Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

If you want to bring your service dog to Universal Studios, you’ll be warmly welcomed. Even though normal pets may be prohibited, service dogs are allowed to enter Universal’s theme parks thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

We’ll tell you all about Universal’s policies about service dogs and provide a helpful guide for first-timers. 

Understanding Universal Studios’ Service Dog Rules 

At Universal Studios, service dogs can join you in all restaurants, shows, and retail locations across the park. However, service dogs can’t accompany their handlers at all attractions. Some attractions just can’t accommodate a handler and their dog safely. Universal can provide a dog kennel for handlers to keep their dogs in while they ride. 

While at the park, service dogs must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered unless these items interfere with the dog’s ability to perform its tasks. If the handler can’t use these items, they can maintain control through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

While on any ride or attraction that allows service dogs, the dog must remain on the floor of the ride vehicle, and the tail and appendages must stay confined within that floor space.

Universal Studios Service Dog Verification 

How do you prove that your dog is a service animal at Universal Studios? The same way you would for all venues under the ADA. You don’t need to present any documents for your service dog, 

Universal Studios staff can ask you two questions verbally to confirm that you are being accompanied by a service dog: 1. Is the dog a service dog required for a disability? and 2. What work or task has the service dog been trained to perform?

Service dog accessories like tags, vests, and ID cards are optional, but most service dog owners will use these items in environments where dogs are not typically allowed. It’s always helpful for staff and the people around you when they can immediately recognize that your dog is a service dog that should not be interfered with. 

Service Dog Relief Stations 

Universal has relief areas for service dogs at select locations throughout the parks.

Universal Studios Hollywood  Upper Lot: Near the entrance to the Studio Tour. Lower Lot: Next to the Starway, across from the Jurassic World lagoon. Outside the Park: By the accessible parking adjacent to the security checkpoint. Universal Studios Orlando  Next to the World Expo  Between the Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone and Hollywood 

Check the official Universal Orlando map for the exact location of these relief stations. 

Rides Where Service Dogs are Not Allowed

Some attractions at Universal are off-limits to service dog owners due to safety considerations.

Before visiting Universal Studios with your service dog, familiarize yourself with the safety guidelines and which rides your dog may not come along with. Universal Studios Hollywood

Service dogs can’t come along on these attractions in Hollywood:

Flight of the Hippogriff Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Jurassic World – The Ride Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash Universal Orlando

In Orlando, service dogs can’t come along to these attractions:

Flight of the Hippogriff Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Pteranodon Flyers Jurassic Park River Adventure Jurassic World VelociCoaster Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls The Incredible Hulk Coaster Doctor Doom’s Fearfall Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit  Revenge of the Mummy Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack

No matter which park you visit, make sure to read the latest rider safety guides to learn which rides have restrictions. You can find the guide for Universal Studios Hollywood here and for Orlando here

Tips for Being with Your Dog at Universal Studios

Here are 5 tips for bringing your dog to Universal Studios from service dog owners. 

Prepare for the WeatherDuring the summer, take regular breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas to prevent overheating. Be aware of the temperature of the asphalt during hot days, as it can be much hotter than the air temperature and potentially harm your dog’s paws. Monitor Your Dog’s Behavior and HealthWatch for signs of stress or discomfort. If your dog seems overwhelmed, find a quiet spot to relax away from the crowds. Plan Your VisitKnow which attractions are service animal friendly and plan your visit around them. Avoid peak times to avoid long waits and reduce your dog’s stress. Familiarize Your Dog with CrowdsUniversal Studios can be a crowded and celebratory place. Before your trip, gradually expose your dog to environments that mimic the sights, sounds, and crowds they will experience at Universal Studios. This can help reduce their stress and make them more comfortable during your visit. Bring Necessary SuppliesCollapsible bowls are convenient for travel and easily carried in a backpack. If your dog has a favorite toy or blanket that can provide comfort in new environments, consider bringing it along. 

Trained service dogs are more than welcome to join their handlers at Disneyland. In this guide, we’ll explain Disneyland’s policies and give practical advice for bringing a service dog to Disneyland for the first time. 

Disneyland’s Service Dog Policies

The Magic Kingdom is happy to welcome trained service dogs across most park locations! They kindly ask that guests with service dogs keep their furry companions securely on a leash or harness to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment. While cast members love to help out, they are unable to take control of service animals. 

Service dog handlers can follow the same guidelines for entering attractions as guests in wheelchairs. Should you encounter a ride where service dogs can’t accompany you, a cast member will be more than happy to discuss alternatives like the Rider Switch or using a portable kennel. 

Please be aware there are a few spots in the park where service dogs have restricted access.

Service Dog Verification at Disneyland 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Disneyland staff can’t demand that you prove your dog is a service dog through documentation. Instead, they can ask two questions: 1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?  and 2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Disneyland staff can’t ask about the handler’s disability, require medical documentation, a special identification card, or training documents, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

However, we strongly recommend equipping your service dog with a recognizable vest or harness that can help signal to staff and other guests that your dog is working. Carrying a service dog ID card or psychiatric service dog letter, though not required, can provide additional clarification and confidence.

