Universal has now rejected another Guest from enjoying Volcano Bay, due to a missing arm.
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, as noted 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!
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.
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.”
Now, the Orlando Sentinel has uncovered another Guest who went to Universal Orlando Resort with excitement but left in tears. According to Volcano Bay’s accessibility guide, Guests must have two arms with two functioning hands to ride the attractions. Jennifer Bertrand went to visit Universal Orlando Resort with her four children on vacation recently and was turned away from the Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides because she could not grip with two hands.
The publication stated that Jennifer is “A mother of four and an active athlete who has rappelled down waterfalls and completed high ropes courses, 51-year-old Bertrand offered to sign a waiver or show ride attendants she could grip the second handle with her elbow joint.” It seems that Universal told her that the rule comes from ProSlide, and is not from the theme park. Jennifer said, “It’s very dejecting to have people tell you, when you know you’re fully capable of doing something, that you can’t be allowed.”
Apparently, this is the first time that she has ever been rejected from a water attraction. Jennifer’s son captured multiple videos of Universal supervisors telling her she could not ride. In the videos, Jennifer commented:
Universal Studios and their entertainment companies must take whatever steps are necessary to support all customers and change their policies to ensure individuals with disabilities can access their attractions with their families.
Please share and ask Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure to update their policies and remove access barriers to people with disabilities. Individuals know what they are able to do. Do not make assumptions about our abilities!
The family was offered Express Passes but ended up leaving the Park and was refunded for their visit by Universal. Jennifer had no issue riding any attraction at Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure.
What do you think of this situation? Should Universal update their policy?
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!