Disabled girl barred from theme park rides

Posted Thursday, July 21, 2005 10:33 AM | Contributed by supermandl

An 8-year-old girl with no legs was denied access to even kiddy rides at Busch Gardens Tampa. The park says it was adhering to the ride manufacturer's guidelines.

Read more from The St. Petersburg Times.

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Thursday, July 21, 2005 10:43 AM
why is this getting news attention. the girl has no legs, reguardless if she can jump of a diving board. you cannot put a legless person on any ride because if she fell out the park would get sued big time. too much political correctness in this society.
Thursday, July 21, 2005 10:48 AM
Jeff's avatar While I can see the family's point of view, I think I have to side with the park on this one. Yes, she's obviously a great swimmer, but how can the park measure that or make that judgment call? Short of giving her a swimming test, they can't exactly release themselves from liability. I feel bad for the family, because so many rides restrain riders by the legs.
Thursday, July 21, 2005 10:50 AM
How is this news? You can't ride a ride if there's no safe way for you to be strapped into it. Cedar Point has the same policy. If a person has no legs they are not permitted to ride any of the coasters. Not sure about the car rides and flat rides though.

The reason isn't always about being able to be restrained either, it has to do with their ability to evacuate a lift if there was a mechanical E-stop. It's not safe for someone to have to piggy-back while they are walked down the stairs. This is also why CP requires people to take their shoes with them onto the Thunder Canyon because the lift catwalks have sharp metal edges that stick up and are meant to create friction with your shoes so you don't slip even if your shoes are wet. But that same effect isn't so fun when you are barefoot walking down the same surface. It's understandable why people are upset about not being able to do certain things at parks, but if they were explained the safety situation about walk-downs I'm sure they would be more understanding.

The situation with the girl sucks, but there's not much the parks can do about it since the ride manufacturers dictate who can and can't ride because of certain disabilities.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 11:49 AM
Ok, she can swim. That's all well and good, however, ride manufacturers design their rides and put in their own guidelines. If someone cannot safely ride, there should be no argument about it. It is a shame, however it is impossible and/or impractical to design rides that can accommodate everyone who walks through the front gates. If anything, this mother should be thanking the park for not putting her daughter in any danger. Let's say the park did let her on and she is injured or even killed. What do you think would happen?!, she would sue the park and ride manufacturers for letting her daughter on the ride. She should also be grateful the park even refunded her money. For parents who claim to care about their kids, they sure are able to act like children as well as they complain.
Thursday, July 21, 2005 12:24 PM
Gemini's avatar How in the world can you gather that the parent here was acting like a child?

If a ride requires legs as a bracing extremity, then there's not much you can do. However, if the ride in question was something like a Hampton kiddy circular, I'd have a problem with that. Doesn't sound like that's the case here, though.

It does appear that there would have been no problem if she had brought her artificial legs from home.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 12:40 PM
Scenario 1:
Disabled girl boards ride. Girl is injured or killed because the restraints were not designed for a person without legs. The park gets sued, is negligent, and never should have allowed the girl to ride. Safety was not the park's first concern.

Scenario 2:
Park strictly follows the ride manufacturer's guidelines to insure safety and prevent accidents from occuring. Park discriminates, is uncaccomidating, etc. Everybody should boycott the park in protest.

Can parks ever win when it comes to these issues? I understand where the family is coming from, but I gotta believe the park is looking out for the best interests of both themselves and the safety of others. On a side note, it's refreshing to see this young girl take the cards she's been dealt and make the best of it (with the olympic swimming and all).

Thursday, July 21, 2005 12:46 PM
^ Edit (since apparently I can't edit my post above):

I think the parents should let this one go. The park refunded their money, what else do you want them to do?

Thursday, July 21, 2005 12:59 PM
matt.'s avatar She needs to have at least 3 limbs at most parks, I believe. 2 arms and a leg, or one leg and 2 arms. Its sad but you can't blame the park.
Thursday, July 21, 2005 1:13 PM
You just said the same thing lol. You just worded it different:). I think that the parents should just drop it. I mean all the park was doing was insuring the safety of its guest, even if that meant not allowing her to ride.
Thursday, July 21, 2005 1:24 PM
"I think the parents should let this one go. The park refunded their money, what else do you want them to do?"

I couldn't agree more.

It just blows my mind that parents these days will parade their little girl around so they can pick up a big, fat, easy check. Makes me sick.

