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Anderson Township mom upset after disabled boy barred from Kings Island rides

September 16, 2014, 14:30 4409 Author: Maxim Alter, John Genovese wcpo.com An Anderson Township mom says her congenital quad amputee son was denied access to Kings Island rides this summer despite being allowed on roller coasters at the Mason park last year

Mom: My son was allowed to ride coasters last year

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MASON, Ohio – An Anderson Township mom says her congenital quad amputee son was denied access to Kings Island rides this summer despite being allowed on roller coasters at the Mason park last year.

Julie Vilardo said she bought $400 in passes to Kings Island this year for four of her children, including her adopted 12-year-old son Logan Vilardo.

Julie adopted Logan from Ukraine two years ago. He does not have arms and only has a portion of his left leg. But despite that, Julie said he’s an "adrenaline junkie."

“He loves rides and all that,” Julie said. “When he first came here, we got to go to Disney and he absolutely loved it. We went to Kings Island because it's closer and it's something we could do on a regular basis.”

Last summer, Julie said park staff gave her a list of attractions Logan could ride. She said he was allowed on anything with a lap belt or bar.

According to paperwork from last year, Julie said Logan could ride his two favorite attractions: The Racer and The Beast. He could not ride The Diamondback, Invertigo or Flight of Fear, but there were still plenty of options, she said.

But when she brought that paperwork to Kings Island this past July, Julie said she was told Logan could not ride anything.

“They told us they were forged documents,” she said. “They said, 'Nope, we changed our rules. He can't ride anything.'”

Julie said she has photos and real documents to prove Logan enjoyed Kings Island’s coasters last year.

But that wasn’t enough to get Logan back on The Beast.

Julie Vilardo said this photo shows Logan with his grandpa riding The Racer at Kings Island last year.

Julie Vilardo said she was given this paperwork from Kings Island last year. The attractions with an "X" are the ones Logan cannot ride, she said.

“I was disappointed and frustrated,” Julie said. “This was something he could do last year… He knows what the rides are about. He's already done them multiple times. They're saying he's not functional enough to be able to ride them.”

Julie said Logan was sad, and because of some developmental delays, he didn’t quite understand why he couldn’t ride his favorite coasters.

“(Kings Island’s) comment is he has to have functioning limbs and the question that we had for them is 'What's a functioning limb?'” Julie said. “Because he's an absolutely amazing kid that can do just about anything with what little bit he has.”

Julie said she unsuccessfully worked for two months hoping to get a refund from Kings Island for the four passes she purchased this year.

The passes were a Christmas gift to her kids, and she hoped a refund would give them a chance to get a different gift.

“I can't change Kings Island’s rules,” Julie said. “Whether I like them or not, I don't want to take on that fight. I respect they have rules in place and they don't want him to ride. Just refund my money.”

Kings Island spokesperson Don Helbig told WCPO the park’s rules have not changed, and Logan was never allowed on the coasters Julie listed.

When asked about why Logan was allowed to ride The Beast and The Racer last year, Helbig said, “So they say.”

“There have been no changes to our ride admissions policy,” he said.

Two hours after speaking with WCPO, Kings Island called Julie and offered her a refund on all four park passes, according to Kings Island Director of Operations Tony Carovillano.

The park’s 2014 “Guest Assistance Guide” is available online and details the ride admission policies for each attraction.

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