A tale of rejection and woe from the aptly-named “Forbidden Journey” at Islands of Adventure.

By | November 15, 2010


Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/fatsadmin/blog.twowholecakes.com/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1997

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/fatsadmin/blog.twowholecakes.com/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1997

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/fatsadmin/blog.twowholecakes.com/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1997

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/fatsadmin/blog.twowholecakes.com/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1997

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/fatsadmin/blog.twowholecakes.com/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1997

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/fatsadmin/blog.twowholecakes.com/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1997

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/fatsadmin/blog.twowholecakes.com/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 2009

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/fatsadmin/blog.twowholecakes.com/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 2036

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/fatsadmin/blog.twowholecakes.com/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 2026

Note the lack of fat people in this artist's rendering. I am a theme park person. By this, I mean that I am a person with a certain affinity for theme parks. A thorough knowledge, you might say. A special interest bordering on fixation. I have mentioned this on the travel-themed Fatcasts, especially as it relates to my emphatic adoration of Disney World. I am not, truly, a Disney fan in the general sense, as I have seen and heard proper Disney fans and their passionate regard for all things Disney makes my own feelings look downright cold by comparison. But my knowledge of Disney theme-park trivia is broad and varied and consistently surprises folks who tend to think of me as about the least-Disney-like person they know.

I am writing, at present, from the idyllic vacationland known as central Florida, home to Disney World as well as the less-interesting (to me, anyway) Universal-owned parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Until this weekend, I haven’t been to either of the Universal parks for a decade at least; they’ve always struck me as less fully committed to the forced smiley-face insanity of the Disney parks, and while the Disney employees and fans (often the same thing) have fully drunk the happyland Kool-Aid (myself, glassy-eyed and sedated, included), Universal has always felt a bit more contrived to me. Doubtless, on one of my many childhood trips to the World I was injected with some virus that floods me with an opiate-like euphoria in the presence of a particular fiberglass castle, or a certain geodesic sphere.

We went to Islands of Adventure last Sunday on the prompting of my in-laws, with whom this vacation was taking place. They wanted to see the new HarryPotterland, being fans of the source material. The big new attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, is a purportedly groundbreaking thrill ride that melds motion-simulation with a track-mounted KUKA arm. Just trust me when I say that this is a big nerdy deal in thrill-ride technology.

However.

As it turns out, when this ride first opened, some park patrons had… problems. Fit-related problems. To be blunt, this brand-new ride was remarkably unforgiving to even those with mediocre fatness, or to some women with sizeable racks. In order for the ride to operate, an overhead restraint system must lower to a certain point. Racks and bellies alike interfered, and many sad fatties were denied their ride based on safety concerns.

Which is valid, certainly — no thrill ride is worth risking life and limb over. But the required dimensions seemed, based on reports, to be unexpectedly specific. After all, there are thrill rides in many theme parks that accommodate fat riders just fine — rides far more aggressive in their abuse of physics than the motion-simulator based Harry Potter ride. Thus, the ride’s rather precise limitations were surprising for an attraction that would have broad appeal to lots and lots of park guests. Forbidden Journey’s size issues were enough of a problem, with hundreds of would-be riders being turned away every day, that in September Universal was compelled to modify the restraint system on certain seats to handle more flesh.

I knew all of this going in, including that there would be special fatty lines for the modified seats, though I couldn’t find any straightforward assessment of how the fat-checking actually worked. Would I have to self-identify as a Fat? Would I be marked and pulled from the line by appearance? Even though I was pretty certain I would not qualify even for the modified restraints, I felt compelled to run through the process to bring the experience to y’all, my faithful readers. And so, here we are.

Immediately outside the ride entrance are two test seats. The idea is to lower one’s corpulence into the seat and pull down on the restraint while watching the status lights on the apparatus. If one can pull the restraint down until the light glows green, said person is fine for any of the ride seats. If the light only hits yellow, you’ll be needing a fatty special. If it stays red, you’re too fat for this shiz, porky. Go get another butterbeer. The test seats were host to a small fatty convention, as folks took their chances. My husband succeeded in getting a yellow light. My light flickered yellow, briefly, but seemed to prefer red. Well, we were getting in line nevertheless, to play this bitch out.

