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Water Wonderland


Tom Anstey spoke to the team behind Morgan’s Inspiration Island, a new waterpark designed for children with disabilities and special needs

From Attractions Management 2017 issue 3 . . BY Tom Anstey, Leisure Media

Morgan’s Wonderland – the inclusive theme park that’s catered to disabled guests since 2010 – has launched a new accessible waterpark. The $17m (€15.2m, £13.4m) project opened on 17 June.

Morgan’s Inspiration Island is completely wheelchair accessible, offering a selection of waterpark activities, including raintrees, waterfalls, pools, geysers, water cannon and tipping buckets. A five-minute river boat ride takes visitors through a jungle setting, with bird and animal sounds playing.

With five themed zones, a seven-storey lighthouse at the centre and spacious private areas available for guests, the waterpark also offers the Rusty Anchor Galley Grub and Little Italy Bistro food outlets, the Surf Shack shop and a panoramic viewing deck.


GORDON HARTMAN
Founder
Morgan’s Inspiration Island



 

Gordon Hartman is founder of the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation and creator of ultra-inclusive parks
 

Tell us about Inspiration Island
About seven years ago, we opened Morgan’s Wonderland, which is the world’s first ultra-accessible theme park. It’s been incredibly successful, with people visiting from more than 66 countries and all 50 US states. People from all over the world come here to experience “ultimate inclusion”.

As Morgan’s grew, people started asking about a waterpark. Three-and-a-half years ago, the discussion started. Then, six months later, those discussions became more serious. We brought a team together, similar to the team that developed the original park. We spoke to people in the community – people with special needs, people without, care givers, teachers, doctors, therapists – and pooled our ideas.

The reason we did that was in order to maximise everything in the development of Morgan’s Inspiration Island to make sure it’s ultra-accessible. Whatever your special need may be – no matter how acute – we want to accommodate that, so that you can be a part of this park.

What’s different about the waterpark?
Many aspects are specially designed. The water, for example, is warmed slightly to allow those with muscular issues to enjoy the park. Every element of the waterpark is wheelchair accessible. We built access areas and camouflaged them with faux rocks. We have a boat ride that lasts about eight minutes. Normally, there’s a ramp that would take passengers up to the boat, but we did this without ramps. The seating area actually raises up in the boat itself. Those are examples of the small things we do.

What makes Morgan’s Wonderland and the new waterpark so special?
It’s the whole culture of the park. People come because, out of four people who enter each day, three of them do not have special needs. Our attractions are not just for the special needs individual, but for everyone involved. We want families to feel relaxed and be able to play.

Many parks are built for 85 or 90 per cent of the population, but our parks cater for 100 per cent of the population. Nobody comes to one of our parks and says, “I wish I could do that.” You can do everything. It’s been thought out and designed that way.

What other adaptations have you made?
We have two areas with tipping water buckets. Some of our guests don’t want to be dumped with water, some do. So, we created an alarm that warns people – a pleasing sound so as not to bother guests on the autistic spectrum – to let them know that water is about to drop. For those with hearing difficulties, we have a whirling sign that alerts them. When the guests see or hear the alarm, they can back away from the water if they don’t want to be splashed.

Many waterpark elements have little wheels on them, which control the amount of water coming out of the waterplay features. If someone is fragile because they have physical issues, the intensity level can be lowered so they can enjoy it.

What technology have you used?
We use RFID technology. If a visitor gets separated from their group or wanders off, their wristband relays their location data back to their companions. The RFID wristbands are also waterproof.

One thing that was very important in our planning was our knowldedge that many Morgan’s Wonderland guests come independently. They arrive in their own battery-operated wheelchairs. But what if someone comes to the waterpark and they want to stay independent? They wouldn’t be able to, because battery-operated wheelchairs can’t get wet. So, we worked with the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and other groups to create a wheelchair that runs on compressed air. It takes no batteries. It’s much lighter and easier to move around in, so guests can get around, get wet and stay independent.

