UK theme parks from another point of view!

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Ash
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Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:01 pm

Ritas girl your not going to win!

Believe me...

Let me introduce Ryan, ex Alton Towers employee, and general expert on all things Alton Towers related. He has helped, served and assisted more disabled people at Alton and handled more questions/complaints etc than the rest of us will in a lifetime.

Hes been bang on with everything hes said.

Oh and another thing, i wouldnt go around quoting Alton Towers Disability Policy everywhere...just so you know, you never know whos watching.
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Kraken
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Sun Mar 16, 2008 3:09 pm

I'm also ex-Alton Towers staff and have to agree that Alton Towers have got the disabled guest policy almost right - certainly for guests who are physically unable to queue normally, i.e. because they are in a wheelchair.

Due to the size / hilly nature of the Park, we often used to bend the rules a bit on Nemesis - i.e. allow a disabled guest in a wheelchair two rides [with at least one ride cycle missed inbetween the two] with their carer. After that, we would ask them not to return again until after the current queue time had elapsed.

I know that 99.9% of able bodied guests do not mind having to wait a short while longer whilst a reasonably sized party [including at least one disabled guest] rides the ride.

The grey area that still winds me up is people who are perfectly able bodied, not suffering from any condition that would prevent them from standing in a queueline using their "disability" to avoid the queue, because Alton Towers say that if you are registered disabled, you have to be treated the same, irrespective of the nature of your disability. A classic example of this is a deaf person. They would probably have someone with them who can hear & is proficient in sign language - so why can they not queue as normal? If a queue evacuation is needed, should the deaf person not be able to work out what is happening, the carer would be able to communicate via sign language. Ditto for a ride evacuation.

I can assure you, I have had to deal with large parties of deaf disabled guests on the exits of Forbidden Valley rides who were perfectly able to stand in a normal queueline. When you try to expain the disabled guest policy to them, you are frequently on the recieving end of some unconventional sign language [rarely more than one finger]. These people knew what they were doing too & knew their "rights" - they just took exception when we [the ride staff] chose to insist they had a carer riding with them - at one point, Guest Services were issuing deaf guests with two wristands, a red and a blue one, so allowing them to ride without a carer... err, hold on, who is going to communicate with them in an evacuation situation?

As I said at the start of this, Alton Towers have got the disabled guest policy pretty much right. They just need to look at the few cases where people are disabled, but are perfectly able to queue as normal, such as a deaf person.
 
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Johno
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Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:52 pm

I think one of the points being made is that disabled guests and their carers are effectively missing out the queues and having a large ride count compared to the general public?

Maybe it is something which Alton need to consider? Making queue's suitable for wheelchairs etc.
 
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Kraken
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Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:55 pm

Johno - yes, the disabled guests and their carers miss the queue, so get to go in the rides quicker. However, as has previously been mentioned, the number of carers who can ride with a disabled guest is limited - so the party may well not ride together. If the disabled guest only wants to go on once & there are too many carers, the extra carers should be directed to the normal queueline for their ride.

To be honest, a disabled guest in a wheelchair will have a fairly tiring day at the Towers. The park is quite large and there are some quite steep gradients to be negotiated in places (notably X-Sector, Gardens & Katanga-Gloomy Wood path). They will take longer to get from one area to another. I would suggest that a party with a disabled guest in a wheelchair will get a similar ride count in on a normal day compared to an able-bodied party, once you factor in their slower progress round the park. Clearly, on very busy days [Fireworks, RIP] the disabled guest has a huge advantage - [please note, I use the word "advantage" very loosely here, as I am 99.99% sure that anyone who has to use a wheelchair to get around would rather not have to].

As I said in my previous post, the disabled people that Alton Towers need to clamp down on are the ones who are able bodied & not suffering from any condition that prevents them being able to gueue as normal, such as a deaf person.
 
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Mr Hyde
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Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:26 pm

"Kraken" wrote:
Alton Towers say that if you are registered disabled, you have to be treated the same. . .

Actually, the law says that.
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Kraken
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Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:57 pm

"Mr Hyde""][quote=""Kraken" wrote:
Alton Towers say that if you are registered disabled, you have to be treated the same. . .

Actually, the law says that.[/quote]
Indeed, the law does say that - but it is a common quote that "the law is a55".

Having looked at both Alton Towers & Thorpe Park's websites, it seems that the two parks cannot agree on disabled rider restrictions for able bodied disabled guests...

