Planning a trip (or trips!) to a giant Disney theme park or a smaller amusement park? Heat, excessive walking, ride size restrictions and expensive junk food can make your trip very uncomfortable. You can make your destinations size-friendly amusement parks by following a few travel tips to improve your comfort.
Survival Hacks for Size-friendly Amusement Parks
You can turn any amusement part into a size-friendly amusement park. All it takes is a combination of pre-planning, careful attention to what you wear and eat and a little resourcefulness.
Before You Go
- Do research before you go. Learn the park layout, show schedule and the opening and closing times. Review a map of the park and plan your rest stops, water stops and meal stops.
- Check if the park has an online gift shop. It is more likely to have an inventory of larger sizes than the on-site gift shop. You can buy your souvenirs and leave them at home – no need to carry them around all day.
Avoid Potential Problems
- Arrive early to beat the crowds. Go to the most popular rides first.
- Wear comfortable, light-colored, cool clothes. Don’t forget your hat to keep your head cool and shade your eyes.
- Wear comfortable, broken-in shoes. This is no time to wear your new strappy sandals. Instead, grab a comfortable pair of athletic shoes or a supportive sandal.
- Avoid chafing and blisters with a petroleum gel like Vaseline or Body Glide Anti-Chafe Balm. If it is really hot, consider wearing bike shorts under your skirt. They absorb any perspiration and cushion any thigh rubbing.
- Carry sunscreen and basic first aid items. They are very expensive in the gift shop. Remember: It only take a few hours in the sun to get a wicked sunburn.
- Drink lots of water or sports drinks. Avoid caffeinated and high-calorie beverages that may cool you down but don’t hydrate your body.
Make Wheels Your Friend
- Rent a stroller or wagon, even if your youngest child is ten. Load the stroller up with bags, extra clothes and snacks. Then, just push the stroller around the park instead of carrying all your items.
- Consider renting a wheelchair if your feet or legs get tired after a lot of walking. You don’t have be disabled to rent a wheelchair.
Don’t avoid the fun of a trip to an amusement park just because of your size. With a little planning and some concentration on how to stay comfortable, you can turn any parks into size-friendly amusement parks. Need more travel info? Check out GrandStyle’s recent plus size travel posts.
With a little extra info you can be sure and enjoy and be comfortable at size-friendly theme park Epcot Center. The following info on attractions and shows is a compilation of info from the staff at Epcot as well as visitors. Remember, things change and different body shapes have different experiences.
Size-Friendly Theme Park Epcot Center – Rides and Attractions
ts = theatre seats
bs = bench seats
lb = low bars (lower deeply into lap)
hb = high bars (do not lower into lap, or lower slightly)
ss = small space
w = walking show, self-paced (wheelchairs allowed)
s = standing show (wheelchairs allowed)
nws = no wheelchair space, but handicapped accessible
All shows have handicapped access and all ts and bs locations except those designated “nws” (no wheelchair spaces) have wheelchair spaces. Additionally, all shows are set up so that the visitor never has to leave their wheelchair and provide a place for a companion.
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1. For info on rides and attractions at other Walt Disney parks in Florida check out our information on Walt Disney World and MGM.
2. The information provided in this article was compiled by Stef Jones in her online FAQ about Physical Resources for Big Folks in answer to the question “What theme parks are comfortable for larger bodies?”
3. If you are considering a trip to Walt Disney World we highly recommend PassPorter’s Walt Disney World for Your Special Needs: The Take-Along Travel Guide and Planner! (Passporter Walt Disney World) It is an up-to-date review of the Disney World facilities with lots of useful info on size-friendly rides, facilities and restaurants.
4. Need more travel info? Check out GrandStyle’s recent plus size travel posts.
Copyright by Stef Jones ([email protected]).
Permission is granted to copy and redistribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial, educational use only, provided that this copyright notice is not removed or altered. No portion of this work may be sold, either by itself or as part of a larger work, without the express written permission of the author. This restriction covers all publication media, including electronic media.
Traveling under any circumstance can be trying; but, plus size travel can be downright disheartening.
Challenges of Plus Size Travel
Plus size travel can be difficult for several reasons:
- Seating may be uncomfortable…or worse yet, it may not be structurally safe. (Breaking a chair in a restaurant can be really embarrassing!)
- Activities might be restricted…either by your preferences (“I don’t think I would look good doing that”) or by weight or size restrictions (“The weight limit for this ride is 250 pounds.”).
- Spontaneity is not possible…you need to do a lot of pre-planning to make sure that you will “fit” in your vacation.
But, don’t give up. Travel can be fun. And, it can be easy. You just need to plan ahead, do a little research, ask a lot of questions and don’t be afraid to step up and do what is necessary for you to have a good time.
Planning for Better Plus Size Travel
Planning is key to having a good time on your next travel adventure:
- Research accommodations before you leave home. The key is to know what you are going to see before you see it.
– Looking for a wide airline seat? Ask the airline reservation clerk for the type of plane (i.e. Boeing 747) to be used for the flight you are considering. Then, use Seat Guru to check the seat dimensions of that type of plane.
– Want to find a centrally-located hotel so that you can avoid a lot of walking? Check the hotel’s website for info on transportation to nearby attractions. Use Google Maps to determine the distances between your prospective hotel and specific attractions you plan to visit.
– Going to a theme park with the kids? Check out our theme park tips here on GrandStyle and call or email to the park’s customer service people to check out their special accommodations for larger visitors such as electric scooters, rides without weight restrictions or larger size clothes in gift shops.
- Plan ahead for fashion shopping. Do a little Internet searching to find the stores that carry your size at your travel destination. Going to be in Europe or Asia and want to shop for clothes or shoes? Know what size your dress and shoe size converts to using the sizing guidelines of your travel destination.
Make Your Own Good Time
- Try new things. Don’t avoid activities just because of your weight. If you are over the weight limit for para-sailing or zip line adventures, then try something else that you’ve never done before like jet skis or a gourmet cooking class.
- Wear comfortable shoes. You won’t be happy and having a good time if your feet hurt.
- Speak up. Ask for what you need. Is your assigned bathroom too small in your hotel or cruise ship room? Ask for a disability accessible stateroom. They are bigger, giving you more room to move around, and they are usually closer to the elevator (cuts down on the amount of walking you have to do!).
- Don’t squeeze into a seat if you don’t have to. Select an airline flight with a plane that has wider seats. When being seated in a casual restaurant, ask for a table instead of a booth. Renting a car? Try it out for size BEFORE you “sign on the dotted line” of the rental agreement.
- Use seat belt extenders to be more comfortable in a car or on a plane.
Get Involved in the Fun
- Take snacks. Changing time zones, long flights, being in hotel rooms without a fridge can all cause you to be hungry between the local meal times. It’s hard to find nutritious snacks on the road; so, to avoid getting stuck at a fast food joint, everyone (not just kids) should have ready access to fruit, protein bars, zero calorie drink powders or other healthy snacks.
- Don’t hesitate to show bare skin in the summer. Wear a swimsuit. Show your bare arms. The key is to enjoy your vacation and stop worrying about what other people might think.
- Make sure you are in your travel pictures. Don’t avoid pictures because of your weight. Instead, hand the camera or cell phone to someone else and let someone else capture the fun moments of your trip – with you in the center of the fun!
Enjoy your trip!