About one in six people have a sensory need or nonvisible disability such as autism, PTSD, or ADHD. They are often unable to fully experience everyday activities that are taken for granted, such as going to the movies, due to the sensory overload they could face. And considering that going to the movies is a beloved pastime that brings the magic of storytelling to life, Disney is exploring more ways to make it accessible for every moviegoer.
Two sensory inclusive screenings of Thor: Love and Thunder will be offered at the iconic El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles, featuring an inclusive moviegoing experience that can be safely enjoyed by audiences with sensory needs. The experience will start before families leave their homes with the help of a “social story,” an individualized short story that informs attendees what to expect from the moment they arrive in the parking lot to the conclusion of the event.
Upon arrival, attendees will be accepted and supported, as trained staff welcome them to a judgment-free zone. To reduce anxiety, the theater will feature an expedited check-in process in a calming lobby with dimmed lighting, pre-made snacks, a mobile Sensory Station, and monitors turned off.
Audiences can enjoy the movie in a theater with a reduced capacity of only 100-200 attendees. They’ll also be provided with a sensory bag that contains noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys, a feeling thermometer card, and more. Should anxiety levels increase, audiences can take a break from the film by utilizing the tools included in the sensory bags or roaming around the lobby to let out some energy.
The two screenings are scheduled for Wednesday, July 13 at 7:30 pm PST and Saturday, July 23 at 1:00 pm PST. More information and tickets can be found at the El Capitan’s website.