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Let us know what you think about the issues that matter to the industry. We’d love to hear from you [email protected] 


I read the recent article in Attractions Management on helping to make museums and attractions more inclusive with interest. [AM Issue 2 2022]

In 2010 we launched Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonia, Texas, US – the first theme park designed with individuals with special needs in mind. The completely wheelchair-accessible park features more than 25 elements, including rides, playgrounds, and other colourful attractions. From the very beginning, anyone with a special need has been admitted free of charge, no questions asked.

When we opened Morgan’s Wonderland, our belief was: Together, we can make a difference! During the ensuing years, we’ve seen a welcome shift to more inclusion-centric thinking and action. Thus, we’ve amended our belief to: Together, we are making a difference!

Earlier this year, we were delighted to help host the 2022 Amusement Today Golden Ticket Awards. Discussions with colleagues from throughout the industry suggested that much more thought is being given to inclusion and accessibility so our guests can have the best time.

Further embracing inclusion was my message – think about modifications and practices that make attractions more accessible for visitors with physical and cognitive special needs. At Morgan’s Wonderland, we’ve trademarked Ultra Accessible to serve as our guide in creating all of our follow-on ventures – Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park, Morgan’s Wonderland Sports complex, Morgan’s Wonderland Camp and our new Multi-Assistance Center at Morgan’s Wonderland, which brings together more than 30 organisations to tackle medical and non-medical problems confronting individuals with special needs.

We’re so focused on inclusion that we’ve incorporated it into the name of our umbrella organisation, Morgan’s Inclusion Initiative, which we established to coordinate all our inclusion-centric endeavours.

To learn more, visit www.Golnclusion.com.

Gordon Hartman, dad and founder, Morgan’s Wonderland 

Photo: Morgan’s Wonderland

"We’ve seen a welcome shift to more inclusion-centric thinking and action. Together, we’re making a difference" – Gordon Hartman, dad and founder, Morgan’s Wonderland

Fiona Eastwood,
COO, Midway Attractions and executive champion for inclusion and diversity, Merlin Entertainments
Photo: Merlin Entertainments

In October I was delighted to welcome Merlin’s first cohort of young people starting our brand-new accelerated management programme, which is targeted directly at our global frontline staff. Entitled XCalibre Rising (we always love to continue a theme), it is the sister programme to our senior management scheme called XCalibre – which has been running now for over a decade. This new Rising version, however, was created with two main goals in mind.

The first goal was to really live our values. As Merlin’s executive lead of inclusion and diversity, part of my role is to champion and drive real concrete actions, to deliver the words of our I&D vision: ‘Everyone Matters at Merlin’.

At Merlin we see a good amount of diversity in our frontline staff – both ethnically as well as in gender. Many young people come to the industry as seasonal workers or take up a role as part of a summer job, but as you then move up the company and our grading system, we start to see less diversity and a larger disparity between the genders. It’s something that myself and the whole of the Merlin executive team are resolute about changing.

We knew that if we wanted to make meaningful change, we needed to start from the beginning of the career journey: cue XCalibre Rising. The idea is much like one of our fast rollercoasters (think Rita at Alton Towers or Stealth at Thorpe Park). We need to get talented individuals on board early, build a robust and sturdy framework, ensure there are tools and power which allow for quick acceleration and then LAUNCH…..with real momentum!

We first communicated the programme in June, and I was delighted to hear we’d been inundated with entries from across the world. The final cohort was eventually whittled down to 14 successful candidates, who come from across a range of attractions in the USA, Australia, UK, Germany and the Netherlands. For some of those candidates, it was the first time they had travelled away from home and out of their country – a huge, but very exciting step.

Coming back to the main aims around the programme, the second reason it was created was more broadly around showcasing this industry. We want to demonstrate to these young people that as a business within the industry, we offer a long-term and really exciting career – one which, unlike many other sectors, can take you anywhere in the world - is creative, exciting, inspiring and ultimately, immensely rewarding.

"Let’s fast track our future leaders and show them an industry that can deliver a career like no other"

For us the programme is about more than just supporting our talented young people; it’s about showcasing the fact that you can have a long and rewarding career in the attractions industry.

Sometimes personal circumstances don’t allow people the same opportunities to get formal qualifications or really pursue the career of their dreams, or they just don’t see this industry as a long-term option. But with the right opportunity put in front of them, and the right guidance, they can go on to achieve a career like no other.

I’ve always known we have talented individuals across all of our businesses; but where I think this new XCalibre Rising programme will really deliver is the fact it will bring whole new and fresh perspectives right across our business, at all levels. This new cohort will not only change their own career story, but others around them too. Maybe they will challenge traditional company views, come with new ideas around innovations or technology, or tell us the next IP we should be working with.

