Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood when you or someone you love has a disability does not have to be a daunting task. If you are not sure which rides or attractions will work for you family or how to maximize your time in the park, you have come to the right frogs! We will break down some Universal Studios Hollywood disability basics to answer your questions and tell you where to go if you need more assistance. The team members in the park will also be hoppy to assist you with your needs.
There are many kinds of disabilities. Whether your needs are related to physical limitations and mobility issues, or to cognitive issues, Universal should be able to help you have a satisfying and safe visit. When you get to the park, you can pick up a "Rider’s Guide: Rider Safety and Guests with Disabilities" booklet. The guide has details about accommodations, as well as specific ride information as it relates to various conditions. You can also access that information in advance online. Here’s an overview of how Universal Studios Hollywood can accommodate the more common disabilities and medical conditions.
How to Manage Universal Studios Hollywood with Disabilities
Wheelchairs and Mobility
Whether you bring your own wheelchair or rent one the park, here are some guidelines for using a wheelchair at Universal Studios Hollywood. Even if you do not require a chair in your daily life, you might find it hopful to rent one in the park. This is a good idea if you are unable to walk long distances or stand for long periods of time. If you have trouble with balance or fatigue easily due to medical problems, neurological issues or injuries, renting a chair can keep you safer in the crowded theme park. Here's some hopful information about using or renting a wheelchair or ECV at Universal Studios. Plus, here's what you need to know about accessing the park's shows and attractions.
Wheelchair accessibility in the park includes the following:
- Accessible parking permit for cars with disability placards.
- All shows accommodate wheelchairs, with designated viewing areas.
- Studio Tour accommodates standard wheelchairs and electric wheelchairs without transferring but not electric convenience vehicles (ECVs).
- Must transfer for most rides — park employees are not trained to lift or help carry, so bring a companion to assist (Hoppin' news! The new Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash ride has a ride vehicle that can accommodate a manual wheelchair.)
- All attractions have queues that can accommodate a wheelchair.
- There is an elevator and tram to get to and from the Lower Lot. The line for the tram to take guests back up to the elevator is generally shortest in the morning and can range from 20 to 30 minutes in the afternoon, so plan accordingly.
- Universal Studios rents standard wheelchairs for $15, plus a $25 refundable deposit; ECVs rent for $60 and require a credit card.
- Accessible phones are available throughout the park.
- Family restrooms are located near first-aid stations.
- Look for designated wheelchair parking signs at attractions.
- To ride, you must be able to sit independently, continuously grasp with one extremity, and possess the upper body strength to absorb the shock of movements, supporting your head, neck and torso.
Disability Parking Tips
We have hopped along at Universal Studios with guests who use wheelchairs, walkers or canes. We discovered that these guests can toadally benefit from arrival and parking tips. If you have a disabled parking placard, bring it with you. The closest parking to the security screening is Front Gate disabled parking (Woody Woodpecker). The next closest parking is in the Frankenstein structure. If you struggle with walking long distances and plan to rent a wheelchair or ECV inside the park, you need to specify to the team members that you require close parking. Disabled parking in a faraway parking garage is not helpful to someone who can walk only short distances.
One time, we were hopping along with a friend who uses a walker for walking short distances. She was planning to rent an ECV in the park. We were first directed to the disabled parking in the Jurassic Parking garage. This location is not a problem for people already in a chair or people who have no mobility limitations. But it was an impossible distance for our friend. We moved the car to Frankenstein, which is closer to security, and more importantly, much closer to the park exit. After returning the ECV after a tiring day in the park, it is necessary to have a short distance to travel to the car. That experience definitely opened our eyes to how having a little knowledge going in can make a huge difference in your day.
While oxygen tanks are not allowed on rides, some oxygen concentrators are allowed if they can be secured and don’t interfere with the restraint.
Oxygen tanks are allowed at the following shows/attractions:
- Animal Actors Stage
- DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda (stationary seating only)
- Special Effects Show
There are several accommodations for guests who are hearing impaired, including:
- Video remote interpreting is available at Guest Relations and first-aid stations.
- Sign language interpreting services are available for no additional charge (though you'll need to reserve one week in advance).
