Long lines, crowded spaces, and loud noises are not anyone’s favorite part of a day at Universal Studios, but these things will make the day impossible for some guests. If this is you or someone you’re traveling with, Universal Studios has policies to help guests who need accommodations in the traditional queue enjoy their day at the parks.
What is the Attraction Assistance Pass, AAP?
The Attraction Assistance Pass is Universal Studios’ policy that allows guests to use the accommodations they need in order to experience attractions at the parks. If you require assistance with wait times, the AAP card allows you to arrive at the ride, then get a time to return to the attraction.
Basically, it’s a reservation. While you wait for your return time, you can be in a more open or comfortable space, making your physical wait time more manageable. When you go back to the ride at your return time, you can use the Express Pass Lane. This does not give you immediate access to the attraction, but you spend the majority of the wait virtually.
The AAP is a physical card; one side has your name, dates that it is valid, the number of guests, a question about an alternative if there are stairs, and a bar code that is scanned at each attraction when using the AAP. The back side has a grid printed on it for return times.
Applying for the Accessibility Card
As of July 24, 2023, Universal Studios requires an Accessibility Card (an identification card from IBCCES) for any guest needing the Attraction Assistance Pass.
To get the card, you will be asked for documentation and contact information from a medical professional or school system indicating the accommodations you need at the parks. Give yourself at least 48 hours before you visit the parks to apply for the ID card.
Be advised you may receive a call from Universal’s Guest Services team before you arrive. If you don’t receive the call 48 hours before your visit, and your ID has been processed, you should call the ADA Assistance line (407)224-4233, and they will complete the process for being pre-approved for your AAP. If you do not have a phone conversation with a team member, the ID alone will not be enough to guarantee you will be issued an AAP.
This accessibility ID card is completely free, and we have all the details about how to apply and what you need: see Changes to Universal’s Attraction Assistance Pass Process.
Arriving at the Parks
When you arrive at the parks, stop by Guest Services first. A Guest Services booth is outside the entrances to the right at Universal Studios Orlando, Islands of Adventure, and Universal Studios Hollywood. Inside the park, Universal Studios Orlando’s Guest Services is just inside the entrance to the right, and Islands of Adventure is close to the Marvel area on the left. A helpful Universal team member just advised that the lines inside the park are typically a shorter wait.
After the Guest Services team member greets you and asks what they can assist with, say that you need assistance in the parks. They will ask for your IBCCES Accessibility Card, which will give them all the information they need. There will not be any medical questions pertaining to why you need assistance asked at this time. If you do not already have the Accessibility Card, Team Members will not discuss your medical information with you so that you can get an Attraction Assistance Pass.
As they prepare your Attraction Assistance Pass, AAP, you will need to have everyone that is at the park with you, and they must all have their tickets.
The Team Member will explain how the accommodations work and how long the AAP is valid. Typically it is valid for your length of stay or up to 14 days.
Scheduling and Arriving for Return Times
To get a return time, visit the attraction’s entrance and look for a Team Member with a clipboard. Ask them for a return time and hand them the card. They will write the attraction’s name, the time you arrived, the current wait time, and the time you may return. The last cell on the grid will remain blank until you return.
The guest that has the AAP does not need to be present to receive a return time, and you don’t need to bring your group with you. You can send a runner for this task and let everyone else hang out where they are comfortable.
When it’s your time to ride, go to the attraction’s entrance and look for the Team Member with a clipboard, they will validate your pass. You will need everyone in your party that is riding the attraction to be together. You may not arrive before your return time, but you can arrive anytime after, as long as the park is open. After your time has been validated, you’ll be directed to the Express Pass Lane. Keep the card out because it will be scanned multiple times while you’re in the queue.
If the attraction requires a locker, the AAP card will activate the lockers, you don’t need your ticket. This tip will help you not lock the pass in the locker; yes, I’m speaking from experience.
Once you have experienced the attraction, you may get a return time for another attraction. You can not have more than one active return time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our resort room came with an Express Pass. Can I still get accommodations with the Attraction Assistance Pass?
Yes, you can use the Express pass and the AAP together.
Can I use the Attraction Assistance Pass at Volcano Bay?
The AAP is not available at Volcano Bay. Please use the virtual queue system that is available to all guests.
Do I make a return time if the wait is 25 minutes?
If the current wait time is under 30 minutes, the team member at the entrance will direct you and your party directly to the Express Pass Entrance.
I use an ECV to get around at the parks; do I need the Attraction Assistance Pass?
The AAP is designed for guests with a disability that prevents them from tolerating the traditional queue; typically, this does not include mobility issues. Contact Universal’s Guest Services if you need specific clarification.
My resort room offers me Early Entry to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Can I get an AAP return time during that time?
Yes, you can make a return time for a Harry Potter attraction. Team Members will not be available at the other attractions during that time.
Can I ride another ride while I wait for an AAP return time?
Yes, you can eat, visit with characters, ride a different ride, shop, or just hang out in a comfortable space while you wait for your return time.
Have you used the AAP program at Universal Orlando? Do you have questions? Let us know in the comments!