One thing I do know these 14 ‘rising’ participants will bring to the programme is passion. Passion for their own career and others – and that won’t just last for the 12 months of the programme, but hopefully for the rest of their lives.

Credit: Photo: Morgan’s Wonderland
The XCalibre Rising scheme aims to increase diversity Credit: Photo: Merlin Entertainments
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Our services include: Dark ride design & build; Redevelopment of existing attractions; High-quality [more...]
ProSlide Technology, Inc.

A former national ski team racer, ProSlide® CEO Rick Hunter’s goal has been to integrate the smoot [more...]
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CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

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DIARY

 

05-06 Mar 2023

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Jobs    News   Products   Magazine
Write to reply
Letters to the editor

Let us know what you think about the issues that matter to the industry. We’d love to hear from you [email protected] 


I read the recent article in Attractions Management on helping to make museums and attractions more inclusive with interest. [AM Issue 2 2022]

In 2010 we launched Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonia, Texas, US – the first theme park designed with individuals with special needs in mind. The completely wheelchair-accessible park features more than 25 elements, including rides, playgrounds, and other colourful attractions. From the very beginning, anyone with a special need has been admitted free of charge, no questions asked.

When we opened Morgan’s Wonderland, our belief was: Together, we can make a difference! During the ensuing years, we’ve seen a welcome shift to more inclusion-centric thinking and action. Thus, we’ve amended our belief to: Together, we are making a difference!

Earlier this year, we were delighted to help host the 2022 Amusement Today Golden Ticket Awards. Discussions with colleagues from throughout the industry suggested that much more thought is being given to inclusion and accessibility so our guests can have the best time.

Further embracing inclusion was my message – think about modifications and practices that make attractions more accessible for visitors with physical and cognitive special needs. At Morgan’s Wonderland, we’ve trademarked Ultra Accessible to serve as our guide in creating all of our follow-on ventures – Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park, Morgan’s Wonderland Sports complex, Morgan’s Wonderland Camp and our new Multi-Assistance Center at Morgan’s Wonderland, which brings together more than 30 organisations to tackle medical and non-medical problems confronting individuals with special needs.

We’re so focused on inclusion that we’ve incorporated it into the name of our umbrella organisation, Morgan’s Inclusion Initiative, which we established to coordinate all our inclusion-centric endeavours.

To learn more, visit www.Golnclusion.com.

Gordon Hartman, dad and founder, Morgan’s Wonderland 

Photo: Morgan’s Wonderland

"We’ve seen a welcome shift to more inclusion-centric thinking and action. Together, we’re making a difference" – Gordon Hartman, dad and founder, Morgan’s Wonderland

Fiona Eastwood,
COO, Midway Attractions and executive champion for inclusion and diversity, Merlin Entertainments
Photo: Merlin Entertainments

In October I was delighted to welcome Merlin’s first cohort of young people starting our brand-new accelerated management programme, which is targeted directly at our global frontline staff. Entitled XCalibre Rising (we always love to continue a theme), it is the sister programme to our senior management scheme called XCalibre – which has been running now for over a decade. This new Rising version, however, was created with two main goals in mind.

The first goal was to really live our values. As Merlin’s executive lead of inclusion and diversity, part of my role is to champion and drive real concrete actions, to deliver the words of our I&D vision: ‘Everyone Matters at Merlin’.

At Merlin we see a good amount of diversity in our frontline staff – both ethnically as well as in gender. Many young people come to the industry as seasonal workers or take up a role as part of a summer job, but as you then move up the company and our grading system, we start to see less diversity and a larger disparity between the genders. It’s something that myself and the whole of the Merlin executive team are resolute about changing.

We knew that if we wanted to make meaningful change, we needed to start from the beginning of the career journey: cue XCalibre Rising. The idea is much like one of our fast rollercoasters (think Rita at Alton Towers or Stealth at Thorpe Park). We need to get talented individuals on board early, build a robust and sturdy framework, ensure there are tools and power which allow for quick acceleration and then LAUNCH…..with real momentum!

We first communicated the programme in June, and I was delighted to hear we’d been inundated with entries from across the world. The final cohort was eventually whittled down to 14 successful candidates, who come from across a range of attractions in the USA, Australia, UK, Germany and the Netherlands. For some of those candidates, it was the first time they had travelled away from home and out of their country – a huge, but very exciting step.

Coming back to the main aims around the programme, the second reason it was created was more broadly around showcasing this industry. We want to demonstrate to these young people that as a business within the industry, we offer a long-term and really exciting career – one which, unlike many other sectors, can take you anywhere in the world - is creative, exciting, inspiring and ultimately, immensely rewarding.

