Jump to content

Disability and theme parks


Recommended Posts

I'm writing this post because I am disabled. I have Cerebral Palsy, a movement disability which affects all my limbs. I have been on all the rides on the Gold Coast and I am looking forward to going on Leviathan when it opens. The staff at the parks have been great in accomodating my needs and I thank them. However, there are some issues. For example, once I wanted to go in RR at Movie World, a relatively tame coaster compared to the other attractions in the park. I was expecting to get on the ride with my brother and without my mum since I've been on Superman and DC Rivals without a carer. I was wrong. The attendant said I had to ride with a adult. I was confused. I had just been on the biggest coaster in Australia without a adult and now I had to ride a coaster which is barely considered a thrill ride with a adult. Another issue is water parks. We are now coming into the summer season and I will be going to JAP and possibly RR. Waterslides are hard to get onto because the tubes are floating. I really want to be able to walk up to the ride myself and just hop on with my mates but the loading is awkward so my Mum and Dad have to help me. It really annoys me how the industry sometimes assumes the disabled guests aren't wanting to go on thrill rides. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Ranger said:

It really annoys me how the industry sometimes assumes the disabled guests aren't wanting to go on thrill rides. 

Look I’m certainly not adequately informed or experienced to answer this question in detail other than to say from what I have seen this ISNT the case, and you’ve basically proven that yourself by stating you’ve had no problems on some of the hallmark rides in Australia like SE and DCR. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

For Road Runner I imagine you just got unlucky and got someone less experienced who was erring on the side of caution. And as for the water slides, I'm afraid I can't think of a way to build them where you can get into the tube OUT OF the water - at least not one that wouldn't make it hugely expensive, unsafe, or from the realm of science fiction.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey RR, I am a support worker and am at one of the parks at least once a fortnight with a client. 

It really depends on the operator how smooth the experience can be. In my experience, Dreamworld has actually been the easiest with disabilitys but seem more restricted on the amount of rides they will let my guys on.

It can be frustrating for us to get different info from different operators so your best bet after your experience on RR would be to go to guest services and get the situation cleared up. It might take 10-15 minutes out of your day but they will speak with the manager of the day and get it clarified for you.

As for the slides, are your mates able to help you on the tubes instead of mum and dad? I don't foresee any major changes to tube ride loading.

One of my lads with CP struggles with stairs but damn he can run up those things when he wants to. 

Going to the parks with a support worker can help to. Im not sure of your age, but finding someone of similar age can be helpful - thay way its not obvious to my clients that they have a carer with them and they feel more comfortable being assisted by a 'friend' rather than mum and dad. 

  • Like 4
  • Love it! 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, djmcbell said:

For Road Runner I imagine you just got unlucky and got someone less experienced who was erring on the side of caution. And as for the water slides, I'm afraid I can't think of a way to build them where you can get into the tube OUT OF the water - at least not one that wouldn't make it hugely expensive, unsafe, or from the realm of science fiction.

Have a loading point like on Supertubes at WWW or the Breakers at RWS. A short belt that pushes rafts in.

Many manufacturers offer this as an option. IMO if i had a park i'd make it the standard on anything involving a raft.

image.thumb.png.6ee0a36b71d439964e3ec1b75c7d05f0.png

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry to hear about your experience with Roadrunner and to see that you feel the amusement industry assumes that disabled guests do not wish to go on rides.  I can tell you that is generally not the case.  In the U.S. by law, modern rides must be designed with disabled guests in mind.  Furthermore, organizations that are responsible for generating the standards that are used for designing rides throughout the world are taking a more proactive and aggressive approach to ensuring that disabled guests are taken into consideration.  Not only are the methods for accommodating disabled guests improving, but there is substantial discussion on how designers and operators need to thoroughly analyze rider restrictions to make sure that they are as inclusive as safely possible.

I know this doesn't change your feelings and the challenges you are experiencing now, but hopefully this situation will continue to improve as time goes on.

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, aussienetman said:

I really appreciate you sharing this, and i'm thoroughly impressed that all of our parks have real guides and practices in place to be as clear and accommodating as possible. Jolly good stuff all round.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @Ranger. I've been fairly lucky to have worked in a few theme parks. I understand how annoying it is for you and also embarrassing that you'd want to do what everyone else does without the fuss.

Parks do not actually set out the rider guidelines. It is done by the manufacture. Having said that tho some operators (dry or water parks) may have had scenarios occur before that they either want to avoid or have had issue with before. As in your example about the tube floating and making it slightly difficult for you to enter. I understand you would know your ability a there knows exactly what is best for you. Operators are just concerned about slips and trips normally. It is not personal.

