Monday, June 22, 2009

Accessibility Review: Wrigley Field

Being one of the oldest ballparks Wrigley has an excuse for not being the most accessible, but it does not lean on that and in fact is better than some of the parks built in this century. First off they are the only ballpark that requires you to pick up the handicap tickets in person. Supposedly you have to show an id to pick them up, but they did not really care because it was pretty obvious with Mik rolling up in his wheelchair.

Parking was way expensive as we ended up with the $40 parking ticket, which we purchased in advance, instead of the $25 one we thought we were getting when Dad got off the phone ordering the tickets back in February. It turned out worth having the $40 spot, though, because it was on the same block as the park and very close to the main gate. This was helpful when it was raining before the game and we had to go through the rain to get to the park. It was also helpful after the game because it started raining again not long after we started driving.

Getting around the park was not too bad even with all the crowds. The gift shop was not even too bad because they closely control how many people they let in at a time, so while the aisles are not that wide at least there are not too many people getting in the way like we have experienced at several other ballparks. The only time the crowds were kind of annoying was at the end of the game when we were going down to ramp.

Speaking of the ramp it is actually an easy way to get up and down from the seats other than the crowds at the end of the game. The upper level here is not really all that high in comparison to modern ballpark’s upper levels, so the ramps are not as many back and forths. They also do not seem as steep as some of the other ballparks, although at some parts they are steeper than other ballparks. They also have an elevator for going up and down and I am pretty sure they really do control that for use only by handicapped because we could not even find it besides getting a vague direction. Then again we really did not look for it because we decided to take the ramps. It probably is not hard to find, but it certainly does not have an obvious sign to it, which is actually a good thing because that is when you get the people that do not need it causing problems.

Our seats were located in the upper level behind home plate and right below the press boxes. Mik declared them great seats as soon as we got there and I told them they sure as heck better be since we paid $56 a piece for them, which is the most expensive tickets of the whole trip. They did turn out to be the best seats we have had on the trip so far. The view was unobstructed except for the backstop net, which annoyed me a little because it was nearly impossible to photograph the batter or pitcher due to the net. Other than that, though, the view was great, especially of the scoreboard. The scoreboard might not be a fancy jumbotron, but it is totally worth getting a good view of, especially if there happen to be other games going on, which there were not until around when the game ended. The other good thing about our seats was that they are located under an overhang, so we stayed dry while it rained before the game without having to leave our seats.

Overall we were actually surprised at how accessible Wrigley Field is. There really is not anything to complain about accessibility wise, as there were even cup holders in front of the seats. They even have an family style accessible restroom right behind the section, which is extremely helpful because the regular bathrooms for the upper level are located just down a steep ramp and become quite crowded and rather impossibly to maneuver through.

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