We also designed chairs with special fabrics that can get wet. If someone has a muscular disability, they can transfer into one of our waterproof chairs via the hoist we have in a special changing room.

Who else did you work with on the project?
What’s pretty neat about the waterpark is that we talked about bringing people together. We didn’t go out to a bunch of consultants; we worked with a grassroots approach towards understanding what was necessary in the waterpark, working directly with the people who were going to use it. We did a lot of testing with special needs individuals, testing wheelchairs, water strength and much more.

What has the initial reaction been?
A woman who was just at the park sent me some photos of her daughter using one of our special wheelchairs. She had never been able to do that before, so it was a great feeling. Another woman sent me an email about the parents of a special needs individual who had never been involved in a water activity with their child before. They did not know how to swim, so they could not put their child in a pool. This was the first time for this young adult where they had been in the water with their family. Those are the kind of stories we hear. And for those who don’t have special needs, it’s a learning experience for them.

There has been global interest in the new attraction and we’re proud of that. We live in a world of exclusion rather than inclusion, but we hope talking more about inclusion will help change that conversation.


"Morgan’s Inspiration Island is ultra-accessible. Whatever your special need may be, we want to accommodate that, so that you can be a part of this park"

 



Hartman’s daughter, Morgan, 23, has been the catalyst for all his projects

JEFF KELSO
Senior project manager
WhiteWater West



 

Jeff Kelso
 

Tell us about Inspiration Island. What was the starting point?
One only needs to hear Gordon Hartman recount the time he observed his daughter, Morgan, wanting to play with other vacationing kids at a hotel swimming pool, but the kids not wanting to interact with her.

Then and there, Gordon resolved to create opportunities and places where those with and without disabilities can come together not only for fun, but also for a better understanding of one another.

I heard this story at our first client ride manufacturer project meeting. As a former Special Olympics adaptive aquatics coach, I could relate to Gordon’s observations.

Following the meeting, I walked the existing Morgan’s Wonderland park to learn about guest needs from a customer point of view. I reviewed the rides, talked to the ride operators and maintenance team, talked to some parents in the park and even saw Morgan playing with some guests that day.

Knowing customer needs made it easy to go back to the WhiteWater project engineering team and communicate the clear direction we needed to go in.

What challenges did you face?
The project team had to ensure that any guest with any special need could load and unload safely and efficiently on the rides. The term coined and widely used by the Morgan’s team was “ultra-accessible”.

We also made sure that the final designs would not make a guest feel different or special or unique. We wanted every guest, with or without disabilities, to enjoy the ride experience in the same way. Inspiration Island had to be all-inclusive.

Additional ride vehicle testing parameters were specially developed and used to commission the rides. These parameters ensure all unusual occurrences that might happen in a park could be planned for in the park’s standard operating procedures

What has the initial reaction been?
I understand from the Morgan’s team that social media is off the charts, globally. They’re already talking about taking this ultra-accessible model to the next level.

Are there any next steps?
Yes. WhiteWater follows a very defined new product development stage-gate process. You might say that this is a limited release product design, but the trend going forward could see WhiteWater adapting our other water rides products to be ultra-accessible as well.

Now that Morgan’s Inspiration Island is up and running, I’m certain others in our industry will look for ways to make their rides ultra-accessible as well. I think that’s a great reason to follow a trend. After all, we are in this industry to create fun experiences for all to enjoy.


 



River Boat Adventure meanders through a jungle-themed setting

Michael Ayotte
Senior project manager
WhiteWater West



 

Michael Ayotte
 

“My involvement started upon contract execution, so I oversaw the design development, engineering, manufacturing, shipping, installation and commissioning phases. The most challenging aspect was the design development, as our client was very detailed in their preferences in terms of visual impact, colours, and so on. We did adapt some of our equipment. Most of the AquaSpray features were customised, so the engineering endeavour was significant. Ensuring that each feature was designed to provide the right “spray” effects was key. Moving forward, I’ll be staying in touch with the client to support them with any warranty work.”


