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Debi Dame

Grinchmas at Universal Orlando: history and special needs information

One holiday tradition for my family is our annual trip to enjoy the sights and sounds of Grinchmas in Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure. It just doesn’t seem like Christmas without it and we think we’ve only missed a couple of years since its beginning. Best of all, it’s special needs friendly! Grinchmas at Universal Orlando […]

Remembering September 11th and its impact on Orlando’s theme parks

Security at Universal Orlando’s main entrance. Today is the 14th anniversary of September 11, 2001, a day that many of us remember with great sadness. The day began with American Airlines Flight 11 flying into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City at 8:46 a.m. I was working as an […]

Top 3 theme park pet peeves

Ever wonder if you’re the only one upset by the rude behaviors of others when you visit a theme park? It seems “Zombie Chris” thought this when he started the topic “What are your trip/theme park pet peeves?“ in the Orlando Informer Community Forums. Ninety-four posts and approximately 40 listed annoyances prove that there are […]

Universal’s 25th Anniversary: Pictorial History

The first time we visited Universal Studios Florida was in 1992. Our daughter was 10 and so little for her age but she was tall enough to Ride the Movies, catch-phrase of Universal at the time. I remember how she slipped down in the seat while on Back to the Future (which now, of course […]

SNAU: moving walkways, Orlando Eye, and Universal discounts for disabled guests

Welcome to the May 2015 edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers from our readers and tips to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our goal here at Orlando Informer is to offer all guests touring Universal Orlando parks inside information, and being able to […]

Comparing disability policies at Universal, Disney, and Busch Gardens

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our goal here at Orlando Informer is to offer all guests the tricks and tools of touring Universal Orlando, and being able to help special-needs guests is […]

SNAU: Parade viewing, Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream, and special RVs for disabled riders

Benches at the parade viewing area for guests with disabilities Last fall I wrote about how Universal might help to make Halloween Horror Nights more enjoyable and easier to maneuver for guests using wheelchairs and scooters. After my recent visit to Universal Studios for Mardi Gras 2015, I’ve decided to evaluate the current Viewing Area […]

SNAU: Touring Universal with autistic family members

Our goal here at Orlando Informer is to offer all guests tips and tools for touring Universal Orlando, and being able to help special needs guests is no exception. It’s an honor and privilege to be able to help with your concerns, and I thank you for your trust and readership – especially considering the […]

Special needs are Universal: Wheelchair access, companion restrooms, and special requests for Diagon Alley

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! I believe that the Special Needs […]

Special needs are Universal: Diagon Alley attraction requirements, expectant mothers rider’s chart, Team Members continue to impress us

Welcome to our latest edition of Special Needs Are Universal, a now-monthly column that will highlight the questions received and answered on the OI Community Forums. My hope is that the SNAU forum will help those of you with disabilities lessen your anxiety and enable you to visit Universal Orlando Resort with the most updated […]

Special needs are Universal: Rider’s guide for guests with sensory issues

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! Now that Special Needs Are Universal […]

Special needs are Universal: Maneuvering a wheelchair through the parks, finding elevator access & companion bathrooms

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! My heroes are those who do […]

Special needs are Universal: Guest’s visit ruined by poor planning – how it could have easily been prevented

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! In today’s post, I’m going to […]

Special needs are Universal: Traveling with two disabled children – how to best prepare for Universal Orlando?

Welcome to Special Needs Are Universal, a column devoted to helping those with disabilities or who have disabled family or friends. There are many sites available on the internet, but Orlando Informer is the first that has the best information available for both disabled and non-disabled guests. There is no need to jump from place […]

Special needs are Universal: Are the “horror stories” about disabled families visiting Universal Orlando true?