Alton Towers (from the FAQ's page, Disabled & Additional need section)
"For safety reasons, guests with disabilities who require physical assistance are required to have at least one carer over the age of 14 to accompany them onto the rides. If no physical assistance is required, there is no age requirement for a carer".
[So no matter what the disability, a carer is needed with the disabled guest at Alton Towers]

Thorpe Park (from the Disabled visitors guide PDF on their website)
"Disabled Guests who do not require any assistance to access the ride or during an emergency or evacuation situation, do not require careers. Guests must be able to communicate fully".
[i]

I had a quick look at the Legoland Windsor website too - it seems that 95% of their queuelines can accommodate wheelchairs, so even wheelchair guests have to queue as normal there. [I've never been to Legoland Windsor, so am going only from their website]. They even add the following paragraph onto their disabled accessibility statement;
"LEGOLAND Windsor does not follow in-line with other theme park providers as it is felt the Park has been designed to cater for guests with disabilities. It is appreciated that some Guests require additional assistance to ensure they can maximise their enjoyment".

Nice to see a consistent approach from Merlin!
 
Alex Tyler
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Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:54 am

When I went on the 30th of March the carers went on the rides but the wheelchair geusts did not.
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rita's girl
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Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:59 pm

Kracken you have made some amazing points and to this I thank you....

The Thorpe Park spin on the disability Queue is wierd... you can go on a ride if your physically fit on your own with a coloured band, if you need slight assistance there is a different colour but you can still go on your own. If you need complete assistance you need a carer with you. Also when you have rode a large ride (nemmy, stealth, colossus) you then have to wait 30 mins before you are allowed to go to another larger ride again.

I totally agree with the time it takes to get around the park tho (@ AT) cause im able bodied and I struggle to make good time round it. My sister takes 40 mins to walk from haunted hollow to Nemmy .
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Johno
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Tue Apr 08, 2008 6:57 pm

I do think that legoland have got it spot on with their queue lines.

Most are easily wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and thus everyone queues together.

Plus the width in the queue line makes people feel less enclosed etc.
 
Kaycee

Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:16 pm

I can see both sides of this coin. In theory, I think Ryan is right. Acts like the DDA exist to give disabled people equal rights. Allowing disabled people to effectively queue jump is giving them extra rights. So yes, it is unfair on the able-bodied people standing patiently in the queueline.

But then again, it's unfair that some people have to live their lives with some form of disability, whatever it is. Life isn't fair. So I'd say in practice, just letting people on straight away is no massive hardship to people waiting in the queue compared to the hardship many disabled people face every day getting from A to B, being in crowds, enjoying a day out at a theme park.

Yes, there have been times where I've been queuing for Nemesis and just about to be batched - I think I'm going to get on the next train via the back row because they've filled up all the rows from the front onwards... but then just as I'm walking to it, it's been chained off for a disabled person. So I have to go back and wait till the next train. It's not a big deal, it's a couple of extra minutes.

So what I'm saying is that in theory, Ryan is right and it is unfair that they effectively queue jump, but in practice, if you imagine yourself right now about to walk to Nemesis' back row after a 40 minute wait and find yourself having to wait a couple of extra minutes - does it really matter that much?

I think the current system AT have is fine. And you do always have the sort of people, as mentioned in this topic, who realise that by going straight on a ride up the exit, that it is technically unfair and as such they wait around between rides or don't mind coming back to the ride a queue length's time later. But it's like someone said, with lots of disabled people, it can take them a while longer to do everything, like go between rides, have dinner etc so I can't imagine their ride count is any better than an able person most of the time. And if it is... so what?
 
Rita 2005
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Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:44 pm

The problem is that you have genuine disabled people who have life threatening illnesses or are unable to walk through an accident that has paralized them, these people should be allowed straight onto the ride without queueing I have no problem with that.

I do however have a problem, with the person who has broken his toe playing football or rugby, and will be in plaster for a few weeks and then uses this 'disability' to jump the queue for him and usually his 10 minders, they then usually demand a repeat ride as soon as they have gotten off.
 
Dormiens-Dave

Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:48 pm

You dont get disability registration from breaking your leg and alton should not let people who have broken their leg ride, the g-force could cause the fracture to re-expand and increase healing time.

Whether alton give people with fractures disabled access i dont know.
 
Vicki
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Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:18 pm

They don't. To be classed as disabled you have to have a condition that affects your life for over a year, I think.

Maybe it's something for Alton to consider in future, making the queues accessible to wheelchairs etc.
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rita's girl
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Re: Queue policy for disabled guests

Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:25 am

Sorry to drag an old topic back from the dead....

