Special Passes and Riders with Disabilities
Amusement parks can be enjoyable for everyone, no matter their physical or mental condition. Unfortunately, some rides, primarily the thrill rides, have safety requirements that must exclude certain park guests. These rules are set to ensure consistent function of the safety restraints for each rider.
Most amusement parks, offer a safety sheet with a summary of restrictions and limitations. (You can download the Kings Island’s Guest Assistance Guide on the page at this link.) Guests and ride operators can refer to this list as the rules for determining if a person can ride. The safety restraints are part of the ride’s engineering. They take into account the seat design and the forces to which riders are subjected.
The Green Sheet
Guests with disabilities should stop by Guest Services by the front gate to determine which rides they can ride. The “Green Sheet Boarding Pass” is a special piece of paper they give you. An area manager, or a head supervisor will mark rides the guest is not allowed to ride. The other side of the sheet will have some information like the guests name, how long they should wait, how many of their guests are allowed to ride. The operator, at each ride, writes what time the guest should return. This becomes the equivalent wait time, had they been able to wait in the queue. The disabled guest can either wait at the exit or go play a game. They are not allowed to ride another ride unless they want to forfeit their spot. If the ride line is short, the time they can return may arrive quickly.
The disabled guests, that are able to ride, should have the same choice of seating as everyone else. Some popular rides, during heavy times, don’t allow any riders to pick their own seats. When riders are able to choose seats, a ride operator may ask others to wait a turn so they can accommodate one of these green sheet-holding riders. Not seeing the larger picture of this special aspect of the ride operation, sometimes guests get rude, when this is requested.
Most of the time guests don’t mind where they sit, they just want to ride. If you’re a rider who has been able to ride for your 1,000th time, understand this maybe the first and only time for this individual and their family.
The Parent Swap
Although not a disability, there is a related special pass process that is worth mentioning here called the “Parent Swap.” It allows a parent to wait in the regular line while the other parent watch their small or scared child near the ride exit. After the first parent rides, they take charge of the children. The other parent then gets to jump on the ride in an empty seat. These passes can also be obtained at Guests Services and are easy to fill out.
We want to thank Timothy Hammond for reviewing this article and confirming that it is accurate and helpful. He is experienced using the green sheet system. We appreciate him helping to make sure we got this post right!
If you have tips or your own experience relating to this topic, please share them in the comments. Remember, this is the current park procedure, which could change at any time.
Photo credit: Photo of a wheelchair - CC0 Public Domain