The ride queue is elaborately themed to various sets from the films, and was nearly-empty at the time we were there, so luckily the wait was not long for the final fat reckoning. Coming up to the ride loading area, there was a set of turnstiles manned by a park employee, and just beyond was another set of test seats, with their own special attendant, whom, in the spirit of the context, I am calling the Sorting Fat. As we waited at the turnstile, I watched as the sad-faced female half of a couple was denied a yellow light and escorted to an exit door shrouded in darkness in the background. Even now, I am not sure if these folks were self-selecting or if the Sorting Fat was pulling people from the line. I may have been able to bypass this test and gone directly to the ride — where I probably would have been booted anyway. So instead I hesitated near the test seats while the Sorting Fat, a slender, kind-faced, and fair-complected youth in the requisite Harry Potter hat and robe, returned from having escorted the last set of too-fats through the exit to Potterland oblivion.

We both spoke at the same moment. Awkward. “I was asking if you were waiting for me. I guess you are,” said the smiling boy who would be passing judgement on my ability to be flung around by a giant robot arm. Into the test seat I go; it fits my hips fine, which is usually where my fit-troubles lie. Arms up, the restraint is lowered. Through the padded U-shape of the restraint, I watch the eyes of the Sorting Fat flicker from the light status panel to my face. With a surprisingly genuine expression of regret, he says, “I’m sorry, you won’t be able to ride today.” Today! As if there is hope for the future! As I disengage my enormousness from the test seat, I immediately wonder at the sensitivity training this kid has probably had. I can almost imagine him going home at night and weeping a few silent tears for the fats whose theme park experience he has been forced to blight so. I am on the verge of asking about the extent of Universal’s Be Nice To Fatties training, but my husband had flung himself confidently into the test seat for a second check. Oho, but he is stuck at the red light as well! Even though he had yellow at the ride entrance! Joined in too-fat-for-Harry-Potter-ness as we are in matrimony, together we are escorted to the exit, which does not lead to a den of giant spiders hungry for human flesh, but rather to the gift shop.

I round the corner as the Sorting Fat holds open the door, and then double back, touching him on the arm. I ask his name, and for the first time he looks a bit nervous. “Keith,” he says. Keith did a wonderful job, I have no problems with him. What I have a problem with is the need for Keith’s position in the first place. For myself and my husband — who groused the rest of the day about Universal’s extreme volume of suck — the denial was annoying, but not something likely to ruin our trip. We are both more likely to blame the ride’s lack of capacity than to internalize the guilt and shame of our collective failure to fit in, especially since I have never been sized out of a ride before. But for the park guest who is unprepared for ejection, this experience could very well be devastating and humiliating, the ruin of a trip meant to be an escape from the sharp reality of everyday life.

I live in metro Boston, and Massachusetts is one of the more slender states in the US, so I am usually the fattest person in the room in most circumstances, and I’m quite accustomed to that. In these southern theme parks, however, the fat is plentiful, and I spent the better part of the remaining day noting which of my fellow guests would also be denied entrance to the Forbidden Journey. Certainly, when it comes to vacation plans, you pays your money and takes your chances, and nothing guarantees that you won’t have a bad experience. But even for me, a person pretty well insulated against self-loathing, the experience of being sized out of this one ride rendered me uncharacteristically reluctant to check out other rides for the rest of the day. I didn’t want to repeat it, you know? I had the distinct impression that I was simply being tolerated, and not welcomed, and given the price of admission that left me more than a little resentful of the faceless entity that is Universal’s theme parks division. I felt unusually self-conscious, and if that was my reaction, I can only imagine the effect on people who lack the tools I’ve developed to cope with this sort of experience.

