Fat Amusement Gold Star
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.
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.