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Traveling with Autism: SeaWorld Orlando




Who likes large crowds, long lines, and staying dry in the heat of the Florida sun?

If you're answer is "not me", you may want to add Sea World to your places to visit.


We live approximately two hours from the Central Florida theme parks and have been hesitant about spending the prices to attend them with our ten-year old son who is level two on the autism spectrum.


Our visits to Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom took place when Bryce was younger. His first visit included mostly riding the train around the park and avoiding life size characters who were freaking him out. The second visit went much better with ten rides and a behind-the scene visit with Mickey and Minnie. It was a success, and we checked the box. No need to return.


Larger parks like Disney and Universal are not the right fit for our family. We also struck out with Legoland - Our visit ended in less than thirty minutes. At that time, Bryce's sensitivity to unexpected loud noises had heightened along with his anxiety in public places. We felt the burn from that experience for several years. We opted to visit the Kennedy Space Center and avoid the larger attractions.


This past October, I wanted to give SeaWorld a try for Bryce's 10th birthday. Chris was hesitant but eventually agreed to it. It was indeed the right match for our family! ☺


Why?


  1. No long lines for us! Bryce does not like to ride the roller coasters, so we don't even deal with a fast pass or issues with lines. He still doesn't like the sounds of the roller coasters and people screaming, so he wears his headphones to solve that problem.

  2. Bryce has fallen in love with the "sea creatures", as he likes to call them. He loves being able to interact with the dolphins, watching the orcas perform, and feeding the sea lions. Flippy and Splashy are the LARGE stuffed animals who he loves to play with at home. He calls Flippy his "special friend".

  3. One of Bryce's favorite things is an elevator. He originally discovered a small elevator inside the penguin building, but that is old news now. The MAIN attraction is the SeaWorld Sky Tower that has finally re-opened! We were able to ride it the past two visits and see the park from 400 feet in the air.

  4. Sesame Street Land is a Certified Autism Center. It has a water splash pad that is the right size to keep an eye on Bryce while he plays. The water helps keep him cool from the heat. We dress him in water-friendly clothing for him to play in the splash pad AND sit in the splash zones!


Bryce may eventually warm up to the roller coasters. I know that he likes vestibular feedback; however, the noise and the appearance of danger keeps him off at this time. He's content with everything else the park has to offer. We have been told that there is a sensory area for families; however, we have not been able to locate it yet. I will look for it during our next visit and may do another blog post to share the information.


We hope you find this helpful if you are planning to visit the area. Please be sure to reach out with any questions you may have about SeaWorld that we may be able to answer from a "parenting autism" perspective.

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