The next four days were spent in Disney World, where I have never been sized out of any ride, even if the seats in the Hall of Presidents are a little snugger than I’d like. I’d love to tell you that Forbidden Journey was an awesome ride and that Universal has taken steps to improve accessibility for a diversity of sizes, as many thrill rides do. Alas, the attraction’s name proved just a bit too literal for me.


44 Comments

Christine on November 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm.

Boo! Universal! It’s funny, from afar I can criticize Disney all I like, but when I’m there I get the same doe eyed, doped up, euphoric feelings I only get there, and I’m glad I’m not alone. I’ll be there visiting family East of Orlando (Deltona for the win!) and bringing my nephew to Disney and the parks in a few months. Hopefully I’ll fit enough to bring the nephew on the ride! Yeesh. Poor Keith.

Reply

hsofia on November 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm.

I didn’t even know the Harry Potter theme park had opened. Thanks for sharing the story. What great writing, sad and funny at the same time.

Reply

bloomie on November 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm.

“whom, in the spirit of the context, I am calling the Sorting Fat.”

You just made me snort out loud. Can I dress up as the Sorting Fat for Halloween next year?

Reply

Kristers on November 15, 2010 at 8:22 pm.

I’m going to go as the ‘snorting’ fat… :-)

Reply

stitchtowhere on November 15, 2010 at 2:55 pm.

IDK if Canada has corned the market on the sketchy-fly-by-night-roller-coaster-put-together-with-twist-ties breed of parking lot carnival, but I was told I was Too Fat To Ride on a small ferris wheel back when I was a tweenage inbetweenie. That was long before I had any sort of FA toolbox, and the residual anxiety/self-consciousness about possibly being turned away from rides and theme parks so colonized my brain that I almost skipped out on the Euro Disney portion of my grade 12 class trip to France for fear that my (then size 16) ass would not Pass Go. (This would have been tragic since, being as it was Disney, I was welcome on any/every ride).

It really smokes my pancake that universal opted to exclude fatties from this ride, and some emotionally vulnerable fatties (especially kids) will be turned away. Hopefully your documenting your experience will save some folks the surprise/heart ache of being denied.

(PS: I love you forever for Sorting Fat.)

Reply

The Rotund on November 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm.

Living in Orlando as I do, I have a lot of mixed feelings about Disney. But Disney blows my mind with its accessibility and with the friendliness of the park experience. It is SUCH a realization of a fantasy land experience. Visiting a few years ago really made me re-evaluate my overall Disney opinion into something MUCH more positive.

Screw you, Universal.

Reply

Willow on November 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm.

Stitchtowhere, you bring back sad memories of my parents being unable to afford to send me on the 12th grade Eurotrip of Dreams. My rich friends went and I… just stuck around, like a very sad, lonesome, and resentful Post-It.

Reply

stitchtowhere on November 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm.

Willow, I am sorry you didn’t get to go on the Eurotrip. I hear you on the prohibitive expense of class trips. There was actually a lottery held for ours (to get one of 20 coveted spots). You found out 1.5 years in advance if your name got pulled and then you had to (if you were the daughter of a poor single parent, like me) sell all manner of cheese, chocolates, frozen pizzas, and sausage rings in addition to your job at the arena in order to raise the necessary bank by the 6 month mark. If you didn’t make the pre-payments you’d have to give up your spot. Super cutthroat! Looking back, I owe my relatives/mom’s friends/co-workers a lot of thanks for buying/eating so. much. damn. garlic sausage.

Reply

cutselvage on November 15, 2010 at 3:33 pm.

Sorting Fat may be the greatest thing in the history of internet (hyperbole much? :D) I think it should be a meme. “Sorting Fat says NO to ____” I will do what I can to make this happen.

I’m fortunate that I’m not really a thrill-ride fan, but I’ve been to Universal Studios in Osaka twice, and despite being a veeeeery fatphobic country, and I had no trouble with any of the rides (I would have been an 18-20US at this point). Which is something, I guess.

Anyway, it’s pretty shitty that you weren’t able to enjoy the main ride, particularly given the cost of entry. I’ve heard the butterbeer is awesome though.

