This summer, we went on vacation to Philadelphia, primarily so our 4-year-old girl could go to Sesame Place amusement park. We knew that if we waited one more year, she might start losing interest in Elmo, Big Bird and their friends.
Our daughter had a blast meeting the costumed characters and watching them in shows and parades. However, we couldn't help but notice a few ways in which the Sesame Place experience could have been better.
Wheelchair accessibility is always a major factor when it comes to our enjoyment of an amusement park. Usually, my wife (who uses a chair) and I can go up the exit ramp and wait for an attendant to let us on the ride.
That was the case for most of the Sesame Place rides. However, there was no way we could go on the Sky Splash, a six-stories-tall inner tube ride that seats six people. There were no ramps to get us to the top. It was disappointing, because we had the ability to ride the Sky Splash. We just couldn't get to it.
Another factor that could have been improved is the restrooms. It usually helps us when we can use a family restroom. They are large enough that we could all fit in and I can assist my wife or our daughter. For a very "family" or "kid" oriented facility, Sesame Place had no family restrooms.
This was mind-boggling, considering how many families there were with young children changing in and out of swimsuits. I had to stand in the ladies room, waiting 15 minutes for one large stall to open up, only to discover that it was merely a changing room with no toilet inside! We then went to the "handicap stall", but it was way too small. Then we went to another stall which we thought was a handicap stall, but again found it was not a one with a toilet. That was so aggravating! The stalls were not labeled at all. They should have labeled which stalls were specifically for changing and which were for using the restroom, if they wanted different stalls.
Also, Sesame Place seems a bit confused as to its clientele. If you are going to build the whole park around a Sesame Street theme, you should have a lot of simple, spinning rides for little kids. Instead, those rides were only found in the "Elmo's World" section of the park. Our 4 year old couldn't do about 75% of the rides because they were too high, too fast or too big for her.
By contrast, there are 12 different water rides at Sesame Place. Do 4-year-old kids need a dozen different ways to get wet in Pennsylvania? We're not talking Texas or Florida where the climate is more suitable for hotter weather longer during the year.
Sesame Place was not all bad, though. The shows were a lot of fun. "Elmo's World Live" was an enjoyable and faithful adaptation of the televised segment of "Sesame Street."
Of course, when you have live characters in the park, you want to make sure all of them are there. Snuffy was conspicuous by his absence. I know it would be difficult to put two people in the costume all day, but at least they could have his head sticking through a wall or something. Also, you really had no clue as to which character was going to show that day, nor when they would show.
At the end of the day, we looked forward to the gift shop, thinking we could find just about any Sesame merchandise imaginable. We like to get a set of shirts together on vacation. For example, we all got blue Shamu shirts at Sea World last year. We were looking for simple colored shirts with a character's face on the front. Unfortunately, the store only carried them in children's sizes, and it wasn't even a large variety either. After discovering the simple colored shirts were out, we settled on any old t-shirt that could be very similiar for all three of us.
The skimpy selections of shirts they had, wasn't worth it. For a "kid catering" atmosphere, they didn't have t-shirts for kids. Also, my daughter really wanted to have a Snuffy stuffed animal. We looked in every gift shop. Only to find out that when they ran out of Snuffies in the spring, they didn't order anymore. We asked someone who worked there what the story was on that. They said they had no clue. They said they had one order of Snuffy and it went fast, they couldn't keep it stocked then when they ran out, they didn't order anymore. Why would you not order such a hot item? Why would display a stuffed Snuffy if you didn't have any left? Yes, Snuffy was proudly displayed in their window.
We all enjoyed our time at Sesame Place, but it could have been better. If the park made these improvements, more people would ask how to get to Sesame Place.
Handicap ramps with rent
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