LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND Florida, and LEGOLAND New York Resorts declare that all Parks will become Certified Autism Centers (CAC) by spring 2023.
The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) granted LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND California with autism certification in 2022. LEGOLAND Florida’s three onsite hotels, as well as Peppa Pig Theme Park, just steps away from LEGOLAND, are also all Certified Autism Centers. IBCCES is the only credentialing organization providing this type of certification, which includes evidence-based training as well as the perspectives of autistic individuals. In addition, the organization provides resources such as onsite reviews and customized recommendations, and renewal requirements to ensure LEGOLAND Resorts have the tools and support that can make a lasting impact for all guests.
Merlin’s newest North American Park, LEGOLAND New York, will officially become a CAC when it reopens for the 2023 season on March 31. All Resorts worked 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.”
Here’s what families can expect as part of the new LEGOLAND Resorts experience:
- Trained frontline team members equipped to better assist autistic guests or those with other sensory sensitivities.
- 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.
“IBCCES is honored 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,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “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.”