son slide down a water slide, while the dedicated lifeguards do their best to stay warm in their wet suits on a chilly day(I always try to make eye contact and say thank you to the lifeguards, since I usually am shivering watching them!). There are indoor shows, or you can reserve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the characters (for an extra fee), and so many other ways to still have fun when it’s not a super sunny day! As a bonus -those are the days that are less crowded too. There is also a Sunny Day Guarantee that will allow you to come back for a free visit if your day is impacted by rain! 

Turning Bert Ernie

So many days throughout Sesame Place’s operating season you will find me perched in the shade somewhere while I spy on my son happily jogging up and down Sesame Street. At first, I will admit I tried to sway our boy from going to Sesame Place since he is a teenager now. I was worried about the stares, the judgment, or feeling embarrassed. As a parent, it’s hard to deny the pure glee that shines on his face when he plans a trip to Sesame Place and even more so when he is in the park. We have been known to drive an hour to the park, just to stay long enough to squeeze in a few high-five’s with the furry friends, and turn around and drive home. Those simple moments mean so much to our son.

When I am sitting people watching, I enjoy getting to see the children who are just learning to walk toddle over to hug Cookie Monster and see how that child is being followed by their ‘family of paparazzi’ complete with aunts, uncles and grandparents. For many families, their visits to Sesame Place may only be limited to a couple seasons based on their child’s interests and growth. For families like mine, and many others, we feel like we have found a safe haven for our loved ones, and whether they are 3, 13 or 33, they will be welcomed into Count’s Cape or Cookie’s arms for a picture.

Learn more about our family and our love of Sesame Place, by following our journey.