Back in 2006 a man from Texas called Gordon Hartman and his wife Maggie along with their 12 year old daughter Morgan were on holiday together and the challenges faced by Morgan who is disabled as they all attempted to enjoy the swimming pool provoked Gordon and Maggie to speak to their friends and other people to try to find a more accessible place to visit as a family. After many fruitless conversations Gordon decided a year later to invest funds he had having sold a property business to create the “world’s first ultra-accessible theme park”. The park is called Morgan’s Wonderland and cost £26m and opened in 2010. Attractions include a fully-accessible Ferris wheel, adventure playground and miniature train. Visitors regularly tell Hartman it is the first time they’ve been able to experience such attractions. Every year the theme park loses some £750,000 but they raise funds to cover the loss. This story emerged this morning on the BBC world service. The full story is available here, well done Claire Bates for reporting on this good news story.
If it is possible for this sort of thing to happen in Texas, wouldn’t it be fantastic if something similar could be created in the UK? I work for a company that works on a number of well known Theme Parks in the South East although I have not visited any of them beyond making some deliveries to site. I have no idea if British theme parks are accessible or not. However the ingenuity that goes into designing rides could easily be extended to take into account a wider range of visitors. It would be fantastic to see something just as inclusive here in the UK as Morgans Wonderland.