Tag Archives: size-friendly theme park

Size-friendly theme parks: Mickey Mouse

Size-Friendly Theme Parks: How to Find Comfortable Parks

Not all theme parks are size-friendly theme parks. Until that happens, we need to rely on the information provided by the park and the comments of other park visitors to determine where we may, or may not, be comfortable or have problems fitting on the rides or in the entertainment areas. Whether you fit or not may depend on how your weight is distributed and how the ride is set up. You may fit on rides that people who weigh less than you don’t fit on.

Size-Friendly Theme Parks: Walt Disney Parks

Walt Disney World in Florida

A size 28-30W woman fits on all the rides without any problem. One 28-30W person found the inner tube rides (other than Castaway Creek) a bit difficult. The inner tube kept sinking down into the water, and she found herself scraping the bottom a lot. But, she still found it fun. Star Tours and Body Wars were a little snug.

Clothes in gift shops usually go up to size 4X. (Amazon offers larger sizes for men and women.) Disney Marketplace offers 12 rooms of items; so, you might have a better selection of larger items. If you have enough time before you leave for the park, consider shopping at Disneystore.com for some great deals on a wide range of sizes.

One poster reported that at 6’7″ and 400 lbs, height was more of a problem than weight and recommended the second row of most rides as having more leg room. “On the water rides be sure to seat in the middle (left and right), we had a boat full of couples all seating on one side, and started to take on water.”

Magic Kingdom Seating Size Evaluation

The following description of Disney parks is a compilation of information from staff at the parks as well as visitors to each park. Remember, things change and different body shapes have different experiences.

Legend
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, never having to leave the wheelchair, and a place for a companion as well. More info on wheelchairs below.

[table id=1 /]

Check out the GrandStyle information on Epcot and MGM for information on rides and attractions at other Walt Disney parks in Florida.

Getting Around the Disney Parks/h4>

Wheelchairs

There is ample wheelchair parking outside each park. A valid disability parking permit is required. Trams, monorails, and boats are completely accessible.

Wheelchairs, both standard and electric, can be rented each day. They must stay in the park they were rented in, even with multi-park passes. Standard wheelchairs are $12 a day. A deposit is not required in the Walt Disney Theme Parks; but, a refundable deposit of $100 is required at Walt Disney World Water Park and Disney Springs.

The wheelchair rental areas are directly inside each parks’ gates (Magic Kingdom’s is towards the middle, EPCOT’s is to the far left, and MGM’s is also to the far left).

Wheelchairs are *first come, first served”! They no longer take reservations.

Other Movement Assistance

Electric Conveyance Vehicles (ECVs) are available for rent at all Walt Disney World theme and water parks. The price is $50 a day with a refundable deposit of $20 at Walt Disney World Theme Parks and $100 at Walt Disney World Water Parks and Disney Springs.

We always rent a stroller as well for the walking person to push to dump all the purses, bags, etc. into. First come, first served, they are $15 a day.

Access to Rides and Attractions

One never needs to go through turnstiles from the front entrance to any ride. There are gates that swing open. Simply ask the attendant (or make yourself at home and open it yourself!).

Food and Beverages

There are over 350 restaurants in Walt Disney World. They offer all types of modified diets including Kosher, vegan, ovo-lacto vegetarian, low-fat, diabetic, gluten-free and kids’ meals. For ideas check out the details on all the available restaurants in the parks.

In the Magic Kingdom Park, there are several options for vegetarian food in Tomorrowland. The fast food places provide a set menu. Sit down places (with backstage chefs) can cook anything to match your dietary needs. Simply ask your server.

In EPCOT, there are wonderful places to eat. Canada has a cafeteria. The Coral Reef Restaurant has a spectacular dining room with views of a living coral reef and the 4,000 sea creatures in the reef. Other EPCOT restaurants also offer choices of meals that fit in with varying diet plans. If not, ask your server for what you need.

In MGM, there are fast food and dining rooms, including a cafeteria. The dining rooms can cater to your needs.

Seating at Size-Friendly Theme Parks

The majority of wheelchairs at the Disney parks are the regular size, but they *do* have several of the larger-sized ones.

Also, the chairs in every restaurant that I can think of have no arms. I am sure if there are arms on chairs, there are also chairs without arms handy.

The restrooms all have handicapped stalls. I have been able to fit in most stalls at 330 pounds.

Problems?

