For those interested in my previous post regarding theme park access passes, I wrote to LEGOLAND and here is a copy of both my letter and their response. NB No word of apology :
My letter to LEGOLAND Windsor (4 February 2017):
I am writing with regards to the Disabled Policy at LEGOLAND Windsor. As someone who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in my twenties I am all too aware of the need for businesses, particularly those offering a service, to be accessible and inclusive to all. My own condition fluctuates quite substantially so that at times I may be required to use a wheelchair, but so far I mostly manage without. However, I suffer heavily with constant leg pain, which is made worse by sitting or indeed standing still for any length of time.
On a visit to your park my husband and I were shocked and disappointed to find that no policy was in place to allow us quick access to the rides without paying a premium. We were staying in one of the wonderful pirate themed rooms and on planning our visit had been told that we could hire a wheelchair at the park. However, as you are probably aware the wheelchairs are kept at the park entrance, which was roped off to us as we entered early from the hotel. We asked several members of staff how we could get a wheelchair and all of them seemed unable or unwilling to help so that by the time my husband managed to get to the entrance there were no wheelchairs left. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to stand in any of the queues we made our way to the information desk and asked if I would be entitled to a queue pass. Unfortunately the response we received was less than helpful. The lady explained that the access pass was only available to those who do not understand the concept of queuing etc and that we should perhaps purchase a Q-BOT pass. I politely argued that I shouldn’t have to pay extra for the privilege of going on the rides and she simply said, “well, you have come during the holidays when it is busy!” – a somewhat baffling and insulting response. We had planned our visit to coincide with the holidays as my husband is a teacher and we are not at liberty to visit at any time other than school holidays or weekends.
The policy you have in place works unfairly in favour of only a very small number of conditions. What of the myriad other conditions that prohibit people from being able to stand in a queue for long? There is no mention whatsoever of disability beyond either those presumably on the autistic spectrum or those using a wheelchair. The idea that people are only physically disabled if they use a wheelchair is not only archaic but grossly ignorant. You have a moral responsibility to make the park accessible to all, and that does not just mean having ramps in place, it means allowing people with any disability that limits them to have full access to the rides. The equality act states that ‘it is unlawful for a business or person to discriminate against a disabled person by:
Refusing to provide any service which it offers or provides to members of the public.
Providing service of a lower standard or in a worse manner.
Providing service on worse terms.
Failing to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments where required to enable a disabled person to access a service unless such discrimination can be justified’.
I would therefore appreciate it if you would review the disabled policy at LEGOLAND, making it inclusive to all. If you do not feel this necessary then I request that you offer a full explanation as to your reasons.
I look forward to your response…
Email response from LEGOLAND Customer Services (17 February 2017):
“Thank you for your letter regarding the Ride Access Pass Policy at LEGOLAND Windsor.
As you may know, LEGOLAND Windsor’s Ride Access Pass has been designed to assist Guests’ who do not understand the concept of queuing, have difficulties with everyday social interaction, have a limited capacity to follow instruction or to understand others emotional feelings or expressions and may become agitated or distressed having to wait for periods of time.
The issuance of a Ride Access Pass is based upon documentary proof of disability, such as a doctors or diagnosis letter. We require that the documentation states the nature of the disability for the guest concerned.
I can confirm that a guest with multiple sclerosis would in fact be granted a Ride Access Pass at LEGOLAND Windsor. I am not sure why you were not offered the Pass on your previous visit unless it was because they had not asked for any documentation.
I do hope that this information will be useful to you and I hope that this will mean that you can enjoy your next visit to the Park. The final details of our Accessibility Guide are currently being updated on the website in good time for the new season.”