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Old 01-12-2008, 06:21 PM   #1
livndisney
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Sea World and special needs

If this should not be here please let me know. Hopefully someone can use this information.

I heard someone say they could not take their "special needs" child to Sea World because they have no "accommodations". So I went over today to find out if that was true.

I am happy to say they were very wrong!!!
I spoke with a "lead" (Thank you Jeff) who talked to me quite a bit about what they can do. In all honesty, there did not seem to be anything I asked him that they could not do. His quote was "bring it on"!

SW has 2 first aid locations. One in the front near the Sting Rays and the other in the Happy Harbor (kids play area) near the Baby Care center. In addition Paramedics walk the parks with a kit and wheelchair.

I visited the location in Happy Harbor. (Entrance)

They can store meds that need to be refrigerated.
They can store marine batteries for vents.
They have 3 curtained areas.

They have two "treatment" rooms. (The one I took pictures of was very private)



And they have a VERY wheelchair able bathroom!
Should they need to transport a patient to a hospital, there is a fire department right across the street.

The "companion bathrooms" are actually labeled "family bathrooms" and located throughout the park. (I have a list of locations should anyone want it) . I do not know HOW a wheelchair could get into the "companion bathroom" near Voyagers.

I will upload the pics if that is ok.

Cindee

Last edited by livndisney; 01-12-2008 at 08:19 PM. Reason: added pics
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Old 01-12-2008, 06:44 PM   #2
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This is a fine place for this post.
I would be interested in your pictures. If you can post them on this thread, I will make a link to this thread in the disABILITIES FAQs thread. There is a post in that thread about SeaWorld, but it has only links to the website. Pictures would be very welcome.

We have not been to SeaWorld in quite a few years, but found it to be quite accessible. The problem we had was that since there are many shows, it was kind of hard for our family (there were few things that you could do whatever time you wanted). The shows were good though.
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Old 01-12-2008, 08:47 PM   #3
livndisney
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done
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Old 01-12-2008, 08:59 PM   #4
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thanks, that's great
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livndisney View Post
I heard someone say they could not take their "special needs" child to Sea World because they have no "accommodations". So I went over today to find out if that was true.
Cindee
Considering "special needs" in another way, I know that Seaworld has a bad reputation among parents of a type 1 diabetic children discussion board I frequent. There was quite a flack over an incident last Fall 2007 with some parents who took their toddler to Seaworld in Texas.

As for the Seaworld in Orlando the Children With Diabetes annual conference was every other year held in a hotel adjacent to Seaworld with events taking place at Seaworld (a big dinner, etc. They have thousands of participants). For this year's conference which is back at the hotel next to Seaworld they decided *not* to do ANY events at Seaworld due to the problems they've had with them and they cancelled their plans to return to Seaworld through 2012.

Of course WDW sets a high standard I'm not sure any other theme park can match.
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:50 AM   #6
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WDW does set a very high standard but we did not find Seaworld lacking in accommodations, maybe just that what they do offer is less well publicised. There doesn't seem to be any GAC or similar, but with so few rides probably no need, but they do offer a generous discount to disabled guests and carers. We found plenty of wheelchair seating areas for shows and excellent medical and changing facilities. Staff couldn't have been more helpful with our family's needs, even offering them refreshments as I tended to our little one's personal care. Maybe they do not accommodate everyone, but for us we had all the help we needed for a great day out.
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Old 01-13-2008, 08:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loadsapixiedust View Post
WDW does set a very high standard but we did not find Seaworld lacking in accommodations, maybe just that what they do offer is less well publicised. There doesn't seem to be any GAC or similar, but with so few rides probably no need, but they do offer a generous discount to disabled guests and carers. We found plenty of wheelchair seating areas for shows and excellent medical and changing facilities. Staff couldn't have been more helpful with our family's needs, even offering them refreshments as I tended to our little one's personal care. Maybe they do not accommodate everyone, but for us we had all the help we needed for a great day out.
But they DO offer a similar GAC. I agree that perhaps what they do offer is not so well known. From what I saw yesterday, I would say SW facilities meet or exceeds WDW's.
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selket View Post
For this year's conference which is back at the hotel next to Seaworld they decided *not* to do ANY events at Seaworld due to the problems they've had with them and they cancelled their plans to return to Seaworld through 2012.

Of course WDW sets a high standard I'm not sure any other theme park can match.
Do you know (or feel comfortable) with letting us know a bit about what the concerns were?
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loadsapixiedust View Post
WDW does set a very high standard but we did not find Seaworld lacking in accommodations, maybe just that what they do offer is less well publicised. There doesn't seem to be any GAC or similar, but with so few rides probably no need, but they do offer a generous discount to disabled guests and carers. We found plenty of wheelchair seating areas for shows and excellent medical and changing facilities. Staff couldn't have been more helpful with our family's needs, even offering them refreshments as I tended to our little one's personal care. Maybe they do not accommodate everyone, but for us we had all the help we needed for a great day out.

