drummerstix_au

Disability policies at Australian Parks

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Hi, Im a newbie here, and I just thought I'd ask this question, cos some of you here might work at parks and know the right answers. I have Cerebral Palsy, which restricts me to walking on crutches, however somewhere where there is a lot of distance, I use a wheelchair. I am also a drummer, travel the country performing with bands and doing solo drum clinics quite regularly. I was on the Gold Coast back in May for a gig, so my partner and I decided to spend 3 days at Sea World, Movieworld and Dreamworld. After paying such high prices to get in, I was rather disappointed when I found I could mostly only "watch" the rides. 1. Sea World - I noticed the majority of the good rides were up a flight or two of stairs. I did get to do a few circles on the Eye, the view from up there is awesome, but its no way a thrill ride. So I spent the day watching other people enjoy the rides, and looking at the animals.. watching the shows etc. 2. Movieworld - I started getting a bit frustrated mid afternoon, I wanted to have some real FUN!!! So thought I'd try the Road Runner coaster, which is the lamest of the lot, thought if I was ok on that, aim at something slightly bigger. Got to the car, and the guy operating didnt really seem that keen to let me ride. When I tried to get in the car, the barrier wasnt opened wide enough for me to get my legs under. Im not exactly a huge guy, so I couldnt see what the problem was. 3. Dreamworld - DW in my opinion had to be the most disability friendly park of the lot. My partner got let in for free because of me being in the chair, even had BB Eviction tix for free because we booked the wheelchair section. Again spent most of the day watching the rides, except I went to the Thunder River rapids ride, expecting them to say No. The operator was very helpful, he says yep not a problem, stopped the ride, held one of the logs, even a guy who rode with us, helped me climb into the log and get out at the end. I think that was the most fun I had all weekend. My CP is fairly mild, mostly affects movement in my legs, so in most cases I can hold myself up without any drama at all. Just wondering what other people's thoughts are, and what people know about certain parks and their disability policies. Also, what rides are best suited someone who has limited use of their legs, but has a lot of upper body strength? Cheers, Andy

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It is my belief that anyone could ride any of the major thrill rides as long as it is possible to maintain youself seated in an upright position, facing forwards at all times. My suggestion would to be to contact guest relations prior to going to any of the parks to clear up what rides you can and cant go on. Personally, I would have thought Movieworld would have been the most wheelchair firendly park as the only ride that actually has any steps for you to go up or down is Batman, and that is only about 4 steps when exiting the ride.

