Universal Hit With Discrimination Lawsuit After Denying Disabled Guest

in Universal Orlando

volcano bay

Credit: Universal

Being turned away from an attraction is never a great feeling. Whether a Guest’s body is unable to fit in a ride vehicle, or perhaps they are too short, waiting in a line with your friends and family for hours turns an exciting adventure into what some have described as a humiliating one, as everyone must watch you be asked to leave the line and the attraction.

hagrids
Credit: Universal

In the past, we have reported on this happening at Universal Orlando Resort. In both instances of our reporting, the size of the Guest’s body was the prime factor in Guests not being able to ride due to the way the seats were configured. For example, one Universal Guest was turned away from Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter because he did not fit the ride vehicle. The incident was the catalyst for that Guest to go on a weight loss journey, which he is now thankful for, but others have not expressed the same gratitude. 

In 2019, another issue occurred at Volcano Bay. As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Dylan Campbell showed up to the Park with his son, but was turned away from a water slide due to a physical difference. Dylan Campbell can deadlift 185 pounds, all with just one arm. Campbell was born that way, so he has learned how to live his life in such a way that he can operate just like anyone else with just one arm. He even mastered playing video games and writing with his feet if he has to!

Related: Universal Sued After Character is Accused of Using Racist Hate Symbol in Photos

volcano bay
Credit: Universal

When going to ride one of the tubed water slides, it was reported that, “a ride operator and manager told him he needed “two natural functioning hands” — a policy the park acknowledges.” Campbell shared:

“Everybody’s staring as they pull you out of line and tell you that you can’t ride. I was born like this; I’ve spent my whole life like this. I play video games with my hand and my feet. I can write with my feet. I can do pretty much anything that you ask of me. So to then have somebody single me out and put a limit on me, I knew that isn’t just humiliating. It’s wrong.”

Krakatau Volcano Bay
Credit: Universal

Campbell’s attorney even argued that this was a clear violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The act does not allow discrimination against individuals with disabilities in “jobs, schools, transportation and all public and private places open to the public, such as theme parks.” The U.S. District Court in Orlando ended up siding with Universal Orlando on the ruling, but since then, the case has been appealed and the debate of whether or not Florida theme parks can go against the Americans with Disabilities Act has begun.

Campbell’s attorney, Matthew Dietz of Miami-based Disability Independence Group said:

“Whenever you have an eligibility standard for a person with a disability, the ADA requires that the standard be based upon real risks and significant risks — not on mere speculation, stereotypes or assumptions. The manufacturer’s operations manual requires the ride operator to warn guests to hold onto the handles but everybody who has been to one of those rides, or has seen pictures of them, knows that you see people all the time with their hands in the air, with no one holding onto the handles.”

Universal, as well as ProSlide, declined to comment on the ongoing case. Universal “denies that it engaged in any discrimination or segregation with respect to plaintiff on the grounds of disability.”

volcano bay
Credit: Universal

There have been other instances of Guests who were born without a limb being turned away from Universal attractions. Katie Champagne was once turned away from Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey for not being able to hold on to the ride restraints. This is an especially interesting case as the ride restrains Guests in, and holding on is not needed to provide safety. Katie’s case also went to court, but records show “Universal said it was required by Florida law to follow guidelines issued by ASTM International, which sets standards for a long list of materials, products and services, including theme park ride design and manufacturing, and that ASTM deferred to ProSlide’s safety recommendations.”

Volcano Bay
Credit: Universal Orlando

More on Universal Orlando Resort

Universal
Credit: Universal Orlando

At the moment, Revenge of the Mummy is also under a massive refurbishment at Universal Studios Florida. That being said, Guests can still enjoy attractions such as Rip Ride Rockit, MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack, Transformers: The Ride, and more. Visit Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where you can venture into Gringotts!  Islands of Adventure has some fantastic attractions like the new Jurassic World VelociCoaster, Jurassic Park River Adventure, The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, and more! Volcano Bay is also open for those who want to get their splash on, and at the moment, Epic Universe is under construction with a 2025 opening date.

Have you ever been turned away from an attraction for any reason? Let us know your thoughts on the situation in the comments below. 

If you want to visit Universal Orlando Resort, you can today! Click here to get your vacation started! You can go to Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, then eat some dinner and grab a drink at CityWalk. Want to take a splash? Volcano Bay is ready for you. With so many fun events like Mardi Gras, Halloween Horror Nights, and more, Universal will give you an action-packed adventure like you are in the movies! 

At Universal Studios Hollywood Guests can enjoy WaterWorld, The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Super Silly Fun Land, Silly Swirly Fun Ride, Kung Fu Panda Adventure, Universal’s Animal Actors, Special Effects Show, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, The Simpsons Ride, Studio Tour, Jurassic World — The Ride, Revenge of the Mummy — The Ride, Transformers: The Ride-3D, and more!

View Comments (23)