Undivided Resources
Article
Universal Studios Hollywood Disability Guide for Families

Universal Studios Hollywood Disability Guide for Families


Published: May. 22, 2024Updated: Jun. 26, 2024

Featured image

Universal Studios Hollywood is a wild and wonderful place. It’s also a challenge for people with disabilities for many reasons: loud noises, heavy crowds, long walks, heat, and attractions that can be downright terrifying. Fear not! We have some insider info that will help you and your family be prepared and have a blast.

Universal Studios Hollywood Hogsmeade

(Thank you to Undivided's Adriana Roze for the photos throughout this guide!)

Gain access to Undivided's comprehensive resources and receive our weekly newsletter.
Sign up today

Planning your trip

Tickets and annual passes

  • Tickets for Universal Studios Hollywood can be purchased on their website here. They often offer special discounts and promotions, so be sure to check what their current offerings are. Prices can range from $109 and up depending on the date.
  • Annual passes can be purchased at tiered levels from $179 and up per year. Payment plans are available.
  • If your child or someone in your party will need an Assisted Access Pass for their visit, PLAN AHEAD. You will need to apply for an Accessibility Card at least 48 hours in advance. See our Accessibility Information section for details.
  • INSIDER TIP: Costco often has a fantastic deal on a yearly pass. Check their website for up-to-date offers.

Universal Studios Hollywood App

To prepare for your visit and for the most up-to-date information on ride accessibility, wait times, show times, and park hours, download the official Universal Studios Hollywood app from Google Play or the App Store.

You can use the app for many things in the park, including seeing up-to-the-minute wait times and obtaining Virtual Return Times for rides.

Insider tips

Sensory needs: The park and its environs can be very loud and chaotic. (Undivided families have noted that the Kung Fu Panda attraction and the Skull Island section of the back lot tour can be particularly intense for sensitive kiddos.) If you have a child who has auditory defensiveness, bring some noise-dampening headphones and plan lots of breaks into your day.

Heat and crowd overwhelm: A lot of the most entertaining attractions for kids in the park are outside in the sun and crowded, including the incredible interactive elements of Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Super Nintendo World. Consider adding Early Access to your ticket for a less crowded and more accessible time of day, and head straight to these preferred areas before the heat and crowds hit.

Gamers: If your child’s special interests include video games, Super Mario World on the Lower Lot takes you through a giant warp pipe into a Nintendo fan’s dream. Prepare to be asked for a Power-Up Band ($42), which helps your child interact with the land, activating animations and pairing with the Universal Studios Hollywood app for collecting points.

Universal Studios Hollywood Nintendo Land

Crowd avoidance: If you start your day on the Lower Lot, you have a better chance of enjoying Super Mario World and getting a reservation for the amazing Toadstool Café (get on the waitlist as soon as you enter the park!). Then, head back up to the fun in the Upper Lot as the crowds work their way down.

Wizards and witches: When you know the name of every house elf, quidditch team, and spell, then you likely have a child who’s special interest is Harry Potter. Make your way to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the Upper Lot and prepare for a possible wand purchase ($63) from Ollivander’s that helps guests interact with the attractions.

Universal Studios Hollywood Hogwarts castle at night

Universal Studios Hollywood accessibility information and accommodations

The best place to start learning about Universal’s park attractions and their accessibility is with their comprehensive Guide to Rider Safety and Accessibility.

Wheelchair accessibility and ride access

Most attraction queues, shopping, and dining are accessible to guests using wheelchairs. If your child uses a mobility device and needs no other accommodations, you do not need to apply for the IAC (see below) as the park claims their attraction queues are fully accessible.

Their outdoor stage shows have areas reserved for guests with disabilities. These areas are clearly marked with the International Symbol of Accessibility.

Strollers, wheelchairs, and Electric Convenience Vehicles (ECVs) are available for rent just inside the park across from the Universal Studios Store. ECV rentals are available on a first-come, first-served basis and must be operated by a person aged 18 or older.

NOTE: None of the ride vehicles at Universal Studios Hollywood can accommodate Electric Convenience Vehicles or electric wheelchairs. At rides that can accommodate standard wheelchairs, guests may transfer from their ECV or electric wheelchair into a standard wheelchair, which can be provided.

Service animals

Universal Studios Hollywood “welcomes trained service animals. Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered unless these devices interfere with their work or the individual's disability prevents using them. In such cases, the animal must be controlled through voice, signal, or other effective methods.” Each attraction has specific entry and boarding requirements for service animals, and some attractions offer portable kennels.

Relief areas for service animals are available at select locations throughout the park. For more information, please consult staff or refer to the Universal Studios Hollywood Guide for Rider Safety and Accessibility.

Sensory and cognitive accommodations

Universal Studios Hollywood offers a return-to-ride accessibility program for guests who have “a difficulty with extended waits in a conventional attraction queue environment.” IBCCES, a company that advises corporations on autism accommodations, has worked with the park to update their policies.

Guests MUST request attraction queue accommodations by applying for the IBCCES Individual Accessibility Card (IAC) ahead of time, as this can no longer be requested on site.

Individual Accessibility Card disability access pass

Who’s eligible for the Universal Studios Hollywood disability access pass?

Per their website, “The IAC is for anyone who is requesting accommodations including but not limited to individuals who are autistic, use a wheelchair, are blind/low vision, Deaf/hard of hearing, have mobility support needs, are accompanied by a service animal, have sensory sensitivities, cognitive disabilities, or have other needs and concerns. The IAC helps identify accommodations needed and expedite the process at parks and attractions. Please note that the IAC does NOT guarantee entry to an attraction and any special accommodations or benefits provided are at the sole discretion of that attraction.”

