My family and I recently took a trip to Florida to visit family. Although my husband and I are Disney freaks and DVC members, the general concensus among other family members was to go to Universal, since we've all been to Disney multiple times and my brother and I are huge Harry Potter fans. We ended up there on the day before New Years' Eve and I was in a wheelchair. There is no preferred treatment or special lines for that, they told us it was because we needed to 'experience the queueing' as part of an attraction. Except that until you got right up onto a ride, there was no thematic queing, like at Disney. Much of the time while we waited in line for The Forbidden Journey, we could hear (really loudly) the Jurassic Park music. So there we stood, in line, looking at the castle, hearing...Jurassic Park. The queue times were way understated and we had people walking through the empty queue and ignoring staff and there just weren't enough staff to stop it. We had to wait in line in order to get into the gift shops and all the ones in Harry Potter World were way too narrow for my wheelchair for me to look at things, let alone get around with the people inside. I kept calling out, 'excuse me!' and just rolled myself through until one staff person finally saw me and moved people to the side and out of my way for me to get out, which I appreciated. Inside the castle was amazing, the ride was one of my favorite, EVER, and a few of the staff seemed capable and willing to help, but the park doesn't plan very well for the number of people they let in and it was NOT well equipped to deal with the wheelchair. Very disappointed. I would love to go back during a not so busy time and give it another chance.But I've been at Disney several times during peak seasons, spring break, Christmas break, summer vacations, and never seen it function as poorly as Universal.
This isn't the first time we've learned about poor service to someone in a wheelchair, or otherwise differently abled from the norm for what ever reason.
It's a shame that you weren't able to fully enjoy the park. It's good that you did enjoy the castle though!
We've not been since Harry Potter came to US. Perhaps we'll get there one day.
Thank you for sharing the information.
Yeah, my parents went the next day and spent time in the rest of the park and said it wasn't nearly as crowded and had a much more relaxing day. So, I'm willing to chalk a lot of that up to the season and the Harry Potter park being fairly small.
But as far as the wheelchair that I paid to rent at the park, not being able to manuever throught the queues without falling into crevices or not being able to get through stores that they designed? I was fairly upset, especially at the thought of permanently disabled people in chairs that just don't fit. What do they do?
But I would give the park a chance, it was really cool despite all that.
Did you contact Universal with your concerns? I wonder what they have to say?
The Americans with Disability Act is supposed to provide for equal access for persons of different mobility needs. Especially if it's their wheelchair that you rented, the aisles and walkways and doorways should have been built or arranged to accommodate the chair. And yes, it's an obvious correlation to those folks who use a chair all the time. How do they manage? Clearly, not too well according to your experience.
I would contact their version of Guest Relations and share your concerns with them. There is nothing they can do to give you back your time, or change your experience, but perhaps your information will help them to provide a more satisfying experience to the guests in wheelchairs that follow your visit.
Well,I havent been to Universal in AGES and do hope to go back sometime in the near future for Harry Potter World. Its sad to read about people not having good experiences.
I agree with Tink, I think you should voice what you experienced
I have not experienced WWoHP with any sort of mobility aid. That is awful that people are having so much trouble.
I can tell you that everything over in that section is small and cramped. I don't know if its because they had limited room or they wanted it to accurately look like stuff from the HP series.
We visited WWoHP a couple of times on our last trip - my nephew was in a wheelchair at the time due o breaking his ankle in 2 places 10 days before we flew out! I didnt go in the castle (sadly i was quite poorly on our last visit and not up to much) but he didnt mention anything like you have said - perhaps its general wear and tear - whatever the reason for it its definately not acceptable and should be raised with the park :yes:
Disnet and US/IoA are veeeerrrrry different parks though, you cant compare them in any way i dont think!
It is definitely on my list of 'to do' to email Universal and let them know. And I know from researching years ago that the park was small, and that was what J.K. Rowling wanted, so it fit in with the description from the book. The main places I had an issue with the chair falling into grooves was in the queue to even get into WWoHP, it was like they were carved into the ground to fit in with the Jurassic Park building whose backside we were looking at and also in the line for 'Flight of the Hippogriff'. Also the queue to get into giftshop across from the butterbeer stand, Dervish and...something. I forgot, must have been all the pain meds:wink:! My husband actually moved the poles just so I could get through. And as much as we try not to be, we are humongous Disney snobs. It just seems to run better than every other park I've visited. But I was legitimitely excited to visit WWoHP and disappointed with how it ran.
I use a stick all the time as I have mobility problems and refuse to use a wheelchair until I am forced to, but I had problems getting into the shops etc. In WWoHP it was a case of, if you don't walk like a crab then you don't go in :lol:
I'm glad you are positive from your experience, but I do think like the others that you should let Universal know how upset you were by it :hug2: