Receiving help for a party member with a disability at a theme park can be stressful and frustrating. Luckily, most theme parks are making accommodations so that everyone in the family can still enjoy the fun on vacation! Since we've touched up on Disney's Disability Access Services Card, we wanted to provide information on Universal's Attraction Assistance Pass. Whether you're heading to Universal Studios Hollywood or the Universal Orlando Resort, this post has answers to some of the questions you might have.
Universal's Attractions Assistance Pass
Universal's Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP) works similarly to the Disneyland Disability Access Service (DAS), although AAP still uses a paper system, whereas DAS has gone digital. The AAP is intended for guests with a cognitive or physical disability that prevents them from being able to wait in a conventional queue. Universal's Attraction Assistance Pass allows the person with disabilities and their party to wait in an alternate queue (such as the Universal Express queue) when times allow it.
Overview of Universal's Attraction Assistance Pass
How and where do I get the AAP?
Go to Guest Relations as you enter the park (Universal's Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios Florida if you're in Florida, and Universal Studios Hollywood in California). If you are renting a wheelchair or electric convenience vehicle (ECV), a team member may assist you with your pass at the rental location. If not, hop over to Guest Relations. Give the team member as much detail as possible about your or your family member's disability or health problems. You're not legally required to give a doctor's note, but it can help if you're comfortable providing it! Give examples of what you or your family member's limitations are, such as sensitivity to loud noises or other stimulations, or health reasons why you may not be able to wait in a standard queue.
You'll be issued the AAP if you meet the requirements. The pass is a card with a barcode, the date it is valid, the guest’s name and the party size on it; it has lines on the back for return times to attractions.
How does the Universal's Attraction Assistance Pass work?
The AAP allows the party member with disabilities and a limited number of people in their group to wait in an alternative queue that is much shorter than the regular queue if the posted wait time for the attraction is less than 30 minutes. You may wait in the Universal Express queue if the attraction has one.
How many guests may accompany the party member who is using the AAP?
The maximum party size depends on the park issuing the AAP and may have changed since your last visit. In Hollywood, three guests can accompany the AAP user, for a maximum party size of four. In Orlando, up to five guests may accompany the AAP user, for a maximum party size of six.
After I've received the AAP, what's next?
Head to your first attraction entrance and hand the pass over to the attendant. Depending on whether the wait time is less or more than 30 minutes, you'll either be directed to the alternate queue or receive a return time.
What happens if the posted wait time is more than 30 minutes?
If the posted wait time is 30 minutes or more, then the attendant will write you a return time on the pass. Once that time comes, you'll return to the attraction to ride and be directed through the alternate queue by a team member.
Can I have more than one attraction return time listed on my AAP?
No, you are only allowed one attraction return time on the pass. You have to use or forfeit your current reservation if you decide to get another one. However, if you don't need a return time because the posted wait time at an attraction is less than 30 minutes, then you can still experience that attraction without losing your return time for a different attraction. The pass is not valid for front-row seating on rides.
There may be rare exceptions to this rule, however. For example, at Islands of Adventure, the Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure can get long lines (about three hours at times). If you have a return time for that ride and the line is quite long, a ride attendant may allow you to obtain another return time in the meantime before you have used the Hagrid's time.
What if the park is extremely busy and crowded and I'm always waiting for return times?
Unfortunately, this will most likely happen if you go during peak times. We recommend also purchasing a Universal Express Pass! While you're waiting for your AAP return time for one attraction, you can use the Express Pass (at those attractions that offer it). This minimizes your time waiting in line.
Keep in mind if you're staying on-site at a Universal Orlando resort (Loews Portofino Bay, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel or Loews Royal Pacific), then you'll receive Universal Express Unlimited Passes for each registered guest as part of your hotel package. Guests who stay on-site at any of the Universal Orlando resorts (all of the above, including Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Loews Sapphire Falls) receive one hour of Early Park Admission. Undercover Tourist now offers discounts on rooms at all Universal Orlando hotels!
Guests who purchase a Preferred Hotel Package for Universal Studios Hollywood can enter the park up to 30 minutes early.
You should still use Universal's Attraction Assistance Pass for those attractions that do not offer Universal Express, which is now only Pteranodon Flyers at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
How long is the AAP good for?
The AAP is issued for the length of your stay in Orlando and the date it is issued at Universal Studios Hollywood. However, if you're an Annual Passholder at Universal, then the Attraction Assistance Pass can be issued for up to 14 consecutive days.
The AAP should cover most needs, but if it is not working for you, speak with a supervisor at Guest Relations. Discuss your needs and explain why AAP isn't working for your family. A supervisor may be able to assist you further with a Guest Assistance Pass (GAP). With GAP, you may be directed to an alternate queue for more immediate boarding (most likely the Universal Express queue) at an attraction once the pass is presented to the team member. This service is much more difficult to receive than the AAP and takes some time. However, if it is clear the AAP is not accommodating your needs, then it might be the worth the time and effort to ask for assistance.
Whew - we covered a lot of information in this post! If you have any questions or experiences with Universal's Attraction Assistance Pass, we'd love to hear 'em. Let us know in the comments below!