Providing Accessible Service in Amusement Parks


Under the Customer Service Standards of the AODA, service providers must make their goods, services, and facilities accessible to customers with disabilities. Our last article outlined accessible information in amusement parks. In this article, we cover best practices for accessible service in amusement parks. In particular, we look at how staff can find ways to make their premises welcoming to clients who need accessible features that an amusement park does not have yet.

Providing Accessible Service in Amusement Parks

Service Animals, Support Persons,  and Assistive Devices

Parks must welcome all guests who enter with assistive devices, support persons, or service animals. If parks choose to waive or reduce fees for support-person tickets, they should advertise this pricing. Service animals are legally permitted in all areas open to the public, including dining areas. Park staff and websites should alert guests to the locations of all nearby service animal relief areas.

Structural Features

If parks have any accessible structural features, staff should know what and where they are. For example, staff should know where guests can find accessible parking, entrances, and washrooms.

Staff Assistance

Furthermore, parks must train their staff to interact with guests who have disabilities. Training should show staff how to help guests access their services if their grounds or buildings lack the features those guests need. Staff should understand how to communicate with guests, both in person and remotely.

In addition, staff members should be available to greet guests and ask if they need any assistance. In this way, they can make guests aware that they are willing to provide services if their parks lack certain amenities. For instance, if guests cannot read signs, staff should be able to direct them to the areas or attractions they want to reach.

Similarly, staff should know which kinds of assistive devices guests can bring with them on rides. For example, staff should know whether a guest can ride with their own:

  • Wheelchair
  • Scooter
  • Walker
  • Crutches
  • Cane

If a guest cannot ride with their own device, staff should know whether a guest can:

  • Approach the ride with the device but ride without it
  • Transfer from large devices into on-site devices or ride seats

Staff should also return riders’ devices to them as soon as possible. For instance, riders who entered a ride using a device may need to have the device back in order to exit the ride. Some guests might bring a support person to help them perform any or all of these tasks. However, parks should not require that a guest has a support person with them.

Accessible Format Awareness

When parks offer accessible versions of hard-copy print, such as pamphlets, guides, maps, or other documents, staff need to be aware of:

  • What information is available in what format(s)
  • Where hard copies are kept 
  • Whether hard-copy Braille or large print versions can be created upon request
  • How clients can find web versions
  • Whether alternate-format versions are up-to-date

Staff should know the differences between a current printed version of a document and the version a guest can read. For example, staff can keep a printed list of the differences clipped to the Braille version of a document. They can then let the guest know what the differences are.

If a document is not available in any of the formats a guest can use, staff should read the document to the guest. If it is a form, staff should fill it in according to the guest’s directions.

Communication Support Awareness

Similarly, when parks provide communication supports for performances or other interactions, staff should know:

  • What supports are available for what kinds of interaction
  • Where on-site communication devices are stored, and best practices for serving guests using them
  • Whether plain-language versions of documents are available and how to access them
  • How to arrange Sign language interpretation
  • How far in advance arrangements should be made

Accessible service in amusement parks ensures that all guests can have fun with their families and friends.



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Accessible Information in Amusement Parks


Under the Customer Service Standards of the AODA, service providers must make their goods, services, and facilities accessible to customers with disabilities. In our last article, we outlined features that make amusement parks accessible for guests with disabilities. In this article, we will cover best practices for accessible information in amusement parks.

Accessible Information in Amusement Parks

Accessible Websites

Guests can use accessible computers or phones to read websites that follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Therefore, amusement parks should ensure that their websites follow these guidelines. Moreover, they should post as much information as possible about their features, events, and services on their accessible websites. For instance, they should post:

  • What accessible structural features they have, and where these features are located
  • What attractions are accessible for guests using assistive devices
  • Whether they have a system for guests who cannot wait in line to access attractions
  • If on-site restaurants are accessible
  • Whether they offer any equipment for guests to borrow,  accessible-format information about the park, or communication supports for theatrical attractions

Accessible Formats

Parks should provide print information, like pamphlets or guides, in accessible formats. For instance:

  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Online on accessible websites
  • Accessible Word or html files

Staff should tell every guest about all the formats they have information available in. Parks can have a third party produce hard-copy Braille or large-print documents. For example, parks can provide Braille guides or tactile maps for guests to borrow during their visits. In addition, parks can produce versions of hard-copy text in accessible web formats.