I have recently come back from Florida (which is amazing by the way) and I loved the way the queue system was managed for disabled people.

As many of you know I have a son who is registered disabled, and I do used this in theme parks due to the way he is. However I do not agree totally with the going to an exit and getting straight onto a ride.

Anyway in Disney and Universal they give you a special assistance pass which enables you the same entitlements as the fast track, however you still have to queue for a while. Dependant the amount of people in front of you it can be from 3mins to 1hr. The staff manage the tickets so that so many fast tracks go in then so many mornal queueing people then so many fast tracks etc etc. I found it really good and no one was moaning as the queue line was running smoothly. People with fast tracks disabled assistance were joining the normal queue leaving no one miffed that they had come from the exit and basically queue jumped./

AT please take note of this maybe you can do something similar to make issues on this fairer
Me x
 
AstroDan

Re: Queue policy for disabled guests

Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:24 pm

I agree. I think that if Disabled guests, where possible, were given priority access in a less visible way, it would be better.

It's really sad when a child (or adult) is at the front of the RMT queue, they get all excited that they will go at the front. Then there's some disabled guests there and they get it instead!
 
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Colossus
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Re:

Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:20 am

"PETER MOWBRAY" wrote:
My wife is classed as Disabled but to look at her she looks very healthy and well.
She refuses to use her Disability to gain access to rides as she doesn't want to be treated differently from able bodied riders and thats her choice and decision.


:x

Sorry to get personal here, but this is absolute rubbish Peter and you know it. I and I bet many others know your face and have seen you at Alton Towers, and your wife and your whole family use disabled access to get on rides. I myself have seen you use the disabled entrance on Duel when there was no queue !! Also I have seen you and your wife walking between the rides and then coming to Nemesis and Rita and for your wife to sit in her wheel chair and get on the ride via the exit. I have been waiting in the station on Rita, after queuing for 1 hour and seen you and your family get on via the ride exit.

It is because of blatant lies like this, that there is so much discrimination in this country. People get cheesed off by others "using" or "playing" the system. Fine if your wife is registered disabled Peter, but please dont tell lies that you, your wife and your family never use the disabled system and policy. You do use the disabled policy, so dont try and make out that you dont.

No doubt this post will be removed.... but if it does, then so should Peter Mowbrays for talking complete rubbish !!! Sorry for being angry and agressive, its just that I cannot tolerate blatant lies. :x
 
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rita's girl
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Re: Queue policy for disabled guests

Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:51 am

OMG That was a little bit harsh but I can understand your point.

Maybe Peters wife gets tired with all the walking thats why she has a chair to go round with. I know im always nagging at my mom to have a chair because she gets very tired especially when there are no cable cars running.

I do use the disabled queues when I have my son with me, but to be honest our ride count on a day is about once for each ride.
Me x
 
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Colossus
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Re: Queue policy for disabled guests

Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:27 pm

"rita's girl" wrote:
OMG That was a little bit harsh but I can understand your point.

Maybe Peters wife gets tired with all the walking thats why she has a chair to go round with. I know im always nagging at my mom to have a chair because she gets very tired especially when there are no cable cars running.

I do use the disabled queues when I have my son with me, but to be honest our ride count on a day is about once for each ride.


I completely agree with you... I dont have a problem with people using the disabled policy. That is whats its there for. My mother-in-law is registered disabled and cannot walk for long distances. We are going to go to AT this year and will be using the disabled policy.

What I didnt like about Peters post was that he catergorially said that they never use the system, when I have seen that they do.... :^o I do not know why he has said that but I know he is lying. :^o

:x Anyway.. calm thoughts.... No doubt I will get banned as well for this.. but I just had to get it off my chest. I hate liars, always have and always will.
 
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Mr Hyde
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Re: Queue policy for disabled guests

Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:08 pm

A disabled policy though should be there to aid disabled guests, not give them a free fastrack to all rides all day :roll:

Thorpe Park's way with the cards and timed is a lot better, a lot fairer and will ultimately benifit the guest with a disability as I predict half as many would't get the bands if they knew there were restrictions on the usage.
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rita's girl
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Re: Queue policy for disabled guests

Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:08 pm

OK I retract my last statement........ I have just been mooching through some pictures of scarefest and have seen pictures by Peter of his family only to notice that they are wearing the disabled wristbands. For someone who NEVER uses the system why on earth would they have the wristbands on. :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :? :?

I know it seems like a witch hunt and I tried to give peter the benefit of the doubt but now I agree with Colossus
Me x
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