“Is being turned away from rides that harsh?”

There have been many complaints, articles and campaigns against park staff not allowing people with certain disabilities to ride certain attractions at parks. A recent article was brought to my attention, and I would like to share my opinion on the matter.

In this case, the guest was turned away from various rides due to Cerebral Palsy, a condition which hinders movement and coordination. Now, for some rides, I can see it being a little unfair. The original article claims he was turned away from the Big One, Avalanche and Infusion. The thing with rides, is that there isn’t a 100% assurance that they won’t break down, so the chance of an evacuation still exists. For example, if the Big One was to run into an incident, and the train stopped at the mid-course brake run, the riders would have to be evacuated, which means walking down a tight twisted stairway. For a guest with Cerebral Palsy, this would be far from easy, and a huge health and safety risk for both the park and the guest. This isn’t being derogatory in any form, it’s general knowledge.

In the eyes of the guest, I can understand the frustration, but I’m sure that they would rather not experience the ride, than get stopped at a brake run and struggle to evacuate. I can also see how they have previously ridden the coasters, as there will have been different ride operators, which means that one or the other may not be as aware of the health and safety terms. The main fact that applies is that the operators did not make the choice out of bad will, but out of concern for the guests’ safety. The fact that three different operators on three different rides made the same decision just shows how the staff aren’t being unfair, and are instead following health and safety rules.

Other parks may allow guests to ride no matter what, but this usually means that they have equipment on hand which allows easier evacuation for those who are unable to walk unaided. Parks also allow most disabled guests to skip the queues, so it’s hardly being unfair. Pleasure Beach did respond with an apology and allowed the guest to return in 2015 and experience the rides that they were turned away from, which is good on their part, although they are ignoring the risk. Whatever keeps the customers happy, I guess…

Dan Woolford

2 comments

  1. Editor says:

    While it may appear to be controversial at first glance, it would be fair to also ask – why are some parents taking disabled children to theme parks?

    Children that have disabilities that parents should know will prevent them from riding, are ultimately setting their children up for disappointment.

    Where conditions such as autism and down’s syndrome are involved – where a child struggles to understand why they can’t go on rides – then then there is going to be obvious disappointment and upset.

    All children should be able to have fun and enjoyment, but a visit to a theme park requires a little thought and research from parents and carers, or a day that started out with the best of intentions could easily turn into sadness and disappointment.

    • Dan Woolford says:

      Yes, I never thought of that. You’d think that they would do that, or contact the park in advance to explore the possibilities of the guests being able or unable to ride…