Ride Access Pass Systems and Disabled Access

Benzin

TS Member
The main thing the parks need to do is to enforce the wait times with a Q-bot style app/device countdown so it is impossible to get on quicker than the main queue.

They do this in Legoland and funnily enough it got loads of complaints from those who use RAP to cheat the system.

Access Card coming in is better purely because they'll be more suited to judge disabilities as opposed to Sandra at GS. This will also probably go down like a lead balloon to those who cheat the RAP system so can hope its a step (or wheel) in the right direction.

As an aside, I'm not particularly fond of places who accept a paid for service card over Blue Badges and similar. Had this with a gig booking pre-pandemic and it annoyed me. Though that being said having a Blue Badge doesn't absolve you from being able to queue, but considering how difficult to get on the benefits system actually is can cause frustration for those in the gap.
 

JAperson

TS Member
Even with a Q-bot style device, it wouldn't stop the RAP user joining a normal queue while waiting for another attraction. I don't see how that avenue of abuse can be closed down.

Nonetheless any efforts that help to reduce misuse are welcome.
The only possible way would be to have turnstiles at each ride, where people would have to scan there tickets. Or perhaps wristbands that everybody has to where? But that seems a little over the top.
 

Danscott22

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Smiler
Hope it stops the people who think its a free fast track. We were in Wicker Man's RAP queue last year, which took about 40 minutes on top of the time which was then marked down on the card, which actually exceeded the overall queue time. Girl behind us was with her boyfriend on an Insta live - she must've thought she was famous or something - and she said, and I quote, "we're just in the disabled queue for Wicker Man, it's basically a free fast track" - not sure what their reason was for not being able to queue in the main queue. I know not all disabilities are visible but I'm almost certain that they could've used the main queue, as it sounds like that's what they'd been doing at various points in the day anyway.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
Even with a Q-bot style device, it wouldn't stop the RAP user joining a normal queue while waiting for another attraction. I don't see how that avenue of abuse can be closed down.

Nonetheless any efforts that help to reduce misuse are welcome.

That will always happen, but in theory those who are genuine users will either be joining a short wait for an attraction as it will keep their child from having a meltdown while waiting for something with a longer wait. Or they won't be able to join a longer wait if the child cannot cope with that (the point of getting the pass).
In theory therefore those who genuinely need RAP will only be on an attraction at the same time as waiting virtually for another when they need to and the main queue is short (or non-existent like a playground).

I would assume (I have no experiance myself) that for someone who struggles to cope with waiting, just being told to come back in 90 minutes with nothing else to occupy their time is just as bad as being in the main queue. Whereas doing three attractions with a 5-10 minute wait during that 90 minutes could help them cope.
 

Sambiasso

TS Member
Why are most peoples attitudes that those who are entitled to a RAP are trying to abuse or cheat?!

It strikes me that some posters would rather not welcome disabled people to parks or attractions.

@Benzin Your recent post highlights a clear lack of understanding of how the access card works and the service it offers disabled people. The ' step/wheel in the right direction' was a crass comment.

Whilst you and the people who liked the post carry on stigmatising disabilities we will never be able to move on in society.
 

Skyscraper

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Nemesis
In theory therefore those who genuinely need RAP will only be on an attraction at the same time as waiting virtually for another when they need to and the main queue is short
I will admit that I do this. I am perfectly capable of walking distances and using steps, it's crowds that I can find difficult. Hence if a queue is walk-on or short, I will use it. I know some people won't like that, but why should I use the RAP on a quiet ride when I could be taking the space of a wheelchair user or someone who genuinely can't walk far? This is the problem that I @imanautie and others have.
 

Bert2theSpark

TS Member
I appreciate that there are a number of factors that are contributing towards RAP queues making the main queue longer, but many of AT's rides were built without RAP in mind because it wasn't a thing at the time, and were subsequently retrofitted with it, harming capacity. A combination of policy changes is needed to fix this issue, no one "quick fix" will solve this.

From what I understand the UK parks are generally ahead of the curve when it comes being inclusive with guests, but I think manufacturers need to be more inclusive of disabled guests and maintaining high throughputs with high volumes of RAP users in mind, leaving the parks to haphazardly add additional procedures and Merlin/Towers need to press ride manufacturers when building future rides to maintain consistently high throughputs with a high proportion of RAP guests in mind as times change and we are an inclusive country, although I appreciate this won't solve existing issues on current rides but it's a start neither-the-less.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
I will admit that I do this. I am perfectly capable of walking distances and using steps, it's crowds that I can find difficult. Hence if a queue is walk-on or short, I will use it. I know some people won't like that, but why should I use the RAP on a quiet ride when I could be taking the space of a wheelchair user or someone who genuinely can't walk far? This is the problem that I @imanautie and others have.

