SESAME PLACE - Philadelphia
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
Park News - (7/20/22) An interesting video shot as Sesame Place Philadelphia went viral over the past several days, as this video and a few others like it surfaced showing off a costume character in the park’s parade dressed as “Rosita” appearing to ignore various Black children on the parade route. I will say that the videos are all very short and only showcase the characters actions over a window of mere seconds in each case, so this is not a clear example of the characters behavior throughout the performance by any means.
Despite it all however, it is heartbreaking to see the look in the children’s eyes as the character passes by them, seemingly unseen and ignored, so to an extent I do get why people are upset. As a parent, I might be upset too, if it wasn’t for the fact that I once had a chance to step into the skin of a costume character once and venture out briefly into a park full of guests.
You immediately gain a new respect for the position because you quickly realize how helpless you would be if something went wrong. Costume characters are very much reliant on human assistants to jump to their aid in times of need, especially to help navigate them if lost. I will also confirm what the park immediately stated, that the vision out of these costumes is very limited.
Actually, that is quite the understatement… and while each costume is different, the viewing angles are downright dismal, and each and every step you take is somewhat of a calculated guess based on muscle memory. God forbid a small child steps in front of you unseen, putting you both at risk of a terrible fall. Add in factors like heat, humidity and sweat dripping into your eyes before too long and I would very much also believe the park when they say that the characters often don’t see small children due to the poor viewing angles. Thinking back to my time in the costume, I do recall my guide verbally prompting me a few times about small children standing near me that I couldn’t see who wanted my attention. In the case of Rosita, this was not a regular character out for meet & greet, this was part of a parade performance, so for much of the run it appears that the characters here are on their own.
Regardless, it is good to know that both the Sesame Workshop and Sesame Place Philadelphia have issued statements regarding the matter, finding it unacceptable and stating their goal to always stand “for respect, inclusion, and belonging” for all children and families. A statement from the park also promises to conduct new training to ensure children and families “feel special, seen and included” when visiting the parks.
2023 - Nothing is known at this time...