The big companies that operate here in AUS all do sensitivity training for such instances. I can recommend you should always attend guest services at any park you attend. Double-check with them what you can and can't do. I know you might be worried about doing this but I am about to give you some inside advice. The second you do this the ride supervisor is informed of the guest. Normally once you leave guest services, They usually make an announcement via phone or Two-way informing all staff that the possibility of a guest with special needs is in the park.

Its a heads up and ensures the workers are prepared and reminds them about the sensitivity training they would have undertaken.

I hope this helps a little. We all want to enjoy the same recreational activities. Happy riding.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Being an ex theme park ride operator for Village, I can confirm the training that we received is second to none when it comes to handling these situations. A good amount of training for each ride is actually spent going through the various disabilities and rider requirements to ensure things are done safely. This is on-top of regular training and refresher courses that they have provided. 

Please never be afraid or embarrassed to speak to Guest Services when arriving to discuss your needs and work out a game plan for how to enjoy your day the most. If your a regular as well they will often have your information on file so that when visiting you can just quickly pop in and grab a wristband that advises the ride operators what rides are suitable or not for your individual needs. The supervisors will do all the work so that the ride operators just have to have a quick look at the wristband to confirm things and just run through a few specific questions related to the individual ride instead of asking the many questions GS will ask. They are actually not meant to allow admission onto a ride without the wristband from Guest Services giving the all clear. And yes we are given the heads up most of the time so that we can make sure your day is as seamless as possible.

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Guy's, as I said, the staff at the parks and guest services is amazing. The Road Runner incident was a one off and I have found the staff at Village's and Adernt's theme parks amazing. I want to stress that. I've been to the parks and what this forum was meant to be about accessiblity more then anything. I once again am greatful to the op's. The main thing I wanted to raise was waterparks. I feel like waterslides are difficult to get onto. Once again, the staff at waterparks are great at fixing problems. I think a easy fix would be to make the loading bit wider. That way it wouldn't be as arkward to get on slides.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ranger. Water parks are going to, unfortunately, have this issue 99% of the time. As nice as it would be to have lifts etc it's not viable. I know this is not your concern but I thought id mention it anyway.

As mentioned by Gazza some slides to have rolling platforms. Here in Australia we only have two slides with such a feature. I know slide manufacturers do indeed think about what is possible. It is indeed a part of the design process. Part of the issue (ill try to explain this in a basic way) is the slide run-outs. Some Body slides don't require a big body of water with a large depth. Most tube slides have a slight depth. This is the issue that manufacturers look at. The simple fix would be to make all run-outs shallow but unfortunately its not that easy and wouldn't work for over 50% raft slides.

Staff in water parks are trained slightly different from those in dry parks. Youll always find they are not as hands-on due to a "slip" factor. They don't want to drop a guest etc. Wider queues and extra handrails tho could be possible. It comes down to the standard risk assessments being conducted also.

I know some (apologies if I am using the wrong terminology) disability groups are brought in to look at requirements needed for people who need extra assistance and that. Your ideas are very valid and definitely warranted.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe it was because only one train at road runner has what is considered a disabled seat with the opening door? I think it is based on access and if you are able to get out of the car unassisted. So if it was the non disabled train, you need to be able to get out over the sides and walk down the lift in the event of an evacuation I think. The operators can't lift you up or carry you down. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 26/11/2020 at 11:46 AM, Levithian said:

Maybe it was because only one train at road runner has what is considered a disabled seat with the opening door? I think it is based on access and if you are able to get out of the car unassisted. So if it was the non disabled train, you need to be able to get out over the sides and walk down the lift in the event of an evacuation I think. The operators can't lift you up or carry you down. 

That would explain it in Road Runner's case. They always try to have the blue train (the one with the disability door) cycling wherever possible and the red train as the second train. Honestly, I don't know why they didn't get the second train the same with the access for events like this happening.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 27/11/2020 at 5:45 PM, Spotty said:

Honestly, I don't know why they didn't get the second train the same with the access for events like this happening.

You don't really consider those aspects when you intend to run 2 trains constantly. Why spend extra on two when the guest can just wait one cycle for the suitable seat?

....and then cost-cuts.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not exactly a door I guess, the back portion of the seat and padding thats against your shoulder/side is hinged so it can open and make it easier to get into the carriage. 

https://rcdb.com/1121.htm#p=17514

Hard to find photos of the rear, but see the bit that says "ACME 8 ROCKET" ? can see the join below and the split in the back padding. Whole piece swings open around to the back. 

Edited by Levithian
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.