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Hi There Drummer, and welcome to the forums. All of our Gold Coast theme parks have an extensive procedure for guests with impairments or diabilities. I'm sorry to hear you had such a poor time at Sea World, and Movie World, however, Warner Village Theme parks do go out of their way a lot to ensure you have a great time too. If you are mobile on Crutches, and just use the chair for ease of mobility, there are few rides you shouldn't be able to board. Warner Village has a brochure available somewhere on their website, but also available from the front gate advising you of the rides that are accessible to wheelchairs, I recall there was a thread on this site a few months back that discussed the exact same topic. While i'm not so sure about Sea World, as far as the stairs go, I do know that Movie World is quite set up for wheelchair bound guests. I think your downfall there was that you tried the road runner coaster first. While it is a more tame coaster, it is also a coaster moreso intended for kids. The cars are designed a little smaller than most, (we don't want those kiddies falling out now) and it can make life a little difficult if you don't have full control over your legs, because it needs a little fidgeting to get the position right. Scooby Doo would possibly have been a better choice, as it does have a little more access in the front seat. You don't say much about your carer - are they able to assist you in the event of an evacuation? would you require the crutches still? The best suggestion I can make to yourself, or anybody in a similar situation is to contact the parks before arrival in the first instance - their guest relations phone numbers are listed on their respective websites - www.dreamworld.com.au and www.myfun.com.au, and discuss your concerns with them there. Your second port of call if you have not or are unable to call prior, is to speak to the people at the ticket booths. In some cases, the ticket booths will be able to provide you with special park maps specific to your circumstances, or an extra flyer with information that is relevant. Your last port of call is once inside the park, at the guest relations office - from memory, sea world is to the left of the entrance plaza, movie world is halfway down mainstreet, opposite the Roxy theatre, and Dreamworld is inside the bakery - to the right of the entrance gates. If you have been unable to have your questions answered by phone, or at the booth, or with the accessibility guides provided at the gate, speak directly to the guest relations office. If you are still not satisfied with the information they are able to provide to you, or you are not satisfied that their efforts to assist you are worth the entry price, ask them for a refund and leave the park. If a park is not willing to assist those with an impairment or disability (and believe me they really REALLY should be) then they're not worth your money, and if a lot of people do that it might change their standpoint. In the end it is what you are comfortable with. If you have consulted guest relations over the phone and\or in the park, and you have the parks accessibility guide telling you what is and isn't possible, then you're pretty well set. If the guide tells you you can, and the operator tells you you can't, consult guest relations - but all in all, most operators should allow you to board provided it does not adversely affect the operation of the ride (for example, if it takes you 5 minutes to board\unload scooby doo, this would cause a cascade e-stop which would shut down the ride.) As far as your question on what rides I feel are suited to you, there aren't many I could rule out. You seem to have reasonable use of your legs, just that you require stability or support that crutches provide. Tight leg spaces in rides would be a problem, so Road runner is definitely one that is ruled out, but I can see no problem - provided you have good upper body strength, which using crutches and a wheelchair you most definitely would - in you being able to ride any of the other rides at Movie World - Batwing, batman adventure, superman escape, lethal weapon, scooby doo, wild west falls, even looney tunes river ride. Dreamworld - no problems that i can see with Giant Drop, you say you rode thunder river, but you go on to call the cabin a log? was this the river rapids in the big black tube, or was it rocky hollow in the faux log? From memory the Rocky Hollow ride uses stairs to get over the flume to the loading dock. Tower of Terror might have been a little problem as it does have stairs in the queue line, but at worst case scenario, they could bring you up the exit ramp. Some of the flat rides at dreamworld might be a little issue, but the Wipeout is definitely one that you're probably gunna have to miss. Claw should be ok though. Sea World on the other hand is a good point. I've never really thought about it until now, but now that I do, you raise a very interesting talking point - Bermuda, Flume, Corkscrew and Pirate ship, which is probably all of the non transport \ view rides in the park all have stairs on them. Understanding that the spit is a very small space and sea world have had to fit things in tight spaces, but where is the accessibility here? Especially with Corkscrew - where there IS space to fit a ramp all the way to ground level. In closing, most parks do have a fairly well laid out Disability policy. There are some rides that, purely for the operation of the ride, they cannot cater to you, But all 4 major parks should be very open and upfront about what you can and cannot ride. It should explain what you need to be able to do to ride, what assistance you might require, and what extra efforts the park staff can do if needed (for example, rides without multiple gondolas or trains can be stopped to allow you extra time to load).

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Thanks guys for the info, I'll have to check that out next time Im up there. Yeah it was the river rapids ride, 4 people in a tire/log kinda thing, maybe I described it wrong.... It just annoys me when people underestimate what a person with a disability is actually capable of :) Luna Park here in Sydney is a bit of a joke, they have a disability statement on their site saying that carers can ride for free.... but... again... all of their rides are up stairs. Wish I lived in Sydney when Wonderland was going, the Bush Beast looked like a lot of fun. I remember as a kid in Melbourne in the early 80s, a friend took me to Luna Park... and we rode the Big Dipper.... I remember screaming my lungs out, but when it ended I wanted to go again! :D Was in Melbourne for a gig a few weeks ago, went to Luna Park again, and it just doesnt seem the same as it used to be. Anyway thanks, Andy

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^Sorry, I'm still a bit confused, was it This? http://www.roller-coaster.com.au/gallery.p...=31&image=4 (thunder river rapids) Or This? http://www.roller-coaster.com.au/gallery.p...d=4&image=2 Rocky Hollow Log Ride But Alex B summed it up well, Roadrunner was probably the worst of the lot to try since the trains are kiddie sized and hard to fit in to, the other coasters are a bit less restricted and adult sized, especially Superman and LW (does it matter if your legs are dangling?) The rest of the rides are well set up too. One thing though, if you are ever in the US, Disneyland would be the place to go, very well thought out disability procedures and facilites, anyone could ride anything there. And yes, Luna Park in Melbourne has gone a bit downhill from its former glory, it was a crying shame the big dipper was demolished.

