Accessibility Expert Bashes Universal Disability Accommodations

in Universal Orlando

The entrance archway for Universal Studios Florida, lit up for Halloween Horror Nights.

Credit: Universal

Like many Theme Parks, Universal Orlando Resort offers extensive accessibility information on its website. Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, and CityWalk are largely wheelchair accessible and have specific policies to accommodate Guests with manual wheelchairs/ECVs, cognitive disabilities, prostheses, oxygen tanks/other medical devices, hearing/vision disabilities, service animals, and more.

Halloween Horror Nights
Credit: Universal

Though most attraction queues are wheelchair accessible, Universal Orlando Resort offers an Attraction Assistance Pass, similar to Disney’s Disability Access Pass (DAS). This allows Guests with disabilities that make it difficult to wait in line to receive a return time for attractions and do other things in the Theme Parks while they wait. Universal also offers this pass for Haunted Houses and attractions unique to Halloween Horror Nights. 

However, an accessibility expert recently spoke on Reddit, arguing that Universal Orlando Resort doesn’t do enough to accommodate Guests with certain disabilities. u/mhortonable claims to work as an accessibility coordinator for music festivals and other events. They wrote:

“Accessible queues doesn’t mean you can throw everyone in wheelchair and call it a day.”

halloween horror nightys
Credit: Universal

The Guest commended Universal Orlando Resort for its wheelchair-accessible queues and broadly accessible bathrooms (though some Port-A-Potties at Halloween Horror Nights could be improved, they said). Still, the expert said Universal “demands an in depth interrogation about your disability including the nature of the disability, symptoms, and other information the should not be asking about. Good luck if your disability is non-apparent.”

Because queues accommodate wheelchairs, the Guest said, they’re too “stingy” about giving out the Attraction Assistance Pass:

“Every time we have asked for it the team member says, ‘the lines are wheelchair accessible we can get you a wheelchair’ UNIVERSAL! No one that is eventually going to end up in a wheelchair wants to be forced into one before their time. That statement is truly tone deaf and offensive.”

Credit: Universal

The Guest visited with someone who needs to use the bathroom regularly. Universal Orlando Resort offers a bathroom pass for Halloween Horror Nights, meaning Guests can leave and reenter hours-long queues to use the restroom as often as they like. For this reason, Universal Orlando Resort denied the Guest’s party an Attraction Assistance Pass for their friend’s disability. They called it a “disaster.”

“Why not just sew a red letter A to his chest or tattoo a number on him,” the Guest wrote. “The entire lines doesn’t need to know about their disability. It’s just a fail of an initiative and should be walked back immediately.”

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Orlando
Source: Universal Orlando Resort

The Guest spoke to several Universal Team Members, the manager, and even a security officer. The Theme Park eventually made a “one time exception” and granted the party an Attraction Assistance Pass.

“This was an awful experience,” the Guest concluded. “Disney on the other hand gave us the disability pass no questions asked with up to 5 companions included.”

What do you think of accommodations at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood? 

in Universal Orlando

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