WDW AT LARGE
AllEars® Feature Articles
Disney's Hollywood Studios
through the eyes of people
who know one size
does not fit all.
"People of size... chubby folks... those with girth... whatever your choice of words to use, those of us who are fat definitely get nervous when it comes to turnstiles, rides, or restaurant chairs... wondering "will I fit?" While what you find on this page might not alleviate your every concern, my hope is that it will at least help you feel more comfortable about your Walt Disney World vacation." (gardenia)
After reading many of the trip reports, on people of size, going on the rides, I decided one day to bite the bullet and just get in line. I live in Florida and go to Disney all the time, but always stay with the safe rides, the ones I know I'd fit on. I'm a size 24-26 with a large mid section. Most rides at other theme parks, like Universal, and Great Adventure , just don't fit me. LOL. But I can now say that I fit on everything at Disney. I have tried them all.
The few that I was afraid of, was Space Mountain, and Everest. After going on them, I don't know why I was afraid. On Everest the seats are roomy, and I just pulled the bar down and that was it, and off we went. Space mountain, I had a little trouble getting out of the seat. LOL. My legs were shaking with fear, and it was hard to stand up. I had plenty of room getting in and out, but I was still scared to death. I'm only sorry that I didn't give in to my fear earlier. I denied my daughters lots of rides because I was afraid I wouldn't fit. Looking back, the only advice I would give, is to just try it. The worst thing that can happen is they say, you don't fit. You wouldn't be the first and certainly not the last, and at least you know. I spent way too much time worrying about it, and I'm happy I tried. If I hadn't fit, I would say, oh well, and I'd go find a nice Mickey Ice cream bar and run off to do something else. (DCLGRLZ)
This area has several sections: Theme Parks, Minor Parks and Attractions, Special Reports, a Ride Photo Gallery, and your comments. The links on the left will take you where you want to go. If you can't find what you are looking for, let me know. If you have individual experiences with the rides, please feel free to email us!
Our book, Passporter's Open Mouse, gives you detailed seating and size information for every attraction, hotel and restaurant at WDW! No more surprises! Three members of the Peer Review team specifically reviewed the book and provide size tips and suggestions.
" I love this book. It has given me a better understanding how I can enjoy Disney more than I do now. And now, if you know friends with a special need, don't let them stay at home. Let everyone experience the Magic of Disney." Ray Sharpton, Atlanta, GA
Carry the book with you in the parks for quick reference! Written by AllEars.Net's Deb Wills and Debra Martin Koma! Order Here!
My thanks to all of you who write and share your vacations so that others may also have a relaxing, enjoyable time!
Through out these pages you will see references to the various attraction ride vehicles and theatres. Here are some basic terms to help you understand the descriptions.
bench seat: this is a seat that has no arms and could fit anywhere from two to dozens of people in a row.
childswap: A courtesy extended by WDW for those parents with a child who does not go on a ride; one parent rides the ride while the other tends to the child and when the riding parent returns, the tending parent skips to the head of the line to take their turn.
low/high bars: a low bar is one that is pressed into your lap to severely restrict movement; a high bar is a bar that rests on your lap or doesn't get lowered at all.
small space: a "small space" is really dependant on your body shape; for example, the Tea Cups can be a small space for those with larger stomachs whereas Astro Orbiter can be a small space for those with larger bottoms.
standing: the entire show requires standing.
supersize: a person who would typically wear clothes that are larger than those sold in large size clothing stores.
theater seat: what one would find in a movie theater and just as every theater's seats are different, so, too, will you find the size of seats different at WDW. Note: every "theater" has places for wheelchairs and standard chairs can be brought in to sit in if theater chairs are too tight.
There are two pieces of iunfirmation I discovered while making reservations that I would like to share - one about the spa and one about diving in the Living Seas. Being a plus sized woman, I asked about robe sizes available at the spa - and was delighted to learn that they have robes up to size 5X. In the past, I have brought my own robe so as not to be surprised by a robe that wasn't comfortable. How about a topic on spa experiences for people of size? Also, when making reservations to dive in the Living Seas, I was informed that wet suits were available to size 5X. Another wonderful surprise! I didn't see anything about this either. Good information for visitors who may have ruled out this experience for fear of not fitting into a wet suit!
On seatbelt rides, the pull-belt-all-the-way-out-first tip worked every time (and it helps to have your friend/family next to you to help buckle it if you cant see the latch below your bulk!) One caution: on bar-across-the-lap rides where you share a restraint with another person, absolutely do not ride with a skinny person or smaller child the restraint will stop & lock based on the size of your tummy, which will leave way too much room for themmy skinny daughter didnt like getting slammed around so much on Thunder Mountain Railroad since her tummy was a good 6 inches away from the restraining bar. She likes to do the hands in the air kind of roller coaster riding, but couldnt on thisfelt she had to hang on because the restraint was too far away to feel secure on her. Its nice on Expedition Everest that the restraining bars are separate so large & small can ride together without that problem.
