I was solicited by Universal Studios to stay at their hotel and purchase 2-Park Annual Park Pass as I have done on and off for the last 19 years. My wheelchair confined daughter, my wife and I decided to take Universal up on their offer. We sign up for yearly passes to different theme parks such as Disney, Sea World and Universal. So in September, I purchased three 2-Park Annual Park Passes then booked hotel stays at the Royal Pacific hotel in the months of October, November and December. My daughter has been in a wheelchair all her life and her 2-Park Annual Park Pass was marked wheelchair so at each ride she enters the employee would know she will need the special wheelchair accessible car that allows her to remain in her wheelchair on the ride.
In October we went to Universal for 2 days and the trip went fine without any incidents. Then on the second day of the November trip my daughter was refused access to use one of the special wheelchair accessible cars because she has a strap across her chest that secures her in her wheelchair.
The rides she is being refused access to are not Hulk Coaster or Harry Potter but Cat in the Hat, Caro-Seuss-el (Universals Merry-Go-Round), One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Men in Black etc., most of which are considered by Universal as Ride for Kids or Ride for Families. All these rides have special wheelchair accessible cars designed for wheelchair confined guests. She has been safely using these special wheelchair accessible cars on these rides over the last 19 years, the last time being just the month before in October.
I was also told that now a supervisor must be called to position the guest in one of these special wheelchair accessible cars for these rides. Since the supervisor overseas many rides, this means an additional long wait for a supervisor to be found and then come to the ride. The supervisor then has to wait to remove the guest at the end of the ride. To me this seems to be the real problem, the disabled guest is just too much trouble and takes up too much time to be profitable.
After talking to several people, I finally went to Guest Relations and spoke to one of the Attraction Supervisors who repeated the same story: for safety reasons anyone needing assistance sitting in their wheelchair by using special adaptive equipment, such as the strap that secures my daughter in her wheelchair, would not be allowed to use the special wheelchair accessible cars on these rides. If these special wheelchair accessible cars were not designed for people like my daughter then who are they for? I explained that she had been on these rides over 50 times in the past 19 years but saying this made no difference. Does this mean that anyone needing assistance sitting in their wheelchair and using the special wheelchair accessible cars has been put in danger by Universal since the parks opened in 1990? I asked if people injured in car accidents or soldiers returning from the war with injuries that needed
special adaptive equipment would also be refused access to these special wheelchair accessible cars for their rides and he said yes.
I had spent a great deal of money and time for the 2-Park Annual Park Passes, hotel stays and dining yet Universal would only return of the 2-Park Annual Park Pass price even though we actually only used 3 days out of an entire year long pass.
I can only hope people will see how Universal treats there guest. Make sure your disability fits into their new policy before purchasing admission to either park from this corporation. Disney is moving forward by designing some of their rides to not only safely accommodate their guests in wheelchairs but to do so as to not disrupt the normal flow of the ride. Check out the Toy Story ride at Disneys Hollywood Studios. Im sure this is a great expense for Disney. Disney moves forward while Universal Studios moves backwards.