I know you’re wondering, “How could Sam say ANYthing bad about Disney? It’s the happiest place on Earth!” Yes, sure, it’s a great place to vacation. Take your kids. But if you weigh 400 pounds, don’t expect ride engineers to grovel at your feet. Before I launch into my tirade, I’ll give you some quick background details.
- Several years back, Disneyland’s “It’s A Small World” ride was re-engineered to include weight capacity of 200 pounds per person (instead of the original 135 lbs. for women and 175 lbs. for men capacity it’s had since 1963). The problem, you see, was that the boats were getting stuck in the flume… and while ride monitors tried to leave EMPTY SEATS on the boats to compensate for these portly porkers (yes, THAT is why you’d see those vacancies!) it made hundreds of paying customers wait in line, which was especially aggravating considering the number of times patrons had to hear the “It’s A Small World” song play.
- Furthermore, Pinocchio, Alice In Wonderland and Pirates of The Caribbean were also revamped to accommodate more girth and pounds into their cars.
- Universal Orlando tweaked the new Harry Potter Forbidden Journey after fans complained they had trouble fitting into the seats.
- SeaWorld Orlando designed its Kraken coaster to include two larger seats per train, while the newest coaster, Manta, has engineered every seat to accommodate oversized guests. Other rides like Wild Arctic keep extension belts on hand just in case.
“The dimensions have definitely increased,” says Max Shangle, dean of the University of Michigan’s Kendall College of Art. “It’s a very sensitive issue for people to talk about. It’s being done subtly.” The fact that boats are getting stuck, and the reason “isn’t very flattering to the modern American psyche,” argues Al Lutz of the Disney website, MiceAge.
Maybe it’s controversial of me to say, but amusement parks are not a right. When you were a young child and deemed too short to go on a rollercoaster, it was for your own safety and your own good. The same holds true for people who just don’t make the cut, weight-wise. People who loved roller coasters in their thinner years may find incentive to come see me about dropping the pounds if they were no longer allowed to get on rides with weight limits and inconvenience all the other guests who are willing to work at having a normal, healthy body weight.
People cry for the obese, but airlines have the right idea. Instead of making planes with wider seats or forcing patrons to squeeze in next to an enormous hulk of a person whose fat drips over the armrests into their seat (which they paid a premium for), they’re charging obese people for not one, but two seats. “Airlines have to find the balance between taking care of a passenger of size and meeting the needs of everyone else on the plane,” says airline industry consultant Mike Miller said. I’m with ya, Mike! It’s time to stop making excuses and special allowances for obesity in America. It’s time to fight back and see it for what it is – a problem. IMAGE LINK