US Legoland Resorts to Become Certified Autism Centers

Daniel Pineda

In 2022, LEGOLAND California and LEGOLAND Florida were both granted the title of Certified Autism Centers (CAC), by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), an organization with the goal of providing accommodations for individuals with autistic and other sensory issues.

It is a certification that both resorts proudly bear. And on Feb. 6, LEGOLAND Resorts proudly announced that all of its North American theme parks will become CACs, including their newest theme park: LEGOLAND New York.

According to the IBCCES, all U.S. LEGOLAND Resorts have worked closely with IBCCES to train and certify resort staff in sensory, environmental and emotional awareness, “ensuring families can build a bricktastic vacation and make unforgettable memories.”

“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,” Merlin Entertainments’ CEO Scott O’Neil said. “With 1 in 44 children diagnosed with autism in the U.S.A., 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.”

One of the new features that each of the U.S. LEGOLAND resorts will provide, as part of working with IBCCES, is the use of on-site accommodations for guests with Autism and other sensory conditions. According to the IBCCES, these accommodations include sensory guides that help make it easier for families and individuals to plan activities that align with their needs and accommodations, based on the five senses: touch, taste, sound, sight and smell.

As part of becoming CACs by the IBCCES, all LEGOLAND theme parks will also have low sensory areas, to allow guests with autism and other sensory conditions to take a break and relax in a less stimulating environment. The IBCCES also announced that from 1- 2 p.m., LEGOLAND California will be shutting off all sound effects on their newest attraction, LEGO Ferrari Build & Race, for families that are looking for “a less overwhelming experience.”

LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND New York will also be offering quiet rooms dedicated to children with varying sensory needs – where guests can decompress with weighted blankets, dim lighting and tactile toys. According to Julie Estrada, the public relations director of North America Merlin Entertainment, LEGOLAND California is also working to have their quiet room ready within the time of LEGOLAND New York’s reopening.

“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 support to the resorts in achieving their objective of providing accessible options for all visitors.”

The IBCCES is constantly at work with new partners in the travel, hospitality and entertainment industry, according to Natalia Gonzales of the IBCCES. To Gonzales, it is important for more organizations, like LEGOLAND, to take the steps to become more accessible to those with autism and sensory needs.

“IBCCES recently updated its widely referenced autism travel survey, which shows that 94% of respondents would take more vacations or visit more new places if they had access to autism-trained and certified options,” Gonzales said. “Many individuals and families already visit parks and entertainment venues, but they are looking for more understanding and support, and will frequent locations more often and are more likely to visit if they are certified.”

Gonzales also added that research released last year by Expedia Group Media Solutions shows that seven out of 10 consumers would choose a destination, lodging or transportation option that is more inclusive to all travelers, even if it’s more expensive.

“The demand for accessible travel options that have completed comprehensive programs such as certification is growing rapidly,” Gonzales said. “Accessibility is the future and the future is now!”

LEGOLAND New York is scheduled to join LEGOLAND California and LEGOLAND Florida as a CAC, when the park reopens on March 31.

For more information about the LEGOLAND theme parks, including their sensory guide, you can visit their official website at https://www.legoland.com/california/plan-your-visit/know-before-you-go/a....

And for more information about the IBCCES’s autism certification program, you can visit their official website at https://ibcces.org/about, as well as visit AutismTravel.com for updates on the IBCCES’ currently-certified locations and organizations.

Category:

Add new comment

Beachcomber

Copyright 2024 Beeler & Associates.

All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced or transmitted – by any means – without publisher's written permission.