First and foremost, Carowinds is about fun. Fun for everyone. Here you'll find everything you need to know about navigating and enjoying the park and all of its experiences for those with disabilities. And if you can't find the answers here, feel free to download our Guest Assistance Guide or stop by any of our Guest Services areas at the front gate or throughout the park.
At Carowinds, we are proud of our reputation for accommodating guests with disabilities through our Ride Admission Policy. To provide equal access for all guests, we have developed a Boarding Pass Program which allows guests with mobility restrictions or cognitive impairment to access attractions at specified times via the Alternate Access Entrance (usually the ride’s exit or Fast Lane entrance) in order to avoid crowds and waiting in the regular lines.
Guests who are in possession of a Boarding Pass will be entitled to arrive at the eligible ride of their choice any time after receipt of the Boarding Pass. When the guest arrives at the Alternate Access Entrance of the ride, the guest will receive the next ride time (an actual time) based on the wait time of the attraction on which the guest has selected to participate first. The guest will be welcomed to participate, and then will be required to wait until the time indicated on the Boarding Pass before being permitted to participate on the next attraction of choice. When that time arrives, the guest should use the Alternate Access Entrance and show the pass to the ride associate, who will assist the guest and their group with participating as well as issuing their next time based on that attraction’s wait time. The process will continue throughout the day. Guests may then choose to rest comfortably away from the queue area until their boarding time.
Information about where guests access the ride is posted on each ride’s Safety Guide sign. All guests, regardless of point of access, are required to meet all riding requirements for the ride, including height and medical restrictions in order to safely ride/participate.
For a complete listing of guidelines when using the Alternate Access entrances, please download our Guest Assistance Guide.
Here’s How it Works:
The guest with a mobility restriction or cognitive impairment should visit Carowinds Guest Services upon their arrival at the park to express their inability to wait in the regular line. Some questions are asked to ensure that the rider has the required physical criteria in order to safely experience rides, and a Boarding Pass is issued for the guest in question and up to 3 riding companions.
In addition to a Boarding Pass, the guest with a mobility restriction or cognitive impairment will receive a “Rider Access Form” that lists the rides that the guest with a disability can safely enjoy.
The guest may proceed to the eligible ride of their choice after receipt of the Boarding Pass.
When the guest arrives at the Alternate Access Entrance of the ride, the associate will issue the guest’s next ride time (an actual time) based on the wait time of the ride the guest has selected first. The guest will be welcomed to ride, and then will be required to wait until the time indicated on the Boarding Pass before being permitted to participate on the next ride of choice. When that time arrives, the guest should use the Alternate Access Entrance and show the pass to the associate, who will assist the guest and their group with participating as well as issuing their next time based on that ride's wait time. The process will continue throughout the day.
The guest listed on the Boarding Pass must be present as a rider when a Boarding Pass is being utilized.
Guests may not accumulate more than one boarding time at a time and issued boarding times must fall within regular park operating hours.
Due to the nature of the attractions in Carolina Harbor, Alternate Access and Boarding Passes may only be utilized at Coastal Currents. Boarding Passes, however, are required for Halloween Mazes if the maze has a line.
You may be asking yourself whether Carowinds is appropriate for guests with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or whether your loved one on the spectrum will be able to handle the theme park experience. Carowinds has taken steps to be well-prepared to welcome and provide accommodations for all types of disabilities, including autism and related disorders. To continue to provide equal access for all guests, be aware that all guests with mobility impairments or ASD will now receive a Ride Boarding Pass with wait times. Please review the Boarding Pass Program for more details.
As you know, advance planning is a requirement for any successful theme park visit with a person with ASD. Your visit to Carowinds will include a plethora of sensory stimulation including crowds, dark and loud theatres, coasters traveling overhead, lights and noises, waiting in line, to mention a few. At Carowinds, we strive to provide equal opportunity to all of our guests while providing a variety of options tailored to specific needs. Our highly trained staff is knowledgeable and eager to assist.
