“To offer handicapped guests or those with special needs, the same sensations, the same joys and the same experience as the other guests”: that is how Valéry-Mary Urritigoïty describes the mission the “Guest Access” department which she leads has set for itself.
Accessibility at the heart of Disneyland Paris development
Ever since the opening of its first theme park, the company placed accessibility at the heart of its development strategy. The department dedicated to guest access was initially linked to the Human Resources department, at the same level as mission handicap. But in 1997, in order to meet growing expectations from guests with special needs, it was shifted and attached to the Operations Department. Now, Valérie-Mary’s teams are as close as possible to operations and this allows them to accompany the refurbishment and development projects as soon as they are designed and even after they are finalized, through guest feedback and at every step of their stay, from their arrival to their departure, in the parks and the restaurants. As a result of these actions, the two theme parks at the destination were awarded the Tourism and Handicap Label in December 2012 for 5 years, thus giving recognition to the group’s policy in this field.
Cast Members, the 1st actors of the accessibility procedure
“It is indispensable to ensure infrastructures are in compliance with the existing regulations. But this is not enough to offer quality experience to our guests. The role of our Cast Members is just as essential.” It is important to create awareness among all our teams and to mobilize them. Valérie-Mary goes even further and says that “It is essential that our teams understand the specific needs of that public in order to improve our practices and infrastructures”. Consequently all Disneyland Paris Cast Members follow a module to make them aware of handicaps when they integrate the company. This initial training can be reinforced if the Cast Member so wishes through a great number of additional training courses, such as learning sign language.