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BY Lauren

Amusement parks for individuals with special needs

Carnival rides, the wafting smell of cotton candy, giant overstuffed animal prizes. The atmosphere at an amusement park is pretty exhilarating for most people, but not all.

Although amusement parks are exciting for most, it can be a challenge for individuals with physical, mental and sensory disabilities. Long lines, gut wrenching screams, the thunderous roar of roller coasters and the congestion of crowds can be overwhelming and often cause individuals with special needs to shut down or act out. So does this mean they shouldn’t be accommodated at these parks? That they should just miss out because they “can’t handle it?”

Most amusement parks in this country have a  “guests with special needs policy”  that consist of “The Guest with Restricted Mobility and one riding companion may enter the ride after the remainder of the party waits in line.” A one line policy? Quite frankly, their policy looks more like a liability waiver than a thoughtful description of their guest services. I want to know what their policy is for people with sensory, social and mental challenges.

Well parents and fellow advocates, fear not. A brand new park has opened in San Antonio, Texas called “Morgan’s Wonderland.” And as stated on their website,, “Morgan’s Wonderland is the World’s First Ultra Accessible Family Fun Park designed specifically for children and adults with special needs, their family members, caregivers, friends and the entire community. This 25-acre park is a unique oasis that through the spirit of inclusion, allows people of all abilities to play, learn and share life changing experiences together, in a fun and safe environment.”

Morgan’s Wonderland has a sensory village, traditional, adaptive & wheelchair swings, a train, amphitheater, off-road adventure ride, carousel, fishing wharf, water works, sand circle, music garden…I could go on and on!

So….. who wants to take a trip to the Lonestar state?


Written on October 21, 2010 by:

Lauren Todaro joined The Friendship Circle in March of 2009 as the Assistant to the Director. As a writer and advocate for equality, she is consistently on the search for creative ways to bring more social advocacy and awareness to the Metro Detroit community. Have an idea? Email her at [email protected]

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