What's wrong with this world?

Thursday, July 21, 2005 1:37 PM

Goliath Freak said:
It is a shame, however it is impossible and/or impractical to design rides that can accommodate everyone who walks through the front gates.

I couldn't help but notice the irony because the girl DIDN'T walk through the gates, she rolled.

While it is unfortunate that she can't ride, it is understandable why they wouldn't let her. At the very least, she knows to bring her legs with her next time. Also, I'm rather suprised that the ACLU hasn't jumped all over this and butted in.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 1:44 PM
If the ride manufactorer says you need three extermities, then that's the rules. Parks will not make exceptions, knowing what it is like in the world today. People will sue over the dumbest things.

The parent in question could have called the park before hand to see if there was anything she could herself to make it a better experience. Honestly, if the park refunded her money, it should be dropped. The park was nice enough to do so, and they didn't have to.

I feel bad for this little girl, she has had to deal with so many things happening to her at such a young age, but if she didn't have a prosthesis, then the park did right.

Most parks now have rules posted on websites about being able to ride, for example Kennywood. I think it's a great thing, it's posted and people can read and call the park for anymore questions.



Thursday, July 21, 2005 1:48 PM
Jeff's avatar Some of you need to relax a little. No one said anything about suing anyone.
Thursday, July 21, 2005 1:56 PM
I would rather be a park owner taking the risk of a short-term boycott and negative publicity, then be a park owner paying a family a mutimillion dollar settlement. I empathize with the girl and her parents, but I have to applaud the staff and management team of the park on this one.
Thursday, July 21, 2005 1:57 PM
coasterqueenTRN's avatar I feel bad for the little girl as well, and I agree her mother SHOULD have called the park ahead of time just to make sure what she could or could not ride. It's the mom's responsibility and she have noboby to blame but herself.

The park refunded their money which I thought was a nice gesture.

Parks have rules for safety and I see no wrongdoing on their part. Having her wear a "Boycott BGT" piece of paper is just wrong. I am surprised the ACLU hasn't jumped on this as well.

The reason why it's "news" is because the press LOVE stories like this.

How many times have you seen parents fuss at ride ops because their kid wasn't tall enough to ride a coaster? They were obviously more concerned with getting their kid on the ride than their safety. I know it's not the same and I feel terrible that the girl had to go through that. The mom just needs to drop it and in the future CALL the parks beforehand so her daughter will not be disappointed like that again.


*** This post was edited by coasterqueenTRN 7/21/2005 2:07:58 PM ***

Thursday, July 21, 2005 2:20 PM
Cedar Point also has a rider's guide that explains what rides are ok for which disabilities. It lets you know if the ride requires 3 bracing extremities, 1 leg + 1 arm, etc....

Sounds like handing this information out to this group would have helped a lot.

Rider's Guide, go to pg. 31-32 to see what I mean
*** This post was edited by Blaster_1578 7/21/2005 2:28:08 PM ***

Thursday, July 21, 2005 2:41 PM

I know it's not the same and I feel terrible that the girl had to go through that. The mom just needs to drop it and in the future CALL the parks beforehand so her daughter will not be disappointed like that again.

Any parent that puts their 8 yeard old daughter outside a park holding a sign is disgusting in my opinion.

I feel bad for the kid too...it's not her fault, but sometimes people just need to suck it up and go home. Heck, they got free tickets for not understanding the rules! We can't make exceptions for every little incident...because, THAT, would be ridiculous.
*** This post was edited by InversionMike 7/21/2005 2:43:23 PM ***

Thursday, July 21, 2005 3:49 PM
Gemini's avatar I bet the parents had her legs removed just so they could get a free ticket!!11!

I understand both sides, but you guys are starting to sound silly (and angry).

Thursday, July 21, 2005 6:07 PM
The park is really right in this case - what can be learned though is that it's probably a nice touch if the designers and maintainers of a park put a couple of rides in there that can be ridden without legs or with other handicaps.
There should be a lot of flat rides that are probably safe for people without legs - gravitrons, the good old enterprise... and then there's also log flumes that don't constrain the riders at all.
I also remember Jet Star 2 not having any seatbelts either... or is my memory fooling me?
There are some options for park to accomodate also more hanficapped guests I think - maybe it's good a case like this comes up because it raises the issue a little bit.

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