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How to Manage Universal Studios Hollywood with Disabilities

by Leap on May 1, 2020 52 Los Angeles

How to Manage Universal Studios Hollywood with Disabilities - PinterestVisiting 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

How to Manage Universal Studios Hollywood with Disabilities - Universal Globe at Night

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.

How to Manage Universal Studios Hollywood with Disabilities - Rental pricing sign at wheelchair rental

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.

Oxygen Tanks

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
  • WaterWorld
  • DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda (stationary seating only)
  • Special Effects Show

Hearing Impairment

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.

Visiual Impairment

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

How to Manage Universal Studios Hollywood with Disabilities - Service Animal Station in Lower Lot

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

Managing Universal Studios Hollywood with a Disability - Transformers Warning Sign

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

Managing Disabilities at Universal Studios Hollywood - Young man holding his AAP

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!

Related: Overview of the Universal Studios Hollywood Attraction Assistance Pass

Related: Tips for Using a Wheelchair at Universal Studios Hollywood

Keep hopping! 

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments
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Jun 23, 2020 at 8:23 a.m. Trevor Says...

Hi :) my name's Trevor and it's been a dream of mine to visit universal studios in Orlando but I'm worried that because I was diagnosed with schizophrenia I won't be allowed on the rides or something. What happens when someone has schizophrenia is they experience delusions, cognitive issues/disorganized thinking struggle to remember things or organize their thoughts.

Like not being able to remember that you have schizophrenia and which makes living with it much more challenging.But the hardest part is at times hallucinations. Like hearing voices, seeing things others can’t cause they're not there. It's very real to the person experiencing it and it may be very confusing someone to witness. voices can be critical or threatening. So I'm mainly worried that if I'm in long lines for hours at a time what if I start talking to myself and become humiliated or become overwhelmed with all the voices of people and freak out or start having panic attacks? Also I'm worried that people will see me and think I'm on drugs or something and will throw me out of the ride or the park.I take prescription antipsychotics that I have to take daily and I'm happy to show to staff if I'm supposed to also I am happy to show documents from my doctor about my diagnosis because I don't want people to worry about me or cause any problems for myself or anyone. What do I do in my situation? Am I allowed into the park? I feel so slighted in everyday life having to deal with this and I've always wanted to go to universal studios but idk how that works

Reply
Jul 1, 2020 at 8:22 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Trevor,

I am sorry for the challenges and slights you feel on an everyday basis.

With the theme parks, there are crowds, enclosed spaces and/or other situations that may be challenging. Perhaps you and your doctor could create a plan for how you would handle them or avoid them, including seeking disability assistance. Ultimately, you have to make the decision. We wish you the best!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Feb 23, 2020 at 12:59 a.m. Michael Says...

My mother uses a walker but we might spring for an electric wheelchair while there for her. She will be able to get onto the backlot tour there but will like an attendant take the chair to where we get off so it will be waiting for her when we get off? Also, for rides like that, not that we mind, but would we need to wait in the normal regular lines or is there a special line for the rides like the backlot tour and harry potter rides for her, her wheelchair and me (it's just the two of us and I am taking care of her.) Thank!

Reply
Feb 24, 2020 at 2:13 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michael!

The Studio Tour has a separate loading and drop-off area for people with wheelchairs, and it’s the same location, so her chair will be there for her. There is generally a separate line for people who use wheelchairs. For Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, there is a completely separate loading area, where you can take all the time you need to load. Have a great time!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 23, 2019 at 4:44 a.m. Margaret Palmerin Says...

So if I take my Walker to park, is it easy assess to get on team? Also how many in my party will be able to go through ramp assess to assist me,don't want to be separated from party? It is like back entrance?

Reply
Nov 25, 2019 at 4:19 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Margaret!

When using the AAP, you can have 3 other people ride with you, but the tram has a completely separate loading area for people with walkers and wheelchairs. There is a ramp. Your entire party should be able to load with you there.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 10, 2019 at 12:50 a.m. Susan Amann Says...

I have both total hips replaced and also left total knee replacement. Are all the rides safe for me

Reply
Sep 10, 2019 at 8:04 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Susan!

Guest Relations would have the most up-to-date information for you regarding which rides are safe for you. There are also safety signs outside of each ride, so be sure to check those out if you have any concerns before hopping on an attraction!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 21, 2019 at 1:06 a.m. Roberta Ayres Says...