The tip about sitting on front edge of theater seat and sliding back into the seats worked wellsome seats could have been wider, but never felt so squeezed I couldnt enjoy the show. By the way, the new 3d show at Magic KingdomMickeys Philharmagicseats are larger than older theater show seats so was actually quite comfortable. (and its a very fun show, too.)
For those who are both large & have some mobility/agility issues I was worried about climbing in & out of the rides which require step down/step up to get in & out (have knee problems/arthritic joints in addition to weight issues.) I found the tip about boosting yourself up to top of seat back helped on some rides (like rockin roller coaster & space mountain.) On rides with a big step in/out from the loading platform, I usually just made it a 2 stepperstep to the seat of the ride, and then down to the floor of the ride to get in. Getting out, step first to the seat of the ride, then up to the platform. In most rides, that made getting out immensely more easy than trying to get in or out in one large step.
On the rides with seatbelts I really struggled with getting the belt fastened. Even as I was struggling the ride operators started the ride which scared the wits out of me, especially on Test Track. I would recommend that anyone with size concerns discreetly speak to the CM prior to loading so you have ample time to situate yourself.
to ride "Dinosaur". When I got to the "car" I went
into panic! I had a difficult time getting the seatbelt locked into place
and they started us on our way. Now, fortunately, I got it locked just
a little way into the ride so there were no problems. But it was tense
there for a few minutes. We went back a couple of days later to "re-do"
some of our favorites. Thinking ahead this time, I got into the "car"
and before I sat down, I grabbed the seat belt and PULLED THAT SUCKER
ALLLLLLLL THE WAY OUT!!!!!!! Then, while holding the other end of the
belt so that it couldn't retract, easily connected the buckle with plenty
of time to spare before the ride commenced. I've used this technique on
every "belt" ride since and it works every time. Maybe you can
pass this along to help others. Mark
To avoid possible embarassment in loading, when the CM asks how many are in your party, you may want to say "1" and "2" rather than "3"; or "2" and "3", rather than "5".
Previously, readers reported difficulties with some turnstyles especially at the Magic Kingdom. We always recommend that for those entrances don't hesitate to enter via the wheelchair/stroller gate. Just go for it!!
I visited your site before and I saw a lot of comments about the turnstiles. I'm not sure how long ago, but Disney put in new turnstiles that are much more bigger and much easier to walk through. I went to almost all the rides and shows and I had no problems at all. I am 5'6 about 270-280 lbs. Most of my weight is around my stomach. I also want to note that there are a lot of big beautiful people there and it is a very friendly environment. There is no reason to feel out of place because you are defineitly not alone. Thank you so much for this site, it really put my nerves at ease.
A great addition to your WDW for the large article would be WDW for the tall. I'm bordering on 6ft tall and have found a couple of ways to avoid getting my legs crunched. For example, the front row seats on Test Track and Rock n' Roller Coaster have far more leg room than the back. If you're tall you need to be especially aware during the Dinosaur ride (I have the huge bruise on my knee to prove it) and if you're riding with another person on Haunted Mansion, the leg closest to the edge will be uncomfortable.
For theater seats that have armrests, I found that if I sat on the very edge of the seat then slid back, the armrests slid OVER my hips rather than trying to squeeze my behind down THROUGH the armrests.
Walking and Standing at WDW: Everything I read mentioned a lot of walking but I learned the word "a lot" is very relative. There can be many miles (in excess of 5 miles) and long amounts of time standing on your feet when you are touring a park (especially during busy times). Your precious feet get very little rest. Prepare yourself BEFORE your trip!
I didn't find too many problems for me (a 26/28 sized gal who is 5'10'" and just under 300 lbs. No problem with fitting on any ride. The only issues were with some of the turnstiles at MK. I made it through without much trouble once I figured out that the poles were very short and that turning sideways wasn't going to be a breeze.
For those with mobility issues, the complete Wheelchair FAQs can answer your questions about pricing, obtaining a wheelchair at WDW, etc. A special note needs to be made however, about wheelchairs for large folks. Each park has a very few wide wheelchairs so if that is what you need, please ask for it! There is nothing worse than having your outer thighs be burnt by the rubber wheels rubbing on the metal next to your legs. I know!
Fat folks never need to go through turnstiles... everywhere from the front entrance to the entrances to each of the rides, there are gates that swing open, simply ask the attendant (or make yourself at home and open it yourself, like I do!).
Many restaurants have chairs without arms, but even the places that seem to have arms on every chair, do keep chairs without arms accessible. Please ask for one if you are more comfortable in a chair without arms! I know there is nothing worse than sitting squished in a chair while trying to have a nice dinner. Don't suffer!
The restrooms all have handicapped stalls, of course... and I have been able to fit in most stalls, even non-handicapped, when I was 330 pounds.
If you ever have a problem when gently asking for your needs, ask to speak to a supervisor, and they can help... either by getting you what you need, or directing you to a place where your needs can be met.
These pages were originally written by gardenia. I want to express my appreciation to her for developing the At Large pages. Unfortunately, gardenia is no longer maintaining them as she now resides in California. WDW's loss is Disneyland's gain.