 



Wheels allow guests to control water flow

JOSH MARTIN
President and creative director
Aquatic Design and Engineering



 

JOSH MARTIN
 

What was your role in the project?
We provide professional consultancy services, specifically tailored to water and water interaction. For Morgan’s Inspiration Island, we were contracted to deliver the mechanical filtration structural system designs for the project. Our job was to provide the systems to service the play equipment supplied by WhiteWater West.

Morgan’s trusted us to provide them with what would be an industry-leading first for waterplay. We had to make sure the water quality was beyond reproach. The park invested heavily in state-of-the-art chemical filtration equipment and heaters so they could guarantee they’d have successful play and no concerns over water quality.

What were the main challenges you were faced with when creating this?
I think the biggest challenge for us was helping to educate the team and the client about what was out there in the industry technology-wise and how to take the best technology approaches from a few different applications, including UV sanitation to kill organisms and up to 1-micron filtration.

Did your approach to the project change because of the target customers wor was it the way it would have worked normally?
One thing that was especially critical was making sure that these systems were built in a way that if something did go down for service, we could still operate as normal. Understanding that a guest’s visit may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance, we took the idea of guest satisfaction very seriously. We did everything in our power to have backup or redundant systems that can easily be swapped out to be sure they are safe.

What kinds of technology did you use?
The brains of our system is a chemical controller that enables remote monitoring of the water, allowing us to see temperature, chlorine and PH levels and automatically adjust all of those. One of our goals was to run the minimum levels of chlorine because we knew how sensitive the kids could be to the smell or to chlorine on their skin. When it comes to the heated system, it was designing a system that would bring heated water to a very exact level. I’ve never seen a project so specific on what we needed to achieve.

Are you pleased with the results?
We do a lot of projects around the world and this is one of those that will always hold a special place in our hearts because of the mission of Morgan’s. We’ve also worked with Give Kids The World in Florida, when we did their splash pads about a decade ago. For us, letting kids be kids, regardless of what’s happening in their lives, is something that always makes us happy. To see the smiles on their faces and to know there’s a place like this that exists, is something that will always be a feather in our cap as a design firm.


"Understanding that a guest’s visit may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance, we took the idea of guest satisfaction very seriously"

 



Water safety was paramount for the designers

FIND OUT MORE
To read more about Gordon Hartman and Morgan’s Wonderland, see: Leisure Handbook 2014, p 153 Attractions Management, Issue 4, 2014, p. 28
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Top team
Water Wonderland


Tom Anstey spoke to the team behind Morgan’s Inspiration Island, a new waterpark designed for children with disabilities and special needs

From Attractions Management 2017 issue 3 . . BY Tom Anstey, Leisure Media

Morgan’s Wonderland – the inclusive theme park that’s catered to disabled guests since 2010 – has launched a new accessible waterpark. The $17m (€15.2m, £13.4m) project opened on 17 June.

Morgan’s Inspiration Island is completely wheelchair accessible, offering a selection of waterpark activities, including raintrees, waterfalls, pools, geysers, water cannon and tipping buckets. A five-minute river boat ride takes visitors through a jungle setting, with bird and animal sounds playing.

With five themed zones, a seven-storey lighthouse at the centre and spacious private areas available for guests, the waterpark also offers the Rusty Anchor Galley Grub and Little Italy Bistro food outlets, the Surf Shack shop and a panoramic viewing deck.


GORDON HARTMAN
Founder
Morgan’s Inspiration Island



 

Gordon Hartman is founder of the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation and creator of ultra-inclusive parks
 

Tell us about Inspiration Island
About seven years ago, we opened Morgan’s Wonderland, which is the world’s first ultra-accessible theme park. It’s been incredibly successful, with people visiting from more than 66 countries and all 50 US states. People from all over the world come here to experience “ultimate inclusion”.