Reply

Katie on November 15, 2010 at 4:13 pm.

Disney is awesome..It gives me the escapism I look for and the “everyone” is welcome I need. I have been to universal years ago when I was fatter than I am now. I couldn’t ride the hulk or the dragon coasters. This left me with a bad taste in my mouth and honestly I don’t know that I would go back other than to see the Harry Potter portion. Wake up universal. America is full of fatties. We should be able to ride too.

Reply

Willow on November 15, 2010 at 4:26 pm.

Hehehe, Stitchtowhere, your comment made me laugh. In retrospect, it would have been cool if my high school had done something like having a lottery for kids who couldn’t afford to go.

I’m glad Disney’s rides are size-friendly, truly I am, but I’m still pissed that they drained a swamp and ruined perfectly nice, natural landscape, home to many critters, to build their fantasyland.

Reply

Ankaret on November 15, 2010 at 4:40 pm.

The Sorting Fat is the most awesome job title ever.

I am really sorry you didn’t get to ride. I went to Universal three years ago with my rollercoaster-loving husband and was really unimpressed – the floors everywhere seemed to be made of ‘trip you up even if you’re wearing Crocs’ slippery marble, which seemed like a stupid choice in a park where a lot of the rides soak you, and the tester seats at the front of the rides were mobbed all day by giggling kids and cooler-than-thou teens.

I am a big wuss when it comes to rollercoasters (I won’t go on anything that might tip me upside down) so as it happened there weren’t any rides I really wanted to go on but was uncertain whether I’d fit in the seats, but I kept wondering what it would be like to have to push through the scornful teenagers to see whether my backside fit in a plastic chair.

Reply

polianarchy on November 15, 2010 at 4:47 pm.

DAMMIT. I was hoping to enjoy this ride when I’ll be in Florida this coming February. Thanks for the report!

Reply

Fat Overactor on November 15, 2010 at 4:48 pm.

Maybe the kindly Sorting Fat could use the “Engorgio” charm on the seat to make it Hagrid size! (Too bad his wand only has a lightbulb in it.)

I hope Universal sees this post and realizes how many HP fans they are disappointing because they are Mrs. Weasley size and not Ginny size. Did the banishment gift shop at least sell a shirt that says “Universal thinks I’m too fat to like Harry Potter”?

Reply

Doni on April 10, 2011 at 11:17 am.

Disney has awesome Yoda t-shirts that say “Judge me by my size do you?” Wish I had worn it to Universal, where I was quite rudely rejected by the Sorting Fat. The “student” testing me was quite nice and apologetic about the whole thing, but the adult worker (I guess his superviser) was rude beyond belief to me and even yelled at me for not testing before I got in line. I have never had problems in any amusement ride before, but my amble boobage kept me off The Forbidden Journey, which really sucked. We paid $85 a ticket to get in and then bought fast passes (which was $360 more for our family of 5). The attitude of the sorting fat pretty much ruined my day. I will stick to Disney from here on out. I wish Wizarding World would have been at Disney or even Six Flags (which is a Warner Bros park after all).

Reply

Jami on November 15, 2010 at 4:49 pm.

Living close to Disneyland – I personally could not care less about it or Disneyworld. My parents love Disney, however, while I prefer Universal Studios. Maybe it’s the old “familiarity breeds contempt” thing – plus Disney is pretty static, almost always the same thing, where US has major changes depending on what movies they’ve recently released. So there’s always something brand new to see.

That being said – with all the studies that say “Americans are getting fatter” and other countries catching up to us (I read that China is the 2nd most obese country in the world) you’d think they’d make the seats hold the “new normal weight” from the beginning. It’s like those stores that only cater to thin people – they really don’t do as well as the stores that have plus sizes, even if those plus sizes are hidden way in the back of the store.

Reply

Melissa on November 15, 2010 at 5:40 pm.

Keith sounds like a nice kid–I hope you didn’t leave him quavering with the impression that you’d be coming after his job with a complaint to management.

