Guide for guests with a disability

To ensure that our Ride Access Pass is able to provide the best service possible for all our adventurers in 2019, we’re in the process of making some changes which will make registration even easier, and our pass even more effective.

Please check this page closer to your visit to download our Attraction Guide for the 2019 season, with details of which rides are suitable for you and your group, as well as the full terms of the Ride Access Pass.

Additionally, you will shortly be able to register for a disabled access registration card, which will last 24 months from the date of issue, allowing you to collect a Ride Access Pass each time you visit. Completing this registration in advance of your visit will ensure the shortest wait possible when you arrive at the Resort.

To prepare for your registration, please ensure that you have one of the following documents (dated within the last 24 months):

  • A certified NHS Letter from your doctor or consultant clearly stating why you are eligible for the policy (dated within last 2 years)
  • A letter from a professional body (e.g Nurse, Bupa Healthcare Advisor) clearly stating why you are eligible for the policy (dated within last 2 years)
  • A DLA, DWP or PIP letter stating you are entitled to higher rate mobility allowance – please note we will only accept higher rate mobility allowance for a Ride Access Pass, no other letters will be accepted (dated within last 2 years).
  • A blue badge along with an additional form of photographic identification

Planning

Buying Tickets & Entering the Park

  • Guests able to provide evidence of their disability (e.g. blue/orange badge or similar) will be entitled to bring a helper free of charge (please present your ticket and disabled proof to the member of staff at our turnstiles gates to receive your free helper ticket). In addition an extra helper can enter at a reduced rate.
  • If you need help to buy your ticket, an Admissions host will be happy to assist.
  • Wheelchair-users should use the gates to the far left and right at the turnstiles.

On the day

On the day

Parking

  • If you’re arriving by car or minibus, please use either the Lodge Gate or Explorer Gate Car Park, where attendants are on hand to direct you to dedicated parking spaces.
  • In the Lodge Gate Car Park this will be the top row, near the Admissions area.
  • In the Explorer Gate Car Park it will be at the top near the Explorer Gate Admissions area.
  • To use these parking spaces, you must display a valid blue badge in your vehicle. Car parking costs just £3 per car, per day.

Important Ride Access Pass Information

Ride Access Passes are reserved for adventurers who do not understand the concept of queuing; have difficulties with everyday social interaction; have a limited capacity to follow instruction or to understand others’ emotional feelings or expressions, and may become agitated or distressed having to wait for extended periods of time; and permanently non-ambulant guests.

Having a registered disability does not mean you automatically receive a Ride Access Pass.

To apply for a Ride Access Pass, on the day of your adventure you will need to bring one of the following:

  1. A certified NHS letter from your doctor or consultant clearly stating why you are eligible for the policy (dated within last 2 years)
  2. A letter or statement from a professional body (e.g. a Nurse or a BUPA Healthcare Advisor) clearly stating why you are eligible for the policy (dated within last 2 years)
  3. A DLA, DWP or PIP letter stating you are entitled to higher rate mobility allowance - please note, we will only accept higher rate mobility allowance for a Ride Access Pass, no other letters will be accepted (dated within last 2 years)
  4. A blue badge along with an additional form of photographic identification

You will also need one companion who is happy to use the rides and attractions with the holder of the Ride Access Pass (must be over the age of 14 to offer assistance)

Ride Access System

  • Adventurers who qualify will be issued with a Ride Access Pass by the team at Guest Help and Information
  • All Adventurers will be required to sign terms and conditions to confirm they understand the policy and how to use it
  • Once issued with a pass, Adventurers will be given an initial ten tokens to use on any attractions of their choosing, and can collect more if needed.
  • Adventurers are required to present their pass at the designated disabled access point as listed in the Accessibility Guide
  • Once at an attraction, the Attraction Host will cross through one token.
  • When going onto the ride, Adventurers will be given a time for their next ride, which will correlate to the length of the main queue for that ride, placing them in a 'virtual queue’
  • This process will be repeated at each of the rides and the ‘virtual queue’ will reflect that of the main queue system.

Each attraction visited will require one token. Only one pass will be issued to each eligible disabled Adventurer per day and lost or damaged passes will not be replaced under any circumstances.

Please note that a maximum of three companions (companions can be interchanged throughout the day) can accompany a disabled Adventurer on to our rides and attractions via the access procedure stated above. Height, size and other safety restrictions also apply - these are displayed on the Park Map and on signage at the rides and should be read in conjunction with the Accessibility Guide.

Ride access with casts, air boot or splint

Unfortunately as a health & safety requirement adventurers with a cast, air boot or splint will be unable to experience some of our attractions. For full details please click here.

Annual Pass

Adventurers with a disability can obtain a transferable helper’s Annual Pass. To find out more, please visit the Merlin Annual Pass Hub in Mexicana.

First Aid Centre

This is located in Forbidden Kingdom close to Rameses Revenge. The First Aid team caters for a number of special needs, including the cold storage of medicines and wheelchair hire.

Wheelchair Hire

Wheelchair hire is available from Adventure Point Gift Shop and is charged at £10 per day, plus a £50 fully refundable pre-authorisation on a credit or debit card. Registered disabled guests with documented proof may hire a wheelchair free of charge, but a £50 pre-authorisation will still apply - please speak to a member of staff on your visit for more information.

The number of wheelchairs we hold is limited, and we cannot guarantee their availability. Please note wheelchair loss or damage may result in a charge. Failure to return the wheelchair will result in a charge of £185.

Toilets

Toilets with disabled access are available throughout the Park and you’ll find their locations marked on the Park Map.

Disabled Changing Places Toilet

Our Changing Places Toilet is located in Wild Woods with a height adjustable changing bench, shower, toilet and a hoist.  To access please use a RADAR key, or speak to a member of staff.

Guest Help and Information

Located in Adventure Point, this should be your first port of call. The Guest Help and Information team can offer advice on ride access and restrictions, issue ride access wristbands and passes (conditions apply) and provide further information on facilities for adventurers with a disability. Guest Help and Information can also check Adventurers’ heights to confirm which rides you can go on.

Restaurants & Shops

If you need assistance when visiting any of our shops or restaurants, you’ll find hosts on hand who will be happy to help.

Helpers & Safety

Helpers / Companions

  • For safety reasons, the number of people with disabilities allowed on certain rides at any one time may be limited. Parties may be divided into smaller groups and there could be a wait before boarding.
  • In certain situations (such as extreme weather conditions, mechanical problems or power interruptions) it may be necessary for adventurers to be evacuated from a ride, possibly from the highest point.
  • For safety reasons, adventurers with a disability must be accompanied on to rides by at least one helper over the age of 14, unless otherwise stated. Helpers will not be issued with a Ride Access Pass wristband but must come to Guest Help and Information with their disabled companion when registering for a Ride Access Pass.
  • To qualify for a Ride Access Pass, ambulant Adventurers must have at least one carer over the age of 14. Adventurers who are unable to walk unaided must be accompanied by a minimum of one helper over the age of 14 on rides that involve a complex evacuation procedure. Please note that some ride evacuation procedures mean they are not suitable for adventurers unable to walk unaided and these are shown in the downloadable Accessibility Guide.
  • Helpers accompanying a disabled companion on to rides must sit in the same carriage, boat, seat or row, and they must be able to assist with loading and off-loading (including transfer to and from wheelchairs). Our ride hosts will provide instruction but, for everyone’s safety, they cannot help with lifting.
  • Helpers must be able to communicate safety restrictions and messages and assist with any emergency or evacuation procedure, which may involve lifting and transferring their disabled companion from a ride into an evacuation chair or harness at high level.
  • Disabled Adventurers may be accompanied by a maximum of three companions at any one time.

Ride Safety

  • For your comfort and safety, please note that the information shown here is in addition to the general ride restrictions that apply to all adventurers. These are shown at the entrance to each ride and it is the responsibility of all adventurers to check these before deciding to ride.
  • Several rides are unsuitable for adventurers with heart, neck, or back conditions, or expectant mothers, and we strongly recommend that anyone having undergone recent surgery or having been subject to an injury does not board these attractions.
  • On many of our rides, adventurers must be capable of bracing themselves in an upright position and these are shown in the downloadable Accessibility Guide.
  • On all rides, adventurers are required to keep arms and legs inside the carriage, boat, or gondola and remain seated at all times.
  • As well as complying with all ride restrictions, it’s a good idea to watch our rides in motion before deciding to board.

FAQ

FAQs

What is a Ride Access Pass?

Ride Access Passes may be used by eligible adventurers to access rides via the ride exit or dedicated entrance during their day. The special access is intended to provide a reduced wait time compared to the standard queue line although this cannot always be guaranteed. Each pass allows up to three people to benefit from this special access and use of a ‘virtual queue’ if they are visiting the Resort with the disabled Adventurer.

This of course does not limit the guests from enjoying any of the other shows and other activities on the Resort as many times as they choose, including any of the rides by joining the standard queue lines which on a quiet day in any case will offer speedy trouble free access.

Please note that having a registered disability does not automatically guarantee receiving a Ride Access Pass. We reserve the right to make changes to, or withdraw, the Ride Access Pass without prior notice.

Who is eligible?

Ride Access Passes are reserved for Adventurers who do not understand the concept of queueing; have difficulties with everyday social interaction; have a limited capacity to follow instruction or to understand others’ emotional feelings or expressions, and may become agitated or distressed having to wait for extended periods of time; have a physical disability that prevents them standing for extended periods of time and permanently non-ambulant guests.

Please note that having a registered disability does not mean you automatically receive a Ride Access Pass.

An application for a Ride Access Pass is made at Guest Help & Information. Documentation is required to support all applications and staff reserves the right to refuse a Pass to anyone who does not show appropriate documentation.

What are the accepted forms of documentation?

If you require a Ride Access Pass you will need to provide one of the following forms of documentation:

    • A certified NHS Letter from your doctor or consultant clearly stating why you are eligible for the policy (dated within last 2 years)
    • A letter from a professional body (e.g Nurse, Bupa Healthcare Advisor) clearly stating why you are eligible for the policy (dated within last 2 years)
    • A DLA, DWP or PIP letter stating you are entitled to higher rate mobility allowance – please note we will only accept higher rate mobility allowance for a Ride Access Pass, no other letters will be accepted (dated within last 2 years).
    • A blue badge along with an additional form of photographic identification

The decision as to what evidence is suitable rests with the Resort staff. If in doubt please contact the Guest Experience Team in advance.

Do I need to bring my documents to each Merlin Entertainments attraction?

No. If you take your documents to one of the following sites:

    • THORPE PARK Resort
    • Chessington World of Adventures Resort
    • Alton Towers Resort

Then you will be registered at each of the above sites. They will issue you a reference number to keep somewhere safe, please bring this with you on each visit to enable us to find your record quickly. When you attend each site for the first time, you will be required to accept the terms and conditions of each site, as they are unique to each attraction. This will be your chance to discuss with the Guest Services team what rides are suitable for your circumstances, and how their Ride Access Pass (RAP) works at their attraction.

Why do I need to bring my documents each year?

Many conditions change each year, and our staff are not medically trained to know each individuals requirements to enable them to get the best out of their visit to our attractions.

How many passes am I entitled to?

Each eligible adventurer is entitled to receive one Ride Access Pass per day, for use on that day only.

What happens if I have lost or damaged my pass?

Unfortunately lost or damaged passes will not be replaced under any circumstances.

Where do I collect my pass?

Adventurers who qualify for the Ride Access Pass should go to Guest Help and Information in Adventure Point.

How does the Ride Access Pass work?

  • Adventurers who qualify will be issued with a Ride Access Pass by the team at Guest Help and Information
  • All Adventurers will be required to sign terms and conditions to confirm they understand the policy and how to use it
  • Once issued with a pass, Adventurers will be given an initial ten tokens to use on any attractions of their choosing, and can collect more if needed.
  • Adventurers are required to present their pass at the designated disabled access point as listed in the Accessibility Guide
  • Once at an attraction, the Attraction Host will cross through one token.
  • When going onto the ride, Adventurers will be given a time for their next ride, which will correlate to the length of the main queue for that ride, placing them in a 'virtual queue’
  • This process will be repeated at each of the rides and the ‘virtual queue’ will reflect that of the main queue system.

Each attraction visited will require one token. Only one pass will be issued to each eligible disabled Adventurer per day and lost or damaged passes will not be replaced under any circumstances.

Please note that a maximum of three companions (companions can be interchanged throughout the day) can accompany a disabled Adventurer on to our rides and attractions via the access procedure stated above. Height, size and other safety restrictions also apply - these are displayed on the Park Map and on signage at the rides and should be read in conjunction with the Accessibility Guide.

How many carers can I have?

Following a review of our procedures, we have decided that at THORPE PARK Resort, Chessington World of Adventures Resort and Alton Towers Resort, that each person will be able to have up to three carers with them when using the Ride Access Pass.

 


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