All-inclusives are great for families because, well, everything is included. That means there is no need to keep a running spending total while you’re there and no budget shock at the end of the trip. But there still are ways to spend more through upgrades and extras available for an additional fee, as my family and I discovered during a visit to the Sesame Street-themed, all-inclusive Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos.
We were there to celebrate the fifth birthday of my identical twins girls. During our visit, tested some of the Sesame Street upgrade packages. Here’s the scoop so if you’re on a budget (and who isn’t these days?) you can decide where to spend your hard-earned money.
Sesame Street Birthday Party
Cost: $250 for up to 5 guests; $300 for up to 10 guests; $350 for up to 15 guests
A one-hour private party with a special appearance of a chosen Sesame Street character
Food and drink for all birthday guests
One 8″ x 10″ color photograph in a commemorative frame
One age-appropriate gift for the birthday child
If I have one complaint about the private Beaches birthday party, it’s this: my kids will forever be let down by all future birthday celebrations. The prices are reasonable considering what you’d pay for a party back home – Pump It Up could easily set you back this much. Elmo showed up with a boom box in hand and we partied like it was 1999 (or in my case like it was 1974, the height of my Sesame Street addiction). In fact, so awesome was this event that I would encourage visitors to celebrate a birthday even if it is months away! Worth it? Without a doubt.
Sesame Street Character Tuck-In
Cost: $85 for one child; $30 for each additional child
One 15-minute session with one character
One bedtime story
5″ x 7″ commemorative color photograph
One Sesame Street plush toy per child
There have rarely been moments so thrilling in my kids’ lives than having a knock at the door and Elmo sauntering in unannounced. I imagine it’s like the Beatles entering a room in their hey-day. The story was adorable and Elmo was not stingy with the cuddles. Worth it? Absolutely.
Sesame Street Character Breakfast
Cost: $49.99 for a family of four
A 45-minute breakfast where all the Sesame Street characters walk around to greet and playfully interact with the children
Coloring mat with crayons for each child
Balloon for each child
Character finger puppet for each child
12-oz. sip cup for each child
Did my girls have an amazing time meeting and dancing with all of the characters in one place at one time? Absolutely. But is it worth paying for? Probably not. And here’s why: Beaches is extremely generous with opportunities to mingle with the characters for free. It’s not like Disney World where you wait for hours in line just to get a photo and a hug. There are several character events each day – Baking cookies with Cookie Monster, Letter of the Day with Zoe, Counting with The Count, Treasure Hunting with Abby Cadabby just to name a few. Plus, the breakfast buffet was nothing special, and we had far better meals other mornings at a variety of restaurants, many a la carte and made to order. Have money to spare? Well then sure, do the breakfast, it’s a lot of fun. But it’s not necessary to get quality time with the characters.
As Marathon Traveling Mom recently reported, there’s pretty much nothing not to love about Beaches Resorts. So keep in mind, your family will have one of the best vacations ever without spending one extra cent if you choose not to. The upgrades are nice, but in no way necessary for a wonderful, unforgettable getaway.
Disclosure: Beaches Turks and Caicos hosted my family for research purposes, which as always, did not affect my review or opinions.