Special Needs questions & advice relating to people with special needs

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Old 15 Dec 19, 10:09 PM  
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dreamisawish's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 17
How special assistance works at Universal- do you need it at all if you have express?

Hey guys! So I'm completely new to any kind of special assistance pass at universal- though from my limited research I gather they are harder to get than a DAS? Last feb we got the DAS no problem, I have problems standing for long periods due to rheumatoid arthritis, and they were very helpful and issued one right away. We didn't go for a universal pass at all as we only had one day there and the crowd level was so low I didn't feel it was worth asking.

Next year however we will be there for three to four days and I expect the crowds will be heavier- so if my leg is bad I will be seeing about getting one.

We will also /probably/ be staying at a deluxe hotel, and so will have the express pass.

So the question is- is it worth going for a special assistance pass if you already have express? Do you just wait the queue time elsewhere and then go through the express queue anyway like you do with the DAS at Disney?

And of course, there is hagrids, which we would like to ride. I know it doesn't have an express queue yet, can we expect it will have one by Sept 2020? How does it work at the moment if you have an assistance pass, do you go through an empty express queue?

How long are the express queues normally?

Thanks for the help! I'm a complete newbie at this so any help is appreciated!

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Old 16 Dec 19, 07:33 AM  
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We were there in august, fist visit we had express pass as in hotel. When we returned my daughter got the das pass (or whatever universal call it) she went to the hagrid queue, got a return time and then went through what will be, i suspect, the express route to the ride. I wasnt with her at the window to get the pass, she did have a little card with her which explains her condition that the hospital gave her. Not sure she had to use this or not. We did show it to the cast member at disney because they looked very confused when we were explaining, not sure they knew about it (acute idiopathic intercranial hypertension)
The express pass days we hardly queued at all, im trying to remember the longest one and cant so it couldnt have been long at all! Our us and ioa days were pre the hurricane build up so that didnt have any bearing on queue times. August 2017 we had express passes too and i think the longest queue we stood in was about 15 mins and that was king kong as was fairly new if memory serves.

Edited at 07:38 AM.
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Old 17 Dec 19, 10:03 AM  
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ok, so let's try and make it simple

The Attraction Assistance Pass is not harder to get than DAS
you need to go to a guest relations inside a park, and ask for it.
like at disney's the recipient must be present, and be able (or be helped to) explain how the service will be beneficial to them

The Team Member might issue 2 types of passes

the first one, is a "milder" version, and consists of 3 express passes you need to come get every day ... that will of course not be of any use to a guest staying at a deluxe universal hotel

the second option is an assistance card. The Team Member will need all the accompanying guests to be present, as they will need to scan those person's tickets (don't know what for, since they don't check at rides like they do at disney's, but everytime we got that card, probably 6 times and counting, they needed to scan all of our APs to issue the card)
they will write down the number of people this card is valid for

how it works :

more or less like at disney's with some differences

when you get to a ride, if the standby wait time is 30 minutes or less, you get immediate access to the express line, so basically it works like an express pass.

if it's over 30 minutes, you get a return time. Like at Disney's you can only have one at a time, and you get to do the wait wherever you choose, you can ride standby, express, or go shopping or eating, you get to use the express line when your time to return is reached (and before park closing)

at rides your card will be scanned upon return to verify it's valid. A card is valid for a max of 14 days, past that time you need to renew.

so you may ask how is it useful when I already have unlimited express

well, not much, but there are a few occasions it will come in handy

for example, hogwarts express if you have park to park on your tickets

ther card will allow you to enter through the exit, and if you so require, use the elevator to bypass the stairs, and go direct to the platform if your disability requires it (basically you use the wheelchair route)

you will also find it useful on rides without express passes, like hagrid's (as long as it doesn't get virtual queue) because you'll then be issued a return time
be advised though that, when you return, you'll join a reduced queue, but in our experience last august, even that queue is between 25 minutes and up to 1 hour long (the longest we've been in that queue on disability access)
it's not likely to receive express, but rather virtual queue, and in that case, the disability card will be irrelevant as the virtual queue will basically be an appointment.

so far, you can consider that, at slower time (you go september, if at the beginning of the month I'd even say you don't need express at all) express is just about walk on to any ride except for Despicable Me and shows, where you obviously have to wait for the next showing. Despicable me you can consider it cuts the wait time by half, but that's the only attraction where express is not that efficient
at busy times, express is very nice to have. We use the attraction pass, so we use the express lines. Last august, with a standby posted time of 45 minutes for Men In Black for example, we consistently had just a two or three vehicles wait through the express line , ... so all in all 5 minutes, 10 tops
but remember that the first couple of hours, and the last couple of hours mean lower crowds.

at the end of the day, this card is free, and if you require it, ask for it, even if you don't use it. It might come in handy on rare occasions, since you already have express.
If you qualify, and don't use it, then so be it, it will have taken 10 minutes of your time on your first day, but if you don't ask for it, you may regret to not have it.

Edited at 10:12 AM.
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Old 24 Jan 20, 12:22 PM  
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We went August-September last year. We had a week at HRH then spent the rest of the holiday in our apartment. My little sister (10) has Autism & ASD and even with the expresses passes we still got the AAP.

The main perk of still getting the AAP was Hagrid's. There were some days where we managed to get on to Hagrid's 5 times in one day. Well, those of us that could stomach it!

If riding Hagrid's multiple times a day isn't your style or you're in the other park, you can get a return time on your AAP at a ride with a longer queue (say JP at midday on a very sunny day in Aug) and still use the express passes on shorter queuelength rides that you can manage!

Express passes or not, we always get the AAP. If there is a facility that can help my sister have a smoother visit to a theme park we will always utilize it as best we can.

Hope this helps!
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