Can electric wheelchairs be reserved? One member of our party cannot walk the park so if she can't get the chair she needs, we can't prepay for tickets.

Reply
Jul 22, 2019 at 2:17 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Roberta!

Unfortunately, ECVs can't be reserved ahead of time. There are, however, some off-site rental companies in the area!

Leap

Reply
Jun 13, 2019 at 7:34 p.m. Ronnie Says...

HI my name is Ronnie I have a electric wheelchair does the studio tour have a wheelchair lift

Reply
Jun 19, 2019 at 6:15 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ronnie,

There is a wheelchair ramp, however, you will need to transfer to a manual wheelchair due to the motion of the ride. The theme park will provide a manual wheelchair for this purpose.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 9, 2019 at 11:03 p.m. Jennifer Says...

My mom has a walker that can also be used as a wheelchair. Can she use this to stand in line and will a cast member hold it for her once she gets on a ride?

Reply
Jun 10, 2019 at 12:41 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jennifer!

It varies per ride. Some rides, she can use it in line, and others, a team member may refer her to a more accessible entrance. The team member will hold it for her while she rides and allow her all the time she needs to board.

Leap

Reply
Jun 2, 2019 at 10:04 p.m. Connie Garcia Says...

Hello,

My husband has torn ligaments in his knees. He is fine standing in line but his problem is going up and down stairs. Do all rides have stairs? If they do is there an alternate way to enter or walk up to the ride?

Reply
Jun 3, 2019 at 5:14 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Connie!

Be sure to talk to a team member. All rides have an option without stairs, although there may be ramps instead. Speaking with Guest Relations when you enter the park about his needs will be your best option, and they will help guide you in the best way to approach each ride to meet your husband's needs.

Leap

Reply
May 30, 2019 at 10:57 p.m. Dawn Moyes Says...

Hello,

My daughter broke her elbow and has a cast on her arm starting right below her shoulder all the way to her hand. Will she still be able to go on the rides with this cast?

Reply
May 27, 2019 at 12:56 a.m. Leah Says...

I have seen advertisement for golf cart rentals in the Orlando area. This would be helpful since more than one person in our party has trouble with walking for long periods of things.

Would you allow gold carts into the parks?

Reply
May 22, 2019 at 3:49 p.m. daniel Says...

Hello. I am not an American. I have a disabled card. I don’t need to take a wheelchair. Is there a discount on the purchase of Universal Studios tickets? If so, how to buy it (onsite or official website)

Reply
May 24, 2019 at 8:49 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Daniel!

No, unfortunately there is no discount available based on disability available at this time. However, you can check out the discount ticket options currently available here.

Leap

Reply
Apr 29, 2019 at 3:31 a.m. Mercy xamora Says...

I have fracture ribs. Are most rides shaky

Reply
Apr 29, 2019 at 9:16 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mercy!

Yes, the rides can have some unpredictable movement to them. We would not recommend riding with fractured ribs.

Leap

Reply
Apr 26, 2019 at 5:21 a.m. Virginia Catibog Says...

My daughter has her own wheelchair she has cp and none mobil. Are there rides for her with the wheelchair. Thanks

Reply
Apr 26, 2019 at 10:29 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Virginia!

She can ride in the wheelchair in Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, Kung Fu Panda, Studio Tour (may need to transfer to a manual wheelchair), The Walking Dead and may stay in the chair for all shows. You would have to transfer her for other rides. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has a special platform and loading area for people who need more time transferring to the ride.

Leap

Reply
Apr 25, 2019 at 11:36 a.m. Kayla Says...

I fractured my knee before our universal field trip will I still be able to go on roller coasters and all the rides with a cast on. The cast starts at mid thigh and has a bend at the knee but goes down to the foot.

Reply
Apr 26, 2019 at 10:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kayla!

As long as the cast fits comfortably in the ride unit and does not interfere with function of the ride restraints, this should be fine. Consult with a ride attendant if you run into any issues.

Leap

Reply
Feb 17, 2019 at 6:46 a.m. Valerie Says...

We are planning on going to universal in a couple of weeks and my dad has gout on his knee and he can't stand in place for a long time without his knee getting in severe pain. Do they allow you to skip ahead if he has his hadicap card with him?

Reply
Feb 21, 2019 at 5:28 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Valerie!

They handle all assistance on a case by case basis, so bring that card with him and give Guest Relations as much information as you are comfortable so they can come up with the best plan to assist your party.

