How Autism Spectrum Disorder is Becoming Bigger Focus for Orlando Theme Parks

Two of SeaWorld’s three parks in Orlando are now Certified Autism Centers (CAC).  Discovery Cove just earned the CAC designation, joining SeaWorld’s Aquatica, which earned the CAC designation in January 2019.

SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove now a Certified Autism Center ©SeaWorld

Discovery Cove’s designation makes it the first all-inclusive day resort and animal interaction park in the U.S to be certified as a CAC.

There are eight Theme Parks/Family Entertainment Centers in the world that have earned the CAC designation, including Discovery Cove’s sister park, Sesame Place outside of Philadelphia.

To earn the CAC designation both Discovery Cove and SeaWorld Aquatica have completed the following:

  • Staff-Wide Training
    • Completed staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training.
    • Committed to continually training their staff, by and with IBCCES, to assist guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families to help ensure a positive experience during their visit.
  • On-Site Review
    • Conducted an onsite review of the park property and guest experience in conjunction with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) the Board who grants the CAC designation.
  • Information Sharing
    • Created specific information about attractions, experiences, and in-park accommodations to help guests plan their day and make informed choices best suited to their individual needs.
    • Will add pre-visit planning resources to the park’s website including a sensory guide developed by IBCCES. This sensory guide will make it easier for parents to plan activities that satisfy their child’s specific needs and accommodations by providing insight on how a child with sensory processing issues may be affected by each sense for each attraction.
  • In-Park Accommodations
    • Added a quiet room inside the park with adjustable lighting and a comfortable seating area for guests to take a break.
Aquatica Orlando is Certified Autism Center ©SeaWorld

To learn more about Certified Autism Centers visit the CAC website:

Learn more about Sea World Aquatica earning the CAC Designation here.

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Sarah has built a career in communications and marketing that started when she was the editor of her high school newspaper. She has written for since 2018, and enjoys sharing Disney news and updates with the AllEars community. She's been a Disney fan ever since her first visit to Walt Disney World when she was 5, and has been known to arrange trips around visiting a Disney park!

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