Accessibility

Applying for the IBCCES Accessibility Card

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Due to the Americans with Disabilities Act, theme parks provide a variety of accommodations for those who are disabled or unable to wait in a traditional queue. Although the nature of these programs varies from park to park, it’s becoming an industry standard for parks to require an IBCCES Accessibility Card (IAC) in order to receive these accommodations. Among others, all of the U.S. Universal Studios and Six Flags locations require the card.

If you or someone in your party needs an IAC, here’s what you need to know about how to apply for the card. Remember that the accommodations for verified developmental disabilities or medical issues will still vary from park to park.

Preparing for the IBCCES Application

It helps to make sure you have everything you’ll need before starting the application process.

What you will need for the application

  • Recent photo of the cardholder for identification purposes
  • Contact information for the cardholder or the parent/guardian/support person of the cardholder
  • Phone number and email address and document from a medical provider, government entity, or educational support professional related to accommodations requested

What documents are accepted?

  • Government papers such as social security or international disability identification
  • Notes from doctors or medical providers or screenshots from certain medical provider portals such as MyChart
  • School documents such as IEPs and multi-factored evaluations, these may qualify even if the applicant is no longer in school

The document from the medical provider does not need to include sensitive medical information. If your doctor is willing to offer a note stating that you or your dependent are under their care and they list the accommodations you require, the diagnosis is unnecessary.

Medical providers include speech and language pathologists, psychologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists.

Applying for the IBCCES Accessibility Card

When you have everything you need, log onto the IBCCES website. The website is very straightforward and user-friendly. I used a laptop when filling out the application for my son, but the website works well on the phone, and there’s also an app you can use to apply for and access your card. In addition to the contact information and documents, they will ask you questions related to your requested accommodations.

The IAC can be used to request accommodations for any type of disability, but for theme parks, one of the most common areas of accommodation is the inability to wait in a traditional queue. You’ll be asked questions about your challenges, how you are in crowds, how long you can wait in line, etc. The site uses drop-down menus and radio buttons for the questions, and there is no way to add explanations or ask questions.

After you have filled out the application, processing and updating your card can take up to 48 hours. The card will be digital; you can print it or show it on your phone at the park using the IBCCES app.

IBCCES Accessibility Card -printable laptop view

Of course, there are disclaimers that remind you that this will not guarantee entry at an attraction, and any special accommodations or benefits provided are at the sole discretion of the attraction and the park. IBCCES will certify many medical issues and disabilities, such as an amputee, but that disability may not qualify for accommodation in the queues because it can be helped with a wheelchair or other accommodations.

Many applicants, including my son, have been given a temporary card after submitting their applications. After your application is thoroughly reviewed, they will either contact you for clarification (this is what happened with ours) or remove your temporary status from your ID card.

After you have your card, it is considered current for one year. Show your IAC either printed or on the app when you request accommodations at the park you are visiting.

Common Questions and Concerns

Although medical records or government documents can be one of the easiest forms of documentation if you have them, you do not have to provide official documents or medical records to apply. You also don’t need to provide social security numbers.

HIPAA laws related to medical privacy limit who can share your medical information, specifically medical personnel. However, the IBCCES process conforms to HIPAA because you are choosing to share your information.  If a doctor provides your documentation for IBCCES, the diagnosis is not required as long as they confirm you are under their care and your need for accommodations.

When you first access the IBCCES website, you may wonder if you are in the right place if you are not seeking accommodations for autism. IBCCES focuses on autism, but the board professionals who verify your application work in various specialties. All disabilities and medical conditions are reviewed.

I realize this is a lot for many of us, please feel free to ask questions in the comments. I’ll be sure to respond to everyone.

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Amy Schinner

Amy Schinner is a lifelong fan of Disney, a mom, and an advocate for people with special needs. She loves spinning in teacups, screaming down Mt. Everest, and exploring it with her family. Her joy is helping families vacation and create memories together because everyone deserves some pixie dust!

8 thoughts on “Applying for the IBCCES Accessibility Card

  • What do they want the note to say from your dr? And once you get the card, how does the accommodation work? I keep reading its up to the attraction?

    Reply
    • Hi Christina, The doctor note needs to state that you are a patient under their care and which accomodations you need, it does not need the name of the diagnosis. Assuming we are talking about Universal, after the IBCCES card is approved, call the Universal Guest Services line. They will add your IBCCES account number to their system and answer any questions you have. Then, when you arrive at the park, visit Guest Relations, they will issue you an AAP.

      Reply
  • So the IBCCES contacts Universal after the application is approved? Then Universal contacts you?

    Reply
    • Hi,
      IBCCES does contact Universal, and in theory they should call you. However, their call list is very long. I suggest you call Universal before your visit.

      Reply
  • Do you know what documentation I could use from the UK? I’m not sure what they’d need to see? I have a disabled blue badge for my car, I have doctors letters stating my diagnosis and difficulties, I have letters from PIP which is a government service that helps people with disabilities still live as normal life as they can.

    Reply
    • Hi Debbie,
      The doctors letters stating your disability and challenges will work.
      Have a great vacation!

      Reply
  • trouble standing for long periods and mobility. PTSD with high anxiety disabled Navy veteran

    Reply
    • Hi Don, you’ll need to follow the steps in the article to apply for the card. We’re not affiliated with the IBCCES or the theme parks; this is merely intended to be a helpful guide.

      Reply

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