During our recent trip to Southern California, we visited Knott's Berry Farm. It was our kids' first visit to Knott's and we couldn't wait to take them on the various rides!
Upon arriving at Knott's Berry Farm, we first went to the Information Center to obtain a Guest Assistance Pass for Musician. Although children in general can sometimes get impatient while waiting in line, for those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, waiting even a short time can easily result in increased anxiety, meltdowns, and tantrums, so to try and prevent such situations, we knew it was important for us to request a Guest Assistance Pass.
The pass does not give him "front of line" access or immediate boarding as some people mistakenly believe - it simply allows for "modified waiting times to attractions." There could still be a wait depending on the length of the line.
Note: For guests with special needs, there are two different types of passes - a yellow pass in which the guest will wait on the sidelines for the rest of their party to get through the line, and a blue pass in which the guest gives the pass to the ride operator, who gives a time to return (the time will be what the operator believes it takes to get through the line).
I brought along all of Musician's documentation and explained Musician's situation to an employee who was standing right outside of the Information Center. She proceeded to ask me how many people were in my party, and I told her 5 (myself, my husband, and my 3 sons, including Musician), and she ended up giving me a blue pass after writing down "4 total" on the pass. I assumed that 4 is the maximum number, but because Musician already started to get anxious and started stimming in the short time I was requesting the pass, I was unable to ask for clarification (the pass itself notes that ONE riding companion may board with the guest, so I was grateful that she even allowed us more than 1).
The employee who gave us the pass seemed very informed about those with special needs, including an ASD. When I mentioned Musician had an ASD, she was readily aware how problems can occur when those with an ASD are waiting for a very long time. I was very appreciative of how knowledgeable she was.
After getting the Guest Assistance Pass, we headed straight to Camp Snoopy.
Luckily, there was little or no wait for most of the rides which Musician wanted to go on, and we only used the Guest Assistance Pass once while in Camp Snoopy.
The first ride he wanted to go on was the Balloon Race (there was no line) and he just loved it!
As for Smiley, he loved the Log Peeler. He rode it twice!
After a few more rides at Camp Snoopy, we explored the rest of Knott's Berry Farm, where we rode on a few more rides.
Musician's favorite rides at Knott's happened to be any that involved a train, and it was so great that Knott's has several! He rode the Calico Railroad, Calico Mine Ride, and our entire family got to ride the Grand Sierra Scenic Railroad.
The one ride we used his Guest Assistance Pass for outside of Camp Snoopy was the Timber Mountain Log Ride.
Once again, we had no issues whatsoever using the card. We simply presented the pass at the ride exit where the attendant wrote down a "board time." Once the board time expired, Musician and I presented the pass to the ride operator and went on the ride.
Overall we really enjoyed our visit to Knott's Berry Farm. We love that the park is autism-friendly and that the employees were not only friendly and helpful, but they seemed to be knowledgeable about those with special needs.
I liked that there's a nice variety of rides. There are many thrilling roller coasters perfect for adults and older kids, and Camp Snoopy offered a lot of great rides for the little ones. I also liked that there were a few rides that our entire family could go on together.
There was so much to see and do at Knott's. We were there for four hours and I wish we had more time there since there were a few things we didn't get to do, but with 3 kids ages 5 and under, you can imagine how cranky and tired they were getting (I think I may look into staying at the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel the next time so we can take the kids back to the hotel to nap and return to the park).
We can't wait to go back again, and by then Musician will be older and taller, and maybe he'll get to ride the "big roller coasters" that he can't get enough of watching!
Knott's Berry Farm. Enjoy!