Amusement Park Faces Backlash Over Disability Access
A change to the way one amusement park accommodates visitors with disabilities is angering some families who say their kids are no longer able to enjoy a place that’s supposed to be fun.
Until recently, Kings Island in Mason, Ohio allowed visitors with disabilities to enter rides from an alternate entrance, largely bypassing any lines. But this summer, the park began requiring those with special needs to instead sign up for a boarding time, which takes into account the wait times other park goers experience, and return to the ride when it’s their turn.
The policy is proving frustrating to some families of those with autism who told the Cincinnati Inquirer that waiting — whether in line or not — can trigger a meltdown. One father said his 20-year-old son with autism began biting his hand and “lashing out” when he learned he would have to wait to board a ride. Another dad said his daughter with the developmental disorder started kicking and screaming.
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Officials at the Autism Society, however, told the newspaper that the group supports the boarding pass approach, indicating that they don’t expect preferential treatment.
Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., which owns Kings Island and 10 other amusement parks, said the policy offering “equal access” is not new, but may not have been enforced uniformly.