As Morgan’s grew, people started asking about a waterpark. Three-and-a-half years ago, the discussion started. Then, six months later, those discussions became more serious. We brought a team together, similar to the team that developed the original park. We spoke to people in the community – people with special needs, people without, care givers, teachers, doctors, therapists – and pooled our ideas.

The reason we did that was in order to maximise everything in the development of Morgan’s Inspiration Island to make sure it’s ultra-accessible. Whatever your special need may be – no matter how acute – we want to accommodate that, so that you can be a part of this park.

What’s different about the waterpark?
Many aspects are specially designed. The water, for example, is warmed slightly to allow those with muscular issues to enjoy the park. Every element of the waterpark is wheelchair accessible. We built access areas and camouflaged them with faux rocks. We have a boat ride that lasts about eight minutes. Normally, there’s a ramp that would take passengers up to the boat, but we did this without ramps. The seating area actually raises up in the boat itself. Those are examples of the small things we do.

What makes Morgan’s Wonderland and the new waterpark so special?
It’s the whole culture of the park. People come because, out of four people who enter each day, three of them do not have special needs. Our attractions are not just for the special needs individual, but for everyone involved. We want families to feel relaxed and be able to play.

Many parks are built for 85 or 90 per cent of the population, but our parks cater for 100 per cent of the population. Nobody comes to one of our parks and says, “I wish I could do that.” You can do everything. It’s been thought out and designed that way.

What other adaptations have you made?
We have two areas with tipping water buckets. Some of our guests don’t want to be dumped with water, some do. So, we created an alarm that warns people – a pleasing sound so as not to bother guests on the autistic spectrum – to let them know that water is about to drop. For those with hearing difficulties, we have a whirling sign that alerts them. When the guests see or hear the alarm, they can back away from the water if they don’t want to be splashed.

Many waterpark elements have little wheels on them, which control the amount of water coming out of the waterplay features. If someone is fragile because they have physical issues, the intensity level can be lowered so they can enjoy it.

What technology have you used?
We use RFID technology. If a visitor gets separated from their group or wanders off, their wristband relays their location data back to their companions. The RFID wristbands are also waterproof.

One thing that was very important in our planning was our knowldedge that many Morgan’s Wonderland guests come independently. They arrive in their own battery-operated wheelchairs. But what if someone comes to the waterpark and they want to stay independent? They wouldn’t be able to, because battery-operated wheelchairs can’t get wet. So, we worked with the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and other groups to create a wheelchair that runs on compressed air. It takes no batteries. It’s much lighter and easier to move around in, so guests can get around, get wet and stay independent.

We also designed chairs with special fabrics that can get wet. If someone has a muscular disability, they can transfer into one of our waterproof chairs via the hoist we have in a special changing room.

Who else did you work with on the project?
What’s pretty neat about the waterpark is that we talked about bringing people together. We didn’t go out to a bunch of consultants; we worked with a grassroots approach towards understanding what was necessary in the waterpark, working directly with the people who were going to use it. We did a lot of testing with special needs individuals, testing wheelchairs, water strength and much more.

What has the initial reaction been?
A woman who was just at the park sent me some photos of her daughter using one of our special wheelchairs. She had never been able to do that before, so it was a great feeling. Another woman sent me an email about the parents of a special needs individual who had never been involved in a water activity with their child before. They did not know how to swim, so they could not put their child in a pool. This was the first time for this young adult where they had been in the water with their family. Those are the kind of stories we hear. And for those who don’t have special needs, it’s a learning experience for them.

There has been global interest in the new attraction and we’re proud of that. We live in a world of exclusion rather than inclusion, but we hope talking more about inclusion will help change that conversation.


