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Park News

Back in 1949, George and Vera took on the challenge of clearing a site that had been by the army during the Second World War with the aim of opening in the spring of the following year. Starting with a restaurant, tea rooms, rowing boats, pedal cars and just four amusement rides, they laid the building blocks for an amusement park and zoo that today attracts over 1.2 million annual guests. Nowadays, multi-million pound thrill rides, including Europe’s first stand-up rollercoaster and titling drop tower, rub shoulders with branded experiences like Thomas Land, and a 150-room hotel is on the horizon. Yet this popular tourist attraction near the town of Tamworth remains proudly independent. “We are exceptionally proud of the fact that Drayton is still run by the family,” highlights Helen Pawley-Tuft,” niece of the park’s managing director Colin Bryan (son of George and Vera Bryan). “In these days when we see so many businesses being taken over by larger companies, either through necessity or otherwise, we are delighted to be able to continue making regular major investments in the park and to be running it as it always has been, as a family owned business.” New attractions this year included a new Happy Feet 4D movie and Dino Trail adjacent to the zoo. The anniversary season came to a close over the weekend of October 30/31 with a spectacular fireworks and laser display over the park’s lake. The largest display Drayton Manor has ever produced, it was set to music with a giant water screen featuring images from the park’s six decades of history.

Opening in summer 2011 will be the Drayton Manor Hotel, featuring a wide range of

family-friendly facilities including 11 Thomas & Friends-themed rooms, as well as conference and banqueting options complementing the park’s existing function rooms. Learn more about the history of the park on its special anniversary website.

Park Law

by Heather M Eichenbaum Esq Evacuating

Amusement Rides

Following passenger complaints about sitting for hours in airplanes on runways, recent laws in the United States establish requirements for passenger airlines regarding how long they can keep passengers “captive” in a grounded plane. Along this same vein, lawsuits are popping up alleging that passengers were stranded on amusement rides for too long, causing both emotional and physical distress.

What responsibilities does a park have concerning evacuation of riders? When a ride shuts down, how long can passengers be kept on the ride before problems arise? First, every park must have in place a written evacuation policy and procedure for each ride, readily available at each ride. With no policy and procedure, your park is open to claims of improper training and negligence in operations. While ride operators can be trained only with regard to the policy and procedure for the ride they operate, ensure that your mechanics, security, medical personnel and management know the policy and procedure for every ride in the park. Of course, whatever your written policies and procedures, make sure they are followed. Your policy and procedure for evacuation will vary ride by ride. With most small or low-level rides, evacuation can take place with little effort or danger to guests or employees. The primary procedure should simply be one that attempts to avoid a panic and ensure an orderly disembarkment. If a ride shuts down but there is no need for immediate evacuation (as in

Mondial wheel opens in Paris

Open this winter in the centre of Paris is a new giant Ferris Wheel (Roue de Paris) on Place de la Concorde, courtesy of the Dutch manufacturer Mondial and operator Marcel Campion. The ride was new earlier this year, and arrives in the capital after a season travelling around France. Campion previously operated a Bussink wheel of the same name on Place de la Concorde.

The Mondial attraction stands 55-metres tall, but occupies a footprint of just 21 x 19-metres. The ride includes a total of 42 enclosed panoramic gondolas with integrated climate control and automatic doors and is powered by eight drive motors and a fully automatic operation programme. An energy-saving LED lighting system provides piercing white illumination after dark.

Constructed according to the Mondial’s “Compact System,” the wheel travels on just three trailers and can be erected in one day without any cranes. Collapsible gondolas and minimal “spokes” reduce the ride’s bulk. NOVEMBER 2010

the case of an electrical fire or other immediate danger), allow parents, one or two at a time, to physically remove their children from the ride under the supervision of an employee so as to avoid the need for physical touching of children by park employees. Clearly if there is an immediate danger of harm, the necessity of rapid evacuation overrides the concern for physical touching and employees must then quickly evacuate the children. On larger rides, such as coasters and flumes, evacuation is a far more complex and dangerous proposal. Written policies must establish how long passengers can be left on a ride before an evacuation plan is put into action. Assuming the stranded patrons are in no distress and there is no concern over physical safety of the patrons being left where they are, a period of no less than 30 minutes is reasonable before evacuation is considered. More often than not, leaving passengers where they are, secured in a ride, is far safer than attempting a high-level evacuation, particularly where children are involved. Nonetheless, if patrons are experiencing emotional difficulty in the situation, there is a further safety concern, or there is a need for medical attention, a shorter time frame will apply. Moreover, in those situations, a park employee trained to deal with the crisis situation should remain with

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