Plan the ultimate sensory-friendly Orlando vacation with events, attractions and theme park resources celebrating individuals with autism and other sensory processing needs (Pirate River Quest at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort pictured).
April is National Autism Acceptance Month, and to honor it, we’re highlighting some of the top Orlando vacation resources, destinations and events designed for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other sensory processing needs. Whether you’re commemorating Autism Acceptance Month in April or looking for inclusive fun all year long, we’re here to help you enjoy an unforgettable, sensory-friendly Orlando vacation experience.
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Orlando vacation planning made easy — and free. Make a complimentary appointment with Visit Orlando’s Vacation Planners at a time and date of your choosing for the latest insider advice, special offers and more ahead of your next visit.
Safe, Inclusive Travel Begins in Orlando
Our goal is to make Orlando one of the most inclusive and welcoming vacation destinations in the world, beginning the moment you arrive. At Orlando International Airport (MCO) you can pick up a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard at the Main Terminal Information Booths located on Level 3. These lanyards silently convey to airport staff that you or someone in your party may need extra assistance as you maneuver through the airport.
For more information about local autism resources after you arrive, make a free appointment with our Vacation Planning Services team, or contact them via phone, email or Live Chat.
Sensory-Friendly Attractions in Orlando
Be yourself and explore Orlando’s incredible attractions in comfort, thanks to designated quiet spaces, sensory kits, and social planning guides designed for individuals with autism spectrum disorder or other sensory processing needs. Many places on this list also offer dedicated sensory-friendly days with reduced noise levels and more sensory modifications, making memorable vacations accessible to all. Some are even certified as Sensory Inclusive™ by KultureCity, a non-profit organization who provides employee training and sensory tools designed to welcome individuals with unique abilities.
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On select dates throughout the year, Crayola Experience at The Florida Mall® opens early and invites kids and families to experience a colorful world of fun adapted for sensory needs. During all Sensory Sunday events, lights are dimmed, music is turned off, and a quiet room is available for all visitors. Plus, enjoy a special character experience starting at 10 a.m.
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
Located in the heart of downtown Orlando, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is one of just four performing arts Certified Autism Centers nationwide. Employees are trained specifically to better help people on the autism spectrum, and you can enjoy sensory-friendly shows, classes and camps throughout the year. Prepare for your visit with the Dr. Phillips Center social story, available in book or video format.
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Orlando Museum of Art
Ignite your imagination with the Creative Connections program at the Orlando Museum of Art. This free program is designed for visitors with developmental and learning disabilities and those on the autism spectrum, and offers students the opportunity to participate in a fun hands-on art project. Adult and youth/family classes are available, and pre-registration is required.
Sensory Days at WonderWorks
Home to over 100 hands-on learning exhibits, WonderWorks offers special Sensory Days in which exhibits are altered to create a safe environment for individuals with sensory processing needs. The music is lowered, loud exhibits are closed off, and the swirling inversion tunnel is stationary as you enter the attraction, so you can enjoy 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment” without feeling overwhelmed.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Blast off on an inclusive adventure at Kennedy Space Center Space Complex. Your journey begins with The Kennedy Space Center Autism Awareness Guide and a social story called I Am Going to Kennedy Space Center, both of which help prepare visitors to experience all that this remarkable attraction has to offer. Upon arrival, Kennedy Space Center also offers noise reduction earmuffs, a quiet room on the on the bottom floor of Space Shuttle Atlantis, and Sensory Advisory Triangles to help share important information throughout your visit. Eligible guests may obtain a Guest Accessibility Card (GAC) if they require additional assistance.
Discover: Things to Do at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
iFLY Orlando Indoor Skydiving
Individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities can soar beyond their own expectations and indoor skydive in a fun, positive environment at iFLY Orlando Indoor Skydiving on International Drive. The All Abilities program includes special assistance with orientation and pre-flight prep as well as personalized, one-on-one air time with a world-class iFLY instructor.
Located off the Atlantic Coast, Brevard Zoo helps visitors on the spectrum to enjoy an unforgettable day trip about an hour from Orlando. A social story is available online to help you prepare for the experience, and once inside the zoo, sensory bags and hidden disabilities lanyards are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Staff are trained in how to welcome and accommodate guests with autism, post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions, and three quiet spaces are available as needed. Be sure to register in advance for the Exceptional Nature Space, a 4,700-square-foot play area designed for children with special needs. It’s hidden behind the scenes, and you’ll need a staff escort and advance registration to play.
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Central Florida Zoo
Now a certified sensory inclusive facility, the Central Florida Zoo offers complimentary sensory bags with noise-canceling headphones, conversation cue cards, fidget tools and other resources for the duration of your visit. Signage throughout the zoo indicates potentially high-noise areas, as well as designated Quiet Areas for individuals who need to take a break. The Central Florida Zoo is located in Sanford, about 25 minutes north of Orlando.
The Florida Mall®
If you’re visiting for the holidays and want festive family photos, The Florida Mall® offers sensory-friendly holiday photos, including Santa and Easter Bunny photo sessions on select dates.
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Sensory-Friendly Movie Theaters
Catch a sensory-friendly flick at movie theaters throughout Orlando. Feel free to walk around, dance or sing through these special showings in which the lights stay on and the movie volume stays down.
- Studio Movie Grill at Promenade at Sunset Walk offers free Special Needs Screenings at noon on select dates throughout the month. Tickets are free for all attendees and available only at the box office. No need to interrupt your lunchtime routine: order freshly prepared entrees with the push of a button and have them delivered to your seat in the theater.
