Nine-year-old asks Hersheypark to lower prices for handicap guests

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WILLOW STREETS, Pa. - Nine-year-old Owen Williams was upset that his father, Brad, had to pay full price to get into Hersheypark despite the fact he is wheelchair bound and cannot ride any of the rides. Furthermore, Brad, had to rent a $45.00 scooter to get around the park. Guests are allowed to bring in their own wheelchairs, rent a manual one or rent a scooter. The scooter was the only option for Brad.

Owen created a video voicing his frustrations. His grandma posted it on Facebook where it has been viewed more than 13,000 times.

"I wanted Hersheypark to see how much I care about handicap people and I want to help them out by lowering prices so they can go to Hershey Park and not have to pay that amount of money because they don’t even get on rides," said Owen.

"It  made me really proud of him to know that he was standing up to everyone with disabilities or handicap people in general," said Brad.

Hersheypark has not directly contacted the Williams family. They did release a statement to FOX43 News that says the following:

"Hersheypark is concerned with each guest’s experience. Our goal is to create real value for each and every guest to our Park. Included in our one price admission is more than 70 rides & attractions including The Boardwalk at Hersheypark, award-winning live entertainment, Aquatheatre shows, and access to ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, plus numerous unique food & beverage offerings including Chickie’s & Pete’s, Makin’ Whoopie Pies, and Simply Chocolate.

Hersheypark offers a number of reduced-price ticket programs that provide savings for guests. Information is available at http://www.hersheypark.com/tickets/ways-to-save.php. Guests are also encouraged to contact Hersheypark Guest Services in person or at 717-534-3900 (select option 2) so our team can offer additional support to maximize each guest’s experience. In addition, discounted tickets can be purchased at participating Giant Food Stores. Discount coupons are also available at participating coupon partner locations. For more information on both programs, please visit http://www.hersheypark.com/tickets/discount-partners.php."

Caring for our employees and guests with special needs is very important to us. Accordingly, we regularly evaluate our existing policies and programs in our continuing effort to improve the accessibility programs that many guests have successfully utilized throughout the years. With specific regard to electric scooters and mobility devices, guests are, of course, welcome to bring their own mobility device to Hersheypark. For those requiring rental of a mobility device, Hersheypark partners with an outside vendor to provide those services to our guests. The cost to rent a manual wheelchair is $15 and the cost to rent an Electric Convenience Vehicle (ECV) is $45. There is also a half day rental option. Information is available at http://www.hersheypark.com/park-info/faqs.php?expand=topic40.

Hersheypark has a long and proud history of welcoming and meeting the needs of guests with special needs. Hersheypark regularly works with local, state and national organizations to ensure that our policies and programs are consistent with industry best practices. In fact, we partner with expert resource groups, including Parent to Parent of Pennsylvania (an organization devoted to parents helping other parents navigate life with a child with special needs), in developing our current ‘Hersheypark Rider Safety & Accessibility Guide.’ More information on accessibility services at Hersheypark is found at http://www.hersheypark.com/general_info/accessibility.php or by visiting Guest Services at the Park.

Our goal is to ensure that we create wonderful memories for everyone who visits Hersheypark. We are confident that the time, training and policies we’ve put in place have a positive impact on our guests’ experience. "

Thank you,
Kathleen McGraw
Director of Communications
Hershey Entertainment & Resorts

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