There are so many changes in our world as we knew it but places we've known and love are trying their hardest to be there for us. Theme parks have (for the most part) opened up for the summer season, and are doing their best to offer families a sense of normalcy in this "new normal". Recently, my family and I visited Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA and while there were certainly differences in our experience, our favorite furry monsters were there for us none the less! See what precautions were taken, what changes were made and most importantly, if I felt safe during our visit to Sesame Place.
A Day at Sesame Place in 2020 | Visiting a Theme Park During a Pandemic
Sesame Place opened it's doors for the 2020 season on July 24th.
Originally their operating schedule was set for weekends only; Friday - Sunday. They have since added Thursdays to their schedule!
Ahead of our visit Sesame Place implemented a new timed entry system for their water park.
Prior to this new system, it had been reported by visitors that the line to enter the water park (which is not a separate admission but included in your one day ticket) had a wait that was longer than 90 minutes!
In an effort to limit wait times and also help facilitate social distancing, Sesame Place established two time slots for water park entry; 10 AM and 2:30 PM.
Sesame Place already requires restorations to be made ahead of your visit, now when selecting your date you will also pick which time slot you would like for the water park.
Since they just announced this new process ahead of my family's visit and our reservations were already made, Sesame Place employees asked guests as they entered the line which time slot they preferred and provided color coded wristbands.
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A Day at Sesame Place in 2020: Entry
Upon entering Sesame Place there were clear markings on the ground to facilitate social distancing.
As mentioned, as we were waiting to enter we were greeted by a Sesame Place employee and given our water park wristbands (I do not know if this is still happening as I have not been back since all the reservations moved online).
Signs are very clear about the new protocols for entering the park, there are pictures and written verbiage stating those over 2 must wear a mask.
Our first stop, was a temperature screening tent. This tent had fans going and was very cool and was a nice break from the already hot sun at 10:30 AM.
The temperature screening is touch-less and they took all of our temperatures; even my youngest though tickets are not required for those under 2.
We moved on to another socially distanced line for security, we walked through a standard metal detector and a security guard checked our bags and wagon.
The final line to enter was having our tickets scanned. Again, markers were on the ground to keep parties separated. I held my tickets as the employee scanned them, rather than handing the tickets back and forth to each other (this was clearly protocol as I went to hand over the ticket I was met with the scanner instead).
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A Day at Sesame Place in 2020: Safety Measures
We arrived as close to opening as we could and while the lines to get in felt long due to the spacing we moved through all of the check points fairly quickly and seamlessly.
Upon entering the front entrance we were greeted with a giant birthday cake. Sesame Place is celebrating it's 40th birthday this year and they decorated for the occasion.
Prior to opening last year, Sesame Place did away with paper maps and show schedules instead they have signs around the park to remind you where you are and what time the shows are that day. I imagine if they had not already implemented this, this would be something they would have done this year but they were ahead of the game!
Safety Measures: Hand Sanitizer
We were greeted with hand sanitizer pumps when we first got in the queue for the temperature check tent, then we were met with them again prior to getting in line to have our tickets scanned.
Once inside the park, at every ride entrance and exit there was a pump hand sanitizer station and in various other places throughout the park; bathrooms, changing areas in the water side and scattered around beyond that.
Safety Measures: Social Distancing
Notably, the merry-go-round was only seating parties in every other row.
Some attractions are closed due to social distancing measures; closed attractions include a soft play area for younger ones and a ropes course for bigger kids.
The daily parade is currently on hold but multiple shows are still running at Sesame Place.
The shows available during our visit were "Let's Play Together" and "The Magic of Art" - both of these shows take place in open area arenas with a roof covering.
Every other row was marked as closed to facilitate social distancing.
After our visit, the new for 2019 show, "Our Street is Sesame Street" that takes place in the middle of the main drag of Sesame Place resumed.
Safety Measures: Face Coverings
Let's talk face coverings.
As mentioned, guests 2 and up are required to wear them unless eating or in the water (more on this in a minute).
Staff was cheerful about reminding folks to put their mask on completely or pull it up over their nose and they expressed their thanks to children who were wearing them (which made my daughter feel really good!) as they passed by guests on the street.
During the shows, upon entry I could hear guests be reminded and during the show staff approached people (from a distance) and motioned for masks to be pulled up.
Now, about the stipulation about no masks in the water.
It was unclear if masks were not required in the entire water section or if they were not required while you were literally in the water.
I heard an employee say to a guest, who was in line to enter at our 2:30 time slot, to keep their mask on until entry (meaning the mask could come down once on the water side).
I saw a mix of both happening. Some adults were wearing masks while standing in the wave pool with their children, some weren't. Some were wearing masks walking from one attraction to the next, others weren't.
Upon exiting the designated water side a Sesame Place staff member had stacks of disposable masks and were handing them out to guests if they weren't wearing one.
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A Day at Sesame Place in 2020: Did I Feel Safe?
Our day at Sesame Place felt more normal than I expected it to.
Entry to the park took longer due to the added pit-stop of the temperature scan but it added maybe 5 to 10 minutes to the process, nothing major.
I felt safe while visiting Sesame Place.
Sesame Place had plenty of hand sanitizer stations, I felt like every corner I turned there was another station and the markings on the ground were helpful while in the queues for rides in having parties stand back from one another.
The biggest thing, I think, was the limited capacity.
The park did not feel full by any stretch of the imagination.
I think there were less people at the park this year, on a Saturday in August than there were when we visited last year in the middle of the week on an overcast day.
Allowing for less people and having the two times for entry into the water park certainly kept a crowd of people from gathering at any one time.
The longest line we encountered was that for getting food at 1:00 in the afternoon.
We had a fun-filled day at Sesame Place!