- Guest Relations offers scripts for dialogue in shows.
- Phones with amplification are located throughout park, along with TDD for deaf guests.
- Caption monitoring is available upon request in designated areas.
- Many queues have amplified audio for assisted listening.
- Assistive listening for major shows is available.
- Guest Relations loans assistive listening headsets to guests.
If you are visually impaired, you can get the following in Braille or large print:
- Braille and large print for safety and guest information.
- Braille for show dialogue for DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda, Frog Choir, Special Effects Show, Triwizard Spirit Rally and Universal’s Animal Actors.
- Large-print script is available for the Studio Tour.
Service animals are welcome in the park in all shows and restaurants.
There are service animal stations in the Upper Lot, Lower Lot and outside the park. Some attractions may accommodate service animals if there is adequate room/floor space.
Service animals are not allowed on the following rides/attractions:
- Revenge of the Mummy
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- Flight of the Hippogriff
- Jurassic World — The Ride
- The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash
Ask a team member about crates to keep your animal safe while you ride.
Casts, Braces and Prosthetic Limbs
If you wear a cast or have braces or a prosthetic limb, there are some precautions and safety guidelines to know about. A cast, brace or prosthetic:
- Cannot interfere with the ride
- Must fit in the ride unit/vehicle
- Must not interfere with the ride's restraints
- Are not recommended for some rides
- Prosthetic limbs must be secured to prevent hazard or loss on Revenge of The Mummy, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and Flight of the Hippogriff
- You must be able to sit upright unassisted and be able to grip continuously with one upper extremity throughout the duration of the attraction
Other Safety or Medical Warnings
Each ride or attraction has a safety information board at the entrance with warning signs regarding aspects of the ride that might affect other disabilities or medical issues, such as:
- Medical sensitivity to strobe lights
- Medical sensitivity to fog effects
- Motion sickness
- Heart conditions or abnormal blood pressure
- History of neck and back problems
- Fear of heights
- Fear of enclosed spaces
- Patients who have had recent surgery
Many rides have loud noises, jarring movements and enclosed spaces or the sensation of height. There is a guide for the icons/symbols in the "Rider’s Guide: Rider Safety and Guests with Disabilities" that tells you specific information (whether it is a fear of heights, sensitivity to fog and strobe effects or to let you know if you can bring your service animal with you).
Cognitive or Other Unseen Disabilities or Medical Issues
Not every disability is visible, nor is every case like another. That is why Universal Studios has other accommodations based on individual situations. Neither the "Rider’s Guide" nor the online information tells families how to plan for accommodations for special circumstances outside mobility and the other disabilities already discussed. Hop by Guest Relations as soon as you enter the park and have a conversation about your concerns. A team member will discuss with you the best way to accommodate your needs.
One accommodation the park offers guests with cognitive disabilities or certain medical issues is the Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP). This pass can help people who would would find it difficult or impossible to wait in a standard queue due to their disabilities or medial conditions. Universal Studios gives out AAPs on an individual and limited basis at Guest Relations.
The pass allows those guests (along with up to three companions) to avoid the standard queue. Depending on the attraction's wait time, the party may proceed through an alternate queue, or receive a return time appointment to come back to the attraction and go through an alternate queue at that time. The guest can hold one return time at a time. The party may use the wait time to enjoy another attraction, meet characters, rest or eat a meal.
You can read all about this service in our overview of the Universal Studios Hollywood Attraction Assistance Pass. If your child has sensory issues or has trouble with loud noises or certain special effects, be sure to read through the "Rider’s Guide" in advance to determine which rides or attractions to avoid.
If someone in your group is sensitive to overheating, try planning your visit for late fall, winter or spring. Bring spray bottles, carry water, take breaks and take advantage of the fountains and water play area to stay cool. Soak Zone seating at WaterWorld can be refreshing, as well.
This is not a complete list of all special needs and disabilities, but we hope we have covered most of your concerns. If you are ever unsure of how to manage accommodations, the correct area to go to, or how to get assistance, just ask a Team Member in the park or hop into Guest Relations to get more information. Of course, you can always drop us a line in the comments!