- The AMC Theatres Sensory Friendly Film program is available in partnership with the Autism Society at AMC Dine-In Disney Springs 24 (part of Disney Springs® at Walt Disney World® Resort), AMC West Oaks 14, and the Altamonte Mall. Sensory Friendly Films are available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Wednesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month.
- Regal My Way Matinee showings are available on select Saturdays and Tuesdays each month at Regal The Loop in Kissimmee, 20 minutes southwest of Orlando International Airport.
Sensory-Friendly Sporting Events in Orlando
Sporting events and concerts tend to get pretty loud, but you can still enjoy them in Orlando at these Sensory Inclusive™ Certified venues.All full-time venue staff undergo training on how to recognize and address guests with sensory needs as part of the certification process, and each location offers sensory tools to help visitors combat sensory overload.
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The first NBA arena in Florida certified by KultureCity as Sensory Inclusive, Amway Center offers sensory bags, weighted lap pads and photo-sensitivity glasses, which can be checked-out at guest services for no cost. Bags include a special badge for guest recognition, fidget tools, noise-canceling headphones and other resources. Amway Center is home to the Orlando Magic and Orlando Solar Bears, and hosts world-class concerts, comedians, ice dancers and more.
Catch a Major League Soccer or National Women’s Soccer League game at Exploria Stadium, home to Orlando City Soccer Club, Orlando Pride and OCB. Root for your team in comfort with a KultureCity sensory bag, which includes headphones, fidget tools and cue cards, or take a breather at quiet rooms located inside first aid locations near sections 1 and 21. Exploria Stadium also offers a social story, available online, to help you prepare for your visit.
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Camping World Stadium
Catch NCAA football, international soccer games, concerts and festivals at Camping World Stadium. In addition to a social story to help set the stage, Camping World Stadium offers a sensory bag with headphones, cue cards, a lanyard and fidget toys. There is also a spacious sensory room near the box office where you can relax and take a break.
Sensory-Friendly Orlando Theme Park Resources
Orlando’s world-class theme parks are fun and inclusive for all, with thoughtful features designed to help you have a safe and sensory-friendly experience. All offer sensory guides, quiet rooms and special assistance passes, and many have earned the designation of Certified Autism Center from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). Employees at Certified Autism Centers receive specialized training to help them cater to autistic and sensory-sensitive guests, and each location offers a detailed planning guide.
Save on discount tickets: Orlando Theme Parks
Eligible families can also lease a transmitter bracelet directly from Project Lifesaver, a search-and-rescue program designed to help locate individuals with the propensity to wander due to a cognitive condition. If your loved one is lost or separated from the rest of the group, the Orange or Osceola County Sheriff's Department can activate local receivers and track the frequency of the bracelet to help locate the wearer.
SeaWorld® Orlando is a proud Autism Center, offering specialized employee training and an incredible IBCCES Sensory Guide to help guests plan ahead. Once in the park, noise reducing headphones, quiet rooms and suggested low sensory areas are also available on a first-come, first-served basis. Some visitors may also qualify for special assistance through the Ride Accessibility Program, which enables visitors to avoid sensory overload at select attractions by bypassing the standby line and waiting in a “virtual queue” for their opportunity to ride. What’s more, the park’s Sesame Street Land™ is IBCCES certified — you can even meet Julia, a 4-year-old character with autism, throughout the month of April.
Discover: Things to Do at SeaWorld® Orlando
Dive into a world of underwater fun at Aquatica® Orlando. This laid-back SeaWorld water theme park offers an IBCCES Sensory Guide, its own Ride Accessibility Program, and a quiet room with adjustable lighting and a locking door for privacy.
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LEGOLAND® Florida Resort
Everything is awesome at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort — all U.S. LEGOLAND® Resorts are IBCCES Certified Autism Centers, including LEGOLAND® Florida Theme Park, LEGOLAND® Water Park, and Peppa Pig Theme Park near Orlando. The company is dedicated to creating a safe space for kids and families on the spectrum, thanks to specialized employee training and detailed Sensory Guides for all three Florida parks. LEGOLAND Florida also offers a HERO Pass to help those who have difficulty waiting in line (not valid on water rides).
Discover: Things to Do at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort offers a detailed planning guide to help guests with ASD and other cognitive disabilities make the most of their vacation to Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, Universal CityWalk and Universal Volcano Bay. Universal’s Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP) may help visitors to avoid sensory overload in standby lines, and a quiet room with rubber floor tiles, an activity wall, dimming lights and two hiding tunnels provides a safe space at the front of Universal Studios Florida.
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Walt Disney World® Resort
Walt Disney World® Resort offers park-specific guides for guests with disabilities visiting Magic Kingdom® Park, EPCOT®, Disney’s Hollywood Studios® and Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. Eligible guests may also benefit from the resort’s Disability Access Service (DAS) program, which helps visitors who have a difficult time waiting in a conventional attraction queue. Best of all, you can now pre-register for DAS service and save time at the entrance to the park.
Check back soon for details on autism resources at Orlando’s other theme parks.
Celebrate Autism Acceptance Month With Sensory-Friendly Performances & Events Throughout Orlando
Celebrate Autism Acceptance Month with events throughout Orlando. More events will be added as they become available.
- Autism Awareness Car & Truck Show at Promenade at Sunset Walk (April 1, 2023)
- Creative Connections at Orlando Museum of Art (April 2, 2023)
- Art & Autism: Creatures of Imagination at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (April 5 – 15, 2023)
- Inclusive Knights Concert Series Featuring the UCF Concert Band: Terrific Beasts and Mythical Creatures at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (April 14, 2023)
- Sensory Sunday: Pascua Florida at Orange County Regional History Center (April 16, 2023)
- Sensory Sunday at Crayola Experience (April 23, 2023)
Stay Connected to Orlando!
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