The sister of a woman with cerebral palsy has slammed Alton Towers for being “ignorant” after finding their park inaccessible.
Becky Cheetham, 28, from Manchester, said that the employees were “rude and uninterested”, plus uninformed about disability access.
The young woman’s sister, Hannah, 30, was “publicly removed” from one ride after being told she was breaking health and safety rules.
Becky had decided to take her sister to the theme park for a birthday celebration as Hannah is “the biggest adrenaline junkie”.
Have you visited any theme parks this summer? Tell us about your experience in the comments section…
However, they made their way to the disabled access points for several rollercoasters only to be turned away as Hannah was unable to walk a certain distance.
After that they went to Duel – a ride which a leaflet said had disability access only to be told that the park no longer provided this.
In a post on Facebook which has racked up 39k reactions and 32k shares, Becky told of the sisters’ frustration.
And, they shared a change.org petition for people to sign.
She wrote: “I spent my birthday at your theme park.
“On your website, it states Alton Towers wants to “help guests with additional needs have a fabulous and unforgettable experience”.
“It certainly was an 'unforgettable' day for all the wrong reasons.”
After being denied boarding for the Smiler rollercoaster, Becky claims that a member of staff shouted “she can’t walk” down to other members of staff.
Becky wrote: “My issue with this situation is that Hannah is a human – please speak to her directly.
“Do not embarrass her by shouting out her insecurities across the ride for a crowd of people to hear.
“We passed three lots of workers, and not one of them thought to explain the rules of the ride before we got up there and had to turn around.”
In the end, a member of staff refunded the sisters and pointed them towards accessible rides.
They rode the Teacups, but were told they couldn’t ride again for two minutes – even though it takes three minutes to take Hannah off the ride.
The pair also rode the Runaway Train, but felt their day was wasted.
Becky added: “Wheelchair users want the same experiences as everyone else.
“Having been to Disney World, Universal Resorts, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and even Alton Towers two years ago… how can this theme park claim to be inclusive for people with disabilities when a fully grown adult can only have fun on a teacup ride.”
Daily Star's newsletter brings you the biggest and best stories – sign up today
She pointed out that all rides at Disney World, Universal Studios and Blackpool are accessible so long as the wheelchair user has another party to escort them.
Becky urged the park to improve their accessibility and to educate their staff further about disability awareness.
To Daily Star Online, Alton Towers said: “We are deeply sorry for this incident, which falls well below the high expectations we have for our employees.
The statement continued: “At Alton Towers Resort, we pride ourselves on being an inclusive resort and we really value the feedback that Hannah and Becky have sent to us, and also in the video that they have taken time to create.
“We have certainly listened and we want to do better – particularly in the area of staff training and the way we communicate ride restrictions to guests with disabilities.
“We have invited Hannah and Becky back to discuss the changes we can make, and we look forward to showing them how committed we are to making sure that their experience is not repeated.”
They added that some health and safety rules are set by the manufacturers of certain thrill rides and not by the park itself.
Source: Read Full Article