Performances

Furthermore, amusement parks can also make theatrical events, such as movies or live performances, accessible. For instance, parks can offer:

  • American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation
  • Closed or open captioning
  • Live description

Moreover, park websites should explain how to access features, equipment, or services. For example:

  • Which performances will be ASL interpreted, captioned, or described
  • Where to pick up and return description headsets or closed-captioning mirrors
  • Whether parks can arrange additional interpreted, captioned, or described performances for groups

Accessible information in amusement parks ensures that all guests have equal opportunities to access services. Our next article will discuss how amusement parks can provide an accessible service experience.



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Accessible Amusement Parks


Under the Customer Service Standards of the AODA, service providers must make their goods, services, and facilities accessible to customers with disabilities. This article will outline accessible customer service for amusement parks. Accessible amusement park attractions ensure that guests of all abilities have a fun and exciting visit.

Accessible Amusement Parks

Parks can welcome guests with assistive devices, like wheelchairs and scooters, when they have accessible structural features. For instance, parks can have:

  • Accessible Parking
  • Ramped or level entrances
  • Automatic doors and wide doorways
  • Lifts or elevators whenever there are stairs
  • Accessible public washrooms and change rooms
  • Wide aisles and paths of travel
  • Visual fire alarms
  • Service counters and line areas that accommodate customers using mobility devices

Furthermore, park restaurants should make their menus and services accessible to all guests. In addition, good lighting will help guests who are Deaf communicate visually. Lighting is also important for guests who are visually impaired. Moreover, additional seating may benefit guests with invisible physical disabilities who cannot stand while waiting in long lines or while being served.

Tickets and Other Purchases

Accessible amusement parks should allow guests to purchase tickets in multiple ways, such as:

  • By phone or teletypewriter (TTY)
  • In person
  • Online

If a guest finds one way of buying tickets inaccessible, they should be able to buy in another way. In addition, staff should be available to assist guests purchasing from concessions or gift-shops.

Accessible Attractions

Many of the guidelines for buildings also apply to rides. Whenever possible, they should have wide entrances and pathways, ramps, and good lighting. Parks should also have procedures in place so that guests who cannot stand in line to wait for rides and shows can enjoy attractions without lines. For instance, parks can create systems for guests to arrive at attractions at pre-scheduled times. In this way, all guests wait their turns, but guests who cannot wait in lines can wait elsewhere.

In addition, park websites should list all the attractions, including rides and shows, that are accessible to guests who use mobility devices. For example, websites should state which attractions guests can access:

  • While seated in personal or rented wheelchairs or scooters
  • While seated in wheelchairs stored at the attraction for guests’ use
  • By transferring from their personal or rented devices to attraction seats
  • By transferring into wheelchairs stored at the attraction, and then transferring into attraction seats

Moreover, websites should list rides that are accessible for riders with:

Parks should also inform guests about any attractions featuring flashing lights or loud noises.

Equipment

Furthermore, parks can offer equipment for guests to use or borrow on-site. For example:

  • Assistive listening systems
  • Teletypewriters (TTYs) at pay-phone locations
  • Wheelchairs
  • Scooters

Park websites should also provide detailed information about how to access this equipment. For instance, websites should explain:

  • Whether equipment is first-come-first-serve
  • Whether guests can book equipment in advance
  • Whom to contact
  • Whether a deposit is needed, and how much it is
  • Where guests can pick up the equipment

Emergencies

Parks should have policies describing how they will arrange to accommodate guests who need assistance evacuating during emergencies.

Contact Information

Finally, parks should provide multiple contact methods for guests to get in touch with them, including:

  • Phone and teletypewriter (TTY) numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Accessible websites, including contact forms and methods for booking visits

In addition, park websites should provide detailed descriptions and pictures of all their amenities and accessible features. These details will help potential guests find out if a park’s rides or events will be accessible for them.

Our next article will cover accessible information in amusement parks.



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