Universal Studios Hollywood: Plus Size and Ability Friendly Theme Park

Universal Studios Hollywood ROCKS!

Feeling confident when planning a family vacation has sadly been faltering.  We worry about fitting in to the seats and if there’s any access for walkers and wheelchairs.

I reached out to Universal Studios and they immediately responded with open arms while other theme parks either didn’t respond or only directed me to their website for further information.  To be offered the opportunity to two free tickets with front of line passes was greatly appreciated by this single Mama! 
*This Review is my own and an unsolicited opinion and sharing of my experience*
My Daughter and I headed over for our day of fun and packed up the following:
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water Resistant pouch to place our cell phones in
  • Printed schedule of shows planned out for the day
*Note:  Food and beverages are not allowed.  All bags are checked prior to entry.  Baby food and baby bottles are allowed of course.
Parking is $17 Regular or $30 Valet.  There is also a drop off by the entrance for those with difficulty walking long distances.  Parking structures accommodate wheel chairs, walkers, strollers and are equipped with elevators and escalators. 
More Parking info:  <<<CLICK HERE>>>
Walking Distance:  When parking in the structures you will take a short stroll through Universal City Walk filled with great food/restaurant establishments and souvenir shops.
My step count from Valet (Small steps as I’m tiny/shorter): 200 paces  – the average of walking a full block.
While in the park I counted approximately 1,500 steps not counting the escalators.  It’s not a huge facility and did have my route planned for the day. 
Wheelchair and Stroller Rentals: Through the entry gates you will find the wheelchair, electric wheelchair and stroller rentals on your right hand side.
Pricing:  Single Strollers $15/Double Strollers $25   *No Deposit Required
For Wheelchairs – $40 Includes $25 Deposit/ Electrical wheelchair is $50 *Credit Card Required
Walking:  
There is a bit of walking while maneuvering through the visitors but you will find a few benches, and seating along the way to go at your pace.  There are various food carts and establishments for you to quench your thirst or eat.  There are trees that provide shade and “cooling zones” where high powered fans are spraying mist that really does make a difference to keeping cool.  
Standing:
The most standing you will do is if you’re using the escalators or waiting for the elevators as they are small and can only fit so many people, strollers and/or wheelchairs.  There normally isn’t any seating area by the escalators/elevators and do recommend to bring your seat/walkers if you have a hard time standing for long periods of time.
Waiting in line:
You will experience long wait lines most especially on busy days.  It can range from 30 minutes to hours and recommend a front of line pass for peace of mind as it will lesson your wait time and give you the opportunity to experience just about every ride and show.
*Note: Wheelchair access does not give you front of line pass usage.  You will need to purchase the pass for yourself and/or your companion(s).
Ride Requirements:
Many of the rides do have jolts and force.  They also may require you to lift yourself up in to and out of the seat.  Your upper torso should have the strength to sit and be able to lift.  Bring someone with you to assist as it may be a little tricky.  
Ride Widths/Mass:
My Measurements (inches)   48 –  44  –  55
Hip Measurement When Seated:  60 inches

Here’s the nitty gritty of it.  I used my mass to best measure and review the seating to the rides.  Most rides are constructed of one full bar to seat 4-5 bodies.  The seating is tight and spaced at 14″ per seat (I used my measuring tape.)  You will find that some rides have “bench” seating and others are indented/individual seating.  I recommend to ride with friends/people that are of like sized mass as the bar won’t go lower than the largest body in that row.
For those of us needing extra space I was able to use some extra inches from my 11 year old Daughter’s space and was fortunate to have another smaller person next to me that also scooted over and we all fit comfortably.

TIPS for Added Space:  
Sit on the edge of the seat closest to the entry of the ride.  That is usually the side that is used to unload the passengers.  The sides also have extra space on some of the “indented” rides for those of us with beefy arms (such as myself.)    
Also, don’t be afraid to ask the staff if you can be given two seats if you need it.  As I stated before the staff was very friendly and accommodating.  Your safety is FIRST as well as that of the other passengers.  Ask about the bar reaching a safe lock on you as well as those you’re sharing the row with.  They may find it best to have you ride alone.
*Note:  The Universal Studio Staff are very helpful and kind.  Please direct any questions to them prior to entering the ride for you to decide if it’s safe and comfortable for you to ride.  