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! Punxsutawney Phil has decreed that there […]

Special needs are Universal: A review of how we can help disabled families, visiting the parks with cystic fibrosis, First Aid locations

Welcome to the first edition of Special Needs Are Universal for 2014.  To start out the year, I’d like to remind our readers that Orlando Informer already has a considerable amount of information to help disabled families plan their visit to Orlando’s theme parks – including over 20 of our SNAU blog posts and the […]

Special needs are Universal: Autism & food allergy concerns for first-time Universal Orlando guests, Disney contact information for disability issues

In this edition of Special Needs Are Universal, I would like to share a couple of the newest questions and comments I’ve received from readers. I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to write to me about your experiences at both Universal Orlando and Disney World this year. The disabled […]

Special needs are Universal: Disabled parking permits for Int’l visitors, new USF companion restrooms, changes to Universal’s attraction assistance policy

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! This week I’d like to bring […]

Disney’s Disability Access Service (DAS): First-hand experience & in-depth analysis of the new system

As promised, my family and I were at Epcot when the new Disability Access Service (DAS) card rolled out Wednesday, October 9. Over the last few days I have been in contact with others in the disabled community to see how their first contact visits with Guest Relations progressed. Below I will explain the new […]

Disability Access Service (DAS) to replace Guest Assistance Card (GAC) at Walt Disney World

Welcome to the newest edition of Special Needs Are Universal, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their visit to Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! As you may have already heard on local […]

Special needs are Universal: Prepare for Halloween Horror Nights, important AAP & GAP news

Welcome to the newest edition of Special Needs Are Universal, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their visit to Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! All the buzz right now is about Halloween […]

Special needs are Universal: Visiting the parks with walking aids, canes, casts or braces

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! I have two questions for this […]

Flight of the hat… or, how Universal’s Lost and Found returned a cherished item

Ever wonder what happens when you lose something at Universal Orlando? As I mentioned in a previous post, my daughter’s hat recently took its own flight, so I now have the 411 on how to hopefully find an item through Universal’s Lost and Found!   Step 1: Contact the attraction’s attendants immediately My Downs daughter […]

Special needs are Universal: My sister wears a prosthetic leg – even with Express Passes, should we get an Attraction Assistance Pass?

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! Today’s question comes to us from […]

You’re never too old for Universal Orlando’s theme parks!

My husband and I are in our early and late 60s, and we are retired. Our favorite form of entertainment is spending time at theme parks, specifically Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. We didn’t have the money or the time when younger, so doing this now gives us the perfect reason to enjoy […]

Special needs are Universal: I have serious concerns about dad, but he really wants to go to Walt Disney World “one last time with the grandkids”

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! Today’s questions come from Delores from […]

Special needs are Universal: Is the Attraction Assistance Pass necessary if I have Universal Express Passes?

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! Our most recent question came from […]

The Great American Theme Park Adventure: TODAY Show broadcasts live from Universal

On Tuesday, May 14, Universal Orlando sent out a “casting call” of sorts: NBC’s TODAY Show would broadcasting live from the Universal on Thursday, May 23.  The first 1000 fans to RSVP to an email address would receive a complimentary one day park-to-park ticket and a chance to interact with the show’s hosts. By Wednesday […]

Special needs are Universal: Handicapped parking at Walt Disney World

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! Now that we in the lull […]

Special needs are Universal: Handicapped parking at Universal Orlando

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! Now that we in the lull […]

Universal Orlando – a special place with extraordinary people

My husband and I have so many stories of Universal team members who have just thrilled us with their hospitality and care while visiting Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. From ride assistants, cart sales people and performers, all the way up to a vice president, these people have one thing in common: to […]

Special needs are Universal: Privileges for broken bones, more thoughts on guests requesting Assistance Passes

Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! Today we will be discussing this […]

Special needs are Universal: Guests with food allergies visiting Universal Orlando

Welcome to our next Special Needs Are Universal article. The purpose of this OI Blog series is to answer your theme park disability questions and give families the confidence to enjoy all of Orlando! This week we’ll be discussing food allergies. As of January 21, 2013, a new law classifies those severely allergic to shell […]

