Tips For A Sensory-Friendly Visit to Holiday World

The perfect family trip takes planning and preparation. But there is even more planning when considering a sensory-friendly trip for an individual(s) with sensory processing disorders/issues or autism. Lights, sounds, crowds, and changes in routine can contribute to sensory overload. Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari is great about keeping these things in mind and has created an Accessibility Guide and amenities for families to help to elevate that extra planning!

I personally appreciate the accommodations that Holiday World has to offer. As a parent and person who has worked with individuals on the autism spectrum, these are some tips to make the best out of your sensory-friendly trip.

The Calming Room

A Calming Room is available in the Splashin’ Safari plaza in the First Aid building.

This room is available specifically for those who experience sensory overload and need a quiet place to go. Guests can reserve the room in 30-minute increments in advance on a first-come, first-serve. Walk-ins are also welcome.



It is a private room with a sofa, rocking chair, bean bag chairs, a tent, sound-proof panels, padded floor mats, and adjustable lighting and music. There is a port available to plug in your music.

Tip: Other areas in the park to cool, calm, and sit down are Santa’s Merry Marketplace or Plymouth Rock Café. These places are public and would be best to visit during near non-meal time hours.

Santa's Merry Marketplace Between Meal Times | Tips for A Sensory-Friendly Visit to Holiday World

Santa’s Merry Marketplace between traditional meal times.

Ride Boarding Pass & Discounted Tickets

The Ride Boarding Pass is for those with disabilities who cannot wait in long lines; this includes those with sensory processing disorders and autism. This pass is beneficial during busy times and to guests who are overstimulated easily and need to avoid crowding. The pass allows the guest to visit the ride at the exit gate, receive a boarding time, and then return for immediate seating simply by holding up your boarding pass at the exit to alert the ride operator you have arrived. Up to three other guests may ride with the Boarding Pass holder.

Not all of the rides need a Boarding Pass. The ones that do are The Voyage, The Raven, The Legend, Scarecrow Scrambler, Liberty Launch, Crow’s Nest, or Rough Riders Bumper Cars, and the Wildebeest, Mammoth, and Cheetah Chase in Splashin’ Safari.

The Holiday World Services crew is accommodating and eager to help make your visit as accommodating as possible. Ask them about discounted tickets for those with disabilities and Ride Boarding Pass for guests who need immediate access to rides.

Tip: Holiday World Services can be found at the park entrance, just past the ticket takers, to the left.

Tips For A Sensory-Friendly Visit
  • Download the Accessibility Guide before visiting.
  • Visit during less busy times; the best times to visit with the least crowds are Tuesday-Thursday during the week.
  • Ask about discounted tickets (for disabilities) at the ticket counter.
  • Make a plan and list of the rides and shows you’ll be visiting in advance. Use the Accessibility Guide to see which rides will be suitable and appropriate for your family’s needs. A plan will save time and prevent overstimulation/meltdowns.
  • Plan for triggers. Knowing sensitivity ahead of time, pack the things necessary to help reduce or avoid triggers. Such as headphones, earplugs, sunglasses, fidget toys, comfort items, etc.
  • Check out Holiday World’s available accommodations: stroller and wagon rental and dietary restriction accommodations (gluten-free options, etc.).
  • Bring your routine with you. While riding roller coasters certainly isn’t a typical day, you can bring certain practices to create a safe and comfortable experience. Some examples are daily snacks, a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, or electronics with downloaded games, music, or shows.
Visit Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari’s website here for ticket information and hours.

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