Here at last

From parades to musical theater, opening day at Sesame Place was one to remember

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

It was a sunny day, with the bright smiles of children clutching their stuffed Elmos sweeping the clouds away. The air was sweet on April 28 as thousands of families walked under the Big Bird-decorated entryway to experience opening day at Sesame Place in Langhorne.

The amusement park opened its doors in 1980, and has since allowed young (and old) fans of Sesame Street to see their favorite furry friends come to life. To kick off the start of its 2017 season, a massive parade was held on the main road that trails throughout the length of the park.

The most wonderful time of the year: Elmo is driven in a classic car during Sesame Place’s opening day on April 28. SAMANTHA BAMBINO / TIMES PHOTO

The Oakcrest High School marching band led the way through crowds of people lined on each side, playing the catchy theme song of the show. Following right behind was the forever 3 ½-year-old monster, Elmo, driven in a classic car. He waved and blew kisses to the audience as he passed by. Each character followed, some in cars of their own, others walking and dancing through the street. The crowd got to wave to Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie, Count von Count, Abby Cadabby and last but not least, Big Bird, who sported a black bow tie for the occasion.

After the parade, guests dispersed throughout the park, which is Sesame Street come to life. You can take a walk through The Neighborhood to visit Mr. Macintosh’s Fruit Store and the Sesame Street Engine House, see what Oscar the Grouch is up to in his garage, and enjoy a musical at the Neighborhood Theater.

If you venture off the road, you will find an assortment of kid-friendly rides that are grouped by character. Elmo’s World contains the Blast Off and Elmo’s Cloud Chaser while Cookie Monster’s section includes the Flying Cookie Jars and Mini Monster Clubhouse.

When guests need a break from the excitement of the rides, there is no shortage of places to grab a bite. Grover’s Eats on the Street is good for a quick meal while Cookie’s Cafe allows guests to sit down and rest for a bit. While there are endless places to get sweets for the kids, Coffee & Cone Corner allows parents to get Starbucks and caffeine for themselves and ice cream for their children.

It almost reached a whopping 90 degrees on opening day, so crowds gathered outside the Sesame Studio to see Elmo The Musical Live! in the air-conditioned theater. The show opened with Velvet, a talking portion of the red drapes lining the stage. Velvet went over good theater etiquette with the kids in the audience, which included clapping if they liked something and laughing if they thought something was funny.

The plot of the show centers around Cookie Monster and his missing cookies. Elmo, being the good friend he is, sets out on a quest to solve the mystery.

“Together we can imagine detective the musical!” Elmo said to the audience.

Dressed in a detective vest and hat with dramatic music playing in the background, Elmo and Cookie Monster adventure to various places to find clues. There is a surprise twist and a happy ending thanks to a certain pink fairy friend.

In the afternoon, storytime was held in Mr. Hooper’s Emporium where guests enjoyed a story and got to meet various characters. The Emporium is also the park’s gift shop, where guests can buy everything from mugs to stuffed characters of all sizes.

Additional meet and greets were held at 1–2–3 Smile With Me!, where guests were seen running up to and taking pictures with Big Bird and friends throughout the day, as well as pop up opportunities in The Neighborhood. Lines stretched down the street to meet Oscar, Bert and Ernie, and grown adults embraced their inner child as they hugged Cookie Monster.

Picture perfect: Sesame Street fans of all ages posed with their favorite characters throughout opening day. SAMANTHA BAMBINO / TIMES PHOTO

Sesame Place was consistently packed throughout the day as guests experienced as many events, rides and meet and greets as they could.

“We had a record opening weekend attendance this year,” said Associate Manager of Public Relations Dana Ryan.

Even if guests attended opening day, there is still plenty of reason to go back since Sesame Place changes its theme and holds different events almost every weekend. These include Elmo’s Springtacular through June 18 when you can join Elmo to learn about magic, trains, pirates, story books and superheros; Summertime at Sesame Place June 19 to Sept. 21, which includes July 4 and Labor Day celebrations; The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular Sept. 22 to Oct. 29 during which attendees can go on a hayride with their favorite characters and attend the Neighborhood Street Party Halloween Parade; and A Very Furry Christmas Nov. 18 to Dec. 21 when guests can meet Santa and join in a holiday sing-along on the Sesame Place Furry Express. ••