We've covered Disney and Universal's disability programs, and today we're covering SeaWorld! Like Disney, SeaWorld's disability policy has changed in recent years. If you're heading to any of the SeaWorld parks soon with a disabled person, you'll need to know as much as possible about the park's accessibility program to ensure a fun and stress-free time. These changes are great news for families with a child or adult with a disability. The latest additions are designed to better accommodate guests with developmental, sensory and cognitive disabilities, including autism.
SeaWorld offers the Ride Accessibility Program (RAP), which gives special access for those who cannot wait in a conventional queue; the pass is very similar to the way Universal's and Disney's passes work. The RAP allows you to schedule return times at attractions so you aren't waiting in a long queue. When you return for your scheduled time at an attraction, you'll access the ride through an alternate queue, usually the exit or the Quick Queue. Let's hop right into the overview!
This addition is great news for families traveling with a child or adult with autism or another disability that makes it difficult to tolerate lines and waiting areas. In some cases, the party will be granted what SeaWorld calls Special Access, meaning they can board the ride immediately, usually via a separate entrance. This is only offered on select rides and attractions and can help your group enjoy the park. Other rides offer a virtual place in line, so you can visit the ride entrance and get a return time – then enjoy the ride without delay.
Overview of SeaWorld's Ride Accessibility Program
We've collected everything you need to know about using and enjoying SeaWorld's RAP program for guests with disabilities. Traveling with a child or teen with Autism? SeaWorld has programming just for you! Learn about SeaWorld's Autism programs here.
Where do I enroll in the Ride Accessibility Program?
Once you arrive at SeaWorld, go straight to Guest Services. If you're in Orlando, Guest Services will be found on your left in the row of buildings after you enter. While in San Diego, Guest Services will be on your right, and if you're in San Antonio, you'll find it right before you enter the park.
How do I get the RAP?
While at Guest Services, you'll discuss your disability and accommodation needs. SeaWorld is fully ADA compliant and very disability friendly; you will not need to provide a doctor's note or details about your loved one's condition. You do need to let them know what accommodations you need (avoiding lines, using a stroller as a wheelchair and other needs). If you meet the RAP requirements, you'll be given the pass.
How does the RAP work?
The pass has the major attractions listed that require a return time so you aren't stuck waiting in the regular queue. You can experience the attractions not listed by going through an alternate queue (usually the exit or the Quick Queue). If the wait time for an attraction is less than 15 minutes, then you'll be directed through an entrance to ride. If it's more than 15 minutes, you'll be given a return time.
For ride and attraction entrances that are not staffed, you should proceed to the exit and request assistance there; this is often the entry point for disabled riders. Many rides now have large signs indicating a disabilities entrance; if you see one of those, head to that area for assistance.
What do I do once I've received RAP?
Once you've been given RAP, go to the first attraction you'd like to experience. Depending on if the wait time is more or less than 15 minutes, you'll either be given a return time or be directed to the alternate entrance to ride. Your pass covers yourself, your disabled family member and the other members of your party.
If you have to return at a designated time, you can go experience other attractions, grab a snack, rest, etc., then return at the time and show the pass to the employee.
Can I have more than one return time at once?
Yes! This is probably the biggest difference between SeaWorld's program versus Disney's and Universal's. You can have more than one return time on the pass.
What if the park is extremely busy and I'm constantly getting return times?
If you happen to be at the park when it's extremely busy and wait times are more than 15 minutes, then we recommend looking into the Quick Queue Unlimited pass at SeaWorld. With the pass, you can hop onto some rides in between return times.
Hopefully this overview of SeaWorld's Ride Accessibility Program gave you some useful information! If you have any questions at all, please let us know in the comments below!