Leap

Reply
Nov 12, 2018 at 5:55 a.m. Bella Aldaco Says...

hello planning to visit Universal studios with my son he is 16 years old and he has autism but I need to bring his wheelchair he has sensory issues and sensitive to loud noises. My question is about the GAPs pass for special needs what does it mean "return time appointment to come back to gate A" can you please explain to me this. Thank you ????

Reply
Nov 12, 2018 at 8:37 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bella!

The "Return Time Appointment to Come Back to Gate A" refers to when you will return to the entrance of the ride for your shortened wait time. :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 29, 2018 at 9:18 p.m. Cathy Says...

Hi I will b arriving with an unfoidable walker an want to rent electric wheelchair where do u put walker for the day while I'm using wheelchair?

Reply
Oct 31, 2018 at 11:06 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cathy!

They will store it for you :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 21, 2018 at 6:55 p.m. Rebecca Says...

Hiya,

I have temporary knee brace to secure my knee when walking. I can bend my knee ok when wearing it, it just stops it from twisting. Will I be ok for the rides?

Thanks

Becks

Reply
Oct 24, 2018 at 9:26 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rebecca!

Some of the rides can be pretty intense, so it just depends on what you're comfortable with. We recommend chatting with your doctor :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 10, 2018 at 6:46 p.m. Jodi Says...

The park is too large for my old aching back! I am pretty limited after an hour. Can you bring in your own mobility device? Can it be an electric scooter? Are there places to park them?

Reply
Oct 12, 2018 at 10:39 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jodi!

Yes, yes and YES! No worries. You can bring your electric scooter and there are plenty of areas to park them.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 21, 2018 at 4:50 p.m. Vini Shah Says...

My mom has never drove a electric wheelchair so would it be comfortable for her to drive as in will she be to easily settle into the wheelchair?

Reply
Sep 27, 2018 at 6:06 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Vini!

It's tough to offer our input ... this depends on what your mom is comfortable with. We recommend stopping by guest services to inquire about your options and perhaps give the wheelchair a try.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 17, 2018 at 3:42 a.m. Yahir Garcia Says...

What about crutches ? Will it interfere with anything, are you restricted to get on rides ?

Reply
Sep 17, 2018 at 10:36 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

The crutches are not an issue, as the concern is more focused on what you need the crutches for. You'll want to make sure you're in good enough shape to tackle some of the rougher rides.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 1, 2018 at 3:49 p.m. Lynne Says...

I have a heart condition that means I won’t be able to go on any rides. Is there a reduced price ticket for someone like me who is going just to be with extended family

Reply
Sep 4, 2018 at 10:20 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lynne!

There is not a discounted ticket for your circumstances, but be sure to stop by guest services upon arrival to see if any accommodations can be made for you.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jun 3, 2018 at 7:48 p.m. Kaden Says...

Is there a place to leave your wheelchair while you're on a ride? Like, if I were going to go on The Mummy, I am able to leave my wheelchair to get in the ride. But would I be able to leave my wheelchair similar to someone leaving a stroller at a ride entrance? I really don't want my wheelchair to get taken or anything, haha.

Reply
Jun 6, 2018 at 11:25 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kaden!

Yes. You can use the wheelchair line entrance to access rides and they will give you a safe place to park your chair while you ride.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
May 30, 2018 at 4:37 a.m. Stephanie Says...

Hi was wondering how much it cost for someone who is blind to get in to the park

Reply
May 30, 2018 at 9:57 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Stephanie!

We believe it is the standard general admission, but recommend reaching out to Universal at 800-864-8377 for details.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 8, 2018 at 2:13 a.m. Mary Kelley Says...

Need a motorized wheelchair for tomorrow can we order it tonight?

Reply
May 8, 2018 at 8:54 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mary Kelley!

We recommend heading to guest services upon arrival.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
May 8, 2018 at 2:12 a.m. Mary Kelley Says...

Coming to your park tomorrow can we preorder one for 5/8/2017

Reply
May 8, 2018 at 8:54 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mary Kelley!

We recommend heading to guest services upon arrival.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 8, 2017 at 7:29 p.m. Kelly Sexson Says...

How can I reserve a wheelchair now for a specific date?

Reply
Nov 20, 2017 at 5:21 p.m. Celia Gonzales Says...

Thank you for the helpful info about wheelchairs and other aids. Helped a lot

Reply
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