"Morgan’s Inspiration Island is ultra-accessible. Whatever your special need may be, we want to accommodate that, so that you can be a part of this park"

 



Hartman’s daughter, Morgan, 23, has been the catalyst for all his projects

JEFF KELSO
Senior project manager
WhiteWater West



 

Jeff Kelso
 

Tell us about Inspiration Island. What was the starting point?
One only needs to hear Gordon Hartman recount the time he observed his daughter, Morgan, wanting to play with other vacationing kids at a hotel swimming pool, but the kids not wanting to interact with her.

Then and there, Gordon resolved to create opportunities and places where those with and without disabilities can come together not only for fun, but also for a better understanding of one another.

I heard this story at our first client ride manufacturer project meeting. As a former Special Olympics adaptive aquatics coach, I could relate to Gordon’s observations.

Following the meeting, I walked the existing Morgan’s Wonderland park to learn about guest needs from a customer point of view. I reviewed the rides, talked to the ride operators and maintenance team, talked to some parents in the park and even saw Morgan playing with some guests that day.

Knowing customer needs made it easy to go back to the WhiteWater project engineering team and communicate the clear direction we needed to go in.

What challenges did you face?
The project team had to ensure that any guest with any special need could load and unload safely and efficiently on the rides. The term coined and widely used by the Morgan’s team was “ultra-accessible”.

We also made sure that the final designs would not make a guest feel different or special or unique. We wanted every guest, with or without disabilities, to enjoy the ride experience in the same way. Inspiration Island had to be all-inclusive.

Additional ride vehicle testing parameters were specially developed and used to commission the rides. These parameters ensure all unusual occurrences that might happen in a park could be planned for in the park’s standard operating procedures

What has the initial reaction been?
I understand from the Morgan’s team that social media is off the charts, globally. They’re already talking about taking this ultra-accessible model to the next level.

Are there any next steps?
Yes. WhiteWater follows a very defined new product development stage-gate process. You might say that this is a limited release product design, but the trend going forward could see WhiteWater adapting our other water rides products to be ultra-accessible as well.

Now that Morgan’s Inspiration Island is up and running, I’m certain others in our industry will look for ways to make their rides ultra-accessible as well. I think that’s a great reason to follow a trend. After all, we are in this industry to create fun experiences for all to enjoy.


 



River Boat Adventure meanders through a jungle-themed setting

Michael Ayotte
Senior project manager
WhiteWater West



 

Michael Ayotte
 

“My involvement started upon contract execution, so I oversaw the design development, engineering, manufacturing, shipping, installation and commissioning phases. The most challenging aspect was the design development, as our client was very detailed in their preferences in terms of visual impact, colours, and so on. We did adapt some of our equipment. Most of the AquaSpray features were customised, so the engineering endeavour was significant. Ensuring that each feature was designed to provide the right “spray” effects was key. Moving forward, I’ll be staying in touch with the client to support them with any warranty work.”


 



Wheels allow guests to control water flow

JOSH MARTIN
President and creative director
Aquatic Design and Engineering



 

JOSH MARTIN
 

What was your role in the project?
We provide professional consultancy services, specifically tailored to water and water interaction. For Morgan’s Inspiration Island, we were contracted to deliver the mechanical filtration structural system designs for the project. Our job was to provide the systems to service the play equipment supplied by WhiteWater West.

Morgan’s trusted us to provide them with what would be an industry-leading first for waterplay. We had to make sure the water quality was beyond reproach. The park invested heavily in state-of-the-art chemical filtration equipment and heaters so they could guarantee they’d have successful play and no concerns over water quality.

What were the main challenges you were faced with when creating this?
I think the biggest challenge for us was helping to educate the team and the client about what was out there in the industry technology-wise and how to take the best technology approaches from a few different applications, including UV sanitation to kill organisms and up to 1-micron filtration.

Did your approach to the project change because of the target customers wor was it the way it would have worked normally?
One thing that was especially critical was making sure that these systems were built in a way that if something did go down for service, we could still operate as normal. Understanding that a guest’s visit may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance, we took the idea of guest satisfaction very seriously. We did everything in our power to have backup or redundant systems that can easily be swapped out to be sure they are safe.

