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  1. #1

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    Knotts changes policy for disabled guests


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    Re: Knotts changes policy for disabled guests

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008
    No more 'cuts in line' for many disabled Knott's guests

    Theme park changes its policy for disabled guests in attempt to make line-waiting fair for all.

    By SERENA MARIA DANIELS
    THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

    BUENA PARK In an effort to make waiting in lines fair for all, Knott's Berry Farm has adopted a new policy that no longer allows disabled park-goers to head to the front.
    The new policy is meant to thwart cheaters: Those pretending to be disabled to get to the front of lines.
    Guests with disabilities now have two options:
    • Get a yellow pass and wait on the sidelines for the rest of their party to get through the line.
    Or, if the disabled person is alone or accompanied by only one other person,he or she can get a blue pass and have a ride operator give them a time when they can return. The time will be what the operator believes it takes to get through the line.
    "There were abuses to the system, and at some point the (disabled) line was almost equal to the regular line, so it really wasn't serving its purpose," said a Knott's spokeswoman, Jennifer Blazey.
    Knott's is willing to consider special circumstances, Blazey said, in which disabled park-goers could still go to the front of lines.
    "We can make accommodations for them," Blazey said.

    [Read the entire atricle at: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/l...83-knott-wait]
    Last edited by NeverNeverland; 06-29-2008 at 12:45 PM. Reason: edited for coyright

  3. #3

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    Re: Knotts changes policy for disabled guests

    They should tweak this. I understand that front-of-the-line access has resulted in abuse of these systems in the past, so they need to find middle ground. Disney's approach of individualized treatment strikes me as reasonable.

    When they make someone in a wheelchair wait the same amount of time as everyone else, either virtually or in a separate area, it seems fair, but really isn't.

    Someone with a disability cannot dash from ride to ride like the rest of us. If Space Mountain has a horrendous que, I can zip over to the Haunted Mansion with ease. Not so much for someone with a disability. They can't run around and collect fastpasses as easily either. Then, factor in the extra time it might take them just to get to the park in the morning. As an able-bodied person I have no problem getting there early and making my way closer to the rope drop via the stores. Then, factor in the extra time needed for everyday tasks such as going to the bathroom.

    I used Disney as an example, but it applies to any theme park.

    Make the system such that disabled guests get some measure of priority access, but limit it so that there is less of an incentive for able-bodied guests to abuse the system.

    I would like to see disabled guests get the best access to attractions as possible, considering the myriad of challenges they may encounter on a day-to-day basis. If they end up with the "advantage" over me when it comes to theme park touring, good on them. It's too bad the unscrupulous among us have forced Knott's hand in this manner.
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  4. #4

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    Re: Knotts changes policy for disabled guests

    FINALLY! Yeah! This makes me happy!
    "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." -Henry David Thoreau


  5. #5

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    • Skeevy Ray Vaughan
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    Re: Knotts changes policy for disabled guests

    This came about from people screwing the system. As usual in the end people who should benefit from the rule get screwed due to the abusers. Some day people will get tired of jerks, hope it's sooner than later.

  6. #6

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    Re: Knotts changes policy for disabled guests

    It is very interesting to me that most theme parks are becoming so hardcore on disabled guests while more and more of them are offering addtional pay for front of the line access(Universal, Busch, Six Flags). I guess it becomes fair to the rest of your guests if an able body is paying to cut??

  7. #7

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    • Skeevy Ray Vaughan
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    Re: Knotts changes policy for disabled guests

    Quote Originally Posted by brad73 View Post
    It is very interesting to me that most theme parks are becoming so hardcore on disabled guests while more and more of them are offering addtional pay for front of the line access(Universal, Busch, Six Flags). I guess it becomes fair to the rest of your guests if an able body is paying to cut??
    Do you consider fastpasses cutting?

  8. #8

    • Darkbeer
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    Re: Knotts changes policy for disabled guests

    Equal Rights, or Special rights...

    Universal Studios Hollywood offers a special VIP experience that cost around $200 (and yes, they do sell a lot of them). That experience is available to all, as the tour has been designed to allow folks in mobility devices to enjoy the tour.

    Should everyone with a special need be allowed to go on the VIP tour without paying the $200... IMHO, NO!!!!

    What is needed is EQUAL access, and when you look at the vast majority of Theme/Amusement parks and how they accommodate them, you will see for the most part that they do they best they can. For example, at USH, on selected rides that have access issues, they do allow the guests to use a seperate entrance, for the benefit of all guests, which does give them a bit of an advantage. Some attractions have to limit the amount of Special needs guests for safety reasons (basically in case the ride breaks down and needs to be evacuated), which creates a longer wait. But in most cases, the wait times do become fairly equal if you look at the big picture.

    I am not the biggest fan of long lines, so I plan my trips, and try and pick slower times when I go away from the OC, so I can enjoy my day. And if someone else has a problem standing in line then they need to think in advance, such as using a mobility device. But just because someone gets "fidgety" in line is not an excuse to let them go to the front of the line.

