It’s no secret that I have a love for my hometown theme park. Dollywood has consistently put itself on the map for going above and beyond for families of our area. Recently, they became the first theme park in the world to add a new resource for families… a Calming Room specially designed for children with Autism.
On a normal day at Dollywood you’ll see crowds of children experiencing the amazing sights, smells of the delicious food, sounds of laughter and thrilling screams near the roller coasters, and so much more. While I enjoy walking through and seeing all the sights and sounds, it honestly never occurred to me that some families have to avoid areas just like that because of over stimulation. That’s the exact reason that Dollywood introduced the Calming Room for families, which is located in the Ride Accessibility Center.
Since April of this year, Dollywood has had the privilege to meet 447 children with Autism Spectrum Disorder! I can’t imagine how these families’ experiences of Dollywood will have a great positive change after having such an amazing resource to visit during their time at the park. While these families and their children have come to Dollywood to enjoy a great time, sometimes the sights, sounds, and experiences can become overwhelming.
This is why a Calming Room was created with the purpose of helping families that have special needs when visiting the park.
The Calming Room is a quiet, relaxing environment where the Guest and his/her family can feel safe and at ease. The room is equipped with sensory items such as a weighted blanket, fiber optic strands and a teepee. The room opened on May 16 and six families have used the room! This is very exciting and a true blessing for these amazing families. The Calming Room is located between the Exchange Center and Dreamsong Theater in Jukebox Junction. The room is easily identified by the autism puzzle logo on the door.
The Calming Room was designed and conceptualized with the help of the organization, Autism Speaks to be sure the room had exactly what was needed for the children who would visit.
Guests can call 1-800- Dollywood (1-800- 365-5996) in advance of their visit to speak to an attendant at our Ride Accessibility Center. When visiting the Park, the Guest can stop by the Ride Accessibility Center adjacent to the Dollywood Emporium and a Ride Accessibility Host will be able to assist them should they need to use the room.
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