November 16, 2021 — The world’s first Peppa Pig Theme Park will open as a Certified Autism Center when the park debuts on February 24, 2022. The new park shared this commitment along with a reveal of its newly designed ride vehicle, which allows for increased accessibility for children with wheelchairs, to media at the IAAPA Expo today in Orlando. A full Accessibility Guide along with other longer term plans for continued updates are also in development for all the park’s “oinktastic” experiences, including its six rides, six themed playscapes and water play area.
When the Peppa Pig Theme Park opens this February, little piggies and their families will ride to the sky to enjoy aerial views from Peppa Pig’s Balloon Ride. Guests will enjoy the ride from whimsical baskets, crafted to look like a hot air balloon and are specially designed to allow children who use wheelchairs to roll on to the “balloon basket” without needing to transfer from their wheelchairs. Merlin Entertainments’ creative and project delivery team, Merlin Magic Making, along with the ride manufacturers at Technical Park worked closely to develop this adaptation to a fan-favorite ride to ensure more children could experience it safely along with a grownup, or adult companion. This is just one part of a larger commitment from Merlin Entertainments to develop attractions that can be enjoyed by all guests, of every ability.
In addition to this very special ride, the playful park’s marquee water play attraction, the Muddy Puddles Splash Pad has been developed with kid-friendly accessibility in mind. The ground will be specially graded for wheelchair use and several heights of water play elements are being choreographed for the enjoyment of all guests and all abilities. This includes a tunnel of water hoops that can be navigated in a wheelchair and additional interactive splash surprises at varying height levels.
Back on dry land, explorers and “little piggies” will discover additional fun adventures that are sized with these same guiding principles of accessibility in mind. Children in wheelchairs will be able to maneuver and explore the sensory-rich trail of Peppa’s Pedal Bike Tour without leaving their own wheelchairs. The enchanting, greenery-covered maze walls of George’s Fort have also been mapped out to all ADA guidelines and standards. Additionally, all the Fun Fair free game counters have been constructed at accessible heights to be easily enjoyed by everyone.
Peppa Pig Theme Park is also partnering with The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to earn its accreditation as a Certified Autism Center (CAC) when it opens on February 24, 2022. IBCCES will work with the Peppa Pig Theme Park to conduct a staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training in addition to making more tangible updates to the in-park communications. The training reviews the areas of sensory awareness, environment, communication, motor and social skills, program development, and emotional awareness and includes a comprehensive autism competency exam. The extended commitment will require the Park to continue ongoing staff training past its grand opening to ensure that team members have the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament and expertise to interact with all families and children with special needs, specifically on the autism spectrum.
In addition to staff training, IBCCES is conducting an in-depth review of the new Park to develop a detailed Sensory Guide. This guide features a review of every attraction by providing insight on how a child with sensory processing issues may be affected by each of the five senses. This will create a comprehensive planning tool that will provide the information needed to make it easier for parents and families to plan activities that satisfy their child’s specific needs and accommodations.
Located just steps away from Peppa Pig Theme Park, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort has also committed to earning this designation by the grand opening of Peppa Pig Theme Park on February 24, 2022 to ensure resort-wide accessibility enhancements that even further establish the parks as truly “built for kids to take the lead”. This Resort-wide certification will include LEGOLAND® Theme Park, LEGOLAND® Water Park, LEGOLAND® Hotel, LEGOLAND® Pirate Island Hotel and LEGOLAND® Beach Retreat.
In addition to these accessibility enhancements and CAC program, a comprehensive Accessibility Guide is also in development for Peppa Pig Theme Park. This planning tool will help all families be aware of the many services and access options that will be available so they can plan the ultimate day of adventure for their preschoolers.