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Fat Amusement Gold Star

May 1, 2013

I have loved amusement parks since I was a kid. I love spinning upside down, I love bright lights, and I love seeing happy families together. As a kid, I constantly went to Six Flags Over Mid-America. My eating-disordered teen self fit just fine into their seats and rides.

Then I grew up and moved cities, moved amusement parks. I realized now that I didn’t fit, and it became less fun. Worlds of Fun threw me off a roller coaster because their stupid over-the-shoulder harness wouldn’t come down over my rack of doom. That was the last time I went to an amusement park. I was just so pissed that it ruined it for me.

I know there have been issues with other amusement parks too. There was a huge outrage when lots of people couldn’t fit on the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios too. So I was naturally trepidatious when me and mine moved to Orlando, home of the largest amusement park in the world.

Hell, people tell directions here by what park you are near. But I couldn’t very well live in Orlando and NOT take my children to Disney World and Universal Studios and Wet ‘n Wild and Sea World… you get the idea. And I’m not about to spend $50-70 on tickets for something and NOT enjoy myself. So we got tickets and went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot this month.

Epcot: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow

Guys, I’m impressed. Not once did I feel too big for anything. I fit in everything. The harnesses fit, the belts fit, there was plenty of room. I could get in and out of seats or rides easily. Hell, I saw people larger than me fitting into things easily, and I’m 6’2″ and weigh 300 lbs. There were stairs and ramps everywhere.

In addition to the accessibility, Disney does a really, really good job of keeping folks in the shade so no one gets sunburned or overheated. There were benches and places to sit and cool off everywhere. I suppose heat stroke would ruin a vacation.

None of the games or rides (at least that I have seen so far) are in any way fat-shaming whatsoever. That was a problem at Worlds of Fun: Hooray for the walk of shame away from rides my legs are too long for! Each ride exit area has a little gift shop and some had interesting games which really reminded me of a science center. My girls really seemed to like the stuff outside the Figment ride.

I’ve always been impressed by merchandise whether it be from a park or a show or what have you. I guess it’s a holdover from my days as a phishhead, on the road and selling things to make a living. Disney wins hands down in the shopping department. Hell, they have pin trading, a concept they invented where you buy pins and then you get to trade them for different pins with cast members throughout the park. I have around 15 now. It’s so fun and cute. The shirts come in sizes up to 4x in many styles, which is impressive to me.

Congratulations, Disney. You have impressed me with how I was treated at two of your parks. I fit into every ride I went on and you had options of clothing for me to buy, and seating in the shade for when I got tired. Your employees treated me like a human being. You win the gold star accessibility award.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2013 10:25 am

    That is really fantastic! I’ve always heard good things about how Disney is very accommodating for people of ALL sizes and those who are mobility challenged in some way. Good to know it’s true. Glad you enjoyed yourself! 🙂

  2. Lauren C. permalink
    May 1, 2013 11:32 am

    I was in Orlando this Febuary. Fantastic trip! We went Universal & all the Disney parks. I never had a problem with a seat(I’m only 5’5, legs aren’t a problem but hips & boobs can be).
    Both my knees are blown; I’m waiting for knee replacement surgery. I rented a scooter & went to guest services our first day at a Disney park. There I got a Guest Assistance Card. This card got me into fast pass lines without waiting or having to come back! It was amazing! I can’t stand for long & this helped me not be exhausted or in pain every night! The special bonus for the GAC is it doesn’t just get you in-it gets your WHOLE PARTY in, too! Besides being easy on my knees this saved us TONS of time! We didn’t stand in line more than 15 minutes for any ride, no matter how long the line was! Disey roller coaster staff members were great! If I rode my scooter up to the ride- they would have it waiting at the exit when I got off the ride. I agree! Disney gets a great big gold star!!

    • May 1, 2013 11:49 am

      i saw lots of that happening. I dont have mobility issues (yet) but my husband has back problems. Maybe i can convince him to get a wheelchair or scooter next time

  3. May 1, 2013 7:12 pm

    I had an idea of having a TV show that sends a fat person, or fat people, all over the world to different places to report to all of us the best accomodations (for cruise ships, hotels, restaurants, etc) for fat people. I would so watch that show. I think Disney is very smart to cater to people of larger sizes, they seem to know something that the airlines can’t figure out: that our fat money spends the same as everyone else’s. Bravo Disney! I have to be honest that I dreaded going for fear I would not fit anywhere, there would be no where to sit, and I would be miserable, but now I look forward to being able to take our 8 y/o son. This article really sets my mind at ease. Thanks so much!

  4. Brian permalink
    May 2, 2013 11:04 am

    Tracey and others, if you’re considering a trip to Disney head to http://allears.net/tp/ridsiz.htm , an excellent subpage on Disney World for fat people and ride size issues.

    Basically, there are only two rides in Disney World that have significant size restrictions, and both are minor and similar to each other: Sum of All Thrills in Epcot and Cyberspace Mountain in DisneyQuest. Both are “build your own roller coaster and then ride it in a simulator” type rides, and the simulators aren’t as roomy as most Disney restraints. They’re more tech demos than rides, really.

    I went with my also fat fiance, now wife, back in 2011, and the only ride we had any issues with was Kali River Rapids, a river raft ride where the seatbelts have to go over both people and aren’t quite big enough to go over two fat people. But there’s no problem if you sit separately on this one, still in the same raft.

    There is also a weight limit on the water coasters at Typhoon Lagoon, but it just may keep you from riding on the same tube as the people with you; the limit is 600 lbs. per tube, and the tube can hold 1-3 people.

    The only other weight or size restrictions I can think of are hard to design around, and are optional add-ons–the water sprites (tiny motorboats that teens can drive around the lagoons) have a weight limit, as do the racing cars you can pay lots of money to ride in or drive at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. And I’ve heard that the chairs at the Cirque du Soleil show are a bit small.

    But that’s it! Every roller coaster, every major ride, everything can be accommodated and the cast members are very good about being sensitive to weight and disability issues. Definitely the best amusement park experience you can have when it comes to accommodation.

  5. May 6, 2013 2:20 pm

    I had also heard good things about accessibility at Disney. It’s been years and I was a smaller-fat than I am now so I wasn’t sure how well I’d fit if I went back. It’s good to know that I shouldn’t have problems.

    Last year I went to Universal Studios to see the Harry Potter world (huge fan of both the books & movies). I mean, I went SPECIFICALLY for HPW. I was distraught when I couldn’t fit on the main ride (the one where the line winds through a Hogwarts recreation). I waited in line with my thinner friend and then she rode by herself. I also couldn’t ride the dragon ride. As hard as I tried not to let it stain the day, it really did.

  6. Kelly Strack permalink
    September 19, 2015 10:21 am

    Did you ride The Star Wars ride, The Tower of Terror, or The Aerosmith roller coaster? Those were my favorite, but after taking the walk of shame at Cedar Point I feel really anxious. I’d feel devastated if I couldn’t ride those. I weigh 255 pounds and I were a size 18 pants. Thanks for posting!

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