Edited by Gazza

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Thanks guys, Yeah was this one Gazza.. the Thunder River.... suprisingly was so easy for me to climb in with a bit of help. http://www.roller-coaster.com.au/gallery.p...=31&image=4 Hopefully we get up to the Gold Coast again next year so I can try some of these. The parks up there are really something else, even from a spectator point of view, so well put together. Doesnt matter if my legs dangle, they are just like anyone elses... my CP just makes strength a fair bit less than it should be. We badly need something here in Sydney. Weird since we got back from the Gold Coast, Ive been wanting to ride those things more and more. And yep now that I think about it, yeah Road Runner might have been a bit small.... but cos I hadnt been on a coaster since I was a kid.. I didnt wanna go headfirst into something too extreme. Cheers, Andy

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The major theme parks have been very good when it comes to wheelchair accessibility, and most of the ride operators have been extremely helpful when helping my wife get on and off rides. She has paraplegia, and has no movement of her legs ... so that leaves me to carry her on and off rides (always adding fun for the ride operators with the whole OH&S procedures in place). Basically I give them guidance as to her limits, and they accomodate that depending on the rides. Dreamworld ... - River Rapids - Simple lift, just a little awkward climbing the raft. - Cyclone - the spiral ramp is a hell of a push, but incredibly easy to get her on and off the coaster - Thunderbolt - kind of obsolete now (yeah we went previously in 2003) was a matter of entering via the Shop. - Tower of Terror - Only went with the back entrance, they took her up the lift and easily lifted her into the front. - Vintage Cars - Could steer, couldn't press the Pedal though :P No goes were - Mine Ride, Wipeout, Giant Drop, Dodgems, Reptar Coaster, Log Ride, etc. Anything without leg restraints or fully enclosed cars were out. --- Movie World ... - Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster - Easy to get on. Skipped the queue due to entering via the unused queue section. Had to keep a firm grip on her legs as they were slipping out on the hairpins. - Batman Ride - Parked the wheelchair out side of the Sim, lifted her to the seat and tied her in firmly with the seatbelt - Road Runner Coaster - As per the OP, that was fun getting her on the platform side and then climbing over to the other side of the car. Otherwise wasn't a prob. - Looney Tunes River Ride - Wide bench seats without side support equals slip and slide, had to keep a firm grip on her to stop her sliding around on the wild section. Wheelchair had to be wheeled from the entrance of the ride to the exit by one of the ride operators. No goes were ... Lethal Weapon, WWF --- Sea World ... She didn't do any of the rides here. Except if you count the Monorail (a given). No goes were .... Pirate Ship (on account of the being near vertical at the highest swing), Both Log Flumes (similar reason to the Pirate Ship. --- Wet'n'Wild ... She went a few years before I met her and wasn't willing to do any of the slides, namely due to the amount of stairs to get to them ... --- ... and to add a minor park to the list. Aussie World (Sunshine Coast) - Ferris Wheel - Easy Lift, no probs here. - Mozzie Musta - Moderate lift up a flight of stairs, and damn did she have fun on this one, she doesn't get dizzy :P ---- Still up for a revisit to some of the parks in future .... and also I grow a set of balls and get on the Big 6 at Dreamworld :P

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Bumping an old thread I know, but thought I'd throw some input in here. If you check the signs at the entrance to most rides, it will show whether the ride is suitable to persons with disabilities. To my knowledge, at Movieworld at least, Lethal Weapon, Scooby Doo and Superman at least, all have Wheelchair Transfer at Platform listed on their entry signs. Lethal Weapon you enter via the shop, I imagine Superman would also be via the shop and Scooby Doo via the shop aswell. In many coaster stations, there appears to be a block-and-tackle attached to some sort of beam running across the top of the train, I can only imagine that this is used to left a person into the train when they're not capable of lifting themselves into it. Although, I may be completely wrong. If I am, can someone explain what they're used for. For reference, they are the usually round shaped object with a hook at the top, and chains coming out of the bottom.

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The block and tackle is definitely not used for lifting riders. Mainly, the block and tackle overhead is used to lift out components, or coaster cars, when doing maintenance. So if a set of brakes needs replacing, or in the absence of a maintenance run like there is on scooby, lethal or SE, to remove a coaster car from the track, the block and tackle would be used here also. Look for anchor points or bolts on the coaster cars, generally closer to the centre of gravity for each car, where this "hook" could be hitched.

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