You can find information on our rides, shows and attractions in advance on this website. The park’s Guest Assistance Guide is also available for download above. The Guide outlines the specifics about each attraction, including height requirements and health restrictions. Feel free to contact Guest Services in advance at (704) 588-2600 with any additional questions.
When you arrive at the park, please proceed to Guest Services located to your left after you pass through the entrance.
- Please have the individual requiring accommodation accompany you to Guest Services.
- A pass may be issued depending on the needs of your group, including a boarding pass used for scheduling times to ride attractions.
- Here at Guest Services we offer KidTrack, a wrist band program, which will assist you and park personnel in reuniting your group should you become separated.
- We also offer Parent Swap. This allows one parent to ride while another parent waits with the child. When the ride is complete, the parents swap child responsibility at the exit.
- Additionally, if you need to rent a stroller, wheelchair or locker, proceed to Stroller Rental adjacent to Guest Services inside the entrance gate.
- Please re-visit Guest Services if you need any additional help with your day.
We also recommend that as an added safety measure you take a photo of members of your party (especially if you have a child with ASD who tends to dart away or wander off) on your mobile device. This photo can be of great assistance to quickly reunite your party if you are separated.
During your visit:
- Guests who wear headphones of any type will not be able to wear them while riding our attractions. We have available disposable ear protection for use at Guest Services.
- If you are separated during your visit, please contact any park employee for assistance.
- Ride delays may occur while riding and members of your party may be required to sit quietly until the ride is restarted or guests are escorted off the ride.
- Please be aware, if an evacuation is required, guests may need to maneuver across catwalks from the highest point of the ride and down steeply inclined steps.
- If you have any doubts whatsoever about an attraction’s appropriateness for the individual with ASD, please have someone in your party ride it first to make an informed determination.
Carowinds offers our guests several restful locations that your party can access during the day. The park has a first aid station across from the Goldrusher rollercoaster and a family care center (Baby Care) in Camp Snoopy. Additionally, air conditioned restaurants provide a nice break from the sensory stimulation.
Carowinds is a wonderful destination for families and friends to visit. Our goal is to make your experience at the park both smooth and full of family-fun. Please let us know if you have any further questions by contacting (704) 588-2600 or by talking to a Guest Services representative at the park.
Guests with disabilities should stop by Guest Services located at the Front Gate upon arrival at the park. A brochure (Guest Assistance Guide) detailing the many accommodations and our Ride Admissions Policy is available from Guest Services.
A limited supply of wheelchairs and electric convenience vehicles (ECV) are available for rental at the Rental Center on the right just inside the Front Gate. However, since wheelchairs and ECVs are rented on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved in advance, we urge guests to bring their own wheelchair.
Carowinds' Ride Admission Policy and Alternate Access Entrances are designed to help you safely experience our facilities. Rides with Alternate Access designations will make boarding easier. If you require the use of a Alternate Access Entrance to enter a ride, please visit Guest Services to obtain a Boarding Pass.
Service animals are welcome at Carowinds. A service animal is defined as a dog or miniature pony that has been individually trained to perform tasks for a person with disabilities. We may ask you what task your service animal performs for you. Service animals must be controlled with a “restraining device” at all times while on our property. There is a limit of one service animal per guest. Due to the nature of most rides, service animals must remain with a non-riding member of your party. We are not permitted to take control of your service animal. Service animals are not permitted in water attractions, wet decks, wading pools, or lazy rivers. A relief area is located near the North Gate entrance behind the park kennel. Please stop by Guest Services for more information.
Guests with casts and braces will be restricted from riding rides where the cast or brace will not fit inside the ride unit or where it will present a hazard to the guest or others. Guests with full arm (elbow restricted) and full leg (knee restricted) casts or braces are restricted from most rides and water slides at Carowinds. Casts and braces of any kind are not permitted on Fury 325, Intimidator, Vortex, or Afterburn. We suggest you delay your visit until the cast is removed. Please refer to each ride admission policy for further information regarding casts and braces.
Guests with prosthetic devices should visit Guest Services or consult with a member of our Ride Supervisory team to determine ride accessibility. Individual ride accessibility is available in our Guest Assistance Guide or the descriptions here on our website.