Universal Studios Theme Park Special Need Guests

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Universal Studios theme park in Orlando is probably better known for Halloween Horror Nights and other events which could be considered edgy. So many families who travel to Orlando have concerns weather Universal Studios would be a good park to visit. Fortunately, all these concerns and more can be easily addressed at Universal Studios Orlando. While best-known for its thrills, Universal offers a surprisingly large array of attractions suitable for people of all ages and all physical conditions. The Team Members are well-trained and able to provide whatever assistance your family may require. Friendly, helpful service, and ride designs that surpass ADA requirements make Universal an excellent destination for every family.

entrance to universal studios orlandoGuests with diabetes or other dietary concerns will love the flexibility of the Universal Meal Deal. For approximately per person for one park or per person for both (half price for kids), you can eat all day long at selected counter service restaurants. You will receive a wristband which allows you to order an entrée, side dish, and dessert (one of each at a time), as many times as you like. Add on a Universal sipper cup for plus tax, which provides you with unlimited beverages throughout the day.

I have had the opportunity to experience Universal with a special needs family member on many occasions. I am the primary caregiver for my now-disabled father. We have been regular patrons and sometimes-employees since the park was built, and continue to visit quite regularly.

Parking for both parks is in a huge central parking garage. Moving sidewalks allow easy access to the rotunda where the first Wheelchair Rental is located. Only manual wheelchairs are available here, but may be upgraded (at additional charge) to an ECV at Rentals once you enter the park. It is a long walk from the garage through Citywalk to get the park gate, so renting the manual wheelchair here is highly recommended.

Parking for both parks is in a huge central parking garage. Moving sidewalks allow easy access to the rotunda where the first Wheelchair Rental is located. Only manual wheelchairs are available here, but may be upgraded (at additional charge) to an ECV at Rentals once you enter the park. It is a long walk from the garage through Citywalk to get the park gate, so renting the manual wheelchair here is highly recommended.

When you enter the park gates, proceed directly to Rentals to take care of upgrading your wheelchair. Then go to Guest Services. Universal offers a variety of adaptive devices and accommodations for every disability. Simply describe your disability and necessary accommodations to the Guest Services team member, and he or she will provide whatever assistance you require.

You are now ready to begin your day. Universal Orlando is laid out along themed streets around a central lagoon. The themed areas are: Production Central, New York, Hollywood, Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone, San Francisco/Amity, and World Expo.

Production Central

The main entrance area, where themed entertainment blends with working production facilities. The two main attractions here are Shrek 4-D and Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast. Both attractions are fully accessible via a stationary seating area. If you are able to transfer, both offer full motion simulator type movement in tandem with the projected film. Of the two, the movement is much rougher on Jimmy Neutron. Health restrictions apply for the simulator seating on both attractions.

New York

This area is designed as a New York City backlot, with décor ranging from the 1920s era to modern Manhattan. The Blues Brothers outdoor show is fully accessible and offers a special disabled viewing area.

Twister: Ride It Out again offers a choice. If you are able to stand throughout the attraction, joining the regular group offers the most thrills, and the movement is limited. However, should you require your chair, a stationary area is also available.

Revenge of the Mummy is an indoor dark roller coaster. It is mild by roller coaster standards, however health restrictions do apply, and you must be able to transfer into the ride vehicle.

Hollywood

The glamour of Hollywood in its golden era is recreated here. All attractions in this area are fully accessible and should pose no particular concerns to guests with disabilities.

Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone

As the name implies, this is a wonderful playland for the young and young at heart. Guests must transfer to a standard wheelchair for the E.T. Adventure and to the ride seating for the Woody Woodpecker Nuthouse Coaster. Health restrictions apply for the coaster, though it is child-sized and very mild. All other attractions in this area are fully accessible.

*Tip* Don’t miss the Ball Room in the Curious George area. Tons of fun for all ages!!

wheelchair user at universal studios orlandoSan Francisco/Amity

Earthquake is a 20 minute look at special effects in the movies, followed by a five minute ride inside an 8.3 earthquake. You may remain in your wheelchair or ECV throughout the show portion. For the ride, you my transfer to a standard wheelchair or to the ride seating. The ride experience is much rougher in a wheelchair, so transfer to the seating if you can. Also, only one wheelchair can be transported per ride, which may result in lengthy wait times during crowded conditions. You may also opt out of the ride portion of the attraction. Health restrictions apply to the ride portion only.

Jaws is a boat ride for which you must transfer to a standard wheelchair or to the ride’s seating. Health restrictions apply, and you will likely get wet. Plan accordingly.

*Tip* For maximum thrills ride Jaws at night.

The other attractions in this area offer fully accessible seating.

World Expo

Men in Black Alien Attack is an intense ride that requires a transfer. Back to the Future is currently being reformed into a Simpsons attraction. If the new ride is anything like Back to the Future, be warned as many considered Back to the Future to be the roughest ride in terms of force on the body in the Orlando area. Riders of Back to the Future with back problems used to suggest the back right seat of the vehicle as the best opportunity to brace against the forces. If the new ride is open when you visit be sure to read and follow the health restrictions appropriately.

Universal Studios Florida offers a mix of high thrills rides and family friendly shows. No matter what your disability, you will be able to find attractions that work for you. The employees are friendly and eager to help in any way possible. Universal Studios Florida is an excellent vacation destination for all guests, regardless of disability.

 

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