My kids love character meet-ups, like when we met up with the Sesame Street gang at SeaWorld San Antonio in June. We only spent the day at SeaWorld, but if your kids would be over the moon to spend the week with their favorites, like Cookie Monster, SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer, there are a handful of resorts in the Caribbean that are sure to please.
From character breakfasts to dance parties to treasure hunting on the beach, there are a lot of ways for your kids to get active with their favorite characters. Here are 10 resorts across Turks & Caicos, Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic where you and your kids can splish, splash, meet and greet. Have fun!
Beaches (Turks & Caicos, Jamaica)
Beaches has three family-friendly all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, including one in Turks & Caicos and two in Jamaica (Negril and Ocho Rios), and Sesame Street reigns supreme. I had a chance to check out Beaches Turks & Caicos a couple of years ago and was bowled over by the number of opportunities to interact with much of the Sesame Street gang, including Ernie, Bert, Zoe and Cookie Monster.
From dance parties and stage shows to story times and beach treasure hunts, you could easily spend your entire day with Sesame Street. Even better, most character interactions have an educational component. For example, kids can do science experiments with Super Grover or make puppets with Bert and Ernie. Kids can even create artwork from scraps and recyclables with Oscar the Grouch.
One of my favorite Sesame Street activities was the weekly parade. All the characters were dressed up for a carnival celebration. The music was fantastic and there was so much energy. A definite must-do. While most Sesame Street activities are part of the all-inclusive package, there are several add-ons to consider, including a character tuck-in program at bedtime (Night Night, Sleep Tight) and the character breakfast.
Palladium Hotels & Resorts (Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic)
Another great option for character interactions is through the Play at Palladium with Raggs program. This kid-focused program is available at four Palladium Hotels & Resorts all-inclusives, including two in Mexico (Riviera Maya and Puerto Vallarta), one in Jamaica (Montego Bay) and one in Dominican Republic (Punta Cana).
I had the opportunity to meet Raggs, a colorful, lovable dog and his four friends who sing songs, entertain children in musical pop-up shows across the resort and do meet-and-greets with children at the weekly character breakfast when they first arrived at the Grand Palladium Resort in Riviera Maya. While I’d never heard of Raggs before, the characters were immediately likeable and the songs were incredibly catchy.
Throughout your stay, dance and sing at Pido’s Surf Party, a tropical-themed party complete with limbo and hula hoop contests, and the weekly Raggs & Friends Breakfast, a character breakfast that is part of the all-inclusive package. Look for dog face-shaped pancakes and sunny side up eggs with smiley faces.
Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts (Dominican Republic)
For fans of SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, get ready for a new resort to open in the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana) in May. This beachfront property will feature more than 200 over-sized suites, including four exclusive two-and three-bedroom Super Villas. Book early to reserve Pineapple Villa, which was inspired by SpongeBob’s Bikini Bottom home.
Taking center stage at Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana will be Nickelodeon Village, the place to go for Aqua Nick, a waterpark with slides, splash pads and a lazy river, as well as Character Central, the must-go spot at the resort for taking selfies with all your favorite Nickelodeon characters. There will also be a kids club called Just Kiddin’ that’s just right for kids ages 4 to 12.
Karisma Hotels & Resorts (Mexico)
For those who can’t wait for the Nickelodeon Hotel to open up in Punta Cana, head down to Azul Beach Hotel or Azul Sensatori Hotel, both in Mexico’s Riviera Maya region. These two properties debuted the Nickelodeon Experience last spring to give children and families the opportunity to get up close with their favorite Nickelodeon characters, like Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants.
At check-in, kids receive a Slime smoothie while mom and dad receive a glass of champagne and a cool towel to relax after the travels to the resort. Spend time with the Nick Concierge shortly after you get situated to book a character breakfast or schedule a private sliming. The Nick Concierge can also advise on the variety of Nickelodeon activities available at the resort during your stay.
Of course, if you want to cruise the Caribbean, there are also several cruise lines that boast on-ship characters, like Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian (Nickelodeon), Carnival (Dr. Seuss) and Royal Caribbean (DreamWorks). Here are my 10 Great Cruise Picks for Families.