All of the Disney parks want to be size-friendly theme parks. If you ever have a problem when gently asking for your needs, ask to speak to a supervisor. They can help… either by getting you what you need, or directing you to a place where your needs can be met.

For further questions, you can call Walt Disney World at 407-824-4321.

Disneyland in California

Disneyland is one of the most accommodating, size-friendly theme parks. 300+, 410lb, 310lb, and 3X people fit through all the turnstiles and fit on every single ride without problems. One woman complained that the rocket jets were uncomfortable and some of the gates were “smallish,” and recommended not sitting in the front car of Space Mountain. Disney did not complain that she needed to take a whole seat meant for two.

Many of the older rides are accessible for much larger folks as well (i.e., Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Jungle Boat, and Matterhorn). Star Tours may not be entirely comfortable; it has theater-type seats. One person needed a seat belt extender for Star Tours and the park provided it without a fuss.

On Main St., the Clothier store, the Disney Emporium, and Tomorrowland all have large-size clothing (some up to 8X).

Disneyland is very accommodating to people with physical limitations and will assist people in getting on and off the rides. They have wheelchairs available for a small deposit.

Other Size-Friendly Theme Parks

Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California

One person was asked to get off a roller coaster in front of everybody because the bar would not go down. Another person (5’3, and around 300 lbs) tried to ride the Big Dipper roller coaster, was asked to get off the ride, and was refused a refund.
Editor’s Note: The theme park suggests that guests check any ticket booth for information about ride accessibility.

Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia

Big Bad Wolf is probably the roomiest coaster, followed by the Loch Ness Monster, and then the Drachen Fire. The Drachen Fire is not very friendly to people over 5’6″ tall. The Alpengeist has a maximum girth of 48″, the Apollo’s Chariot has a maximum girth of 52″. They have a sample car sitting at the entrance of the Alpengeist so that you can see if you will fit before you get into line. The operators are helpful and do not rush you.
Editor’s Note: The theme park suggests that “Guests of Exceptional Size” may experience difficulty on Alpengeist, Apollo’s Chariot, Griffon and Verbolten.” Test seats are located at the ride entrance to test the seat size before entering the ride queue.

Cedar Point in Ohio

People over 6’5″ or with a 50-inch waist or a very large bust or chest may have problems with the Raptor. A person with a 50-inch waist may have problems with the Mean Streak, the Corkscrew, and the Magnum 200XL. Riders with over a 60-inch waist may have problems with the Iron Dragon, the Blue Streak, and the Gemini. All the water rides and standard rides should accommodate folks with less than a 60-inch waist.
Editor’s Note: The theme park provides total weight limits per ride unit with the total weight to be distributed between all riders in the ride unit.

Great America in Santa Clara, California

This park is not one of the most size-friendly theme parks. One woman didn’t fit on one of the rides, and they gave her and her partner passes to go to the head of the line on any other ride (to make up for the fact that she waited all that time for the first ride). A 5’4″ 220-lb size 18-24 woman fit on all the rides, but just barely on the wooden roller coaster. A 5’7″ 340 lb. person could not fit on anything, except one roller coaster (not the wooden one, presumably).
Editor’s Note: The theme park suggests that “Guests of Larger Size” may not be accommodated on some of the rides. Specifically, their website mentions that larger guests may experience difficulty on Delirium, Demon, Grizzly, H.M.B. Endeavor, Vortex, Flight Deck, Firefall & Drop Tower.

Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

One reader was humiliated by the ride staff.

Knott’s Berry Farm in Orange County, California

A supersized woman had no problem on any of the rides she went on.

The Log Flume and the California River Country Raft Ride are size-friendly. Another person warns that many of the rides are not size-friendly. This includes the three major roller coasters. One of the roller coasters (Montezuma’s Revenge) may be bad for people with back or neck problems. (“starts on a short section of track, catapults you forward, through a loop to a near vertical incline at which you fall and reverse the process passing through the start station and going to another near vertical incline and you then fall back forward and stop in the station”).

The fried chicken dinner at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant is recommended.

Lagoon in Farmington, Utah

One person had a bad experience with a roller coaster. The bar went down but the person was pinned, very uncomfortable and had a hard time getting the bar to release.

Paramounts Carowinds

A size 28W-30W woman had problems fitting in the safety devices of some rides, but always fit and was able to ride without too much discomfort.

