Gardaland 4 All — two days of meetings with the Associations for disabilities to make fun and leisure more accessible

By | September 25, 2018

After the success of the first edition of “Gardaland 4 All”, held in 2016, Gardaland – in collaboration with Village 4 All – is back, promoting two days of meetings with as many as 13 National Associations representing the different types of disability – physical, cognitive and sensorial. The aim is to share ideas to improve even further the experience at the Park of those people with particular needs.

The participants’ visit of the Park kicked off Gardaland 4 All: our “Special Guests” enjoyed delightful moments of fun, testing and evaluating live certain Rides among which the renovated I Corsari, the fun Mammut, the adrenaline-filled Oblivion – The Black Hole and the panoramic Flying Island. A very special new addition of this year was represented by Gardaland’s invitation to visit the Park as a mystery guest in the months before the meeting, to be able to evaluate, in complete autonomy, how accessible all the Rides are.

After the visit to the Park it was time for a round table where all participants were able to offer their suggestions to try to make the Park more usable, from different observation points.

Interesting proposals emerged from the meeting, such as to simplify the layout of the Park’s map, to insert indications indicating the best routes to reach the various Rides, to further improve the information on various aspects of accessibility also through digital tools – thus improving awareness before entering the premises – to implement an area for guide dogs, to improve the accessibility of accommodation facilities and finally to introduce a “decompression” area to deal with all the stimulations of the Park.

Management is always very willing to listen: Gardaland gives great importance to these types of meetings, as they are instrumental in improving and allowing all visitors to fully enjoy the Park.

Danilo Santi, General Manager Theme Parks Gardaland, declared: “On the occasion of our second forum on disabilities held recently we have met many Associations that follow people with particular needs and together we have discussed projects, ideas and suggestions to make Gardaland become an even more inclusive Park”. Santi then added “Speaking about this, we are currently working on a great project: a games area dedicated to all children, even those with specific needs, so that they can all have a great time in a totally inclusive Park”.

The Gardaland 4 All project, which began two years ago, has already resulted in a number of improvements in terms of receptiveness and accessibility of the Rides, allowing us to analyse issues, understand petitions and verify their feasibility, keeping in mind every normative limitation and ensuring total safety for all.

A very important result for example is the introduction of the Easy Rider service, devised in collaboration with the ProgettoYeah! Association to ensure fun inside the Park even for people with disabilities such as, for example, Guests with visual limitations, reduced mobility, autism, down syndrome. Easy Rider, active from April to July and in the month of September, aims to support groups putting together personalised itineraries based on the different needs, accompanying Guests to the entry of each Ride and explaining its characteristics; finally it places bookings on behalf of Guests inside the restaurants of the Park.

We are talking about something completely new for Amusement and Theme Parks: Gardaland is indeed the first Park to offer a personalised service, tailor made, aimed at Guests with particular needs.

Another great success was the agreement between Gardaland and the Coordown Onlus – association, which stands for Coordinamento Nazionale Associazioni delle persone con sindrome di Down (Consortium of national associations of people with down syndrome). The agreement aims to regulate access to Rides while ensuring that all safety norms related to evacuation are complied with. This has allowed people with Down syndrome to access, after signing a waiver , the Raptor Ride.

Other important results were achieved thanks to the introduction of a Welcome Desk for the Disabled with trained personnel and the creation of three different guides, each one dedicated to a different type of disability, cognitive, physical and sensorial.

Furthermore Gardaland has increased the accessibility to the Park’s Rides for Guests with particular types of disabilities: Guests that are partially or totally visually impaired can now access all Rides, while in terms of physical and cognitive disabilities there has been a marked increase of the number of accessible Rides, with works in progress to keep expanding the aforementioned list.

The most important result, however, has been the experience of those last two days, made of moments of sharing, of thinking and of enjoyment. The general consensus is that this type of dialogue is essential to foster a culture of accessibility and openness to others.