But do you hold a return time for another ride while using those short main queues?

For example if Smiler is a 90 minute wait, so you get a RAP return time but Oblivion only has a wait of 10 minutes so you go there after getting the Smiler return time. Effectivly then being in two queues at once.
For someone who needs distraction to avoid a meltdown type thing I can see that being a good thing.
But for those just trying to avoid crowds it does then feel closer to being "free fast track" as you are in two places at once.

I'm not judging you at all, just discussing how different peoples needs aren't one-size-fits-all and therefore the system isn't perfect.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Why are most peoples attitudes that those who are entitled to a RAP are trying to abuse or cheat?!

It strikes me that some posters would rather not welcome disabled people to parks or attractions.

@Benzin Your recent post highlights a clear lack of understanding of how the access card works and the service it offers disabled people. The ' step/wheel in the right direction' was a crass comment.

Whilst you and the people who liked the post carry on stigmatising disabilities we will never be able to move on in society.
For clarity, I don’t believe that those who are entitled to RAP are trying to cheat the system by any means, and I sincerely apologise if that was what was construed from my earlier post.

I simply believe that awareness of hidden disabilities has increased, diagnoses of conditions like autism and ADHD and such have increased, and thus the amount of people trying to use the RAP system has increased. That will naturally make RAP have more of an effect on day to day operations than it used to.

My belief is that RAP and the whole issue of equal access is now a very tough tightrope to navigate for theme parks and other similar businesses, as whatever they do has an impact on somebody; it’s a bit of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” type situation. If RAP is tightened up or removed entirely, that completely ostracises disabled guests and those with SEN needs, which isn’t really an option if the parks want to be inclusive. If RAP grows too heavily used, it stops fulfilling its original purpose and begins to impact the main queues in quite a big way. It’s about striking a balance so that disabled users who need a little extra support during their theme park visit can get it and have it work adequately for them, but also so that main queues aren’t heavily impacted.

With this in mind, I’m not really sure what the parks can do to solve the perceived issue. In my mind, I’m not really sure what more they can do to strike the balance better without eliminating people who genuinely need the support or completely grinding the main queues to a halt. It is probably easier and far more inclusive to prioritise RAP as much as the parks do currently, as the types of people using RAP will likely have less concept of queueing or some sort of trouble with queueing. Whereas someone in the main queue is more likely to understand why the RAP users are allowed on before them.

In terms of why RAP users use main queues when “queueing” for an attraction using the RAP; for many, this type of thing will not be as black and white as simply asking “can you queue?” as if it’s a yes or no question. It’s a lot more nuanced than that; an RAP user might be able to deal with some queues (e.g. shorter queues, quicker moving queues, or more level queues with less steps) but not others. Or they might have good and bad days (if, for instance, they have anxiety surrounding queueing), and be able to queue better on some days than they can on others. It really isn’t a black and white issue, and there’s a lot more nuance to it than simply “Can you queue, yes or no? If yes, use main queue, if no, use RAP”, so I believe that RAP users should definitely be allowed to change between using the RAP queue and the main queue.
 

jon81uk

TS Member
I appreciate that there are a number of factors that are contributing towards RAP queues making the main queue longer, but many of AT's rides were built without RAP in mind because it wasn't a thing at the time, and were subsequently retrofitted with it, harming capacity. A combination of policy changes is needed to fix this issue, no one "quick fix" will solve this.

From what I understand the UK parks are generally ahead of the curve when it comes being inclusive with guests, but I think manufacturers need to be more inclusive of disabled guests and maintaining high throughputs with high volumes of RAP users in mind, leaving the parks to haphazardly add additional procedures and Merlin/Towers need to press ride manufacturers when building future rides to maintain consistently high throughputs with a high proportion of RAP guests in mind as times change and we are an inclusive country, although I appreciate this won't solve existing issues on current rides but it's a start neither-the-less.