Special needs are Universal: Visiting Universal Orlando & Walt Disney World with hidden disabilities

This is our fourth Special Needs Are Universal article. The purpose of this OI Blog series is to answer your theme park disability questions and give families the confidence to enjoy all of Orlando! Based on two current questions, unseen disabilities seem to cause many guests anxiety about how parks will view their requests for […]

Special needs are Universal: Visiting Universal Orlando with prosthetics

This is our third Special Needs Are Universal article. The purpose of this OI Blog series is to answer your theme park disability questions and give families the confidence to enjoy all of Orlando! This week’s question from from Allie, and it is about prosthetics and theme park rides: I use a prosthetic leg/feet. A […]

Special needs are Universal: Visiting Disney World with two Autistic boys – can we still use the accelerated entrances even if the boys aren’t riding?

This is our second Special Needs Are Universal article, which we have designed to answer your questions and address your concerns about theme park disability issues. This week we received our question from Vicky: We are doing the Disney World trip in June this year with our four boys, two of whom are Autistic. Last […]

Our first Special needs are Universal post: Theme park planning for disabled guests

This is the first of my twice-a-month articles tackling your questions and concerns about theme park disability issues. I’ve given the name Special Needs Are Universal to the blog posts in this new series because OrlandoInformer.com covers so much of Universal Orlando and having the information you need really is a universal consideration for special […]

Guest Assistance Pass at Orlando’s theme parks: Sharing my thoughts & announcing a new OI project

The most hotly commented blog post on Orlando Informer right now is Disney Controversies: The Guest Assistance Card as a Front-of-the-Line Pass, which continues to garner several hundred pageviews a week despite the fact that it was published nearly a year ago. Recently a person made some comments on the post that literally blew me […]

Public Service Announcement: This is how you walk through a crowded theme park

As a theme park family, we have been to both Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World during some of the busiest times of the year.  We’ve been at the parks on 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas — we were even at Islands of Adventure the day the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened! Even […]

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights offers a final toast of holiday cheer through January 6

It was three days before Christmas and I still had baking to do, gift making and wrapping to finish, and the lights on the front of the house kept blinking out. But what are the holidays if not busy, so I forgot about everything and my family headed out to Disney Hollywood Studios to see […]

Through the eyes of a little princess: A child’s first visit to the New Fantasyland

We recently had the opportunity to visit New Fantasyland in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Considering our granddaughter Lily has been a fan of Belle of Beauty and the Beast since she was old enough to understand the difference between the princesses, it became our great pleasure to visit with the “princess in the yellow dress.” As […]

It’s beginning to look a lot like Grinchmas: A family holiday tradition at Universal Orlando

Our family just made our annual Christmas trek to Universal’s Islands of Adventure for the special yearly event of Grinchmas. Once we’ve been here, we KNOW Christmas is not far behind. Seuss Landing is transformed into Whoville for Universal’s holiday festivities, the town featured in the Dr. Seuss’ story How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And […]

20 years of changes at Universal Orlando: A pictorial history – part three

Editor’s note: This is part three of debi’s pictorial history series. If you haven’t already, you can view part one or part two before reading this article. It’s been a lot of fun presenting the 20 years of changes I’ve seen at Universal Orlando over the last couple of weeks, and now I finish with […]

20 years of changes at Universal Orlando: A pictorial history – part two

Editor’s note: This is part two of debi’s pictorial history series. If you haven’t already, you can view part one first. As I continue my tour around Universal Orlando, my photos show a significant difference between 1992 and the present. I’m so glad I saved our printed pictures from so long ago! It has really […]

20 years of changes at Universal Orlando: A pictorial history – part one

The first time we visited Universal Studios Florida was in 1992. Our daughter was 10 and so little for her age but she was tall enough to Ride the Movies. I remember how she slipped down in the seat while on Back to the Future, and we thought she was going to bounce completely out […]