Reply

Dan W on November 15, 2010 at 5:45 pm.

When I read this, there were a few things running through my mind, but the foremost was REALLY???? In this day and age, when us fats are overtaking, they are STILL doing shit like this. It makes me crazy. Make the farking ride big enough to suit the actual population you fools!!!!

Reply

JupiterPluvius on November 15, 2010 at 10:07 pm.

Well, boo, hiss! I am sorry that your journey was forbidden, but I applaud Keith for handling his impossible (and should be unnecessary) job with politeness. The only thing that would have made that experience worse was a creepy fat-shaming Sorting Fat.

Reply

thirtiesgirl on November 15, 2010 at 10:48 pm.

Universal is the suck. They will not get my money until they change the ride.

For the record, as a denizen of Southern California and Disneyland fan (although not in the big leagues by any means), I highly recommend OC’s Disneyland over Orlando’s Disneyworld, any day of the week, 1000 times over. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but I find the immaculate attention to detail at Disneyland, the design of the park, and just everything about the park such a better representation of everything Disney than Disneyworld could ever achieve. I’ve spent time at both parks and, as far as I’m concerned, Disneyworld just doesn’t match up. Disneyland is where it’s at.

Reply

Alice on November 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm.

Thank you for this (and for Sorting Fat, which is AWESOME). Family is going to US and DW over Thanksgiving, and back when we were deciding who went where, the HP ride had just opened up, and I was hearing all the stories of people getting rejected for weight. I didn’t want to pay to feel humiliated, so I passed (just going shopping wasn’t appealling).

Safety is a very important priority, but creating a ride from scratch and not accommodating any larger bodies is a strange choice, to say the least. Glad that they’ve got a little wiggle room now (especially glad for many of my family members who may now have a shot at recouping some of the exorbitant cost of their tickets), but I’m chicken-shittily glad that I’ll be able to avoid the feeling of being ‘tolerated’ – that just sucks.

Reply

Blair on November 15, 2010 at 11:44 pm.

Hi,
This is a huge disappointment.. was pretty excited about that place! I have a few questions though. I am going to Boston in Dec for a conference and staying for a few days. Do you have any suggestions on clothing stores that sell plus size? I don’t want to just have to go looking around at accessories. Are there any other “fat friendly” places you would suggest? I searched for a fattie club but all I got was a page about guys hoping they would put one in Boston so that we would go there and not be in public… messed up.. anyways.. If there isn’t any that cater.. do you have any suggestions on awesome places?? Being from MS.. I’d like to live a little if I can!

Thanks,
Blair

Reply

Lesley on November 19, 2010 at 9:34 am.

Boston is actually a pretty slender place, as is the state of MA, and while we have our share of rad fatties, there isn’t much in the way of public gathering places. Shopping is mostly made up of the standard Lane Bryant and Avenue stores; the nearest Torrid is down in North Attelborough, almost in Providence.

Most of my favorite places in town tend to be museums, because I’m a nerd. Whereabouts are you staying?

Reply

sugarsick on November 16, 2010 at 5:41 am.

I hate Universal so much for this. I’ve been tracking the Harry Potter park since it was first announced. I’ve been planning a graduation trip there with my boyfriend since before I even got into grad school, and now when I think about going there I just get so depressed. I honestly don’t think I want to go at all. I feel like those stupid weight-loss commercials: I can’t wait until I’m somehow magically shrunken by death-diet-drug-surgery so I can finally go to the theme park.

It’s sort of a step in the right direction that they added the larger seats. When my sister-in-law went over the summer she couldn’t get on the ride at all and she’s much smaller than I am. So, she’s planning a large family vacation there for around when my graduation trip would have been. She was all “Oh, but you have a whole year to lose the weight.” Seriously. Meh.

Reply

V on November 16, 2010 at 8:25 am.

