The Complete Universal Orlando Guide For Guests With Disabilities

Universal Orlando Resort welcomes travelers with disabilities through mindful protocols and resources that ensure all guests have an incredible time. The last thing Universal wants on your mind is anxiety about how to navigate its parks. By being prepared for your trip, you can instead focus on what you came here for: casting spells in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, encountering dinos on the loose in Jurassic Park, being recruited as Gru's newest Minion, and partaking in all of the other adventures that await you across Universal Orlando's two theme parks, water park, and eight resort hotels.

In this guide, we'll share how Universal prioritizes inclusivity through their policies regarding a variety of disabilities. Our hope is that you'll feel equipped by knowing what to expect in a way that leads to full peace of mind while on vacation. We'll also share some additional resources that explore some of these topics in more detail. 

Team Members are your friends

First things first: When in doubt, don't hesitate to seek help or knowledge from a Universal employee, which they call Team Members. They're happy to assist you in the event that you forget something from this guide, or if a situation arises that you didn't anticipate. Approachable Team Members stand at the entrance of every attraction and can provide everything you need to know about what to expect inside the experience and any protocols that might be in place to assist you.

If you're staying onsite at one of Universal Orlando's resort hotels, upon check-in Team Members will initiate a text thread with you. Don't worry; they won't spam your phone with unwanted messages. If you have questions on the go, or need to request something specific for your room while you're out, you can text the courtesy number and Team Members can help you figure things out.

Attraction Assistance Pass

It's no secret that Orlando theme park attractions command long waits, sometimes hours long. If, for any reason, you or a guest in your party is unable to wait in a queue due to physical or mental impairment, Universal Orlando offers an Attraction Assistance Pass. This essentially operates like a virtual queue — you select a ride you'd like to experience, and receive a return time for when to come back.

This gap will be around the same amount of time that you would've spent waiting in line. For example, if the ride's current wait is 20 minutes, your return time will have a relatively quick turn-around. If the wait is two hours, you have plenty of time to do something else until it's time to head back to the attraction. When you return, you'll bypass the queue and proceed directly to the boarding area. You can inquire about an Attraction Assistance Pass at Guest Services, located at the front of both Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure.

Visiting Universal theme parks in a wheelchair or ECV

Guests requiring mobility assistance at Universal Orlando can rent a wheelchair or an Electric Convenience Vehicle (ECV, also called a scooter) directly from Universal at each theme park's entrance (wheelchairs and ECVs), or at the main parking facility (wheelchairs only). At Volcano Bay, guests can find wheelchairs at the water park's concierge booths. Additionally, every restroom is wheelchair-accessible.

As for attractions within the park, policies vary. Universal provides designated seating at live shows and parades for accessible viewing. Some rides can accommodate guests remaining in their wheelchair, while other rides require the guest to transfer into the ride vehicle's seating. Refer to page 8 of Universal's Guide for Rider Safety and Accessibility for a complete list of these attractions, or consult the Team Member and/or safety sign outside each attraction's entrance. All queue lines are wheelchair accessible, save for Pteranodon Flyers at Islands of Adventure.

As for ECVs, Hogwarts Express is the only attraction in Universal Orlando that permits guests to ride in a scooter. It's also the only attraction that allows ECVs in its queue. For other rides, guests with ECVs will need to either ask for a Team Member's assistance to obtain a complimentary wheelchair to sit in while onboard (if the ride accommodates wheelchairs), or transfer to the ride vehicle's seating. Notably, guests must be 18 or under to rent an ECV from Universal.

Using a wheelchair or ECV outside of the parks

If you're staying overnight at one of Universal's resort hotels, you can utilize complimentary transportation to and from the parks, via either bus or boat (depending on your hotel). Both methods are wheelchair-friendly. Guests using ECVs can bring the device, but must sit in the bus or boat's seats.

An easy thing to slip your mind? Think through your whole day, not just the time you'll spend in the theme parks. Universal's wheelchair and ECV rental locations are at the parks, not the hotels. If you're staying at an onsite hotel and require a mobility device to walk, but won't be able to bring your own device from home, consider renting from a third party so that you have a means to safely board the bus or boat transportation from your hotel to the parks. If you plan on bringing your own mobility device and won't be renting one from Universal once you arrive at the parks, you're all set.

As for the hotels themselves, all eight of them have accessible rooms available upon request. These rooms include 36-inch-wide doorways, a grab bar by the toilet, and your choice of either a shower with an entrance ramp, or a bathtub with a bar and seat.

A sensory-friendly Universal experience

For guests with autism spectrum disorder and other cognitive disabilities, many areas and attractions at Universal Orlando can be overstimulating. Universal provides an extensive digital pamphlet that notes specific sensory triggers (like fear of heights, sensitivity to strobe lights, etc.) for each attraction to help guests plan their visit. You can also consult the safety information sign at each attraction's entrance. Use these tools as your cheat sheet for what's inside the ride to help you decide if it's for you.

If you or someone in your travel group needs a breather, visit the dedicated Quiet Room inside Health Services at the front of Universal Studios Florida. This room was designed with sensory sensitivity in mind, with features like dimmable lights and rubber floors. Access to the Quiet Room is walk-up only (no reservations). Universal also suggests the following outdoor areas to decompress, which typically don't attract heavy crowds: New York Public Library steps and Central Park in Universal Studios Florida; the lakeview lower landing of the Port of Entry plaza and Me Ship the Olive at Islands of Adventure; and Taniwha Pathway and Volcano Cavern Pathway at Volcano Bay.

Universal recommends that guests with cognitive disabilities bring ear plugs and a calming item, like a toy or blanket, that may make their visit more comfortable. The resort also suggests that guests carry identification with contact info of someone traveling with them.

Dietary options

Universal's restaurants accommodate guests with dietary needs. On the resort's official website, you'll find full menus for every dining location to help you plan your meals. The menus designate items appropriate for guests with sensitivities to gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, sesames, and soy protein. And don't worry — Butterbeer, the signature non-alcoholic beverage inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at both theme parks, is a-ok for guests with allergies to gluten, soy, eggs, wheat, and nuts. You can make it dairy-free by asking for no foam. Accio "best part of your day"!

Alternatively, you can always discuss dietary options with a Team Member upon arrival to each dining location. Universal also responds to specific dietary inquiries sent via email to

If you plan on bringing food with you into the parks, Universal asks that it be stored in a soft cooler and recommends alerting a Team Member before you go through the security checkpoint so they're aware of your items. Universal does not permit guests to bring glass inside the parks, even in a cooler.

Resources at Universal Orlando for guests with hearing disabilities

The artists who create Universal Orlando's rides and shows are expert storytellers. As such, the narrative often begins the moment guests enter the queue. In line for many attractions, some form of media not only keeps guests entertained while waiting, but also helps set up the story they're about to experience. In a number of these attractions, its queue monitors are equipped with closed captions.

When enjoying the live productions throughout Universal Orlando, guests with hearing disabilities have several complimentary options available to them. If you email at least 14 days prior to your visit, Universal can arrange for American Sign Language interpreters to accompany the performances you'll attend. Alternatively, upon arrival at each show's venue, you can ask a Team Member for a show script to borrow during the performance.

Aids for guests with vision impairments

For guests using a white cane at Universal Orlando, some attractions provide a storage compartment in the ride vehicle (provided, in a few cases, that the white cane can retract in size to fit inside the compartment). On attractions that don't permit white canes at all, a Team Member will hold your white cane for you while you ride and return it to you immediately when the ride vehicle returns to the load/unload station.

One of the most handy resources Universal provides is its extensive Guide for Rider Safety and Accessibility. This 59-page goldmine contains the extent of the resort's protocols for guests with questions about accessibility. At the guest services location at the front of Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, guests with vision disabilities can request this guide in large print or Braille. Additionally, when attending live productions throughout the parks, guests can ask a Team Member at the venue for large print or Braille scripts to use during the show.

Visiting Universal Orlando with a Service Animal

Universal allows trained Service Animals to visit the park with guests who need them. Most calm attractions — and even a few mild thrills, like The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man — allow Service Animals to ride onboard with you. Some attractions don't allow Service Animals inside, but may provide a temporary kennel area to use while you ride.

Areas for your pet to rest and do their business are marked with an icon on park maps. At Universal Studios Florida, you'll find these locations near Animal Actors On Location, as well as near the vacant amphitheater formerly home to Fear Factor Live (between Diagon Alley and Men In Black Alien Attack). At Islands of Adventure, one Service Animal rest area is on Marvel Super Hero Island near Doctor Doom's Fearfall and another is in Seuss Landing behind One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. A third is nestled in the depths of The Lost Continent, behind the Mystic Fountain near an empty performance venue that previously hosted a Sinbad stunt show.

Bringing prosthetic limbs

Depending on the type of ride and the nature of its experience, Universal Orlando attractions have varying policies when it comes to prosthetic limbs. Guests must remove all prostheses to ride Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios Florida, as well as Jurassic World VelociCoaster and Pteranodon Flyers at Islands of Adventure. On most other attractions, guests can keep prosthetic limbs attached as long as they are secure.

A handful of attractions have stricter requirements. Policies are more specific regarding the length and type of upper and lower limbs when riding Revenge of the Mummy and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios Florida, as well as Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Islands of Adventure. Rules vary for each of those three attractions and can be found on page 12 of Universal's official Guide for Rider Safety and Accessibility.

Wearing a cast at Universal Orlando

You're just days away from that trip to Universal you've been planning for months, and... you get injured and your doctor says you need a cast. An unexpected circumstance like this right before vacation is a huge bummer, but guests wearing casts can still experience many Universal Orlando attractions.

As long as you can still use the ride's regular restraints with your cast on, you're good to go. For most attractions, this means you'll need to be able to safely fasten some combination of a seatbelt and/or a lap bar. For a few others, like Doctor Doom's Fearfall or Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, you'll need to be able to ride with a shoulder restraint pulled down from above you.

The only ride where casts are an absolute no-no is The Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure. This is for the best. Don't tell the green guy, but we're prone to skip the coaster on most trips because of how rough it is anyway.

Bringing an oxygen tank to Universal Orlando

Oxygen devices are only allowed on Universal's calmest attractions. That being said, most Universal attractions, from simulators to roller coasters, have some degree of thrill to them. This unfortunately rules out the possibility of riding for guests who would need an oxygen tank onboard the ride.

Universal allows oxygen tanks at all live show experiences — Animal Actors On Location, Bourne Stunstacular, and the Horror Makeup Show at Universal Studios Florida, plus Ollivanders in both parks. The only ride that permits them is the Hogwarts Express (in either direction to and from both parks). You can also bring an oxygen tank with you on Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (a theater simulator attraction) at Universal Studios Florida, but only if you opt for the stationary seating, not the moving seats. Additionally, walkthrough experiences are good to go — Camp Jurassic, Jurassic Park Discovery Center, If I Ran the Zoo, and Me Ship the Olive, all at Islands of Adventure.

What happens if a ride breaks down?

Your roller coaster train just arrived at the climactic battle between Harry and Voldemort toward the end of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Harry's dragon roars a blast of fire, and Voldemort's skilled hand emanates powerful magic in retaliation. Then... everything stops, and a distinctly non-magical announcement overrides the overhead speakers. "We're experiencing technical difficulties at this time. Please remain seated until a Team Member arrives to evacuate you from the attraction."

When evacuations are occasionally necessary, Universal Team Members assist guests in safely exiting the ride vehicle, heading backstage, and returning to the public-facing guest areas. That being said, back-of-house areas may contain corridors or stairs that guests with disabilities might not be prepared to traverse on their own. If you require further assistance to disembark, tell the Team Member who comes to escort your group and they'll provide an alternate solution, like a different route or the aid of accessibility tools.

Don't let the possibility of an evacuation scare you. Universal may choose to clear out an attraction for any number of reasons. Just because an evacuation is happening doesn't mean you're in immediate danger, nor does it always imply an emergency. In our travels, we've been evacuated from rides twice. While both experiences were, of course, not what we wanted to happen, personnel handled the circumstances efficiently and helped everyone unload safely.

Additional resources

We hope this article is a helpful starting point for planning your visit to Universal Orlando Resort. If you'd like more information about any of the topics we covered, we have a few ideas for how you might want to continue surfing the 'net.

In today's content-saturated age, YouTube is a great place to head next. Search "Universal Orlando" and the keyword of whichever subject you're looking for, putting both phrases in quotation marks to yield the best search results. An abundance of content creators and casual guests alike routinely document and upload their trips to the parks on YouTube, including their experience visiting with a disability. The theme park YouTube community runs deep, and you'll find everything from vlogs to scripted guides to on-ride POV videos.

We'd be remiss to not mention, one more time, Universal's official Guide for Rider Safety and Accessibility. As you peruse its detailed pages, you can rest easy knowing the information is coming straight from the source. Universal also has an official Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities.