Merlin Entertainments has announced that LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND New York Resorts will all become Certified Autism Centers this year.
The US LEGOLAND theme parks will all be Certified Autism Centers (CAC) in a few months. LEGOLAND Florida’s three onsite hotels and Peppa Pig Theme Park have already been awarded Certified Autism Center status. The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) provides the certifications, taking into account evidence-based training as well as the perspectives of autistic individuals. The IBCCES provides resources including reviews and customised recommendations.
LEOGLAND New York will become a CAC when it reopens for the 2023 season on March 31. All of the parks are working with IBCCES to train and certify staff in sensory, environmental and emotional awareness.
‘LEGOLAND Resorts are designed to inspire creativity amongst children of all abilities – our rides, experiences and entertainment all foster a child’s imagination through a lens of belonging,’ says Merlin Entertainments CEO Scott O’Neil.
‘With 1 in 44 children diagnosed with autism in the USA, we want to build understanding and empathy while also ensuring our teams have the tools and support strategies when engaging with a neurodiverse population. Through this certification, we’re providing our guests with more opportunities to create and play their way, while supporting parents through every step of the vacation planning journey.’
LEGOLAND parks in the US are promising the following to support guests with sensory needs:
Pre-planning resources available for guests on the Resorts’ websites.
Across the three Resorts, every ride will have a posted sensory guide developed by IBCCES indicating whether there are bright lights, loud sounds, or any features that guests might need to plan around. Rating each attractions’ sensory levels – touch, taste, sound, sight, and smell – makes it easier for families to plan activities that align with their needs and accommodations. On the guides, there is a Park map marked with low-traffic areas for visitors in need of a low-sensory break area.
Low sensory areas allow guests with certain sensitivities to take a break and relax in a less stimulating environment. From 1- 2 p.m. at LEGOLAND California, their newest attraction, LEGO® Ferrari Build & Race, all sound effects are turned off for families looking for a less overwhelming experience.
LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND New York offer quiet rooms dedicated to children with varying sensory needs – where guests can decompress with weighted blankets, dim lighting, and tactile toys.
Upon request, First Aid offers ear plugs to assist with sound and overstimulation and ‘Assisted Access Passes’ can be requested at Guest Services.Support for guests now available at US LEGOLAND parks.
‘IBCCES is honoured to work with all LEGOLAND parks in North America to make sure autistic and sensory-sensitive guests and their families can make treasured memories and enjoy all the amazing experiences LEGOLAND has to offer,’ says IBCCES Board Chairman Myron Pincomb. ‘Our programs will provide long-term support with ongoing training and other supports to the Resorts in achieving their objective of providing accessible options for all visitors.’