I can only imagine what that must be like for so many people! I agree, safety is a concern and should not be overlooked, but I don’t see why they made their rides with only thinner people in mind. And especially when it comes to Harry Potter, the fans (especially the die-hards) are many, varied, and diverse. Not that I’m saying they aren’t for other fandoms. But, you would think considering that, and the fact that most people in the US today don’t fit the traditional “thin” marker, that all theme parks would rather make certain their rides were all-inclusive for sizes, as much as possible. To be quite honest, something like this Forbidden Journey might be the sole reason someone would want to go there, and if they don’t think they will fit into the ride, after hearing something like this, why bother going at all? Who wants to have to be tested like that in front of so many people? And worse, actually be rejected. The only message they’re sending is really that there are some people they don’t want business from. From a business standpoint, they’re cheating themselves out of money and that alone should, you would think, give them more incentive to be more inclusive of sizes.

I have to say, though, that what you’ve said about “Keith” is surprising and endearing, at least. :p

Reply

Stanley on November 16, 2010 at 3:52 pm.

Trust me when I say there is no special sensitivity training necessary to work at Forbidden Journey. In fact, Keith is part of a huge rotation and was likely moved to a different position moments after you left. Its probable that your husband would have been able to ride had he made it past the test seat. Once you’re in the ride vehicle, applying enough pressure to get that necessary “third click” is going to leave you a bit snug, but ready to ride. Same could hold true for you, I’m not sure. As a fat person who works in Orlando theme parks, I see situations like this on a daily basis and have enough common sense, decency, compassion to help large guests feel more comfortable and avoid embarrassing situations. Unfortunately, not many workers can say the same. The theme park is a skinny man’s world, but with proper planning and preparation, you can have an enjoyable experience. When all else fails, find a fat person that works there and ask them! Sorry you didn’t have a blast at harrypotterland. Butterbeer was good though, huh!

Reply

Lesley on November 19, 2010 at 9:38 am.

Thanks for this. I doubted there was special training, but Keith was such an angel it seemed possible! I have heard some fatty-in-a-theme-park horror stories over the years, as often at Disney as Uni, so I was mostly relieved simply that the guy wasn’t a smug asshole.

Reply

Willow on November 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm.

My curiosity hath been whetted…

What doth Butterbeer taste like?

Reply

Tina on November 18, 2010 at 8:26 am.

I’m an inbetweenie who was able to go on the ride. Sadly, my father was not able to do so, and he is a huge HP fan. One of the reasons for going to Orlando in the first place was so he could see the damn HP park. It was just so frustrating that I, my husband and my mother, who are not nearly as into it as he is, were able to ride and he wasn’t.

And the butterbeer tastes a bit like cream soda, but with a sort of injection of something with a melted-butter texture. It was far too sweet for my liking, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.

Reply

Lesley on November 19, 2010 at 9:38 am.

Cream soda with something else in it — it’s sort of extra-creamy and there may be nutmeg or some other musky spice involved.

Reply

goosiegoose on November 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm.

I have to proclaim my love for Disneyland, too. We visited recently, and I spent a good while beforehand doing research on if I’d be sized out of any of the rides. From the trip reports I read, I was fairly sure I’d have no problems, but I still had some lingering apprehension (years of self-hatred and shame about my size is hard to get rid of all at once, although I am getting better every day!). I’m fat with a huge rack, so the safety bars were my main concern.

Disneyland was the BEST and I cannot wait to go back. I most def drank the KoolAid! I had no problems with turnstiles or on any of the rides we went on. I saw people of many shapes and sizes enjoying the rides, and it really underlined that Disney seems to want to make the park and rides enjoyable for ALL of its guests, not just the small ones.

Reply

Z. on November 19, 2010 at 7:58 am.

Oh dear. This reminds me of a funny thing what happened to me & two of my cousins at a Six Flags this past summer.

We were getting ready to ride one of the boat ride type thingies – you know, the ones where you get in a wee round boat and float slowly through a dark place, looking at things put there for looking at?

Now, I’m what I guess is considered an “inbetweenie,” my male cousin is 6’5″ and solid muscle (which translates – in scientific terms, you dig – to him weighing approximately 1 metric fuck-ton), and my female cousin is ’roundabouts an 18/20. And we’re all in a wee boat. Together.