For coasters and similar its nothing to do with manufacturers, its just queue layout. The only things where manufacturers can make are difference is by adding cars than can hold a wheelchair, or seperate boarding areas for those who need more time (Disney have many of these accomodations)

In most cases though its queue design, which is decided by the park (or Merlin Magic Making or Imagineering etc).
If the merge point is on the same side as standard boarding and not via the exit, it doesn't affect capacity, guests are just waiting elsewhere and then rejoining the queue.
If all RAP users need to enter via the exit then it can slow down operations as they have to merge via multiple places.
This is why Disney often doesn't have seperate entrances, in many cases anyone who cannot wait in the main queue then enters via the Lightning Lane (new name for FastPass) same as those who pay for quicker access, although on some older rides there is a different process for wheelchairs, but often as well at Disney wheelchairs join the main queue. So there is no difference in capacity or operations.
Also look at The Smiler, that has a merge point for ambulant RAP users, only wheelchair users need to go to the exit, so again the batching host manages it, no loss in capacity.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
From what I understand the UK parks are generally ahead of the curve when it comes being inclusive with guests, but I think manufacturers need to be more inclusive of disabled guests and maintaining high throughputs with high volumes of RAP users in mind, leaving the parks to haphazardly add additional procedures and Merlin/Towers need to press ride manufacturers when building future rides to maintain consistently high throughputs with a high proportion of RAP guests in mind as times change and we are an inclusive country, although I appreciate this won't solve existing issues on current rides but it's a start neither-the-less.
The increased use of RAP appears to have been mostly caused by the increased prevalence of people with hidden disabilities rather than people with physical disabilities (who are what the system was originally designed to primarily support), so I’m not really sure whether altering ride designs would help out with the perceived issue. I think it’s queue design rather than ride design (which newer rides seem to be taking into account, in fairness).

What do you feel manufacturers could help out more with? Those with hidden disabilities are unlikely to have any real issues with boarding the rides in the way that someone with a physical disability might, so I’ll admit I’m unsure how ride manufacturers could really help to solve the problem.
 

Skyscraper

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Nemesis
For coasters and similar its nothing to do with manufacturers, its just queue layout. The only things where manufacturers can make are difference is by adding cars than can hold a wheelchair, or seperate boarding areas for those who need more time (Disney have many of these accomodations)

In most cases though its queue design, which is decided by the park (or Merlin Magic Making or Imagineering etc).
If the merge point is on the same side as standard boarding and not via the exit, it doesn't affect capacity, guests are just waiting elsewhere and then rejoining the queue.
If all RAP users need to enter via the exit then it can slow down operations as they have to merge via multiple places.
This is why Disney often doesn't have seperate entrances, in many cases anyone who cannot wait in the main queue then enters via the Lightning Lane (new name for FastPass) same as those who pay for quicker access, although on some older rides there is a different process for wheelchairs, but often as well at Disney wheelchairs join the main queue. So there is no difference in capacity or operations.
Also look at The Smiler, that has a merge point for ambulant RAP users, only wheelchair users need to go to the exit, so again the batching host manages it, no loss in capacity.
I feel more comfortable using my RAP on rides where that access is separate from the exit (Thirteen, wicker Man, Smiler etc), I don't like going up exits. Part of that is my problem because I like following one-way systems.
 

Burbs

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Iron Gwazi
Genuine question here.

How do ambulant RAP users cope outside of the UK? I've been to many parks in Europe over the last few years and separate disabled queues are rarely a thing. You'll get the occasional wheelchair user for instance boarding via the exit, but there's nowhere near the level of inclusivity that the UK has. Yet, it doesn't seem to stop people who use RAP from visiting parks abroad.
 

Danscott22

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Smiler
Why are most peoples attitudes that those who are entitled to a RAP are trying to abuse or cheat?!

It strikes me that some posters would rather not welcome disabled people to parks or attractions.

@Benzin Your recent post highlights a clear lack of understanding of how the access card works and the service it offers disabled people. The ' step/wheel in the right direction' was a crass comment.

Whilst you and the people who liked the post carry on stigmatising disabilities we will never be able to move on in society.
This is absolutely NOT what anyone is trying to say. No one has said "they would rather not welcome disabled people to parks". The fact is, many of us, see many, many, MANY people and parties abusing the Ride Access Pass system. No one will on here (or I'd hope so anyway) will take issue with a disabled person using the system, but will take issue with those who genuinely don't need it. In my opinion, if you say you need it and then can also queue in the main queueline, then you absolutely do not need it - and this the abuse/cheat that is being referred to that is sadly seen so often.
 

