Trip report 14/8/13 - Provision for disabled guests.

Discussion in 'Your Alton Towers Trip Reports and Plans' started by Amy, 17th Aug 2013.

  1. Amy

    Amy TS Contributor

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    I visited AT on Wednesday with a young man I support along with 2 other members of staff. Just to give a bit of background, the young man is non-verbal and has autism along with other difficulties. He can walk but has difficulty and for various reasons was using a wheelchair for this trip. A lot of people wouldn't even consider taking someone like him to AT as it could be a complete nightmare, but we know he loves rides and were very determined!

    I contacted Guest Services prior to our visit with a list of questions, and I have to say the response was pretty rubbish, a very short reply that didn't really answer our questions, however that's the only criticism I have.

    We'd downloaded the guide for disabled visitors in advance so were well prepared with everything we needed. We'd intended to get there for around 9.30am however these things never work out quite as planned, so we arrived at about 10.30am.

    From start to finish, the staff did everything they could to make our visit as easy and enjoyable as possible. We got tickets quickly from the disabled visitor's window. Luckily two of us had annual passes, and we paid full price for the service user and the other staff member got in free as a carer. Our next stop was Guest Services where we were quickly issued with a wristband and a time card for the rides.

    During the day we managed the following rides:

    Sonic Spinball
    The Flume (the staff here were particularly excellent and we were really impressed with the system of bringing one boat to the side and tying it up to make getting on and off easier for wheelchair users)
    Runaway Mine Train
    Marauder's Mayhem
    Air x 2 (our young man absolutely loved this, we were really quite emotional seeing how happy he was!)
    Rita (the only ride he didn't seem keen on)
    Th13teen (another big hit, giggles right the way through!)
    The Smiler x 2 (again, fantastic staff and great system for wheelchair users, meaning you get straight to the station via the lift)
    We also went on the Skyride several times which he loved!

    We had the most amazing day. It isn't easy to find activities that this young man really loves, but it's safe to say the day was a big hit for him. We've taken him to a small amusement park in the past and he quickly became overwhelmed, however he managed a whole day at Towers and we never once felt like he'd had enough.

    The only times we had difficulties (at times he can struggle to end favourite activities so struggled to get off a couple of rides), the staff were patient and did anything they could to help. At one point we got on The Smiler, then it had technical problems and we had to get off so they could send it round empty. Our guy struggled with this and sat down on the platform but the staff were just great. We were a bit wary of the time card system at first but in reality, the staff either didn't bother with it, or wrote a very near time so we were never hanging around waiting to go on another ride.

    We also had a lovely lunch sitting on the lawn looking over at The Towers. Sorry to go on, but what could have been a nightmare, was an absolutely amazing day for all of us. It really was made perfect by the compassion and friendliness of all the staff we encountered. I have to say, well done to Alton Towers. So many places don't consider the varying needs of people with disabilities, but we were all pleasantly surprised by how they day went.

    Posted 17th Aug 2013
  2. BigDave

    BigDave TowersStreet Member

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    Glad to hear it. I know most of the staff are great and the park obviously has a lot of knowledge when it comes to disabled/impaired guests. I think, like with most things, the park still could improve, but this is one area the park do seem to do well with.
    Posted 18th Aug 2013

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