Yep.

Soooo…the ride attendant shuts our wee boat’s door, and hits the button that releases our boat into the ride itself, and we hear the sound of the little gate snapping open…but we don’t move. We look at each other, confused – is it broken? What kind of jank-ass operation are they running around here, can’t even keep a boat floating? Sheesh.

The attendant looks confused, too, and hits the button again…and again…and again… but, alas – despite his best button-mashing efforts, we’re still. not. moving.

So he comes over and tries giving the boat a shove instead. No go. Tries again, a little more forcefully. Still no go. And at this point, we all just lose it completely, because we’ve realized it’s not a problem with the ride, but with us:

The weight of our collective ass beached our boat. We’d sunk the whole way down to the bottom of the stream of water, and boom – stuck! The poor kid had to split us up into different boats, which probably took longer than it should have, because we were laughing much too hard and consequently unable to follow simple directions in a timely manner.

So that’s the story of how I broke a ride at Six Flags on account of being large when a boat was the one actually in charge. I can’t even remember the last time I laughed that hard – it was just so unexpected and ridiculous.

Reply

Berta on November 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm.

I just have to say it’s nice to read about this ride in no-diet talk space. I have read the thread over at disboards in fits and starts because I’m trying to get a handle on whether me and my friend will fit on this ride (Mostly for her, she’s not nearly far enough along on her self acceptance journey to be able to handle being kicked off a ride in public and I don’t want it to ruin her first trip to the Florida parks) and I just cannot handle the self loathing diet talk about people trying to slim down to fit in one. damn. ride.
I know that feeling and it hurts my soul and takes me to a very bad head space to read it over and over again.
So thank you Lesley! I’ll be thinking of you when I stare down the teens to get the test seats.

Reply

Lesley on November 22, 2010 at 4:19 pm.

Haha, in the past I’ve tried to speak up over on the WDWMagic forums about not ragging on fat people in the parks, and have tried to defend that most loathed creature: the fat person using an ECV. Who cannot possibly also be disabled and must just be lazy! But it was practically a full-time job. That was a big part of my reason for posting this here — it’s bad enough to stress about the fit issue alone, but it’s even worse to have to look for information in an environment in which the only solution is LOSE WEIGHT, FATTY.

Reply

Rebecca on November 23, 2010 at 11:22 am.

Oh my goodness. I’ve been wondering about this ride (I’m a HP geeker), but I typically stay away from Universal and frolic in my fatness at Disney World. I love, love, love your writing. I was rolling in my fatty laughter as I read this, even though it’s quite a depressing subject. Thank you for your writing. It brings a joy to my day.

Reply

Blair McGuffie on November 27, 2010 at 12:17 am.

I’m staying pretty much smack in the downtown area. I figured being close to the things I want to do would be the best thing!

Reply

JonelB on November 30, 2010 at 2:02 am.

I…cried.
After being the only person rejected from a ride at Six Flags. We went to go on the space shuttle, that stupid thing that twirls in a loop after rocking back and forth–I’d never been on one and was so excited to experience new g-forces.
So I go to get on, I can’t buckle the seatbelt. it’s a hair too small, and it’s a TINY belt that everyone has trouble buckling. I mention it to the boarder dudes, and one goes “oh, then get off, you can’t ride.”
I storm off the ride, and find a bench, and cry. It was the first and last time I’d been to a theme park. I never wanna go back to Six Flags, particularly, due to their generally crappiness with lines and like…5 rides broke down that day, on top of their employee being an ass about the fact that I didn’t fit into their ride. At the time though–yeah, it was my fault I didn’t fit their little belt. I remember later cursing myself for not sucking it in more to click the belt.
I’d been to Busch gardens as a kid and then Sea World the previous year where they asked me if I needed the larger seat when I was already bunkered in on Kraken–I didn’t, the restraints went down just fine, so they at least didn’t kick me off for “looking too fat in the chair”.
Glad I wasn’t planning on going anytime soon. All the other rides at Islands of Adventure had no issue with my girth in 7th grade, but I daresay I’ve gained multiple dress sizes since then. I don’t even -remember- what size I was then, exactly…

Reply

JonelB on November 30, 2010 at 2:12 am.

