All the major amusement parks provide assistance passes for people with disabilities, however, policies have changes recently for families with loves ones with ASD. Of particular concern for ASD families is waiting in lines. Many individuals with ASD have sensory issues and will have a meltdown in a long line which may cause them to hurt themselves or parents, which could make other visitors uncomfortable.
Books, games, and snacks may help. Be sure that you are following a tightly organized touring plan, but be ready to change it on a moment’s notice should your child require it. If you do not have a plan in place, invent it on the fly, but keep the child moving and interested. Meltdowns happen more frequently when the child is kept waiting while the adults try to figure out what to do next.
Reminder: Should you or any member of your party have a photosensitivity or seizure disorder, please check with your personal physician for specific instructions. This information was researched by talking to the parks and parents who visit the parks. Like all things, policies are subject to change so it is always best to call Guest Services before you attend the park.
Below is a summary of the assistance passes for each park as of July 2018.
Disneyland Resorts (Disneyland and California Adventure)
Guest Services https://disneyland.disney.go.com/guest-services/guests-with-disabilities/
Disneyland Resorts still has the disabled passes for some conditions but you don’t necessarily get to go directly to the head of the line for all rides. You must visit City Hall at Disneyland or the Chamber of Commerce near the Main Entrance at California Adventure with the person with disability. They will want you to explain your specific issues and worries including waiting in line. The employees will give you suggestions as to what rides might not be suitable for a child with autism, explaining which rides may be very loud or visually over stimulating. You must provide a valid theme park ticket and a photo of the person who requires DAS (disability access service), and the individual must sign and accept the terms and conditions. DAS is valid for up to 60 days, you will need to return to Guest Relations if you wish to have the service re-issued.
Knott’s Berry Farm
The guest with ASD should visit Guest Services (located across the exit of Ghost Rider, near Security/First Aid) upon their arrival to the park. A Boarding Pass is issued to the guest and up to 3 riding companions, as well as a Rider Access Form that lists rides that the guest can safely enjoy.
Legoland California Resorts
Legoland provides special accommodations for visual and hearing disabilities, please contact Guest Services two weeks prior to your visit.
San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park
Guests who have difficulty standing in line may request an “Easy Access Pass” at the Safari Tickets/Guest Services booth, Ranger Base, or at the Africa Tram window. This pass may be used in areas where lines exist. The attendant will direct the guest to the designated boarding area. Three (3) additional members may accompany the person with the disability. If there are more than 3 guests in the party, the rest of the guest will have through the line while the person with the disability is seated in the loading facility.
1 (800) 25-SHAMU
Guests with disabilities must enroll in the Ride Accessibility Program (RAP) before being able to participate in the Special Access Program, which assists guests who cannot handle long queue lines. Guests will be placed in a Virtual Queue which equals the estimated wait time at that respective location. Guests have the ability to enjoy other attractions throughout the park during this time and then proceed to the specific attraction at the estimated time.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Guests who have difficulty waiting in queue lines may obtain the Attraction Access Pass (AAP). A doctor’s note is required for the first time one requests for an AAP, the Six Flags website has a list of what the doctor must include in their note. This note must be brought to the Ride Information Center (Guest Services) just inside the front gate of the park. A photo identification must be presented at the time of issuance. Children under the age of 16 may use a student photo ID, but if the child is 12 and under and does not have a photo ID, the parent’s or guardian’s ID may be accepted as well.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios may issue a GAP (Guest Accessibility Pass) to those who have a disability that prevents them from standing in line for long periods of time. The GAP may be obtained by visiting Guest Relations and explaining to employees why a member of your party may benefit from having a GAP. Bring an ID if you have it.