How dare I be a disabled parent! Am I the only disabled parent?


I have just returned from a very enjoyable yet energy sapping mini break with family. Before I go on I should say wherever I had stayed within the UK, and regardless of which of the large cheap and cheerful company mini break hotel specialists (and indeed to date without using and paying through the nose for a specialist facility away from the rest of our party if such places even exist) we had stayed with the problems would have been the same.

I also wish to make it clear that I am in no way knocking the staff who work at the said place because they were fantastic, understanding, couldn’t do more to help and accommodate me and were equally as frustrated as I was by the issue. Meaning I as I know, am not the only disabled parent. You see there is a right and wrong way of dealing with people with disabilities. The staff and the main purpose of our stay Peppa Pig World and Paultons Park (including staff) had it nailed on the right way.

What is the point of interconnecting family rooms without interconnecting families staying?  The purple place with the goodnight sleep guarantee on this occasion could not fulfill their promise. This largely was because the family room that we were in had an interconnecting door with another room. It didn’t connect to a door with one of the other 2 rooms our party had (especially considering one was my brother and sister in law and 2 nieces who would have fit perfectly in that connecting room). It meant on the first night when two ladies returned late with one assumes their children and proceeded to talk at a volume I can only describe as your outdoor voice we were less than impressed. It takes a lot to wind up my wife but she was so frustrated she dressed and went to reception. The staff were very apologetic explained we couldn’t move to the room opposite (we knew it was empty but that’s later in the tale) due to health and safety and evacuation procedures but said they would speak to the people. They couldn’t believe how late and noisy they were considering most of their clientele go to Peppa Pig World. Indeed we could hear that the people adjoining us were going there as the children spoke on loudspeaker excitedly to presumably daddy. I considered talking loudly at that point to give them a few awkward questions 🙂 The talking eventually stopped a little after midnight perfect for a sleepless night propped up on all the spare pillows from our room and our parents rooms and some weird long cushion under my legs and on my wheelchair alongside the bed.

The irony as we wheeled and walked to breakfast to see the huge purple painted good night’s sleep guarantee in reception.

That evening our goodnight guarantee was once again smashed by the noise from next door. Returning from dinner after a day at Peppa Pig World I collapsed in a heap on the bed with every muscle and fibre in my body screaming why, why at me. The result of a family day out and some fun. The inevitable spoon crash and pain peak kicks in quickly so whilst I was laying in my self made pillow pain paddy the rest of my family were enjoying games and a cuppa in another room. Now I don’t mind this I know it happens to me and I miss out and 95% of the time I am fine with this, when pain is coursing through me I am very grumpy and full of self pity. So whilst in this state I was getting acquainted to our new neighbours. This time it was to the tune and delights of what sounded like a teething baby. S/he was very grizzly and the only thing that seemed to keep them quiet was a xylophone. I have every sympathy for them as my wife and I have been there with the child making a noise and feeling like everyone is staring at us, so we didn’t say anything we know you can’t help a baby crying, but again it begs the question why have interconnecting rooms like that? We know the other rooms were quiet as my parents were next door to my brother and his family and neither heard from the other one which is a real miracle with the snoring from one and the volume of the other hehehe!

Why are there no disabled family rooms? Should disabled people not have families?                             This is a massive issue we face wherever we go. We knew the room opposite us was empty because when we checked in the staff explained where our room was. We got there (we booked letting them know I was a wheelchair user) and there was an overshower bath 😦 .My wife in between runs emptying the car (why I still feel guilty that she has to do this and I can’t is probably symptomatic of the pain I am in today and feeling down in the dumps with my wife and LG out seeing Granddad and me suffering on my own at home, I hate comedown days and I hate my pain) explained the problem to the receptionists. They said they’d put their heads together to think about what could be done as they had clocked the shower was going to be an issue when we checked in. They kindly explained that the disabled room opposite with a walk-in shower was empty (hence we knew it was available in the middle of the night) and I could go across the hall in the morning for my shower. Not an ideal solution, but a solution nonetheless. They were slightly frustrated though that there are no “disabled family rooms” the room opposite was the same size as ours, you could have fit in an extra bed but it then would have made the turning circle for the wheelchair too tight.

Having to have a set number of disabled friendly rooms it ticks a box on the companies planning application that is rightly required in the 21st century, but having a disabled friendly room comes with its penalties, namely “dead space” space that allows a wheelchair user to move around the room freely is one less bed a company can fit in the room. So instead of having a family room and charging more it is just a double. So where is the incentive then to create extra, extra large rooms that allow a wheelchair parent and their children to be in the same room? I understand it takes up more room, I understand that dead space means lost revenue but for an increasing population it means the freedom to travel and see the county and world before you, there are a lot of disabled parents in the world we want to travel in as much comfort as is possible.

I say it is not unique to this brand as we have the same issue wherever we go, and whoever we book with. Take later this year, we have had to pay an extra £300 to book a junior suite to get a separate shower. The irony is the upgrade is for a special bubble jet bath that I cannot use, what I want is the walk in shower, something that is in the disabled rooms, but of course the disabled rooms are not family rooms, after all if you are disabled and in a wheelchair it stands to reason that you cannot or should not procreate right? Maybe this will be my next campaign, that I will add to a long list of issues that need addressing. The stupid thing is with a little consultation with the right people (namely us, the disabled people ourselves) things could be made much better and more accessible. You only have to look in my home town for examples of issues that can be fixed by talking to us. It is why I set up the Wymondham Access Group and why so many people have already got on board with the campaign.

My question to all companies out there is this, well it is more of a plea really, get some family sized disabled rooms, they’d be a fantastic selling point and there is certainly a captive audience out there ready, waiting and willing to explore the world with their families.

The second night the room with the walkin shower was booked, by a business person so I could wait for them to check out and then go have my shower and that certainly isn’t what anybody wants to do. It might mean one less room in your hotel but the write ups from the disabled community would keep the rooms booked all year round!

It is now late on Thursday my pain is still at 20 out of 10 and the outside world hasn’t seen me since Tuesday, this is the unseen price we pay for some fun with the family.

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