It was an emotionally charged four days as we spent time at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios theme park in Orlando. We weren’t expecting for my husband to be able to do much down there. But as we discovered how Universal employees would treat him, it left tears in our eyes.
To give a little background, my husband is quadriplegic of ten years. He is paralyzed from the chest down, with limited movement of his hands and triceps. Due to his disability, he rarely gets to participate in activities with his kids and me. Our family trips usually end up with him watching us have fun from the sidelines, which still gives him enjoyment to see his family happy. But this particular trip we experienced a few weeks ago, was a total shock.
We had read on Universal’s website that certain rides were accessible. There were rides that you could ride from your wheelchair, and others that you had to transfer onto. On our first night at Islands of Adventure, we chose to check out the Kong ride as he could ride from his wheelchair. To our dismay, the ride started having technical difficulties as soon as we made it to the front of the line. With the park closing in an hour, an employee named Meg, sent us straight over to a Harry Potter ride, where they took us directly without waiting in line.
This ride had a special area blocked off for those with disabilities. We were skeptical that Devyn would even be able to transfer. But there, we were given time and privacy for us to assist my husband onto the ride. With team work between me and the kids, Devyn rode his first ride in over ten years. The look on his face says it all.
With that one experience, we could have gone home happy right then. But it didn’t stop there. Over the next few days we rode another Harry Potter ride, the Men in Black ride, Kong, Spiderman, ET, and Transformers. And each and every one of the employees were more than willing to accommodate for my husband. They displayed such professionalism and patience as they held the rides and even assisted us in helping him transfer on and off the rides. And to top the trip, my husband got to ride the biggest roller coaster there, the Hulk. The employees not only accommodated him once, but three times, allowing him to ride it multiple times.
Thank you Universal Studios for giving my husband a once in a lifetime experience. I am overwhelmed with joy that my husband was able to participate in the incredible rides. I tear up every time I talk about our amazing trip. I am impressed with how accessible and accommodating the park was. I am also eternally grateful for each and every one of the employees that showed us kindness and patience. I hope this conveys how incredibly special this trip was to us. For a disabled person who hasn’t experienced anything remotely close to this in over ten years, words hardly even come close to describing the joy and excitement we experienced. We hope to visit again in the future.