Sesame Place, located in Langhorne, is maintaining its status as a safe-haven for guests on the autism spectrum. In 2018, it became the first theme park in the world to become a Certified Autism Center, as designated by the International Board of Credentialing and Continued Education Standards. Recently, the park completed its first recertification.
As a CAC, Sesame Place offers services and facilities for autistic and sensory-sensitive guests. Ongoing training for ambassadors is required to ensure they have the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament and expertise to cater to guests of all abilities.
“Our mission is to always provide families with a quality experience and the opportunity to create one-of-a-kind memories together,” said Cathy Valeriano, park president. “This certification is not just a title, but an ongoing commitment to serve our community and families with special needs, and we are proud to partner with IBCCES to make that happen.”
The recertification was announced during the recent International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions conference.
All of Sesame Place’s attractions, shows, parades and restaurants have been audited on a sensory scale to create a branded Sensory Guide, available online and at the park (stop by Guest Relations or the Welcome Center). Sesame Place is in the process of integrating these guides into all-new ride and attraction signage.
In 2021, Sesame Place implemented the IBCCES Accessibility Card, intended to help individuals requesting special accommodations participate in the park’s Ride Accessibility Program. This is a free resource designed to match the individual abilities of guests to the requirements of each ride, providing them with a personalized list of rides and attractions. Eligible guests can enroll in the program at accessibilitycard.org to receive a valid IBCCES Accessibility Card.
The park also offers the Special Access Pass, an accommodation that gives priority boarding on select attractions to guests who are unable to stand in line because of their physical or cognitive need.
Those who require quiet time and relief from sensory stimulation can utilize the park’s code-activated quiet room, featuring comfortable seating and lowered lighting. Noise-canceling headphones are provided for single-day use. There’s also a family restroom with an adult changing table, a designated space for low-sensory parade viewing, and limited character interactions at Dine with Elmo & Friends.
Guests can also meet Julia, a 4-year-old Muppet with autism who was introduced by Sesame Workshop in 2015. She made her first appearance in Langhorne in 2017.
Visit sesameplace.com/philadelphia/help/autism-resources/ for more information.