FINAL THOUGHTS:
All in all, our experience was GREAT!  The weather was perfect, our tour guide was up beat and energized, JAWS never fails to bring extra excitement, the “Fast and Furious” ride was AMAZING and Transformers will forever by my favorite!  
There is a small water park/play area by the Minions that every little one will enjoy, so bring their bathing suits.  There are lockers by the entrance to leave your extra clothes/towels if you need them. 
Krusty Burger is DELICIOUS and recommend it to any burger eater reading this.  For those on a budget you can buy a refillable souvenir cup for $15 with one free fill and 99 cent refills through the day!  Regular drink prices average $4 and this may be the way to go if you’re having more than 4 drinks during your visit.
We arrived when the doors opened at 8 a.m. and went straight to the tour before the sun came to full strength.  We power walked to the Transformers ride, then to the Jurassic Ride. Power walked to the Minions Ride then headed to Crusty Burgers for lunch.  We watched Water World, Animal Actors and Special Effects show when we finally decided to head home at 2:30 p.m.!
Thanks to the “Front Of Line” Pass we were able to experience everything we had set out to do.  The longest we waited in line was 10 minutes!  If you have it in your budget to splurge a little I recommend to purchase this pass.  It will save you hours of time and will be able to experience some more of Hollywood since you’re in the neighborhood.  You can also have lunch or dinner at Universal City Walk and get a stamp to re-enter the theme park if you’d like. 
TICKET PRICING & PROMOS:
$95  Buy a Day and get the rest of 2015 FREE
For further information and park hours please visit their website at: 
Let me know what you think?  Feel free to ask me any questions and share your own experience.  

AND… Stay tuned for other theme park reviews I will be sharing on my blog!  

18 Comments

  1. Mikki
    May 12, 2016 / 5:14 am

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I am a plus sized woman, built very similarly in fact, and it’s such a breath of fresh air to know that I may not be stuck unable to ride any of the rides when my family goes to Universal in June. I just found your blog here on a random google search in the hopes that someone out there understood the battle of the plus sized vs amusement parks. I know we will still have a good time, but it’s definitely good to know that I don’t need to feel discouraged!

    • May 12, 2016 / 1:21 pm

      Yayyy!!! If there are other theme parks or locations I should cover do let me know. I will do my best to provide the review. 🙂
      Thank you so much for finding me and sending me your words. It helps me to know it’s helping <3

  2. Misty S
    June 8, 2016 / 4:42 am

    Hi. I am going to Universal Studios Hollywood in July. I wonder if you have had the chance to ride the Harry Potter rides? I am concerned about fitting on them after reading some of the reviews about the Orlando location.
    Thanks

    • July 6, 2016 / 6:02 am

      Hello!
      I have not ridden on Harry Potter but hope to do so later this year. I suggest calling their customer service line for details on the seating and address any concerns.
      Sorry I couldn’t help more!

    • Lori
      July 6, 2016 / 7:08 pm

      I just rode the harry potter ride. I fit ok! I usually wear and 18-20 sometimes 22. Hope this helps.

    • Lori
      July 6, 2016 / 7:08 pm

      I just rode the harry potter ride. I fit ok! I usually wear and 18-20 sometimes 22. Hope this helps.

      • Melissa
        July 20, 2016 / 10:51 pm

        Lori, this was helpful. So would you say you had any difficulty with any rides at Universal Studios Hollywood? I also wear about a 20, and I’m short.

        • Anne
          December 8, 2016 / 9:23 pm

          Hi Lori,
          I was wondering the same thing. My boyfriend is 6′-3″ 280 lbs and I’m worried about him being able to ride all the rides, especially the Harry Potter ones since that’s why we are going. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    • Melissa
      July 20, 2016 / 10:47 pm

      Hi Misty, I noticed you and your family went to Universal Studios in June. I’m going in a couple weeks. Did you have any problems with any of the rides after all? I too am starting to worry after reading the Orlando posts.

