BREAKING: Universal Parks Outsourcing Disability Access Service to 3rd Party; Documentation Now Required

Shannen Ace

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BREAKING: Universal Parks Outsourcing Disability Access Service to 3rd Party; Documentation Now Required

Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood will be launching a new accessibility service July 24 and removing the current system, giving guests with disabilities a new way to request accommodations at certain attractions.

Universal Accessibility Card

Right now, guests who are not able to wait in line for a long period of time need to go to a guest services location on each day of their Universal trip. There, they receive a card that they can take to attraction entrances, where they get a return time comparable to the attraction’s current wait time.

universal orlando accessibility card

Beginning on July 24, Universal will be utilizing the IBCCES Accessibility Card, a.k.a. IAC. A QR code is already available at guest services in Universal Orlando Resort to register for an IAC, or guests can visit AccessibilityCard.org. IBCCES (International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Services) requests guests register 48 hours before their trip.

The service is available at other themed parks and destinations, including SeaWorld Orlando and Six Flags. The program is completely free.

Watch a video about the IAC Program below.

As outlined in the video and on the website, guests can register for the card online in advance. Individuals requesting the IAC card for themselves must be 18 years or older. Guests will need to supply a photo, basic identification information, and a statement from a healthcare provider or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP or equivalent), documentation from a government entity, or something similar. This is a major difference from the previous accessibility card, for which guests did not need to provide documentation.

universal iac accessibility card

The accessibility card can be used by guests who cannot wait in lines for long periods of time, but as well as to request other accommodations. Examples of the accommodations guests can select during the registration process include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Accompanied by a service animal
  • Auditory: Requesting alternative formats/guidance for auditory features
  • Difficulty with gripping, grasping, or bracing: May need additional supports
  • Sensitivity to lights/colors
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Sensitivity to smell
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Special dietary needs
  • Wheelchair access or options required
universal iac accessibility card 1

After filling out basic information and selecting accommodations, users select the theme parks and destinations that they are planning to visit.

The final step of the registration process is providing documentation regarding their accommodations. This is required.

Guests can save and return to their application later, and edit details after submitting the application.

After completing the registration process, guests will receive a temporary digital card they can download or print while IBCCES reviews the documentation.

At the park, guests can show their card to Team Members to request and receive accommodations. In the video, guests are shown visiting guest services and receiving a wristband, but the exact process may vary at different theme parks. More information about how the program will work at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood will likely be available soon.

As noted on the website, IAC does not guarantee entry to an attraction and any special accommodations or benefits provided are at the sole discretion of that attraction.

Unlike the current Universal accessibility card, IAC is active for one year, so guests don’t need to continue applying or returning to guest services to receive a new card.

What do you think of this accessibility program? Let us know in the comments.

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Author

  • Shannen Michaelsen

    Shannen has been a Disney Parks fan and lover of dogs since childhood, despite Pluto's attempt to eat Shannen's Minnie Mouse doll the first time they met. They've made up now. You can email Shannen at shannen@wdwnt.com.

2 thoughts on “BREAKING: Universal Parks Outsourcing Disability Access Service to 3rd Party; Documentation Now Required”

  1. This will be very hard for people in the uk. We have problems just getting doctor appointments let alone paying for specific letters.
    We should be allowed to use our pip letters as proof or our blue badges we get that we have to prove we have a disability to be able to get it.

  2. Thank you for your article on this matter. I have reported Universal Orlando Resorts to the DOJ- Department of Justice. Universal Orlando has contracted with IBCCES, a third party to screen disabilities, including proof and use of service animals. They state clearly on IBCCES that a financial cost/fees could be associated with acquiring usage of accommodations including service animals. This would include parks, city walk, hotels, etc. The ADA clearly states that service animals, users of such are not required to provide documentation. The IBCCES, clearly states on their site which I have taken screen images of, states that fees and costs additional costs could be charged of people seeking accommodations including service animals. For this reason I have reported Universal Orlando to the DOJ, and currently have a case number. Thank you for covering the story. Nicole Greensher

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