When visiting Disneyland or any other public area, it’s best to clearly signal that your dog is indeed a trained service dog on duty. Service Animal Relief Areas

Service dogs are welcome to use any open outdoor area for relief as long as the owner picks up after the animal and leaves the area clean. Relief areas can be found at the theme parks, Downtown Disney District, hotels, and other guest areas. You can find a complete list of relief areas at this link

Tips for Visiting Disneyland with a Service Dog 

Visiting Disneyland with your service dog can be a magical experience for both of you. Planning ahead, respecting park policies, and ensuring your dog is comfortable and identifiable as a service animal sets the stage for a day full of fun and adventure. 

Here are some additional tips for visiting Disneyland with your service dog: 

Identification: Ensure your dog has a vest, tag, or card identifying them as a service animal. It’s not required, but it’s a smart idea.  Control: Keep your dog on a leash or harness, and always maintain control. Hydration and Comfort: Carry water and a portable bowl, and plan for breaks in shaded areas to ensure your dog stays hydrated and comfortable. Prepare for Attractions: Understand the park’s policy on attractions that may not accommodate service animals and explore alternative options provided by Disneyland. Park Etiquette: Be considerate of other guests, keeping your service dog from blocking paths and entrances. Relief Areas: Familiarize yourself with designated relief areas within the park. Rest: Disneyland is fun but often crowded and bustling. Take frequent breaks in shaded or quiet areas to prevent overstimulation. Clean-Up: Bring supplies to clean up after your dog. Temperature: Monitor the weather and your dog’s comfort, especially on hot days.

Embarking on air travel with your furry friend, whether a service dog or a beloved pet, can stir up a mix of excitement and apprehension, particularly for those navigating airport security for the first time. 

Airports, with their bustling environment and strict security protocols, can indeed seem daunting. Yet, with a little preparation and insight into the process, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free experience for both you and your canine companion. This guide aims to demystify the security process, highlighting key steps and offering additional tips to enhance your travel experience.

Preparing for the Journey: Service Dogs

Service dogs and psychiatric service dogs are invaluable companions that assist individuals with disabilities, and they are granted certain privileges when it comes to air travel. Here’s how to ensure a seamless journey with your service dog:

Before Your Trip Documentation: The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires all service dog handlers to fill out a specific service dog form. Submitting this form to your airline in advance is crucial for a hassle-free journey. Identification: While not mandatory, equipping your service dog with a recognizable vest, tag, or identification card helps signal their important role to airport staff and fellow travelers.  PSD Letters: Handlers of psychiatric service dogs might also find carrying a copy of their PSD letter reassuring. At Security Checkpoints Notification: Upon reaching the security checkpoint, promptly inform the TSA agent that you are accompanied by a service dog. Metal Accessories: Remove any metal items from your dog, such as collars. Essential items for controlling or identifying your service dog on duty are exempt from removal. Metal Detector vs. AIT Body Scanner: You and your service dog will pass through a metal detector. Small service dogs can be carried. If the alarm sounds, both of you will undergo a pat-down and possibly additional screening, but rest assured, you will not be separated from your service dog. TSA may also perform an explosive residue swab on your hands post-screening. When bringing your dog to airport security, let the TSA agents know right away and follow their instructions. Post-Security

Once past security, consider requesting pre-boarding from the gate agents to comfortably settle your service dog before general boarding commences.

Traveling with Non-Service Dogs Pre-Flight Preparations

Verify your airline’s pet policy well in advance to ensure your dog meets the size requirements and is approved for travel. Be aware of any fees associated with pet travel. Most airlines will only accept smaller dogs and charge a fee for bringing one on board. 

At the Security Line

Use a handheld travel carrier for your pet. You will need to remove your pet from the carrier, which should then be placed on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening.

During Security Screening

You have the option to carry your pet or lead them on a leash through the metal detector. STSA officers might swab your hands for explosive residue afterward. Following screening, proceed to a designated area to securely place your pet back into their carrier.

Additional Tips for a Smooth Experience Stay Informed: Familiarize yourself with TSA’s guidelines on traveling with pets and service dogs to avoid surprises. Early Arrival: Airports can be unpredictable, so arriving early can alleviate some of the stress by giving you ample time to navigate through the processes. Hydration and Comfort: Ensure your dog is well-hydrated and has had a chance to relieve themselves before entering the airport. Comfort items like a favorite toy can also help ease their stress. Advocate for Your Rights: Should you encounter any issues, don’t hesitate to request a supervisor or a passenger support specialist. It’s your right to ensure both you and your dog are treated with respect and care throughout the security process.

Traveling with your dog, whether a service animal or a pet, doesn’t have to be a source of stress. With the proper preparation and understanding of the process, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience for you and your furry friend. Remember, TSA officers are there to assist you, and most are well-versed in accommodating travelers with dogs. Safe travels!