    In the Knott's example, they are saying, that ONE person and one other person can wait "out" of line and away from the queue until the rest of the group gets to the front of the line. And, IMHO, that is fair.

    Of course, on slow days, I doubt that Knott's will make the group go through the hassle, so long as it is their first or second visit to the specific attraction. Alas, some folks have abused the system to keep riding their favorite ride (usually an "E-Ticket" type of attraction) and can get many more rides than the rest of the park guests. And that is wrong.

    Accommodate, make sure that folks can access the rides that meet the medical needs (For example, the Xcelerator safety restraints won't allow most folks with a replacement leg on, as it is not safe, as the leg could come attached from the rider).

    But there HAS to be a limit to what is offered!
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  9. #9

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    Re: Knotts changes policy for disabled guests

    For rides like Bigfoot Rapids, where, I seem to remember, only one tube with disabled riders is allowed at any time, do you first have to have the rest of your party wait in the standard line, and THEN wait the additional time for the disabled rider tube to return to the special loading area? Or, if there's more parties with a disabled guest in front of you, wait for more than one complete cycle?

    And I've found that it's not easy to be with someone in a wheelchair and try to get on the Sky Tower. It's hard to get them to notice that there's someone waiting at the handicapped entrance. I've had to give up after a couple ride cycles went by without anyone seeing or hearing us, and went through the regular queue, just so that I could get close enough to the ride operators to tell them that, hey, there's someone in a chair waiting on the ramp where the disabled are supposed to wait. But by then, they can't fit a chair or a transferring guest on that ride cycle, so he had to wait for the next one, and by that time they forgot he was still there waiting, so we had to wait through the next cycle too. Gee. I really felt bad about him getting preferential treatment that way...

  10. #10

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    Re: Knotts changes policy for disabled guests

    When I was at an AIMS (Amusement Industry Manufactuerers & Suppliers. I was in the busness for thirty years) Safety Conference about ten years ago I talked at length with Jerry Aldrich about this very subject. Jerry had just recently left the employ of WDW, and he had said that "Wheelchair abuse" had become one of the top five complaints received by their Customer Relations people. They in turn implemented a plan that apparently has become the blueprint for the one that Knotts is using. It is unfortunate that the actions of some ruin it for the majority that abide by the rules. There is a lot more to this ,but I'm not going to go into it at this time.

  11. #11

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    Re: Knotts changes policy for disabled guests

    I have to say that I totally agree with Darkbeer's take on this subject...

    Working for LEGOLAND California, I do deal with this issue on a daily basis...

    We have what is called an "Assisted Access Pass". You can apply for one at the guest services window of the park.

    Each pass is good for up to six guests, including the applicant.

    If the line is less than 15 minutes long, then the entire group will be let onto the ride, right away.

    If the line is longer than that, then there are a couple options:

    The handicapped person and ONE helper may choose to ride right away and the remainder of the group wait for their time to return (approx the length of the regular line) but this being said the handicapped person and the helper are then excluded from re-riding with the group the second time around.

    or

    The entire group may wait for their time to return and then ALL ride together at that appointed time (approx length of line).

    I think this system is very fair, and we don't usually have alot of issues with our system.

    Its a fine line between "equal treatment and special treatment".

    You can't have it both ways....

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  12. #12

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    Re: Knotts changes policy for disabled guests

    I watched a situation directly related to this play out at Camp Snoopy last week. Of all places it was at the Red Baron in Camp Snoopy. For those not familiar with this ride, it is a bunch of small planes that fly in a circle, only kids can ride, and it has a specific height limit that one must be under. The lady was upset that her grandson could not cut in, and ride, when the pass was actually for her. She then proceeded to yell and complain for well over 15 minutes, when the actual line was less then 10 minutes. Eventually the ride operator called a manager who not only explained the policy, but informed the lady she could not use her pass for anyone else but her. The only reason I listened in... in the time it took for all of this to play out my kids rode the ride 3 times!

    I used to catch people at Disneyland doing this all the time. They would hand me a pass, I would ask for the individual and they would say "Oh this is too rough for him/her, so they aren't going" at which point I would hand it back and explain that without that individual they would not be able to use the pass. I also checked id's against the pass to ensure people weren't lying. Those who had a pass issued to them, and honestly had a disability (law states we can't ask, I only asked for ID to verify their name) were actually very thankful that we were so strict and made sure it was used by the person it was issued for.
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  13. #13

    • Darkbeer
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    Re: Knotts changes policy for disabled guests

    I remember the uproar when Disneyland switched its policy from the "Special Assistance Pass" to the Guest Assistance Card. The SAP was clearly abused, and many folks that had AP's learned the magic words (and they weren't hard ones either) to get a SAP. And the SAP was a one size fits all solution, and alas, many AP holders saw it as part of a special AP privilege, even if they didn't need the special assistance, they saw it more of a "perk" for being a regular guest.

    And I also remember all the complaining on the boards when the Special Assistance Pass program was revamped to the GAC.
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