What kinds of technology did you use?
The brains of our system is a chemical controller that enables remote monitoring of the water, allowing us to see temperature, chlorine and PH levels and automatically adjust all of those. One of our goals was to run the minimum levels of chlorine because we knew how sensitive the kids could be to the smell or to chlorine on their skin. When it comes to the heated system, it was designing a system that would bring heated water to a very exact level. I’ve never seen a project so specific on what we needed to achieve.

Are you pleased with the results?
We do a lot of projects around the world and this is one of those that will always hold a special place in our hearts because of the mission of Morgan’s. We’ve also worked with Give Kids The World in Florida, when we did their splash pads about a decade ago. For us, letting kids be kids, regardless of what’s happening in their lives, is something that always makes us happy. To see the smiles on their faces and to know there’s a place like this that exists, is something that will always be a feather in our cap as a design firm.


"Understanding that a guest’s visit may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance, we took the idea of guest satisfaction very seriously"

 



Water safety was paramount for the designers

FIND OUT MORE
To read more about Gordon Hartman and Morgan’s Wonderland, see: Leisure Handbook 2014, p 153 Attractions Management, Issue 4, 2014, p. 28
 
 
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2017

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
AM2
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS

Top team
Water Wonderland


Tom Anstey spoke to the team behind Morgan’s Inspiration Island, a new waterpark designed for children with disabilities and special needs

From Attractions Management 2017 issue 3 . . BY Tom Anstey, Leisure Media

Morgan’s Wonderland – the inclusive theme park that’s catered to disabled guests since 2010 – has launched a new accessible waterpark. The $17m (€15.2m, £13.4m) project opened on 17 June.

Morgan’s Inspiration Island is completely wheelchair accessible, offering a selection of waterpark activities, including raintrees, waterfalls, pools, geysers, water cannon and tipping buckets. A five-minute river boat ride takes visitors through a jungle setting, with bird and animal sounds playing.

With five themed zones, a seven-storey lighthouse at the centre and spacious private areas available for guests, the waterpark also offers the Rusty Anchor Galley Grub and Little Italy Bistro food outlets, the Surf Shack shop and a panoramic viewing deck.


GORDON HARTMAN
Founder
Morgan’s Inspiration Island



 

Gordon Hartman is founder of the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation and creator of ultra-inclusive parks
 

Tell us about Inspiration Island
About seven years ago, we opened Morgan’s Wonderland, which is the world’s first ultra-accessible theme park. It’s been incredibly successful, with people visiting from more than 66 countries and all 50 US states. People from all over the world come here to experience “ultimate inclusion”.

As Morgan’s grew, people started asking about a waterpark. Three-and-a-half years ago, the discussion started. Then, six months later, those discussions became more serious. We brought a team together, similar to the team that developed the original park. We spoke to people in the community – people with special needs, people without, care givers, teachers, doctors, therapists – and pooled our ideas.

The reason we did that was in order to maximise everything in the development of Morgan’s Inspiration Island to make sure it’s ultra-accessible. Whatever your special need may be – no matter how acute – we want to accommodate that, so that you can be a part of this park.

What’s different about the waterpark?
Many aspects are specially designed. The water, for example, is warmed slightly to allow those with muscular issues to enjoy the park. Every element of the waterpark is wheelchair accessible. We built access areas and camouflaged them with faux rocks. We have a boat ride that lasts about eight minutes. Normally, there’s a ramp that would take passengers up to the boat, but we did this without ramps. The seating area actually raises up in the boat itself. Those are examples of the small things we do.

What makes Morgan’s Wonderland and the new waterpark so special?
It’s the whole culture of the park. People come because, out of four people who enter each day, three of them do not have special needs. Our attractions are not just for the special needs individual, but for everyone involved. We want families to feel relaxed and be able to play.

