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A Rigid New System for Theme Park Disability Access Begins

A Rigid New System for Theme Park Disability Access Begins

There is a new system for individuals with disabilities to register at one of the nation’s hottest theme parks. What do you think of the change?

Accessibility

Credit: Susan

One of the things that allows some guests to enjoy theme parks is the measures taken to make parks accessible to those with disabilities. In fact, for some people, a trip to a theme park that does a stellar job with its accommodations can be a bit of a breath of fresh air.

For example, Disney Parks provide accommodation for those who are unable to wait in a conventional queue through its DAS program. You can read a lot about registering at Disney here.

However, not all theme parks make accessibility possible in the same way. And, now Universal Orlando is putting strict restrictions in place for who can qualify for the program.

Accessibility at Universal Orlando

Credit: KtP

There are many accessibility accommodations in place at Universal including measures to meet mobility needs, cognitive needs, dietary needs, hearing needs, and more. In fact, Universal Orlando has developed an Attractions Assistance Pass for Guests whose disability prevent them from waiting in a conventional attraction queue environment. The process for qualifying used to involve a simple conversation with a team member.

However, all of this is changing. Now, according to Universal Orlando’s website, Guests requesting an attraction queue accommodation must obtain the IBCCES Individual Accessibility Card (IAC) by registering at www.accessibilitycard.org prior to their visit. The IAC registration consists of an online application that includes uploading the necessary documentation.

Credit: Universal

The documentation includes a photo of the person who will be using the pass. It also includes medical documentation such as a statement from a healthcare provider government entity, or educational support professional related to the accommodations requested.

Once all requirements for IBCCES Individual Accessibility Card are met, a Universal Orlando Team Member will contact the cardholder to discuss their request for an attraction queue accommodation. It is recommended that those requesting access do so, well in advance of their trip.

Additional Details for IAC

Credit: Screenshot from IBCCES

Registration for the IAC is free. You must be 18 or older to request a card; otherwise, a guardian must make the request on your behalf.

Guests registering will receive a temporary card to use while they wait for the physical card to come in the mail.

Those registering should know that the card itself does not guarantee access anywhere. Accommodations must still be discussed with specific theme parks and attractions that require it.

Credit: Ashley

The card is valid for one year.

After one year, it needs to be updated or renewed.

Universal Orlando is NOT the only theme park to use IAC. In fact, more than 30 theme parks across the nation require it. These include SeaWorld, various Six Flags theme parks, and Hurricane Harbor theme parks.

Guest Reaction

Credit: Universal

Many guests are pleased with the change. They believe the new requirements will cut down on abuse of the system.

However, just as many guests are frustrated with it. Obtaining a card is an added layer of hassle to add to the process.

What do you think about the new requirements for the Attractions Assistance Pass at Universal Orlando? Should other theme parks adopt this same process? Let us know in the comments. And, be sure to pass this story along to those you know who are planning a trip so that they can get their cards in time if they have accessibility needs themselves.


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Linda

Monday 14th of August 2023

My doctor told me that these notes can be used to deny both life insurance and provide proof of preexisting conditions. This organization is privately owned and does not need to guarantee that they will not sell your information. I have no problem providing a note for Universal to view with a need for accommodations, but demanding a third party to store your info is not ok. I am speaking as an adult. I would be very uncomfortable with someone having access to my child's IEP.

Troy

Monday 17th of July 2023

My wife uses a wheel chair and oxygen for severe medical issues also she has some cognitive issues at this point and I have had cancer this year it cost us $25 per letter or form and insurance doesn't cover that plus it takes 2 weeks once requested so it's another difficult barrier to and already difficult situation I understand everyone's afraid of getting duked or tricked out of something but this will also make things harder for families who already have an extremely hard time on a daily basis with normal life issues this is supposed to be a break from all of that, so sad! And some say "we'll find a new doctor " That's easy for someone healthy to say because when you have multiple health issues that one doctor is used to dealing with and coordinating with all your other specialists. It's not that easy. There's also insurance barriers and certain rural areas don't have the best doctors. You have to stick to the ones when you find them that have any knowledge whatsoever of your conditions. So I think this is a terrible idea for what my opinion is worth, which I'm sure is not much because more and more the world is becoming a survival of the fittest and not considering the people who really need the help! And we take spare a moment trips because it's not easy to plan things when you have medical issues

Tracy

Monday 17th of July 2023

My biggest question/concern is who manages this information and who has access to it?

Jazz

Sunday 16th of July 2023

Letter does not require disclosure of your disability. However, if your primary doctor don't answer your calls it may be time to change to a different doctor. I'm thankful to have a primary doctor that always answers my calls and if I have to leave a vm when they are super busy I still get a call back same day.

Jazz

Sunday 16th of July 2023

As someone stated earlier the doctor does not need to state your disability just a statement based on their opinion that an ADA pass is necessary.

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