If you have read my tips for traveling with an autistic child, you’ll know that we once made a trip out to Sesame Place. It was, by far, one of the best things that we had ever done for her. And while that trip happened in 2011, I still want to talk to you about it. Sure, things have changed. But I would still highly recommend this trip. Speaking from our personal experience, here’s how we made the most of our trip to Sesame Place with an autistic child.
How to Plan a Trip to Sesame Place
First things first, you’ll want to start planning for your trip. Regardless if you’re planning this trip with an autistic child or not, these travel tips are pretty common sense. However, if this is your first trip, you’ll definitely want to make plans in advance.
- How you’ll get there
- Where you’ll stay
- How long your trip will last
- How much to pack
- What to budget for in the park
Depending on where you’re coming from, either plan to drive or fly (and then drive). As we’re located not too far, we opted to take a drive. I booked our hotel through the Sesame Place website as they partner with several local chains.
Sesame Place Hotels and Partner Hotels
We stayed at the Comfort Inn, but you can see all of the partner hotels here: Sesame Place Partner Hotels
The benefits of staying in a partner hotel:
- Lowest price on park tickets
- Kids eat Free at Dine with Elmo & Friends
- In-Park Discounts
The hotels that partner with Sesame Place are family friendly and flexible with your check-in/check-out times. We had two Queen beds in our room by request and that accommodated the three of us perfectly fine.
We went during the week as Sweet B had some time off between the end of summer camp and the beginning of the school year.
What to Purchase In Advance For Your Trip to Sesame Place
Aside from your hotel reservations, you can purchase your park tickets and several other things in advance to print at home. By booking through the Sesame Place website, you can also get a package deal for your hotel and park tickets. This is what we ended up doing by taking advantage of the Stay and Play Hotel Package deal.
Other things that you can purchase in advance include dining experiences with the characters.
I would highly recommend this- especially if your child doesn’t have a lot of patience. Or if they may need or want a little extra time with the characters.
Autism Friendly Dining Options at Sesame Place
We opted to get two dining experiences: Breakfast with Cookie & Dinner with Cookie. They are now called Breakfast with Elmo & Friends and Dinner with Elmo & Friends.
We did end up skipping lunch, but there is also a lunch option available to purchase in advance. The food is okay and there was quite a variety of food available. Talk to someone at Sesame Place in advance about gluten free options.
The dining experiences allowed Sweet B to enjoy her food but to also get acquainted with the costumed characters.
It also allowed me the opportunity (at breakfast) to explain to a few of the characters that Sweet B is on the spectrum. And that was amazing. Two of the characters in particular, Bert and Abby Caddaby, were particularly attentive and patient. This, for me, set the stage for the rest of the day.
Mind you, this was before Sesame Place became Autism certified.
Where to See the Characters at Sesame Place
That brings me to the photo opportunities. At various times, characters are roaming the park. You can also set up a photo voucher for Smile With Me 1-2-3 online.
Sweet B did very well with her character meetings, though I think this is mostly in part to having the opportunity to fully interact with them at breakfast.
Sesame Place also runs two parades and has several other places that you can meet and see characters.
The Rides and Other Attractions at Sesame Place
We always look for a park that has a water park as that has always been one of Sweet B’s favorite things. Depending on the time of year that you go, Sesame Place has it’s own water park. We saved that for the middle of our day during our trip.
Ultimately, however, her favorite ride ended up being the roller coaster- Vapor Trail.
Other ride highlights included:
- Elmo’s Cloud Chaser (swings)
- Elmo’s Flying Fish
- Flying Cookie Jars
- Peek a Bug
- Monster Mix Up
- Blast Off
- Sunny Day Carousel
You can see a list and pictures of all of the rides and attractions here: Rides at Sesame Place
Why Sesame Place was the Best Place to Go
Even at the age of 10, Sesame Place was the best place when it came to picking an autism-friendly travel destination. And, as of 2018, Sesame Place is now the first Certified Autism Center amusement park.
What do this mean? Read more about it on Sesame Place.
The park isn’t too big and the lines were never too long. The staff was accommodating and understanding.
Plus, we both love Cookie Monster so all of the opportunities to meet and hang out with our favorite Sesame Street character was certainly appreciated.
With Sesame Place being relatively close to Philadelphia, on our next day, we spent some time there. That day trip included a visit to Independence Hall (where we purchased a pass for a bus fare). And we also stopped by the Philadelphia Zoo.
Though I’m unsure as to how Sweet B would handle Sesame Place now, I think it would be worth it to go back again. We highly enjoyed the trip then and Sesame Place is also just the right size and speed for Squeaker.
Have you ever been to Sesame Place? What did you think?