Universal Refuses to Let Child Ride Attraction After Restraining Him

in Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure

Credit: Universal

It seems that one Guest at Universal Orlando Resort had a less than magical experience recently.

In the past, we have discussed Guests being turned away from a Universal ride based on factors such as weight. Because many Universal attractions are thrill rides, ride restraints are used and can only fit Guests of a certain size. Although not being able to ride an attraction you were excited to get on could be a negative point on an otherwise fun-filled day, for some, it can be the start of a major lifestyle change. Which is exactly what happened with one Guest, read more on that here. 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. 

Marvel heroes at Superhero island at Universal Studios Orlando
Credit: Universal Studios

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.

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!

Universal Orlando welcom sign
Credit: ITM

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.”

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.

Hogsmeade Universal Orlando
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Now, one Guest has taken to Twitter to explain why she and her son had a terrible experience at Universal. Claire (@disneypeanut) has an autistic son, and was not allowed to ride an attraction due to the child’s inability to hold on to the restraint when asked, although he was secured, and his inability to verbalize a response. The child is non-verbal, so of course, responding with a “thumbs up” would have been nearly impossible.

Below, you can read the Twitter thread posted by Claire.

Our horrible treatment of our disabled son at

@UniversalORL a thread (1)

Claire then said, “We attempted to cancel our APs on the way out and we were told that we could do this but we would receive no money back, even though they don’t expire until November. We have been home 2 weeks now and have received no further contact after 3 complaints. Appalling.” It seems that once the post started to gain more traction, Claire was able to hear back from Universal. She updated, “Universal reached out and assured me this will be passed on to relevant leadership teams to be addressed and investigated. They were very apologetic and let me cancel my sons AP with a partial refund + tickets to come back for a better visit.”

Storm Force Accelatron
Credit: Universal Orlando

Some were worried that safety was a concern, however, Claire did clarify that her son was secure in the attraction. We are glad to see Universal reached out to rectify the situation. Universal has added a sensory room for Guests who could use a break from the crowds and Parks, and now, perhaps finding ways and policies to help these situations move forward without disappointment is next.

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.

What do you think of this ongoing story?

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!

in Universal Orlando

View Comments (21)