"Let’s fast track our future leaders and show them an industry that can deliver a career like no other"

For us the programme is about more than just supporting our talented young people; it’s about showcasing the fact that you can have a long and rewarding career in the attractions industry.

Sometimes personal circumstances don’t allow people the same opportunities to get formal qualifications or really pursue the career of their dreams, or they just don’t see this industry as a long-term option. But with the right opportunity put in front of them, and the right guidance, they can go on to achieve a career like no other.

I’ve always known we have talented individuals across all of our businesses; but where I think this new XCalibre Rising programme will really deliver is the fact it will bring whole new and fresh perspectives right across our business, at all levels. This new cohort will not only change their own career story, but others around them too. Maybe they will challenge traditional company views, come with new ideas around innovations or technology, or tell us the next IP we should be working with.

One thing I do know these 14 ‘rising’ participants will bring to the programme is passion. Passion for their own career and others – and that won’t just last for the 12 months of the programme, but hopefully for the rest of their lives.

Credit: Photo: Morgan’s Wonderland
The XCalibre Rising scheme aims to increase diversity Credit: Photo: Merlin Entertainments
LATEST NEWS
Carowinds expands to year-round opening, confirms Aeronautica opening for 2023
Carowinds theme park in North Carolina, US, has launched year-round operations this month (January 2023).
Disney hints at new gate for Walt Disney World as part of Lake Nona campus development
Disney has filed a planning application that kickstarts the group's plans to create a future regional campus and HQ in Florida, US.
London's Natural History Museum works with Thoughtworks and Amazon Web Services on Urban Nature project
Natural History Museum has embarked on a project which will turn the iconic museum's London location into a biologically diverse green space.
London to get its own "Garden in the sky", as Camden Highline gets green light
Planning approval has been granted for Camden Highline, a project to transform a section of disused railway into a new elevated urban park for London.
Continuum Attractions takes over Loch Ness attraction and pledge £1.5m investment
Continuum Attractions has acquired The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition near Inverness, Scotland, UK.
Esbjerg’s landmark maritime center, designed by WERK Arkitekter and Snøhetta, opens to the public
A new landmark maritime centre has opened to the public in Esbjerg, Denmark.
SEVEN to open world’s first indoor Discovery Adventures centres in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Entertainment Ventures (SEVEN) has signed an exclusive partnership agreement with Warner Bros. Discovery to bring purpose-built indoor adventures centres to the Kingdom.
Eden Project Morecambe secures £50m Levelling Up investment
Plans to create a new Eden Project North attraction in Morecambe, UK, have been given a major boost after the central government pledged to support the scheme with £50m worth of funding.
David Willrich takes the baton from Terry Monkton as chair of Experience UK
David Willrich has been appointed chair of Experience UK, replacing the outgoing Terry Monkton, who has steered the organisation over the past two years.
Universal to launch two new attraction concepts – one in Texas and another in Las Vegas
Universal Parks & Resorts has revealed plans to launch two entirely new visitor attractions concepts – a family-focused theme park and resort in Texas and a year-round horror experience in Las Vegas.
SeaWorld's Arctic Coaster to raise awareness of devastation of climate change
SeaWorld will open a new Arctic Rescue coaster at its San Diego theme park in early 2023.
Super Nintendo World opening at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2023
The highly-anticipated Super Nintendo World will open to visitors at Universal Studios Hollywood on 17 February 2023.
+ More news   
 
COMPANY PROFILES
instantprint

We’re a Yorkshire-based online printer, founded in 2009 by Adam Carnell and James Kinsella. [more...]
IDEATTACK

IDEATTACK is a full-service planning and design company with headquarters in Los Angeles. [more...]
Sally Corporation

Our services include: Dark ride design & build; Redevelopment of existing attractions; High-quality [more...]
ProSlide Technology, Inc.

A former national ski team racer, ProSlide® CEO Rick Hunter’s goal has been to integrate the smoot [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Behind the Scenes of IAAPA Expo 2022 with Michael Shelton
There is no place like IAAPA Expo, it’s the place to take in the most exciting sights, smells, tastes, and sensations that will take your career and attraction to new heights! The excitement, energy and opportunity are palpable. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Red Raion Showreel 2022
Last year was a blast! Find out more...
More videos:
ProSlide's all-in-one waterplay entertainment center – Proslide Tech Inc
Testimonial Richard Needham - SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment – Red Raion
Red Raion TV - Testimonial: Leolandia – Red Raion
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

05-06 Mar 2023

CryoCON 2023

Renaissance at Plano Legacy West Hotel, Dallas, United States
10-12 May 2023

Asia Pool & Spa Expo

China Import & Export Fair Complex, China
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2023

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
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FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS