Dreamland Margate : Give disabled people the access they need with Front of Queue passes
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Do you believe all children should be able to enjoy a day out at a theme park regardless of disability? We are asking that Dreamland Margate bring back their original Front of Queue policy allowing access to all rides for disabled adults and children.
Front of Queue passes are important for all disabled people. There are various reasons that someone may not be able to stand in a queue for long periods from a physical reason through to those who cannot understand the concept of queuing. They are considered a reasonable adjustment by most UK theme parks and are critical to many to make the park accessible. Before Dreamland's original re-opening in 2015 they advertised that their accessibility policy would include Front of Queue passes to be used on any ride (unless deemed dangerous). This was changed to a Fast Track pass that was in place for two years which allowed disabled guests and their party to name 5 rides of their choice which they would not then need to queue for. Since their refurbishment in May this year Dreamland have now restricted their Fast Track pass to just two rides, the Scenic Railway and the Big wheel - both of which are unsuitable to many younger disabled children.
Read below how Dreamlands new policy stopped my 6 yr old disabled daughter Archer (name changed to protect her identity) from enjoying a day out at Dreamland.
The photo used for this petition is of 6 year old Archer. She enjoys music, the sea and is a dinosaur expert. She is also non verbal autistic and has global development delay and hypermobility. Due to Archer's disabilities she has more difficulties to overcome than an “average” child. She has no verbal communication and mainly relies on body language and basic symbol cards such as “drink”. Imagine the frustration if you could not speak words, type or even point to communicate. She has no danger awareness so we've had to remove anything that is a choking hazard and hold her hand when she's out to avoid her running into the road. She has sensory processing issues which means that she can be oversensitive to certain bright lights, sounds and smells and they can become painful and overwhelming. She can only eat certain food and drink – particular textures can make her gag. The hypermobility in her legs causes her to fall often and means that she cannot stand or walk for a long time and needs assistance walking up and down stairs. These are just a few of the things she has to deal with every day – but given the right accommodations her life is made easier. My husband and I had given our time for free to do some events with Dreamland so we were happy when we received an invite to Dreamland's re-opening this May – as VIP guests no less! We were allowed to bring a +1 each so we checked their access policy (which at the time was Fast Track tickets for 5 rides of your choice) and requested Archer to be our guest, asking if we needed to send in her DLA certificate for the passes. We were told at first that there were no Fast Track passes, then that it would only be for two rides the Big Wheel and Scenic Railway, both of which were completely unsuitable for her. When we pointed to the policy on the website they said this was incorrect and “historically” they only allowed access to the two rides. Having checked their internet history the 5 ride policy had been in place for two years! Never has it been that it was limited to two rides as their previous policy was Front of Queue passes for all rides. Since I complained to them they have now updated their website to state fast track is for the Scenic Railway and Big Wheel only. So we had to cancel going. There was no way that Archer could deal with the queuing both physically and mentally and we were not going to inflict that on her.
Since my complaint and their refurbishment in May 2017 Dreamland have implied a new accessibility policy. They will now only issue Fast Track passes (their alternative to Front of Queue passes) for two rides, the Big Wheel and the Scenic Railway. Their emails to me have been a list of changing excuses and misinformation.
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