Amusement parks can be enjoyable for everyone, no matter their physical or mental condition. Rides move in wildly different ways. What makes them fun, becomes the reason each one must have its own ride policy for disabled guests. These rules ensure the consistent function of the safety restraints for each rider.
Most amusement parks, provide a safety sheet with a summary of restrictions and limitations. (You can download the Kings Island’s Guest Assistance Guide as an example.) Guests and ride operators refer to this list as the rules for determining if a person can ride. The safety restraints are part of the ride’s engineering. Each ride has its own seat design and different forces it puts on riders.
The Green Sheet
Guests with disabilities should stop by Guest Services by the front gate to determine which rides they can ride. The “Green Sheet Boarding Pass” is a special piece of paper they give you. An area manager, or a head supervisor, helps list which rides the guest can’t ride. After the evaluation, more rider information gets written on the back of the sheet:
- The guest’s name
- How long they need to wait
- How many in their party can ride with them
The operator, at each ride, writes what time the guest should return. This becomes their equivalent wait time, had they been able to wait in the main queue. They can stay near the exit or explore the park. But during this wait time, they can’t ride another ride. That wouldn’t be fair to other riders. If they try, they will forfeit their spot. If the ride line is short, the time they can return may arrive quickly.
Disabled guests able to ride, usually get the same choice of seating as everyone else. Crowds are often heavy on popular rides and no riders get to pick their own seat. Other times riders can choose seats. This option is extended to disabled riders, as well. To accommodate a green sheet-holding rider, a ride operator may ask riders to unexpectedly wait a turn.
Most of the time guests don’t mind where they sit, they just want to ride. This may be the first and only opportunity for this individual and their family.
The Parent Swap
The Parent Swap follows a process like the green sheet. This offers a way for parents with small children to enjoy thrill rides. One parent waits in the regular line. The other adult watches the child. After the first ride is over, they switch. The second adult gets to jump on the ride in an empty seat. Passes to do Parent Swap, can be found at Guests Services. Compared to the green sheet, these are very easy to complete.
We want to thank Timothy Hammond, a member of the Park Hacks community, for reviewing this article and confirming that it is accurate and helpful. He has experience using the green sheet system. We appreciate him helping to make sure we got this post right!
If you have tips or your own experience relating to this topic, please share them in the comments. Remember, this a short description of the current park procedure at one specific park. A ride policy for disabled guests can change at any time.
Photo credit: Photo of a wheelchair – CC0 Public Domain