Sambiasso

TS Member
@Matt N Nothing for you to apologise for, your post(s) are always well thought out and concise. You've said nothing wrong.

As you say it's a tight rope to navigate for themeparks. They are unique attractions when it comes to accessibility for disabled people, unlike a cinema or theatre.

I've found it's the people who post on here, Facebook groups etc where I always see RAP users constantly being accused of abusing and cheating the system.

I said it on another post recently and maybe I was being naive to think there was communities of enthusiasts who all like the same thing. Dig a little deeper and most of these 'enthusiasts' just complain and moan about every little thing a theme park does.


Maybe Merlin are getting it right but it's people's attitudes towards disabilities and how parks operate that are wrong.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Genuine question here.

How do ambulant RAP users cope outside of the UK? I've been to many parks in Europe over the last few years and separate disabled queues are rarely a thing. You'll get the occasional wheelchair user for instance boarding via the exit, but there's nowhere near the level of inclusivity that the UK has. Yet, it doesn't seem to stop people who use RAP from visiting parks abroad.
In many cases, I’d imagine they simply don’t go or go with a great amount of anxiety, which definitely isn’t what you want at a place that is supposed to provide a fun day out for everyone, with everyone being the key word here.

I am speaking on behalf of RAP users here rather than speaking from my own experience of being one, though. I don’t require RAP (although I am technically entitled to one), so I’m not sure if any RAP users would agree with me.
In my opinion, if you say you need it and then can also queue in the main queueline, then you absolutely do not need it - and this the abuse/cheat that is being referred to that is sadly seen so often.
The thing is, though; as I said above, whether or not an RAP user can queue isn’t really a yes or no question, as it can depend on the circumstances of a given queue or how they’re feeling at the time. Someone might be able to deal with a short queue or a queue with no steps, but be unable to deal with a long queue or a queue with lots of steps. Or they might have been able to queue in the main queue at the start of the day, but they might have gone into a meltdown and things might be getting a bit much later on, thus meaning that the RAP is needed.
 

Sambiasso

TS Member
This is absolutely NOT what anyone is trying to say. No one has said "they would rather not welcome disabled people to parks". The fact is, many of us, see many, many, MANY people and parties abusing the Ride Access Pass system. No one will on here (or I'd hope so anyway) will take issue with a disabled person using the system, but will take issue with those who genuinely don't need it. In my opinion, if you say you need it and then can also queue in the main queueline, then you absolutely do not need it - and this the abuse/cheat that is being referred to that is sadly seen so often.
It is, go through this thread and see how many times terms like cheat and abusing the system has been used.

Just tar everybody with the same brush, just something else for you all to complain about.
 

Bert2theSpark

TS Member
What do you feel manufacturers could help out more with?
I'm not an engineer or have any insight to the processes of how rides are designed so this might sound completely absurd to some but I feel like ride manufacturers should be more accommodating of longer dispatch times and making sure a ride hits capacity targets in order to deal with guests with additional needs and requirements, how they would attempt to do this I have no idea, but I'd like to see more innovation on their behalf.

For example could a manufacturer find a way to meet the same throughput targets when dispatch times are increased by 10-20% than what they'd expect with "normal" guests?
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
I'm not an engineer or have any insight to the processes of how rides are designed so this might sound completely absurd to some but I feel like ride manufacturers should be more accommodating of longer dispatch times and making sure a ride hits capacity targets in order to deal with guests with additional needs and requirements, how they would attempt to do this I have no idea, but I'd like to see more innovation on their behalf.

For example could a manufacturer find a way to meet the same throughput targets when dispatch times are increased by 10-20% than what they'd expect with "normal" guests?
The only way I can think of to do that without decreasing throughput would be to make the trains bigger, which would have knock on effects on how rides are engineered. A bigger train will weigh more, therefore will gain more speed and pull greater forces around turns than a smaller train, particularly towards the extreme ends of the train (the back of a 12-row train will get whipped around a given corner or over a given hill far more than the back of a 6-row train, and the front of a 12-row train will be pushed into it with a greater amount of force than the front of a 6-row train).

Newton’s Second Law of Motion dictates that Force = Mass x Acceleration, so as a larger train will have greater mass and the acceleration of a roller coaster is constant (acceleration due to gravity, roughly speaking, is always equal to approximately 9.81m/s2), the ride will pull greater forces, so turns and hills need to be more drawn out to result in a safe ride, which would by extension mean that rides take up more space and become more expensive (due to requiring more track).

Does that make sense?
 
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