Universal Studios Islands of Adventure At Large
Universal Studios has 2 theme parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
Harry Potter Update – September 2010!
Kerri: My boyfriend and I just got back from our trip to Orlando. We're both big people over 250lbs. I really want to report on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter just to alleviate some fears. After reading reports on Islands of Adventure, I was afraid to go and be disappointed. My boyfriend and I were really looking forward to riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and the reports of the so-called "fat police" and small seats really worried me. However, our experience could not have been better. We tried the test seats outside… don't try to avoid them. The girl was really nice and helpful. We each tried the seat and she told us that we should ask the inside staff for modified seating. Yes, there are now larger seats on this ride so don't be afraid to try out the seats and ask. The inside staff member asked us if we tried the outside seats. We told her we needed modified seats and went right in. I have large hips and I had almost too much room in the seat. My boyfriend is a big guy with a big belly and he fit comfortably. The ride is great and shouldn't be missed. Check it out and don't be afraid of being embarrassed. Go and have fun!
Tessa -Wizarding World of Harry Potter
I had been nervously reading all the IOA reports here in preparation for my trip to a preview of the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I am an avid Harry Potter fan and had been planning this trip with a friend for years. Here are my dimensions for some reference:
I am 5'5" and 240 lbs, with most of my weight carried around my stomach (the resemblance to a pregnant belly is unfortunate, but undeniable). After reading the reviews here, I was so nervous that I would not fit on the forbidden journey ride, however it all (gratefully!) worked out.
At least when I was there, "fat police" were stationed all over the ride's entrance. They picked me out to try the seat. The seats are configured in individual units ("desks") with four seats across and each rider has their own over-head harness, similar to dueling dragons and the hulk, but not the same. I could fit comfortably in the seat and pulled the harness down until it clicked twice, however the fat police told me that I needed 3 clicks to be allowed to ride. I nearly bit their heads off and they allowed me to proceed to the line anyway. Towards the end of the cue there was yet another set of test seats and even more fat police. Again, they picked me out of the line and sat me down. I got to two clicks, but no third. I was on the verge of tears when one of the nicer employees came over, gave it a good push, and there was the third click! When I actually boarded the ride, I didn't even have time to bring the harness down before one of the operators came and threw them down for all 4 of us. He was obviously a pro and had no trouble getting to three clicks. Although the harness was tight on me, I was not uncomfortable. The ensuing ride was incredible!
The next day I came back and, when the fat police pursued me, I explained that I had already ridden and it was not a problem. Yet they still forced me through the humiliation at both sets of test seats. Oy.
The employees at the test seats were very shy about actually pressing down the harness and helping with it at all. They were pretty crass with me and useless for the most part. One good push from someone else was all I needed and those damn workers at the test seats were not interested in helping. However the employees where you board the ride are pros at getting the harness down and eager to help.
I felt fortunate that I was ultimately able to ride every attraction in both IOA and US. Here's the quick rundown, but most of these rides have already been described.
Dueling Dragons/Hulk– The harness came down easily on both, but I had trouble with the seat belt and had to fumble a little to make it work. I was not riding in modified seating though, which I think would have solved that problem
Flight of the hippogriff– I was a little squashed next to my friend, but I suppose it is meant to be a kids ride. (group lap bar)
Spiderman– group lap bar, I had no troubles (and a GREAT ride, just as good as FJ if you can't ride that)
Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges, Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls, Storm Force Accelatron, Jurassic Park River Adventure, and all seuss landing rides were all not notable. Also no complaints on the Universal Studio side!
I had read much on this website about problems with the rides at Universal but I kept hoping. Sadly, as reported, I couldn't ride most of the thrill rides, especially at Islands of Adventure.
I am the largest of the group at 5'9" and 300 lbs, with the majority of my weight around my torso. I'm a size 24/26. My spouse is 6'0" and weighs 280 lbs while our friend is a size 18.
At Universal Studios, the older park, we rode everything easily (a tad tight on Jimmy Neutron but changing to the second row made it comfortable) except for Rip Ride Rockit, which was a total no go for me and Revenge of the Mummy which really got my dander up.
I took the suggestion to try the test car before getting in line and sat in the seat outside The Mummy. The indicator which was starting to fade a bit, indicated that the lap bar would close and I would fit on the ride. So we got in line and waited about 40 minutes to ride. We got in the seats and my friend and my husband had no problem but I was one click short of closing the lap bar. The crew member had us get out and change to the rear seat in another car…nope, I still didn't fit. I decided to let the others ride and I went down to the exit. The crew member had been polite but I was still livid. If the test seat said I fit then I should have fit! It was embarassing but I'm a big girl. (Pun intended.)
Our visit to Islands of Adventure was shorter than it might have been because so many of the rides didn't fit. My husband noted while trying the test car for The Hulk the same problem he had encountered on Rip Ride Rockit – the central post that comes between your thighs on the seat severely threatened the safety of his private parts. He said he was painfully uncomfortable in that area just sitting still and had no intention of being banged around and getting an intimate bruising. Oddly enough, on The Hulk and Dueling Dragons our friend, who is not overly chesty, couldn't close the should restraints due to her bust.
We also learned that the new rides in the Harry Potter section are not going to accommodate anyone with a waist size larger than about 44". A crew member who probably weighed 225 said he had already discovered that he did not fit on the rides. I thought this news was very depressing.
We particularly enjoyed Men in Black and The Simpsons ride and rode them several times each. The Jurassic Park ride was also great. We even rode the Seuss themed rides with no problem! The Tram is fun! But the most exciting ride was probably Spiderman. It was terrific and we had no trouble there.
