Universal’s Attraction Assistance Pass
October 29, 2020
By: Annette Miller
Physical and cognitive challenges can present vacationers with an entirely new set of considerations when planning for or taking a trip. If you or someone in your travel party has difficulty standing in queues for attractions, the Attraction Assistance Pass may be a helpful addition to your vacation.
What is it?
Universal’s Attraction Assistance Pass is intended for guests who have physical or cognitive issues that prevent them from being able to wait in the standard attraction queue. There are two different versions available, depending on the needs of the guest. The orange version works at attractions that offer Express Pass while the gold version works for all attractions. It will be valid for the same number of days as your park ticket(s) and can cover a party of up to six people.
How can I request one?
Universal Orlando Resort issues Attraction Assistance Passes on a case-by-case basis. This is not something that can be reserved in advance, so you will need to visit Guest Services as soon as you arrive at the Parks. (I recommend that you plan to arrive at the Parks as early as possible, so you will have plenty of time to get through any line they may have before your first scheduled activity.) A team member will ask questions about the person requiring the assistance to determine whether an Attraction Assistance Pass is appropriate and which version is the best fit.
How does it work?
When you arrive at an attraction you would like to enjoy, show your Attraction Assistance Pass to the greeter at the entrance to the queue. If the wait time is less than thirty minutes, you will be directed to the appropriate queue. (This is often the Express Pass queue but may be different depending on your specific needs.) If the wait time is greater than thirty minutes, the greeter will issue a return time (usually equal to the current standby wait time). When it is time to return, they will direct you to the appropriate queue.
Keep in mind that you may only have one active return time on your Pass at any given time. If you receive a return time and then find a different attraction you would rather enjoy, you will forfeit the return time for the first attraction.
My experience with the Attraction Assistance Pass
First, let me introduce you to my multi-generational family. I have three teens/tweens between the ages of 12 and 15, and my mom living (and traveling) with me. All three of my kids live with cognitive challenges, but my youngest has the biggest struggles. Jeff has a tough time with waiting in queues and becoming overwhelmed by all the stimuli around him.
We visited the parks for four days with Park-to-Park tickets, but we did not include the Express Pass. This was the first time at Universal Orlando Resort for my kids and my mom, and I could not wait to share it all with them! Our first day was spent at Volcano Bay, which was relaxing and delightful. (In hindsight, it might have been wiser for us to sandwich our Volcano Bay day between our days in the dry parks so that we could break up some of the anxiety he felt.) Over the next two days, our excitement carried us straight into the parks toward the attractions. During those two days, I noticed that my youngest child (who has cognitive challenges) was struggling more and more with growing crowds and longer waits. On our final day, we ran into a ticket problem that required us to stop at Guest Services. While we were there, I decided to ask about the Attraction Assistance Pass to see if it might help to improve his experience.
My overall review of the Attraction Assistance Pass
We were granted the orange version of the Attraction Assistance Pass, which is valid with attractions offering Express Pass. Given the nature of many of those rides, my son was not interested in many of them. We ended up only using it for two attractions – Hogwarts Express and Men in Black Alien Attack. Hogwarts Express was a great experience since we did not have to wait (and he loved it!). While we enjoyed riding Men in Black, my son had difficulty waiting for our return time. In the end, he decided that he would rather spend his time casting spells in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
Overall, I think my family would have been better off adding Express Pass to our tickets. This additional ticket option would have given us all the flexibility to venture off in our own separate directions to explore our different interests. There also would not have been a need for a return time, which would have allowed him to feel as though he was using his time to experience the parks on his own terms.
The Attraction Assistance Pass is a wonderful program that can benefit many families, and it is certainly worth discussing with your Vacation Experience Architect. Since every special need is unique, chances are that your family would likely have a different experience with it than we did – especially with some advanced planning. If I can be of assistance to you in planning your own trip to Universal Orlando Resort or with information about their Attraction Assistance Pass, please feel free to reach out. I can be reached at either firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-262-5307.
Disclaimer: Our Universal Orlando Resort park tickets were purchased at a discounted rate as part of their travel agent appreciation program. This discount did not influence the opinions expressed in this blog post.