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Friend banned from most of Volcano Bay rides due to congenital amputation

JohnD

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
You read the the thread title. Here's his post from FB (with personal info removed):

For Fathers Day I took my entire family, plus extended nieces and nephews to Universal Orlando’s new water park Volcano Bay and was BANNED from most of the rides because I HAVE A NUB!!!​
Below find a copy of my official ADA​
ADA complaint # XXXXXXXXXXX​
“I am a 41-year-old physician and father of 4 who took my entire family to Universal Orlando Resorts Volcano Bay theme park on June 15, 2019. I have a congenital amputation of my left hand resulting in my missing all 5 fingers. After going down one slide I was approached by members of the park and informed that I would not be allowed to ride any of the park's rides which involved a mat or float as "two fully functioning hands were required" by their policy. This constitutes most of the rides in the park. I discussed this issue at length with many employees in a civil manner, and even had a meeting with the general manager on duty of the entire park. I explained that the nature of my amputation allows me to grasp using my wrist and elbow, just as if I had a hand. However, the response of Universal Volcano Bay is that "policy is policy" and they would not accommodate my disability. They even acknowledged that it was unfair and refunded my ticket. Nevertheless, I had brought 9 of my family members to the park to celebrate my 17th wedding anniversary and Father's Day and I was barred for riding almost all of the rides with them. I have visited many other adventure parks, including many other water- based theme parks, and this has never been an issue. Again, agents of the park approached me after using their facility in a completely safe and usual manner (not even going down a slide with a mat), and proceeded to bar me from using their facility based solely on their perception of my disability without any attempt at accommodation. The park manager also voiced during our meeting that I am not the first person that they have enforced this policy with.”​
So what do you think? Are they right or wrong?
 

JohnD

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Yes but park operations can't make exceptions to blanket rules based on your friend being capable. They're not physicians and they're not ride engineers, and it's unfair to ask them to make judgment calls outside of their area of expertise based on your friend appearing capable.
I get it. He's a physician, though. And, yes, I found the accessibility info. https://www.universalorlando.com/webdata/k2/en/us/files/Documents/volcano-bays-guide-for-rider-safety-and-accessibility.pdf

I realize their rules say you must have two hands (one can be prosthetic). He's saying that most other water parks he's been to don't have that rule. I think his point is that their rules are unfair. So, he contacted ADA to get an opinion. I don't blame him.
 

Thingamabob

Active Member
Right or wrong they are certainly not going to change the policy on that day to accommodate one person. I suppose your friend can write to the higher ups in the change of command and see what happens with that. The park actually did the right thing in refunding the ticket even though it was an inconvenience for your friend and his family they also could has been out a lot of money as well. Maybe if he does write a well constructed letter they may reconsider the policy, but I highly doubt they will due to safety concerns.
 
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lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
I get it. He's a physician, though. And, yes, I found the accessibility info. https://www.universalorlando.com/webdata/k2/en/us/files/Documents/volcano-bays-guide-for-rider-safety-and-accessibility.pdf

I realize their rules say you must have two hands (one can be prosthetic). He's saying that most other water parks he's been to don't have that rule. I think his point is that their rules are unfair. So, he contacted ADA to get an opinion. I don't blame him.
Other parks don’t necessarily have the same equipment. Many of these rules are crafted by the manufacturer. The previously mentioned accident at Darien Lake was one of a couple of incidents where similar rules were ignored for similar reasons and people lost their lives.

Water slides are exempt from the ADA Standards.
“203.11 Water Slides. Water slides shall not be required to comply with these requirements or to be on an accessible route.”
 
Other parks don’t necessarily have the same equipment. Many of these rules are crafted by the manufacturer. The previously mentioned accident at Darien Lake was one of a couple of incidents where similar rules were ignored for similar reasons and people lost their lives.

Water slides are exempt from the ADA Standards.
“203.11 Water Slides. Water slides shall not be required to comply with these requirements or to be on an accessible route.”
Hope OP shows that to their friend.
 

General Mayhem

Well-Known Member
Universal more than almost any other theme park company is extremely dedicated to their Safety practices. This is why there are so many videos/articles/etc of people being turned away from their rides, and it's because they enforce their rules for people's safety. At the end of the day this all comes down to if there is an incident on their attraction it is their liability not yours or your friend's. If you don't like how they run their parks there are plenty of other options in Orlando that do not have the same policies in place.
 

smile

Well-Known Member
You read the the thread title. Here's his post from FB (with personal info removed):

For Fathers Day I took my entire family, plus extended nieces and nephews to Universal Orlando’s new water park Volcano Bay and was BANNED from most of the rides because I HAVE A NUB!!!​
Below find a copy of my official ADA​
ADA complaint # XXXXXXXXXXX​
“I am a 41-year-old physician and father of 4 who took my entire family to Universal Orlando Resorts Volcano Bay theme park on June 15, 2019. I have a congenital amputation of my left hand resulting in my missing all 5 fingers. After going down one slide I was approached by members of the park and informed that I would not be allowed to ride any of the park's rides which involved a mat or float as "two fully functioning hands were required" by their policy. This constitutes most of the rides in the park. I discussed this issue at length with many employees in a civil manner, and even had a meeting with the general manager on duty of the entire park. I explained that the nature of my amputation allows me to grasp using my wrist and elbow, just as if I had a hand. However, the response of Universal Volcano Bay is that "policy is policy" and they would not accommodate my disability. They even acknowledged that it was unfair and refunded my ticket. Nevertheless, I had brought 9 of my family members to the park to celebrate my 17th wedding anniversary and Father's Day and I was barred for riding almost all of the rides with them. I have visited many other adventure parks, including many other water- based theme parks, and this has never been an issue. Again, agents of the park approached me after using their facility in a completely safe and usual manner (not even going down a slide with a mat), and proceeded to bar me from using their facility based solely on their perception of my disability without any attempt at accommodation. The park manager also voiced during our meeting that I am not the first person that they have enforced this policy with.”​
So what do you think? Are they right or wrong?
much better than having to reference your friend regarding an accident because he was let on, my friend

all day. every day.
 

seascape

Well-Known Member
I ageee Universal was just following their policy and it may be reasonable. I would like to know what Disney's policy is on this matter and what Seaworld and Six Flag's policies are. I certainly understand the handicapped can do much more than some people think and accommodations should be allowed based on the ADA.
 
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John park hopper

Well-Known Member
I'm not a lawyer but in a case such as this can Universal have the guest sign some sort of release that if the guest is injured Universal can't be sued
 

Wendy Pleakley

Well-Known Member
I'm not a lawyer but in a case such as this can Universal have the guest sign some sort of release that if the guest is injured Universal can't be sued
I'm not a lawyer but I'm pretty sure this would be a terrible idea.

First of all, you can try and limit liability through waivers, but you can't prevent someone from suing.

If they did this, and someone was hurt, their defense would be "we knew it was dangerous and could lead to injury, but we still let them do it".

What's next, disregarding height requirements as long as the parent and child agree to the risk? Making ride restraints and seat belts optional if someone signs away their rights? It wouldn't fly.
 
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