Does a theme park owe you anything if you're left stuck on its rides?
The row over a disabled man suing Disneyland because he was stuck on the park's It's a Small World ride for 40 minutes prompts me to ask: What is fair compensation for being stuck on a theme park ride?
Before we get to that question, allow me to point out that the man is not suing because he got stuck on the ride. He's suing because he said that it took Disneyland 40 minutes to evacuate him, while persons without disabilities were taken off the ride much sooner. Federal law prohibits discrimination against the disabled, and making persons with disabilities wait significantly longer to get off a ride could qualify as a violation of the law. A jury will hear the facts then decide, unless the man and Disneyland reach a settlement first.
But what if you were stuck on It's a Small World, or some other theme park ride, for 40 minutes or more? What would you consider appropriate compensation for that inconvenience? Some folks might shrug it off and go on with their day. Others might consider listening to the Small World theme for 40 minutes a violation of anti-torture provisions in the Geneva Convention.
I'll kick off the discussion by saying that I do believe that people who are stuck on a ride for a significant amount of time are due something in return. If they didn't get to experience the ride in full before being taken off, at the very least, they should get a return pass to ride later in the day without having to wait again.
And if they get evacuated from a ride, I say they're owed at least a quick backstage tour on the way out. Don't pretend that we're not looking around. Ride ops should be friendly and accommodating, answering questions and explaining what's happening as they escort their guests from the ride. (A friendly attitude from park employees almost always turns potential complaints into compliments.)
But what about beyond that? How long would you think someone would have to be stuck in a ride to deserve a comp ticket or refund, in exchange for the day that was compromised by the long wait on the ride? How long would someone have to be stuck to deserve a comp day and a refund? Cash? Food? Accommodations? Are they ever justified as compensation for being stuck on a ride? I'm not talking about being injured - just being stuck.
Let's hear your personal experiences, and nightmare hypotheticals, in the comments. (FWIW, I don't think it's worth commenting specifically on the Disneyland case, since he's claiming discrimination, not a long wait time.)
A one-time exit pass/line skip for members of the group effected is enough for me. I'd only be 'stuck' in another queue anyway during that time.
We went on Big Thunder Mountain and it broke down. The cast members cleared the ride within 15 minutes. We got a line pass for a ride for our party. Next time I'm say I'm alone.
Back when I experience an evac off Pirates at Disneyland, I ran into other guests later in the day talking about the experience. For me, I was in the burning town section, taken off the ride, and returned to the park within 20 minutes of the first announcement about the breakdown.
I would say over an hour would need higher compensation.
I'm going to write more about ride evacuations (yeah, I know, "
I think it really depends on how long you were stuck on the ride. And even then a simple re-ride or "fastpass" to another attraction should be sufficient. Admission tickets clearly state, along the lines, that Disneyland is not responsible for attraction downtimes and that they are not required to makeup for any lost time. But to keep people happy they usually do. As they should! People pay a great deal of money to make these "magical" memories.
I was stuck on the lift hill on X-Flight (Geauga Lake and Wildwater Kingdom) in 2005. (Some of you will know this coaster as Firehawk now located at King's Island.) Unlike the more common flying coaster trains by B&M (used on Manta, Tatsu, and Superman: Ultimate Flight) which are mechanical in operation, these trains use an extremely complicated mechanism, with on-board power and electronics. Something trips - you stop. Whatever caused the train to stop - once stopped could only be checked/restarted by an engineer. The physical orientation of the coaster at Geauga Lake meant you were likely staring straight at the sun, tilted back, and pretty much unable to move.
It depends on length of stay on ride. I think almost immediately you should be offered a re-ride and, ideally, a front of line pass for one ride. Depending on time, it should mean you get more of these passes. Another days entry means a lot more money going towards the theme park in the end, unless you are from a very local area.
I agree with Robert, only a quick backstage tour plus a re-ride (or re-admittance to another ride) should be given unless the guests are injured during said "technical difficulties." As for the suit against Disney, they didn't discriminate against the handicap rider unless they specifically didn't unload him because he was handicap (which I doubt would ever be the case). If a handicap person happens to be in the last car unloaded, that's just because that car/boat/train was the last one to be evacuated according to protocol. No discrimination in my mind. Some people expect way too much. I would rather the ride shut down if something is wrong rather that it continue and possibly injure me or other guests/employees.
I was stuck in "E.T." just after the flying scene. It stopped like for 5 minutes, and then the ride started again but without sound. It would have been fair if they had let me ride it a second time in a row.
I feel that if you are stuck on a ride anywhere between a minute to five minutes u don't deserve anything in return. I think if it is anywhere from 20-40 minutes they should get a free fastpass or whatever they call it at the themepark that they are at. But anywhere from a 1 hour to whatever time you deserve a refund or return ticket.
