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Universal Orlando Attraction Assistance Pass: A Guide for Guests with Special Needs

By: Lauren Boyd

My mom is the kind of mom that let us eat dessert first when we were kids.  She absolutely loves thrill rides and always wants to ride in the front row!  My sister and I grew up on theme parks, and Universal Orlando Resort was one that we visited annually.  Universal Orlando Resort is a popular vacation destination for fun-seekers of all ages. With two exciting theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, along with CityWalk – an epic shopping, dining, and entertainment complex - Universal Orlando offers something for everyone. 

When I was diagnosed with a complex medical condition several years ago, my visits to Universal Orlando came to a screeching halt.  I was no longer able to wait in a queue, and a mobility device such as a wheelchair or ECV did not help my condition.  I went almost a decade without a visit to a theme park before I learned that Universal Orlando Resort would be able to accommodate me!  To make sure that everyone can enjoy their vacation to the fullest, Universal Orlando offers an Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP) for guests with certain disabilities and medical conditions who are unable to wait in the traditional queue of an attraction.  With the Attraction Assistance Pass, nobody has to miss out on the fun that awaits at Universal Orlando!  Once I learned about more about this, I planned my next visit right away! 

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What is the Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP)?

The AAP provides guests with certain disabilities and medical conditions access to attractions that they may otherwise not be able to enjoy.  Guests can use the AAP to modify wait times and access alternate entrances if they are not able to use the regular standby queue. The AAP is available to guests with a wide range of disabilities, including physical, cognitive, and sensory disabilities. It is issued on a case-by-case basis and does not require a doctor’s note or medical documentation, but you will need to explain your limitations and needs for accommodation to a Universal Team Member when applying for your AAP.  The AAP is a physical card with a bar code, valid dates, guest name, and number in your party on one side.  On the reverse side, it has blank lines for attraction return times to be written in by Universal Team Members.

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The guest receives an AAP card  from Guest Services.

How do I apply for an Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP)?  

Universal Orlando Resort is committed to providing a safe and fun experience for all guests, and the AAP is one way they do this. The AAP is free and available to guests with certain disabilities and medical conditions.  As of June 24, 2023, Universal Orlando guests requesting an attraction queue accommodation through the AAP program must first obtain an IBCCES Individual Accessibility Card (IAC) by registering at www.accessibilitycard.org prior to their park visit.  The IAC registration consists of an online application which includes uploading necessary documentation to support the need for accommodations.  Once the requirements for the IBCCES IAC are met, a Universal Orlando Team Member will contact the cardholder (or their parent/guardian) to discuss their request for an attraction queue accommodation.   Guests will visit Guest Services to pick up the AAP but will not have to discuss private medical information in a public location since the AAP has been approved in advance.  The Team Member that approves your AAP in advance will assign you a case number that you will provide to Guest Services along with your photo ID.  You will then receive an AAP card that you will carry while you are in the parks.  Using a lanyard to carry your AAP, park ticket, and room key makes this super easy and convenient!


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Having a lanyard and a pouch to hold your AAP Pass is very helpful!

How do I use the Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP)?

Using your AAP is so easy!  Just present the Attraction Assistance Pass to the entrance greeter at the attraction you would like to experience.  If the posted wait time is less than thirty (30) minutes, you will be directed toward the appropriate queue which may be the Express Pass queue, the attraction exit, or possibly an alternate entrance.  If the posted wait time is thirty (30) minutes or more, the greeter will write a time for you to return to the attraction on the back of your AAP.  Once you have received your return time, you are able to wait elsewhere, enjoy a delicious snack, experience other attractions, snap some iconic photos, or pass the time however you are most comfortable.  Once it is time to return, present your AAP to the greeter at the attraction, who may or may not be the same greeter who gave you your return time, and they will direct you to the appropriate queue.  The AAP is not intended to give immediate access to an attraction, but rather to make the wait time shorter and more tolerable for the guest needing the accommodation.  Once you have experienced an attraction, you can then visit another attraction to receive your next return time.  You may only have one active return time at a time.  If you get a second return time before using the first, you automatically forfeit the first return time.


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The greeter at the attraction writes the return time on the back of pass

Do I need to apply for an Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP) if I use a wheelchair, ECV scooter, or stroller as a wheelchair?

If your needs can be accommodated by using a wheelchair or ECV scooter, you will most likely not need or qualify for the AAP since Universal is committed to being ADA compliant.  Attraction queues, restaurants, stores, restrooms, and hotels offer elevators and ramps as an alternative to stairs.  Some attractions use stairs as part of their queue, but elevators are available for guests that need them; simply let a Team Member know when you enter the attraction queue so they can assist you.  If you have additional needs, then an AAP may be right for you.  Contact Guests Services to explain your limitations and needs, and they will let you know if you qualify.

What else do I need to know about Universal Orlando’s Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP)?

The AAP can not be used for front row seating requests; guests wishing to ride in the front seat of a roller coaster will have to wait in the standby front-seat queue.  Your party size can not exceed six (6) guests, including the person with the AAP.  Alternate designated accessible entrances may be provided for guests who require additional accommodations or who are visiting with a service dog. There is no fee for the AAP.  It is not transferable and must be used by the same guest.  The AAP is void if altered.  The AAP is only valid on the date(s) printed on it, generally the length of your stay or 14 days for annual pass holders.

Universal Orlando Resort is committed to providing an inclusive and enjoyable experience for everyone.  It has allowed me to enjoy the parks again - something I never thought I would be able to do.  With the Attraction Assistance Pass, guests with disabilities can enjoy all that Universal Orlando has to offer.  Now I get to share my love for theme parks with my children, and my mom still rides in the front seat with me when the kids let us!

If you or a loved one is unable to wait in a traditional queue due to a cognitive, physical, sensory, or other disability, the Attraction Assistance Pass may be right for you.  The team at Pure Magic Vacations is ready to assist you with planning your Universal Orlando Resort vacation.  We have agents that specialize in accessible travel so get in touch today!

 

Lauren Boyd, Travel Advisor with Pure Magic Vacations

Contact Lauren here!

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