Sesame Place San Diego - opens Saturday in Chula Vista.Do you know how to get to Sesame Street? If you live on the west coast, start by heading to San Diego. The west coast's first Sesame Street theme park -
Taking over the 17-acre former Aquatica water park, Sesame Place adds seven "dry" rides for children and their families, including the park's first roller coaster. But the highlight is Sesame Street itself, brought to life at the park's entrance.
Interactive windows provide play opportunities, while Big Bird's Nest becomes a storytime and meet and greet area during the day. Elmo also welcomes fans for a photo op around the corner from the famous 123 Sesame Street stoop.
In the middle of the street, you will find the Sunny Day Carousel - one of the new children's rides in the park, which is a Certified Autism Center with staff trained to provide assistance to visitors on the spectrum. Let's take a walking tour of the park.
In addition to the carousel, all-ages "dry" rides in the park include:
Sesame Street Soar & Spin,
Elmo's Rockin' Rockets,
Abby's Fairy Flight,
and Rub-A-Dub Sub.
The park's roller coaster, Super Grover's Box Car Derby, is a Zierer Force family coaster with a 38" height requirement,
which is the same height requirement on the Cookie Climb tower.
As for the water attractions, you must be under 48 inches to go on the slides at Elmo's Silly Sand Slides.
Otherwise, the following slides have 42-inch minimum requirements: Honker Dinger Dash, Oscar’s Rotten Rafts, and Snuffy’s Spaghetti Slides. The tallest requirement in the park is 48 inches on Cookie's Monster Mixer.
While the rides will entertain many Sesame Place families, it's the park's entertainment that sets it apart from other amusement parks and family entertainment centers where you can find water slides and kiddie rides. In the Sesame Street neighborhood, you can listen to Storytime With Big Bird.
The park's 750-seat outdoor theater is home to a new, 20-minute musical show, Welcome to Our Street, starring Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Rosita, Grover, and Cookie Monster.
You might notice a glitch at the end of the show in our media-preview day video, when you hear Cookie Monster's voice, but the Muppet is not on stage. If you watched closely earlier, you might have noticed that Cookie Monster left the stage after a "costuming issue" with his eye. That's the risk with using a pre-recorded audio track - you can't ad lib when something goes awry. But that's unlikely to be a problem with a majority of performances.
What is a potential ongoing problem here is that almost none of these aluminum seats have any shade. For a park that boasts of sensory awareness with its autism certification, not putting a shade structure over the theater seems a big miss. I don't care whether you are neurotypical or neurodivergent, no one wants to experience the sensation of sitting on hot metal. Bring a towel for the water rides, then sit on it for this show.
That said, the headline act at Sesame Place San Diego is the park's Sesame Street Party Parade, which won awards for its previous installations at SeaWorld Orlando and the original Sesame Place, outside Philadelphia.
The parade runs on a short route at the front of the park, filling the route then stopping for an extended dance party show. It's a great way to see the full cast of Sesame Street characters in action.
As for food, it's stereotypical fare - bacon cheeseburgers, Impossible burgers, chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, and pizza for $14-17 (sandwiches come with waffle fries), with kids meals of PB&J sandwiches, chicken nuggets, or pizza for $10. The kids meals come with apples slices and a drink.
All together, Sesame Place San Diego offers a nice mix of attractions for families with Sesame Street fans who are looking for a not-too-intense day to relax and spend time with these beloved characters. The Sesame Street IP gives the park a unique element to distinguish Sesame Place from other water parks in the area, though the pricing seems aimed at encouraging repeat visits via some form of annual pass. The park will be open seven days a week during school holidays, then weekends the rest of the year, though entertainment offerings may vary by season.
Single-day tickets are available for $58 - which is $22 off the $80 gate price - on our partner's Sesame Place San Diego tickets page. Discounted 2022 Silver Season Pass also are available for $119 each.
A variety of upgrades, including cabanas starting at $149, are available, though I don't know if crowd levels will justify paying for "Magic Queue" front of line passes or reserved viewing for the parade or shows.
If you would like to learn more about why owner SeaWorld decided to change its Aquatica park into a Sesame Place, and where this park fits within trends in the theme park industry, check with us later Saturday for a follow-up post that will address those issues. Update: And here that is, Why Make the Change to Sesame Place?
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