  3. Val
    July 23, 2016 / 5:41 pm

    Thank you so much for the info! I just graduated college in May and my hubby wanted to gift me a visit to universal Hollywood because he knows how much I want to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I was so excited but now I’m dreading it. What if I don’t fit in the seats? I wear a size 20 jeans and have a 52″ bust. I know you haven’t gone on it yet but please let us know when you do! I don’t want to pass up a wonderful gift from my love because I’m scared! If any there have more info on the ride please let me know 🙂

    • Stacy
      November 4, 2016 / 10:18 pm

      Hi Val, just wondering if you had any updates? I’m about the same size as you and am dreading the Forbidden Journey because of all the talk of not fitting! I hope you went and had a great time! Any info would be greatly appreciated because I can’t find any details on Universal Studios Hollywood. Thanks!

      • Valeria Campos
        December 27, 2016 / 12:05 am

        Hey Stacy!

        So unfortunately I decided not to go because I was to afraid to go through what this woman went through. She looks a lot smaller than me and was humiliated. Granted she did ride but in the ADA ride. I don’t want anyone to be humiliated because of their size so I thought I would share this blog post. She even includes a picture at the end of “normal” sized people still fitting snuggly in the seats. https://www.myrdaj.com/life/myrda-j-forbidden-journey-universal-studios-wizarding-world-harry-potter-debacle/

        • December 27, 2016 / 12:20 am

          Oh my! How heart breaking!!! I’m at a loss for words on all the she described. I would recommend heading straight to the ADA line as safety is my greatest concern when the test seat is barely clicking.

  4. Jenn
    March 28, 2017 / 9:00 pm

    We were in Universal Orlando in October and i was sad I couldn’t get into the Minion ride. The lap bar wouldn’t come down all the way and I had to do the walk of shame to the stationary seat at the front. I was so embarrassed! I had no problem with Jurassic Park, Dudley Do and King Kong. We are heading to Universal Hollywood at the end of May and I am worried I will have the same trouble with Transformers and Simpsons. Have you tried those ones? I read elsewhere the problem with the Minions one is everyone raises their arms and the lap bar has to click, but other lap bars just stop when they hit the largest person. Does anyone know? I am 5’2 and around 330 pounds, all around my middle 🙁 size 24-26. Thank you for your blog it is so helpful!

    • March 29, 2017 / 4:00 am

      Oh no! I’m so sorry and am saddened that we go through this 🙁 I’m 5’0 250lbs and my measurements are 55-46-48, wear a size 20/22. At Universal Studios Hollywood it was a tight squeeze. I rode with my Daughter/Son that are smaller than I. Maybe ridding alone may work? For Transformers I suggest sitting on the back on your own. Sorry, I didn’t get on the Simpsons ride to help.
      You can ask about the lap bar at the handicap help center and they should be able to help further. I also recommend the front of line pass as there’s usually a little more customer service offered ie: ask the ride assistants information and if you won’t have to be turned away.
      Good luck and please update us on your trip!
      Sending strength! <3

    • Dolores
      May 30, 2017 / 12:13 am

      I found this blog and figured I should leave a comment. I just renewed my pass because I couldn’t believe I fit in the rides even if they are a little snug. I’m 5’5″ and possibly 350lbs. I’ve been on the minions ride(one of my favs), it is a pretty tight squeeze but i still fit. I also fit in the Simpsons, and recently tried the mummy ride. There’s some ppl who weigh less than me, but if their stomach is big and thick(hard), then they don’t fit too well. My stomach isn’t stiff so it’s able to be pushed in some. Lol sounds funny typing it but I know some people have a hard belly and it might be difficult. It is embarrassing to not fit in a ride, it’s happened to me more than 10yrs ago when I was actually 100lbs lighter. It was a roller coaster and I stood away from amusement parks since. Now I have a season pass to Disneyland and universal. I don’t expect to fit in every ride and I’m very honest about my weight meaning, I let it be known I might not fit, but Ima try anyway, forget what others think, or what they say. I keep forgetting to tell universal if they can put me and whoever I’m riding with in 3 seats instead of 2, so we can fit comfortably. I know if I ask, they most likely will. I’m a big woman, and not changing overnight and I want to be able to have fun with my friends and family, You just gotta take a chance and go for it.

      • Angela
        June 11, 2017 / 5:27 am

        Hey Delores!
        I saw your comment about fitting on the rides ok and was wondering if you had been able to ride the Harry potter rides. These are the ones i’m worried about…
        Thanks.

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