Secret Silverwood Perk That Made My Autistic Sons Visit Amazing
I have been going to Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho since it first opened in June 1988. Back when it first opened, there was only the old town with some shops, a tiger in a cage, the train ride, and an airshow that does not exist anymore. Over the years living in Spokane, we would go often as they added more attractions. I have even broadcast live on the radio while riding on Tremors for a week straight in the early 2000's. But none of those experiences came close to the magic I had with my family this last weekend, thanks to a new courtesy perk that I just learned about.
I have two children but my youngest son is high functioning autistic. Any parent of an autistic child will tell you how difficult something like going to an amusement park like Silverwood can be. We had tried taking him before but the long lines and loud noises combined to make a difficult time for all of us.
This time my wife went to the information booth to see if they had any accommodations for kids on the spectrum and what they told us about changed our visit dramatically. They call it the "Courtesy Pass Program" and it helped give my son to put in his own words, "The best DAY EVER!!." The program was designed for any person that has a disability that makes it difficult to wait in line or has difficulty with the entrance. Here are the details they have listed on their website.
"For a group total of 6 or less:
1. Go to a rides alternative boarding entrance, usually the rides exit, and speak with the ride operator and let them know you are using the Courtesy Pass Program.
2. Provide the “Courtesy Pass Wait Time” card to the operator.
3. The Ride Operator will let you and your group ride as soon as possible.
4. The Ride Operator will return the “Courtesy Pass Wait Time” card, and will have the next boarding time written down.
a. The next boarding time that is written down by the ride operator is the next time that immediate boarding through a rides exit may be used with the courtesy pass.
For a group of 7 or more:
1. If the guest has more than 5 accompanying riders, have additional riders wait in the main line.
2. The courtesy pass holder should go to the alternate entrance and let the ride operator know that riders from your group are waiting in line and that you would like to ride with them.
3. As the group approaches the front of the line, inform the ride operator, who will allow the courtesy pass holder and up to 5 accompanying riders to join the rest of the group through the alternate entrance."
There are a few rides where things are slightly different like the river rapid ride called Thunder Canyon where you "bypass the line on the left side of the queue line and speak to the operator at the loading station." All exceptions for different attractions are listed on the link above.
This pass does not keep you from waiting, it just changes how you wait. When they let you on, an employee asks someone in line how long they waited to get on. That amount of time is how long you have to wait before you can use the pass again. Instead of waiting in line, we were walking to the next attraction we wanted to ride during the wait time. That was a lot easier for my son to process then sitting in one place while we wait.
If you have someone in your family on the spectrum or that has a tough time because they are disabled, go get this pass at the info booth when you get to the park. You'll be amazed at how much of a wonderful time you will have. Thank you Silverwood Theme Park for providing this, we will be going back very soon!