Many parks are built for 85 or 90 per cent of the population, but our parks cater for 100 per cent of the population. Nobody comes to one of our parks and says, “I wish I could do that.” You can do everything. It’s been thought out and designed that way.

What other adaptations have you made?
We have two areas with tipping water buckets. Some of our guests don’t want to be dumped with water, some do. So, we created an alarm that warns people – a pleasing sound so as not to bother guests on the autistic spectrum – to let them know that water is about to drop. For those with hearing difficulties, we have a whirling sign that alerts them. When the guests see or hear the alarm, they can back away from the water if they don’t want to be splashed.

Many waterpark elements have little wheels on them, which control the amount of water coming out of the waterplay features. If someone is fragile because they have physical issues, the intensity level can be lowered so they can enjoy it.

What technology have you used?
We use RFID technology. If a visitor gets separated from their group or wanders off, their wristband relays their location data back to their companions. The RFID wristbands are also waterproof.

One thing that was very important in our planning was our knowldedge that many Morgan’s Wonderland guests come independently. They arrive in their own battery-operated wheelchairs. But what if someone comes to the waterpark and they want to stay independent? They wouldn’t be able to, because battery-operated wheelchairs can’t get wet. So, we worked with the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and other groups to create a wheelchair that runs on compressed air. It takes no batteries. It’s much lighter and easier to move around in, so guests can get around, get wet and stay independent.

We also designed chairs with special fabrics that can get wet. If someone has a muscular disability, they can transfer into one of our waterproof chairs via the hoist we have in a special changing room.

Who else did you work with on the project?
What’s pretty neat about the waterpark is that we talked about bringing people together. We didn’t go out to a bunch of consultants; we worked with a grassroots approach towards understanding what was necessary in the waterpark, working directly with the people who were going to use it. We did a lot of testing with special needs individuals, testing wheelchairs, water strength and much more.

What has the initial reaction been?
A woman who was just at the park sent me some photos of her daughter using one of our special wheelchairs. She had never been able to do that before, so it was a great feeling. Another woman sent me an email about the parents of a special needs individual who had never been involved in a water activity with their child before. They did not know how to swim, so they could not put their child in a pool. This was the first time for this young adult where they had been in the water with their family. Those are the kind of stories we hear. And for those who don’t have special needs, it’s a learning experience for them.

There has been global interest in the new attraction and we’re proud of that. We live in a world of exclusion rather than inclusion, but we hope talking more about inclusion will help change that conversation.


"Morgan’s Inspiration Island is ultra-accessible. Whatever your special need may be, we want to accommodate that, so that you can be a part of this park"

 



Hartman’s daughter, Morgan, 23, has been the catalyst for all his projects

JEFF KELSO
Senior project manager
WhiteWater West



 

Jeff Kelso
 

Tell us about Inspiration Island. What was the starting point?
One only needs to hear Gordon Hartman recount the time he observed his daughter, Morgan, wanting to play with other vacationing kids at a hotel swimming pool, but the kids not wanting to interact with her.

Then and there, Gordon resolved to create opportunities and places where those with and without disabilities can come together not only for fun, but also for a better understanding of one another.

I heard this story at our first client ride manufacturer project meeting. As a former Special Olympics adaptive aquatics coach, I could relate to Gordon’s observations.

Following the meeting, I walked the existing Morgan’s Wonderland park to learn about guest needs from a customer point of view. I reviewed the rides, talked to the ride operators and maintenance team, talked to some parents in the park and even saw Morgan playing with some guests that day.

Knowing customer needs made it easy to go back to the WhiteWater project engineering team and communicate the clear direction we needed to go in.

What challenges did you face?
The project team had to ensure that any guest with any special need could load and unload safely and efficiently on the rides. The term coined and widely used by the Morgan’s team was “ultra-accessible”.

We also made sure that the final designs would not make a guest feel different or special or unique. We wanted every guest, with or without disabilities, to enjoy the ride experience in the same way. Inspiration Island had to be all-inclusive.