Six Flags America in Suburban Washington DC (Largo, MD)

A ride called the Rainbow featured slides of different colors and heights. “About 2/3 of the way up the narrow stair, a sign was posted with a weight limit. By the time one is in a position to see the sign, one has already climbed a large part of the way up, and the people in line behind one have also ascended, blocking the stairway. There is no escape stair. I didn’t want to inconvenience all the people in line behind me and I wanted to ride the big slide. So I said to my husband “I’m sure it will be fine” and continued up. There had to be some leeway in the weight limit, right? I mean, lots of men don’t even know their weight.

Anyway, you’ll be happy to hear that the slide didn’t break under my weight. No one was injured or even embarrassed. BUT my weight meant that I got quite a great deal of MOMENTUM going on the way down the slide. It would have been much better, more responsible policy to post the weight restrictions at the entrance to the ride itself. The park has been renovated and expanded since our visit. The rainbow slide may not even be there anymore. But I did learn that weight limits are posted for a reason.”
Editor’s Note: The theme park provides a Guide to Rides & Attractions with information about ride access including height and weight restrictions.

Six Flags Over Georgia

A size 28W-30W woman had problems fitting in the safety devices of some rides, but always fit and was able to ride without too much discomfort.

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Two people reported bad experiences. One concerned the roller coaster. Nothing was posted about a size limit, but the safety bar would not lock and the person was asked to leave the ride. One person commented that the amusement park is very hilly. One 300 lb. person fit onto the Batman and Superman rides.

Six Flags Over Texas

Two mid-sized people had trouble getting into the Texas Giant ride. However, one person who is approximately 280 lbs and 58″ girth did not have a problem here except for “occasionally a tight fit.”

Wild Bills at Stateline, Nevada

Roller coaster is reported to be a very tight fit.

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.

Editor’s notes on size-friendly theme parks: 1. 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 about recreation-type things for big folk?” are comfortable for larger bodies?” Information was updated by GrandStyle editors in May 2017.
2. If you are considering a trip to Walt Disney World, we highly recommend the following for great information:

plus size travel tips

Plus Size Travel Tips: Key Steps to Improve Travel Comfort

Larger travelers are are finding that diligently following specific plus size travel tips is often the only way to be comfortable.

Bring on the Comfort with These Plus Size Travel Tips

Overall, regardless of how you are traveling or where you are staying, the key to a comfortable trip is pre-planning. Researching and arranging for the largest accommodations and knowing what to expect can give you the opportunity to create the most comfortable experience.

Airlines

Airlines are notoriously uncomfortable. They fill the coach sections with seats that are only 16 to 18 inches wide between the armrests. Only people with waists of 38 inches or less are likely to be comfortable in these narrow seats. Those with larger waists will need to raise the armrest to have enough room for their hips.

Check out the GrandStyle articles on selecting a comfortable seat and holiday travel tips for lots of ideas on selecting the most comfortable airlines and seats as well as ideas from experienced travelers.

Plus Size Travel Tips to Improve Airline Comfort

Here are a few additional tips to add to your airline travel comfort:

    Pick the Right Flight and Airline
  • Research the layout of your flight. Don’t reserve a specific flight or a specific seat on the flight without checking the seat measurements (width and leg room). SeatGuru has all the stats of the various models of airplanes. The airline’s website will give you the particular model of airplane scheduled for your flight. Just research the layout of this particular model on SeatGuru and determine which seats will probably be the most comfortable for you.
  • Research the seating rules of your airline. Check out the seating requirements of a particular airline before making your reservation. Some airlines are more size-friendly to larger passengers, allowing them to pull up the armrest and use part of the adjoining seat for extra comfort. However, most airlines require a larger passenger to fly with the armrest down or they require the passenger to purchase a second ticket regardless of whether the plane is full.
  • Fly Canadian airlines when possible. Canadian airlines have a “one-passenger-one-seat” law which allows a larger passenger to take up however much room they need without having to purchase a second airline seat. The passenger needs to provide documentation from a physician that the use of the additional seat is medically necessary such as for obesity.
  • Create a Good Seating Situation
  • Put a center seat between two people traveling together. If two people are flying together, reserve a window and an aisle seat, leaving the center seat vacant. Center seats are usually the last to be assigned; so, you increase your chances of having an empty seat between you.
  • Pre-board. Give yourself some extra time to get settled. Ask for a seat belt extender from the flight attendant. Raise the armrest after you get seated and then negotiate with the passenger who sits next to you regarding leaving the armrest up to give both of you some extra hip room.
  • Use a wheelchair. Avoid walking long distances between boarding gates and baggage claim by requesting an airport wheelchair when you make your reservation. There is no cost for the wheelchair; but, be sure to tip the sky cap who gets you where you want to go.