I’d been to a Six flags theme park*
And this was the Georgia one. I didn’t get to ride any of the coasters because I was assigned to a group who had a girl who was afraid of rollercoasters. GRUH. She could have -waited- off-ride.

Reply

LexieDi on December 6, 2010 at 7:08 pm.

I totally understand. I hate Six Flags. I never go. The one near my house (which is hugely popular with people my age) is dirty and run-down. I was worried about the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland when I first got on it. I was surprised at how long the belts are.

Reply

Jenna on November 30, 2010 at 1:32 pm.

I visited Orlando in August of this year (before they made the larger seats) with my main intention of visiting the Harry Potter theme park. I was warned by friends (who had not been there yet but heard other stories) that I would be completely fat-shamed and not be able to get on the ride at all. But before I got on line; there was no fat line; and I went on my own accord, and one of the workers came over to assist me. She also asked my brother to test the seat, who is very then but almost 7ft tall, so I’m guessing height is also a casuing factor in the seat limitations. She was very polite and we both made it in the seat fine. After the almost hour long wait to actually get on the ride, I must have gained a few pounds, because when I got in the seat I only made it to two clicks. The woman helping us there told me to sit up straight and suck in a little and I got to the third click and I was good to go. The workers were all very pleasant, and I never felt embarassed or like I was causing extra work or trouble for them, but then I again I did make it onto the ride. But I guess I was warned ahead of time, so I prepared myself that I might not be able to make it on. I’ve seen riders at six flags removed because they couldn’t fit in the seats, so I always make sure to try out the tester seats before I even get on line. I also blogged about my experience here. http://inbetween-fashion.com/2010/08/31/what-i-did-on-my-summer-vacation/

Reply

Vanessa on November 30, 2010 at 11:59 pm.

Sorting Fat. You made my day.

Reply

LexieDi on December 6, 2010 at 7:05 pm.

I live on the other side of the country- California. We have, obviously, Disneyland, and Universal Studios Hollywood. I live about 30 minutes away from Disneyland, so I have an annual pass and I go at least once a month. I love Disneyland. I never feel too fat for something- and I’m a big girl in the 300 pound area. I can walk around Disneyland for 11 hours, pretty much non-stop. I even wrote a review of Disneyland in my blog.

However, I’ve only been to Universal a handful of times and, in my opinion, the best ride is the tram. I’m going again soon with my boyfriend (who’s from England and has never been to Disneyland or Universal). I’ll probably review Universal too. Honestly, I’m not going to raise my hopes.

-Lexie Di

Reply

Emily M on February 12, 2011 at 1:47 am.

I live in Boston too (well, Cambridge) I’m a sophomore at Lesley University. I’m “death fat”, and I’ve always lived in the northeast. It’s so brutal! I’m always the biggest person in the room, and public transportation here is the worst.
Anyways, I’ve been it’s funny you bring this up because I was thinking recently that I would be nervous to go to an amusement park because I heard if the seats don’t fit correctly you can get hurt.

Reply

Kat on October 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm.

This is the most entertaining thing I’ve read in as long as I can remember :) …and I feel much better about our upcoming trip! If I make it onto the ride, GREAT! If not, I get a lovely stroll along the themed waiting line (which I clearly need due to my robust size), some extra time with my adoring family (all three of them, in their slender splendor), and best of all, some face time with a stellar Sorting Fat! :D Maybe the gift shop (where I’ll be waiting for my family as they ride without me since they’re all very slim) will have a XXL t-shirt in black (I hear it’s slimming) with my new motto…”I came to Universal and all I got was this t-shirt…’cause I’m too fat for the Harry Potter ride!” ;) Thanks SO much for the post! :)

Reply

Leave Your Comment

Your email will not be published or shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>