Additional ride vehicle testing parameters were specially developed and used to commission the rides. These parameters ensure all unusual occurrences that might happen in a park could be planned for in the park’s standard operating procedures

What has the initial reaction been?
I understand from the Morgan’s team that social media is off the charts, globally. They’re already talking about taking this ultra-accessible model to the next level.

Are there any next steps?
Yes. WhiteWater follows a very defined new product development stage-gate process. You might say that this is a limited release product design, but the trend going forward could see WhiteWater adapting our other water rides products to be ultra-accessible as well.

Now that Morgan’s Inspiration Island is up and running, I’m certain others in our industry will look for ways to make their rides ultra-accessible as well. I think that’s a great reason to follow a trend. After all, we are in this industry to create fun experiences for all to enjoy.


 



River Boat Adventure meanders through a jungle-themed setting

Michael Ayotte
Senior project manager
WhiteWater West



 

Michael Ayotte
 

“My involvement started upon contract execution, so I oversaw the design development, engineering, manufacturing, shipping, installation and commissioning phases. The most challenging aspect was the design development, as our client was very detailed in their preferences in terms of visual impact, colours, and so on. We did adapt some of our equipment. Most of the AquaSpray features were customised, so the engineering endeavour was significant. Ensuring that each feature was designed to provide the right “spray” effects was key. Moving forward, I’ll be staying in touch with the client to support them with any warranty work.”


 



Wheels allow guests to control water flow

JOSH MARTIN
President and creative director
Aquatic Design and Engineering



 

JOSH MARTIN
 

What was your role in the project?
We provide professional consultancy services, specifically tailored to water and water interaction. For Morgan’s Inspiration Island, we were contracted to deliver the mechanical filtration structural system designs for the project. Our job was to provide the systems to service the play equipment supplied by WhiteWater West.

Morgan’s trusted us to provide them with what would be an industry-leading first for waterplay. We had to make sure the water quality was beyond reproach. The park invested heavily in state-of-the-art chemical filtration equipment and heaters so they could guarantee they’d have successful play and no concerns over water quality.

What were the main challenges you were faced with when creating this?
I think the biggest challenge for us was helping to educate the team and the client about what was out there in the industry technology-wise and how to take the best technology approaches from a few different applications, including UV sanitation to kill organisms and up to 1-micron filtration.

Did your approach to the project change because of the target customers wor was it the way it would have worked normally?
One thing that was especially critical was making sure that these systems were built in a way that if something did go down for service, we could still operate as normal. Understanding that a guest’s visit may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance, we took the idea of guest satisfaction very seriously. We did everything in our power to have backup or redundant systems that can easily be swapped out to be sure they are safe.

What kinds of technology did you use?
The brains of our system is a chemical controller that enables remote monitoring of the water, allowing us to see temperature, chlorine and PH levels and automatically adjust all of those. One of our goals was to run the minimum levels of chlorine because we knew how sensitive the kids could be to the smell or to chlorine on their skin. When it comes to the heated system, it was designing a system that would bring heated water to a very exact level. I’ve never seen a project so specific on what we needed to achieve.

Are you pleased with the results?
We do a lot of projects around the world and this is one of those that will always hold a special place in our hearts because of the mission of Morgan’s. We’ve also worked with Give Kids The World in Florida, when we did their splash pads about a decade ago. For us, letting kids be kids, regardless of what’s happening in their lives, is something that always makes us happy. To see the smiles on their faces and to know there’s a place like this that exists, is something that will always be a feather in our cap as a design firm.


"Understanding that a guest’s visit may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance, we took the idea of guest satisfaction very seriously"

 



Water safety was paramount for the designers

FIND OUT MORE
To read more about Gordon Hartman and Morgan’s Wonderland, see: Leisure Handbook 2014, p 153 Attractions Management, Issue 4, 2014, p. 28
 


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