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Crowded Walibi theme park has to turn away pass-holders over Halloween weekend
Walibi Belgium, one of the largest theme parks in the country, has had to turn away annual pass-holders due to crowds this Halloween season.
People with subscriptions for the park, which is located close to Brussels, have reacted with anger, with one calling it "an aberration".
The theme park said it warned visitors that excessive crowds were expected and that priority would be given to people who purchased day tickets for those specific days, rather than subscription holders.
“I have two teenagers aged 15 and 17 who were looking forward to the opening of Walibi this year for Halloween,” one pass-holder told RTL.
Police barriers were erected over the weekend at the car park, with employees turning away guests and explaining that the park was full.
But while Walibi said priority was given to day-ticket holders, one guest told RTL that an employee said they “had orders to let in only Platinum season ticket holders”.
Another guest who attempted to enter the park on Sunday was also turned away due to crowds.
“We were denied access. I wonder: what am I doing with this membership?” the customer said.
“I saw that access was granted to those who have bought a day ticket. Nowhere in the subscription’s fine print is it mentioned that access is limited to certain days of the year.”
Local police were joined by 11 federal officers at the car park to turn away traffic once the theme park was declared full.
A spokesperson for the theme park confirmed that crowds were large, but that this was both expected and communicated to would-be guests ahead of time.
“Every year it's the same: Halloween is very popular, especially on 31 October and 1 November,” spokesperson Justien Dewil said.
“That's why we communicated, well in advance on our website, our social networks and by press release, that there would be a high turnout. The subscription pass gives access to the park for a year, including Halloween; however, as indicated in the rules, it is not valid when the park is full or when it is privatised.”
Dewil reiterated that on those days, priority is given to people with tickets dated for that day.
“Around 11.00 [on Sunday] we reached 11,000 visitors. We were still far from our limit, which is about 24,000 people,” Dewil said.
“However, we announced that the park was full to dissuade people who did not have a dated ticket from coming. We wanted to satisfy as many people as possible who came from France or elsewhere, but at some point, we have to limit.”
When told that some attendees reported that they were turned away despite having a dated ticket, Dewil suggested the blame lay with the car park attendees and said such guests can send a complaint via the theme park’s website.
Dewil did confirm that those with Platinum memberships are allowed access even when the park is full.
Walibi’s advice is for would-be attendees to visit the park after 1 November in order to avoid the highest crowds.
Walibi Belgium attracted almost 1.5 million visitors in 2018, before the pandemic.