Airline travel is rarely comfortable unless you are traveling in first class. But, with a little planning, coach or business class travel can be bearable.

Cars

Whether your travel plans are for short or long distance car travel, be sure to rent or purchase a mid-size or larger car with size-friendly features like sufficient leg and head room.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Use a seat belt extender. If the car doesn’t have a seat belt that is long enough, ask your rental car provider or purchase one from your car dealer or a retailer like Amazon.
  • When renting a car, call the rental agency and ask them what car models they have in stock which would be comfortable for a larger passenger. For example:
  • Dollar car rental carries a wide variety of vehicles including Chevrolet and Chrysler mid and full size vehicles.
    Thrifty car rental carries standard and full-size vehicles including roomy SUVs.

Cruises

Cruises are great for larger bodies because there are a lot of activities on the ship, requiring less walking than participating in the same activities on-land.

However, cabins tend to be small and bathrooms can even be smaller! So, this is another great place to do some research before you book your cruise and reserve your cabin.

Here are a few tips to get your research started:

  • Research cabin floor plans and measurements. Check cabin floor plans and shower sizes on the cruise’s website before making the reservation.
  • Reserve a handicap accessible room. Consider upgrading to a cabin designed for handicap access or a mini suite. Both will have a larger bathroom and will to increase your available cabin area.
  • Cut down your walking. Reserve a cabin close to the elevator. Most activities will be located near the elevator.

Cruising is a very competitive form of travel, each cruise line specializing in different features. Some, like Princess Cruise Lines, have lower prices and attract younger travelers and families. These tend to have smaller cabins. Other cruise lines, such as Celebrity Cruises, tend to have higher prices and slightly larger cabins.

Hotels

Whether you need a hotel room for a night or a week, here are a few tips to make sure that your visit is comfortable:

  • Make your hotel reservation at least a month before you plan to check in to the hotel. This may result in a larger room for a smaller room rate. For example, you can save up to 20% the best available rate at any of the six Hilton brand hotels worldwide when you book in advance.
  • Minimize the distance you need to walk by requesting a room close to the elevator or reserving a ground floor room that is close to the lobby.
  • Avoid hotels without elevators. Hotels that only have stairs between the floors can be very inconvenient and tiring.
  • Consider staying in hotels that offer light evening meals like Embassy Suites. This will keep you from having to travel away from the hotel to go out to dinner.
  • Stay in hotels that are close to major cities since they tend to be designed for both large and small visitors. Hotels close to a small town may have more limited accommodations, and may not have floor plans or rooms designed for the comfort of larger travelers.

As with airline reservations, do your research. Check floor plans and website pictures of accommodations before you make your reservation.

Vacation Destinations

Look for family-oriented hotels and theme-parks such as Epcot or DisneyWorld. They will tend to provide more accommodations for larger or disabled visitors.

Final Plus Size Travel Tips: Join reward clubs such as Hilton HHonors, Delta Privilege, Marriott Rewards and Riu Class. Being a reward club member can give you lots of negotiation leverage if you want to upgrade your travel experience. And, don’t be afraid to ask for more comfortable accommodations.

Disney World MGM

How to Find a Size-Friendly Theme Park – MGM Florida

One of the largest attractions in Florida is MGM, which is a large, size-friendly theme park. Here are some details on how to be comfortable on the MGM rides and attractions. These details are based on a compilation of information from the staff at the park as well as visitors to the park. Remember, things change and different body shapes have different experiences.

Finding Size-friendly Theme Park Attractions at MGM Florida

Legend
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 space) have wheelchair spaces. These wheelchair spaces don’t require anyone to leave the wheelchair and they also provide a place for a companion.
[table id=3 /]

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.

Editor’s Notes: 1. The information provided in this article was compiled by Stef Jones in her online FAQ which is entitled “Physical Resources for Big Folks.” It answers the FAQ “What theme parks are comfortable for larger bodies?”
2. If you are considering a trip to Walt Disney World, GrandStyle highly recommends PassPorter’s Walt Disney World for Your Special Needs: The Take-Along Travel Guide and Planner! It is an up-to-date review of the Disney World facilities and it has lots of useful info on size-friendly rides, facilities and restaurants.
3. For info on rides and attractions at other Walt Disney parks in Florida and other size-friendly theme park properties check out the GrandStyle info on Walt Disney World and Epcot Center.