How to obtain an Individual Accessibility Card (IAC) for your child

  1. Register your child at www.accessibilitycard.org at least 48 hours before visiting the park to allow for processing time. The IBCCES Accessibility Card registration consists of an online application, which includes uploading documentation about your child’s disability confirmed by a doctor. Some information and questions that are asked in the application:

    • Is your dependent able to stand in line for more than 10 minutes?
    • Is your dependent able to stand in line with other guests?
    • What are helpful accommodations? (checklist)
    • The app requires you to upload a statement with the patient's name visible from an educational, healthcare, or governmental provider or agency indicating any special accommodations or supports needed. If you don’t have a statement from your healthcare provider, you can upload a copy of the COVER PAGE ONLY of your child’s IEP.
  2. Once IBCCES reviews your submitted material, a Universal Studios Hollywood Team Member will contact you as the parent to discuss your request for an attraction queue accommodation. Because you are applying on behalf of your child, you (the adult) will be contacted, usually via email, to confirm.

  3. Your approved IAC is available for digital download, but it also has the option to print if needed. There is also a mobile app version available through Google Play or the Apple App Store.

  4. When you (or another caregiver) arrive at the park, after entering the gate, make your way to Guest Services on the right and show the attendant your IAC card in your app. If they deem it appropriate, they will issue your child an Attraction Assistance Pass (AAP), a slip of paper with a barcode that will allow your child and up to five guests (for a total of six in the party) to obtain return times equivalent to the wait time of a ride.

  5. Take the AAP to the attraction you are interested in, and a staff member will scan it and write the next return time on it.

Hearing accommodations

Assistive listening devices for guests who are hard of hearing are provided at Guest Relations free of charge. For guests with mild to moderate hearing loss, amplified handsets are provided at all phone locations.

Sign language interpreting services can be made available in Universal Studios Hollywood at no charge with one week’s notice. To arrange for sign language interpreting services, contact Guest Relations online or call 1-800-864-8377, option 9.

Video remote interpreting is available at Guest Relations and the First Aid stations.

Vision accommodations

Show scripts: Show scripts explaining the attractions are available in large font and embossed braille at Guest Services within Universal Studios Hollywood.

White canes: Many attractions can accommodate a rider with a white cane or provide a place to store the cane in the ride vehicle. The cane may need to be collapsed on some attractions. On attractions where a cane could become lost due to ride forces and present a potential hazard to other guests, the Attraction Attendant will hold the cane for the guest once seated. The Attendant will have the white cane available as soon as the attraction vehicle is stopped in the unload area.

Quiet locations for breaks

  • Family Center: Located near the Water World show on the Upper Lot, this center offers quiet and air conditioned room for unwinding from sensory overload or heat exhaustion. They request that you stay in a room no longer than thirty minutes to allow for others to use the space.
  • Dino Play: In the Lower Lot, this playground is tucked away behind the Jurassic World ride and is a nice place for kids to climb, play with sand, and decompress.
  • When you can’t walk one more minute, it’s time for the hour-long Studio Tour. Ride the bus, hydrate, learn about Hollywood, and nap if you can. Be aware that there are some loud and scary elements on the tour that can upset sensitive kids. (Looking for a video to prime your child on what to expect? Check out Universal's Studio Tour page!)
  • Wet Zone: This place can be a godsend on a hot day for sensory seekers. Make sure to bring water-friendly clothes and let the kids run wild in this Minion-themed splash pad in Super Silly Fun Land on the Upper Lot.

Universal Studios Hollywood Minion themed splash pad in Super Silly Fun Land

Bathroom accessibility

  • Accessible restrooms: All restrooms are wheelchair accessible, and diaper-changing stations are available.
  • Companion Restrooms: Available in the Family Center. The Family Center also has nursing and bottle warming facilities along with quiet rooms.

First Aid

Universal Studios Hollywood has two First Aid stations. The first is located on the Upper Lot next to French Street Bistro. The second location is between Jurassic Cafe and the Character Shop on the Lower Lot.

Nursing facilities are available in the First Aid stations.

Universal Studios Hollywood Super Mario World at night

Let us know if you have any insider tips of your own about Universal Studios Hollywood to share with families in our community!

Gain access to Undivided's comprehensive resources and receive our weekly newsletter.
Sign up today

Contents


Overview

Planning your trip

Insider tips

Universal Studios Hollywood accessibility information and accommodations

Join the Undivided Community to get more resources like this in your inbox

Tags:

Author

Undivided Research TeamStaff

Reviewed by Brittany Olsen, Undivided Editor

Contributors

  • Adriana Roze, Undivided Lead Researcher

Promise Image
Each piece of content has been rigorously researched, edited, and vetted to bring you the latest and most up-to-date information. Learn more about our content and research process here.
A Navigator is your Partner at each turn
Every Undivided Navigator has years of experience supporting families raising kids with disabilities or parenting their own. Partner with an Undivided Navigator for a free Kickstart to learn first hand what support feels like!
tick-icon
Expert-driven content, guidance, and solutions.
tick-icon
Member events and office hours with real answers, plus access to our private parents' group.
tick-icon
Priority to begin a free Kickstart of the Undivided Support System with a dedicated Navigator.
“It’s so helpful to have one place that you can go to get many answers.”–Leeza Woodbury, with Navigator Kelly since 2020
*Currently offering Navigator Kickstarts to residents of California