Accessibility expert denounces universal accommodations for people with disabilities

Like many theme parks, Universal Orlando Resort has detailed accessibility information on its website. Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, and CityWalk are largely wheelchair accessible and have specific policies for accommodating guests with manual/ECV wheelchairs, cognitive impairments, prosthetics, oxygen tanks/other devices medical, hearing/vision impaired, service animals, etc. .

Credit: Universal

Although most attraction lines are wheelchair accessible, Universal Orlando Resort offers an Attraction Assistance Pass, similar to Disney’s Disabled Access Pass (DAS). This allows visitors with disabilities who find it difficult to wait in line to receive a return time for attractions and to do other things at 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, saying that Universal Orlando Resort isn’t doing enough to accommodate visitors with certain disabilities. u/mhortonable claims to work as an accessibility coordinator for music festivals and other events. They wrote:

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

halloween horror nights
Credit: Universal

The guest praised Universal Orlando Resort for its wheelchair-accessible queues and widely accessible bathrooms (though some Port-A-Potties at Halloween Horror Nights could use improvement, they said). Still, the expert said Universal “requires thorough questioning about your disability, including the nature of the disability, symptoms, and other information you shouldn’t ask about. Good luck if your disability doesn’t is not apparent.

Because the queues are wheelchair friendly, the guest said, they are too “stingy” to give the attraction pass:

“Every time we asked, the team member said ‘the lines are wheelchair accessible, we can provide you with a wheelchair’ UNIVERSAL! No one who ends up in a wheelchair wants to be forced into it before their time. This statement is really tone deaf and offensive.

HHNChallenge
Credit: Universal

The guest visited someone who needs to use the bathroom regularly. Universal Orlando Resort is offering a bathroom pass for Halloween Horror Nights, which means guests can leave and re-enter hour-long lines to use the restroom as often as they like. For this reason, Universal Orlando Resort denied the guest’s group an attraction attendance pass for his friend’s disability. They called it a “disaster”.

“Why not just sew a red letter A on his chest or tattoo a number on him,” the guest wrote. “Not all lines need to know their handicap. It’s just a failure of an initiative and you have to come back immediately.

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Orlando
Source: Universal Orlando Resort

The guest spoke to several members of the universal team, the manager and even a security guard. The theme park eventually made a “one-time exception” and granted the party an attraction attendance pass.

“It was a horrible 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 the accommodations at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood?

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