Disney is usually very good about rerides. We went on the Haunted Mansion (for the billionth time) and the speakers were on the fritz in our doom buggy. No big deal since we could almost say the entire thing verbatum. Anyway, the cast member at unload heard the speaker mess up on the "I will lift the bar for you" line and he looked at us and said "no no, come with me, you guys are riding this again on a better doom buggy. It kinda made my day.
When did our society get to the point that because you are inconvenienced you must be compensated. Would it be the same story if a ride failed to stop during an emergency and because of that someone got seriously hurt or killed? People would be up in arms asking why wasn't safety precautions made? They should have shut down the ride before someone got hurt.
They say time is money. You waste my time, you reduce the value of the product you sold me (the theme park ticket).
In my opinion, it depends on what the situation was. one time, me and my uncle went on Forbidden Journey and the first time it broke down, it was out for a good 10 minutes. then it started back up again. it turns out someone threw up and they were just cleaning it up i mean if its something like that then thats fine, it was a pretty cool experience anyways.
that idiot just want money I guess.....disabled people should not come to theme parks anyway, they are just a roadblock!
See in most ski areas if U get stuck on the Lift on the way up the mountain htye give U a pass to come back for a FREE day of sking. themeparks should do the same if U are stuck for a long period of time. It is definetly drastic to say they should pay for my hotel but the least they could do is give U a free day back at the park with a cut the line pass to ride that ride
It would depending entirely on how long your stuck on any attraction or ride. I've been in that situation many times, the most memorable was the last year Horizons was open. We where stuck there for over an hour before they got around to evacuating us, which was highly unpleasant. Nothing was offered, no one said a word or even told us what happened until 40 minutes into just sitting there. At one point we even wondered if anyone was working the ride that night, we'd complained and got brushed off completely by management. So in this case, yes we should have at least gotten an explanation well before 40 minutes (Not even an automated spiel happened). As for getting something? Yeah it would be nice but with any park I don't really expect or have much hope for great bounds in customer service.
i can attest to reaction times of theme park employees. twice me and my family was stuck listening to spaceship earth messages over and over. when we were "rescued" they gave us passes to bypass the line line. (but honestly only ride it about once a trip for the memories and after that fr the free AC). our second incident was with the elen degeneres ride (lame!). the ride just stopped because of a power outage and we were escorted out without any sort of pass or t shirt or nothing. in US, i havent ever been caught on a ride
"But what if you were stuck on It's a Small World, or some other theme park ride, for 40 minutes or more?"
I don't think there can ever be any hard and fast policy for dealing with ride breakdowns and time stuck on the rides. IMHO, a front of the line return pass and maybe a bottle of water on a hot day, plus sincere apologies from park staff should be enough. If the time stuck is extreme, like over an hour then maybe consider comp tickets.
This is very case dependent, but if I was in charge of a park, I would probably use something similar to the following system.
The small world does have wheel chair accessible boats if he was in his chair their is nothing Disney can do for him. If he was not in a wheel chair Disney went with getting more people off then making them wait for one person. Disney should of offered exit clearance, food voucher or another ticket. I was stuck on pirates for over an hour and I got all three of them. I did not know I had a fourth choice to sue. I know he has no use for exit clearance being in a wheelchair and probably has a Annual pass so only food voucher would work.
It wasn't descrimination, it was a practical solution. Why should a boat full of people have to wait for him? It only makes sense to evacuate him after everyone else.
my party got stuck on spiderman for only ten minutes and they let us through a fire door to re-ride about three times it was quiet but that was cool. how does the man know that any of the people don't have a disability just because you can't see it doesn't mean they don't have one i mean i'm totally deaf in my left ear but no one would know that if i didn't tell them.
We was at Walt Disney for our honeymoon when we got in line for Pirates. The boats stopped for about 30 minutes. We was by the section where the drunk pirate says "here kitty kitty". Any other section would have been fine but since we have a cat I about went nuts! But let me pose another question. What about if a park looses power like Kings Island did last year? We were there and all we got was a starlight ticket that was only good till Sept. I paid full price and got a return ticket that I couldn't even use.
Ok need to ask were on the attraction was he stuck? Did the closest exit point have access? for guests with disablities? When I was enployed by WDW there were only a handfull of exit points that you would be able to evac. a guest with special needs. And I do not feel that you should be able to sue, if you do have them. a forty min. wait to get the man off the attraction isnt really that long. id do know that if his boat was not near one of them then he would indeed have to reamin on the attration till his boat was near an exit point. weather it had to be pushed or the ride restarted. I belive the cast members had his safty in mind. And that someone did instruct him of the fact he was no were near the exit point when it broke down. As for compinsation in monies no way. Comp tickets, free food, refund, yea sure thing. But next time flip the ticket it states " By purchasing the holder here by releases WDc from any and all ..and on and on.
It is a personal nightmare of mine to be stuck on It's a Small World. That ride is scary enough, but to be stuck on there for 40 minutes would have made me jump into the water and walk my way out lest I go insane.
This is a tough one..I don't feel that compensation in the form of accommodations or food makes any sense because being stuck on a ride has nothing to do with either of those things.
We were stuck on the Monorail one time for about 45 minutes due to mechanical breakdown. We were out in the middle of the route so not somewhere that we could easily be evacuated. They were able to start it a couple of times and finally limped in to the nearest station. At that point since the mechanical failure seemed to be a complete power failure of the vehicle, they were unable to open the doors and had to pry them open. It was hot inside and a lot of folks needed to use the restroom. Was it uncomfortable? Yes. Was it inconvenient? Yes. Did the CM's do everything humanly possible to get us out in a timely manner? Yes. I think everyone there chalked it up to "stuff happens" and went about the rest of their day. As far as I know, nobody asked for any special compensation for their discomfort.
AJ Hummels lengthy list pretty much sums up my thoughts. For the most part a re-ride/pass should be enough to ease any tension or frustration IMO.
What I've found recently is that the 'squeaky wheel gets the grease', even at Disney. Now in the event of this gentleman, obviously there may have been more of an issue than simply a delay in getting him off, so I won't comment on that.
A thumbs up to Daniel J. Allington's post.
The fear of a ride breakdown is why I will NEVER go on Small World again.
Depends on how long and how uncomfortable. 40 minutes and longer or longer and uncomfortable possitions should be compensated with a partial refund for the theme park ticket, not some stuff that costs the park zero and might even make the park additional money like an extra day ticket (more time to sell merchandise...). 10 minutes breaks in some comfortable show ride, who cares. Evacuation: Id say Aa least reride without waiting again.
I got stuck with my family back in the Summer of 2008 at Universal Studios Florida's The Revenge of the Mummy. It was fun getting stuck. Because when we got stuck we got to ride the ride with all the lights on. It wasn't as scary with all the lights on. But the next time we go I want to know how it really feels with out any lights on.
In my previous post about getting stuck on the monorail for 45 minutes, I forgot to mention something. Any time you are not happy with how a situation is handled by a CM at Disney, it is a good idea to write to Disney to let them know what transpired. I have emailed Disney...twice for problems and once to praise a CM for a job well done. In every case Disney Guest Relations has taken the time to call and discuss it with me. In one case we were overcharged for a package at Pirate's League. They told us one price then charged us about $20 per kid more than they told us. The manager there told us there was nothing she could do...the price was the price...but gave us a fast pass to use on any attraction we wanted. It was good only for that day and we had already been at the park all day going on attractions so we did not use it. We emailed Disney upon our return and after checking our receipts and reading our complaint, they sent us Disney gift cards compensating us for the amount we were overcharged. Always worth the time to let them know that you are unhappy with the way something has been handled. Had the disabled man contacted them after this incident, I feel strongly that he would have been taken care of.
As a person who worked at The Jungle Cruise (where we evac guest from Pirates) and Space Mountain, most guest think getting stuck is rather cool. They get to see a lot if they are evacuated off of a ride and always compensated with a fast pass. A fastpass may seem like a simple thing, but when five major rides go down in a day (happens on occasion)then fastpass lines will be flooded. But overall, it's the guest who wait in line who get the most upset when a ride goes 101. In Space Mountain, if we have to reset the ride ( evacuate the guest from the ride) we empty the building and give everyone a fastpass, or at least to those who follow instructions and go out the exit. But when guest start demanding things, especially fastpass for members of the party who were not in line, we are far less prone to help the guest out.
I cannot emphasize that if enough how often a breakdown or ride stops (five mins or less) are caused be slow guest or guest with disabilities. I'm not blaming them, but Disney is willing enough to slow down or stop a ride for everyone else for s handicap guest. The idea of Disney discriminating is absurd.
I have been on these rides and have been stopped. Many times you can see that it is because they have to stop to load people with disabilities. When my husband was in a wheelchair after breaking his foot I was how long it takes to load and unload. Some rides he was still in his wheelchair and others they asked if he could transfer to the ride (he also had his crutches with). We have been on rides that kept starting and stopping because of loading many disabled guests. With a disability you are already getting let into the ride at a much faster rate than waiting in line. It was possible that the man was many boats from the area that you can disembark a person in a wheel chair. If the ride quits and has to be moved manually it is not a quick process (think of the difference in driving your car and pushing your car) Small things like getting to go another ride and get in line first would be fine, or free food. We have had more problems with nasty guests than park problems. My husband is now on disability after having one knee replacement and has to wait until he has insurance again to get the other one done. (you have to wait 2 years after you are on disability before you get medicare) Recently at Epcot he was pushed done by a father with children who pushed him and said they should not allow slow people in the park, he was walking at the edge of the walk not in the middle holding up anyone. There are way more rude people in the parks these days thinking they are the only ones that should be entitled.
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