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  • Emily Meagher

meeting Elmo + friends w/ cerebral palsy!

our birthday visit to Sesame Place in Philadelphia + honest review of the accessibility program!

Every single morning our 2 year old's morning routine includes watching Elmo. More specifically, her favorite little segment with Cookie Monster and Gonger in their foodie truck. She knows every character's names. She has her favorite episodes memorized down to the hand movements. We didn't have to think twice when it came to deciding how we could spend her special day for her 2nd birthday! ✨

Sesame Place in Philadelphia, PA was so kind to host us for the day and to set up for us to have a breakfast with Elmo + friends! 🌈

While our visit was lovely, I would love to be completely transparent about our day. It would be really helpful to us in the future if we would choose to visit again. We absolutely LOVE to look at the best perspective of each and every moment and even with this mindset in account, there were a few things I wish I knew. 💭

Before our visit, we followed the guidelines on their website to register Abby for a IBCCES Accessibility Card to be able to access the Ride Accessibility Program. It states that this may require 48 hours prior to your visit. This step is a bit inconvenient as we spend most of our time as parents of a child with a disability navigating loads of paperwork and insurance information that requires documents to prove the diagnosis. It is not so fun to have these hoops to jump through for necessary accommodations for a day focused on simply having fun! 🦽

Now on to THE BEST part of our day... Breakfast with Elmo and Friends! If I could recommend one thing for your visit, it would be this! All of the 5 of us had the most magical morning singing and dancing along to the sweetest show with the characters. This was without a doubt the highlight of our day! The characters and staff were so accommodating and spent one on one time with each of the families in attendance. The breakfast included a buffet style meal with drinks and desserts! It also allowed us to get some photos and interactions with the characters without standing in the long lines throughout the park. We were delighted with the entire experience! 💛

Following our breakfast, we headed over to TwiddleBug Land for some water rides! Unfortunately during our visit, the water ride we were most excited for was not in order. Instead we spent some time at the tidal wave pool and the Slimey's Chutes water slides before heading to Big Bird's Rambling River lazy river ride which was a huge hit for us all! 💦

Once we were cooled off in the water park, we walked around the rest of the park and enjoyed the incredible attention to detail throughout the park! We rode a few rides and explored the "Main Street". Abby and Koston's favorite ride was the carousel while Liam loved the Pirate ride at Captain Cookie's High C's Adventure! 🎠


While we're talking rides, let's talk about the practical use of the Ride Accessibility Program offered. First off, you are limited on ride accommodations from the first moment you arrive. We were given 3 water ride accommodations and 6 for dry rides. These accommodations allowed us to use an accessible entrance so that guests with difficulty with mobility or standing for long periods of time (and more) can still participate!

However, if I have provided the documents from a neurologist that confirms Abby's disability 48 hours in advance AND she requires mobility aides to navigate the park- it seems very discouraging that we are not accommodated consistently throughout the park during our day. We were offered to walk back to guest services at the entrance of the park to retrieve additional vouchers for accommodations if we needed them BUT it was very counter-productive for someone who needs these accommodations for mobility to have to cross the park to retrieve more accommodations for the proven disability. This was the honest downside of our day and we did leave a bit earlier than we had initially planned. We have not encountered this sort of program at other theme parks that we have had the pleasure of visiting and it did make the accessibility a bit more complicated during our visit. 👎🏼

OVERALL.. We had an amazing day! The kids had a blast and our breakfast was absolutely the most magical way to start the day! If you have a little one who is a huge fan like our sweet girl, we couldn't recommend this visit more! What a fun-filled day for us all! ❤️


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