I came away from Alton Towers in September rather disappointed with the hotel (read yesterday’s post if you missed it: http://theadventuresofwheelchairboy.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/merlin-is-not-magic.html) but couldn’t get enough of the rides, which is what thrill seekers like myself visit theme parks for. Going on rollercoasters left me wanting more and gives a feeling similar to the one after I completed my skydive in 2010. So when I heard Fright Night at Thorpe Park being advertised on the radio, I was desperate to attend what was bound to be a thrilling day/evening. However, my life never goes according to the script and as per usual, this ‘adventure’ didn’t turn out as I had hoped…to put it mildly.
My brother, personal assistant (it’s the posh name I like to give for my carer) and I arrived at Thorpe Park bursting with excitement at the prospect of going on all the rides. All three of us were like little kids on Christmas morning. That bubble was soon burst. We collected the tickets at the front and got my special access wristband from Guest Services in the park. Everything was fine. Until I was told in no uncertain terms by the people at THE SWARM that I wouldn’t be allowed on this and the other main coasters because I can’t walk. Yes. You read it correct. For health and safety reasons, all riders had to be able to walk unaided.
As you can imagine, I was fuming and frothing at the mouth with venom so marched over (not literally of course) to the Guest Services department. A man greeted me casually, thinking I was a little; pathetic Wheelchair Boy so was visibly surprised when he discovered that I could argue. He explained to my dismay that I would not be able to get on the main attractions such as Nemesis, Stealth and SAW: The Ride but would be able to get on some less exciting rides. I thought this was some kind of sick joke and had numerous problems with what the man was telling me.
These rollercoasters are the headline acts if you like and if they weren’t there, people wouldn’t visit. I wouldn’t have booked up to go to Thorpe Park if I was made aware upon booking that the main rides were off limits to disabled customers. Yet I bought tickets under false pretences. My second point is that I was allowed on all the rides at Alton Towers (owned by the Merlin group), which is supposed to be a sister theme park. Why are the rules different? Especially when Nemesis can be found on both sites. With all the talk of health and safety, what would’ve happened if Oblivion had broke down for example.
My points weren’t accepted and to shut me up, I was offered complimentary tickets to Madame Tussauds. Being the naïve mug that I am, I accepted them, which I regret accepting in hindsight. Why? My sister phoned up the next day to air her disgust at my treatment and they told her that the case had been resolved. I feel so stupid but you live and learn. I shouldn’t be bought off so easily and my readers should stay away from Thorpe Park and the hotels at Alton Towers. If you want a thrill but don’t want to line the pockets of money grabbing corporations such as Merlin Entertainment, book a skydive or a prostitute (I’ve only done one of those things, promise).
Bye for now!