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Paralympian humiliated at theme park

Tracy Barrell was not allowed to ride the rides at Movie World because of a change in safety policies.
Tracy Barrell was not allowed to ride the rides at Movie World because of a change in safety policies. John Gass

A PARALYMPIC gold medallist and Order of Australia recipient has been left feeling humiliated after she was denied access to all rides at Movie World last week.

But the theme park said a change in safety policies meant the mother of two was not allowed on any ride that moved.

Ms Tracy Barrell attended the theme park as recently as two years ago and was not denied access to any of the amusements or rides.

At the time of her last visit she was given an individual assessment.

"The lady tested my grip strength and stability and gave me a white band that allowed me to access the rides," she said.

Ms Barrell said she wanted to know why she was not informed the she may not be able to access the rides until she was about to board the Road Runner Rollercoaster.

"I purchased a VIP pass for myself and my two children, so I had made it through ticketing and turnstiles and had my photo taken and sat through a 4D show," she said.

"It was not until I was at the front of the queue and about to take my turn on the ride that it was suggested there was a problem."

Ms Barrell said she was then forced to "bulge her way back through the queue" to leave the ride.

Operations park supervisor Cameron McKay said he received a call mid-morning about a guest queuing for a ride, before he requested she come to guest services for assessment.

"Tracy had to work her way back through the queue because it is just the design of the attraction," Mr McKay said.

Mr McKay said an incident in the United States, where a double amputee was killed after being thrown from a lap-bar roller coaster, had caused theme parks to review their policies.

"I explained there were lots of other shows and motionless attractions that she could access," Mr McKay said.

Ms Barrell said she didn't think it was fair one incident had affected policy in theme parks worldwide.

"One disabled man is killed and that changes things for all disabled people," she said.

"Able-body people are killed and injured on rollercoasters all the time, but able-bodied people are still allowed to ride."

Mr Cameron refunded half the cost of Ms Barrell's VIP pass so she could still accompany her children to the park.

Ms Barrell said she just wanted to be able to enjoy the rides like everybody else.

Topics:  movie world tracy barrell


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