How do we get a discount, call or can we do online.

Also to OP I wouold love locations of family bathrooms. It will make trip so much less hectic if I know these kinds of things ahead of time.

Is the shark encounter wheelchair accessible?
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:12 AM   #10
Selket
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I know much more about the problems a family had with Seaworld in Texas than I do with the one in Orlando. The child in Texas has type 1 diabetes (she is a toddler) and other medical issues (like JA) and they were denied being able to use their stroller as a wheelchair, and to keep their medical supply bag with them at an attraction. They were told they might not be able to keep their insulin in a fridge at First Aid (that was eventually) allowed. They also encountered some unhelpful, dismissive and rude workers. They later discovered from Seaworld management after they complained that *all* of the help they had requested was available. I think most of the problems were caused by poorly trained staff members (even managers) - who didn't know their own policies.

As for Orlando, one of the main organizers of their big summer conference commented on the Seaworld incident by this other family in Texas and said that due to similar issues they had at the 2006 conference they pulled all of their events out of the Orlando Seaworld location that had been booked through 2012.

It is possible that the Orlando venue has taken steps to be more accommodating. Without personal experience I realize I'm reporting 2nd hand - but seeing CWD pull their conference out of there does put a big red flag for me. Could it also be that they are adept at accommodating those with wheelchairs but not so good at accommodating those with less apparent needs?

I don't mean to contradict Cindee's excellent report and photos. I guess I'm curious myself what has been the experience of those at Seaworld with issues that aren't mobility related?
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:46 AM   #11
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On a side note, I would not be surprised if Sea World (orlando) suddenly closes. In yesterday's Sentinel was a big front page article about their severe polluting of the aquifer. The report shows that the salt water contamination is extreme, with Sodium levels over 20 times limits and chloride levels over 30 times limits.
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Old 01-13-2008, 12:17 PM   #12
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Very interesting information here.
One thing that I always keep in mind is that it is easy to make something wheelchair accessible. There are specific guidelines about how wide, how long the slope of a ramp. but even with that, there are some things that meet all the guidelines, but are still not accessible to some people with wheelchairs. Partly because wheelchairs have changed in size, weight, etc. since the guidelines came out. For example, there are wheelchair accessible cars at WDW rides that meet the guidelines, but don't fit every wheelchair.

Some of the 'wheelchair' guidelines work well for people with some kinds of disabilities - like the ones about transfer tiers at pools (a series of steps that start out at wheelchair height and are meant for the user to 'bump' down each step until they get into the water). But, there are other people who use wheelchairs that those steps don't help at all.

So, with something so seemingly 'simple' as wheelchair accessibility not fitting everyone, it's easy to see that needs that are harder to define an accomodation might have a hard time being met.

The bigger problem is staff not being aware of what is available and not being able to fit simple things to needs that people are presenting. That is not excuseable.
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samantha Becker View Post
How do we get a discount, call or can we do online.
The discount is only available on tickets bought at the gate.

Quote:
Is the shark encounter wheelchair accessible?
Yes, it is.
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:45 PM   #14
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hiya,

does anyone know if seaworld have any accomodations for those with autism, adhd etc? joe is not good in queue lines!! planning on getting the GAC at disney but something similar at seaworld would be very useful.
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selket View Post
I know much more about the problems a family had with Seaworld in Texas than I do with the one in Orlando. The child in Texas has type 1 diabetes (she is a toddler) and other medical issues (like JA) and they were denied being able to use their stroller as a wheelchair, and to keep their medical supply bag with them at an attraction. They were told they might not be able to keep their insulin in a fridge at First Aid (that was eventually) allowed. They also encountered some unhelpful, dismissive and rude workers. They later discovered from Seaworld management after they complained that *all* of the help they had requested was available. I think most of the problems were caused by poorly trained staff members (even managers) - who didn't know their own policies.

As for Orlando, one of the main organizers of their big summer conference commented on the Seaworld incident by this other family in Texas and said that due to similar issues they had at the 2006 conference they pulled all of their events out of the Orlando Seaworld location that had been booked through 2012.

It is possible that the Orlando venue has taken steps to be more accommodating. Without personal experience I realize I'm reporting 2nd hand - but seeing CWD pull their conference out of there does put a big red flag for me. Could it also be that they are adept at accommodating those with wheelchairs but not so good at accommodating those with less apparent needs?

I don't mean to contradict Cindee's excellent report and photos. I guess I'm curious myself what has been the experience of those at Seaworld with issues that aren't mobility related
?
I can actually address this as I have "needs" but am not in a wheelchair. Most of my needs are not "visible" (usually).

SW has been very good at meeting my needs. Due to various issues, I need to stay out of the direct sun as much as possible (and I live in Fl LOL). They have exceeded my needs on this. With several severe allergies, I like that they have medical staff available in the park. The shows I have gone to at SW have been very accessible. (Stairs can be a problem) The crew at SW have been very helpful. I can't really think of a problem I have had.

Cindee
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