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 happy to assist you with your needs.
There are many kinds of disabilities. Whether your needs are related to physical limitations and mobility issues to cognitive issues, Universal should be able to help you have a satisfying and safe visit. When you get to the park, you can get a Rider’s Guide: Rider Safety and Guests with Disabilities booklet with 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 can accommodate the more common disabilities and medical conditions. If you want to know more about Universal's Guest Assistance Pass (GAP), check out this post, in which we hopped along with our friend Adam for the day in the park.
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 on wheelchairs. If you do not usually use a chair, but you know that you will be unable to walk or stand all day due to other medical or neurologic issues or injuries, here is what you need to know about acquiring one and accessing the 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 all rides—park employees are not trained to lift or help carry, so bring a companion to assist
- 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 wheelchair for $15 plus a $25 refundable deposit; ECVs rent for $50.
- Accessible phones available throughout the park
- Family restrooms 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 head, neck, and torso.
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
- Water World
- Shrek 4-D (stationary seating only)
- Special Effects Show
- The Walking Dead
There are several accommodations for guests who are deaf or have other hearing disabilities, including:
- Guest Relations loans assistive listening headsets for all shows and Shrek 4-D.
- Sign language interpreting services available for no additional charge (reserve one week in advance)
- Guest relations offers scripts for dialogue in shows
- Phones with amplification located throughout park along with TDD for deaf guests
- Caption monitoring available upon request in designated areas. Many queues have amplified audio for assisted listening
If you have vision disabilities, you can get the following in Braille or large print:
- Braille and large print for safety and guest information
- Braille for show dialogue
Casts, Braces and Prosthetic Limbs
If you wear a cast or have braces or a prosthetic limb, there are some precautions and safety guidelines, including the following:
- Cannot interfere with ride
- Must fit in ride unit
- Must not interfere with restraint
- Casts 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
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
- The Walking Dead
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
- Not for guests with heart conditions or abnormal blood pressure
- History of neck and back problems
- Fear of heights
- Fear of enclosed spaces
- Not recommended for patients who have had recent surgery
Many rides have loud noises, jarring movements, and enclosed spaces or have 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. But there is a Guest Assistance Pass (GAP) that can help with certain disabilities and medical conditions. They give out GAPs on an individual and limited basis at Guest Relations. The GAP allows people with certain cognitive disabilities or medical issues to avoid waiting in long lines by receiving a Return Time appointment to come back to Gate A of the attraction. You can read all about this service in our post on GAP at Universal Studios Hollywood. 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 Water World 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 comments!