When you go to Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure, be prepared for lots and lots of walking, especially depending on where you stay. We did ioa the first day, including harry potter, and then universal studios the second day. I'm going do a run-down of the rides, what I fit in and what didn't work.
Stats: 260 pounds, 48" chest, 45" waist, 51" hips, 30" thigh
Dragon challenge— tight fit on regular seat, attendant had to push the seat in, but she was very nice about it and got buckled in. Second time around went on modified seat in third row (there is one seat in the middle, it is marked) and the seat was just as tight, but didn't require too much effort to buckle in, though attendant still helped.
Flight of the hippogriff— one lap bar, 2-rider carts, but don't try sitting with someone else, get your own cart and it is much more comfortable.
Forbidden Journey— Was really, really disappointed here. Heard it was great and the seat looked like it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Got inside the castle, and they had another test seat near the end of the line, this time with attendants pulling over all us fat people and asking us to try the seats. I sat down, the seat was snug, they ask you to push your butt all the way back and then lower the overhead that had the two arms and lap bar (u-shaped) protection bar. It is deceiving, because it clicked once and you think it is in, but it has to click another 3 more times which wasn't going to happen. Depressing, since this is a new ride and you would hope they could have a modified seat or made the seats larger to accomodate more people since many guests in the line were larger.
Still, the castle is beautiful and hogsmeade is amazing.
ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE
Hulk: Had to use marked modified seat in third row, but could buckle it up without a problem or attendant help.
Spiderman: Lap-bar seats, no problem. Cool ride!
Didn't go on Dudley do right or doctor dooms.
Rip-Rockit: First ride of the day, with one huge lap bar coming horizontally from left side of seat to click in place on the ride. Very disappointing, seat was comfortable but attendant could not push the lap bar all the way across to click. Had to get off and wait but
got express passes for one other ride out of it.
Mummy: Amazing. Individual seats with lap bar that comes over your thighs, great fit, great ride, had that "fly out of seat" experience.
MIB: Good fit, individual seats with lap bar you push down, boorring ride though.
Simpsons: huge bench seating in cars, with 8 people to a car in 2 rows, one huge lap bar over each row, comfortable, no issues.
Shrek 4D: theater seating, no issues.
Keep in mind the walking, before you get to any rides you have to go from the shuttle drop off area, alll the way through city walk and through the entrance and finally to the main rides. Comfortable shoes, lots of water.
I think that's about it. Now I must go massage my aching, aching arches 🙂 Have fun everyone, overall it wasn't a bad experience and pretty fun.
Rick – Islands of Adventure
I am 6' 2" weigh 325 54" chest and were a 46" pant under my belly.
HULK – NO GO
Dueling Dragons = NO GO
Both these rides have the same seat setup so if you don't fit in one you wont fit in the other. The seat in row 3 or 6 that has 2 straps are supposed to be for larger people but it really didn't seam that much bigger. I watched a lot of people that should have been able to ride not fit. This park is no ego buster.
Fear Fall = NO GO
Ripsaw falls and Spiderman were good
The few other rides were fine but a bit boring.
If you are my size you may want to check of any of the Disney parks — I have never not fit went there this year too. Bush gardens Tampa we went 2 years ago I had no problem.
I also went to Kings Island in 2009 I fit in every thing there too… So it really is the fact that (1) Islands of Adventure is a small park. (2) Both there main attractions use the same seat set up.
I went to Universal/Islands of Adventure for my senior trip with a group of girlfriends…before going i read the reviews on here and was quite nervous to try the rides due to my size…so I hope this review gets to the right site and helps someone like the previous reviews helped me.
first off…I'm 18 years old and 250 pounds about 5 ft. 6 in.
Islands of Adventure
First thing at Islands of Adventure we headed for Dueling Dragons…I went in the 3rd row in the modified seat and fit fine without having to get help with my harness. (by the way the modified seat is on the 3rd and 6th row and it is the 3rd seat over)
Jurassic Park-also fine…bench seat with one lap bar
Hulk-didn't ride in the modified seat on this one but did not have a problem getting the safety restraint down…my dad almost didn't get his down though…he's not even that big like maybe 270 and 6ft 2in…but he got it and it was a great ride.
Spiderman was fine also =)
Mummy was great we rode 5 times…it is only a small lap bar that comes over only your legs and not everyone else on the row…fun ride
I did not ride the new rip ride rocket though i saw the seat restraints…it's like a half hoola-hoop that comes across your middle and may be a bit sketchy for anyone really big…my dad rode it though and loved it.
Black men was kinda lame but i did ride it and fit ok…i was on a row with a couple that was larger than me and we were elbow to elbow…i would guess the lady was about 20lbs heavier than me and my height so maybe her size reference will help someone too.
I love, love, love. Disney world and let me tell you i was not impressed at all by universal or islands of adventure…the rides were ok but it is NO disney so if you are a true disney lover like me, prepare for major dissapointment…i don't care if i ever go back to these parks…but i will return to disney next year for sure.
TIP…go in the single rider line on everything that has one…the wait is nothing compared to the regular line (the wait posted for the mummy was 120mins and we rode 5 times in one hour)
Hope this helps someone who is worried about their upcoming trip. =)
Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure
I have learned that it is not your weight, but rather your measurements that dictate the access to the rides. I weigh 280 and was able to go on all of the rides at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.
For reference, my bust is 53", waist 46", tummy 55", my butt 51" and thigh 30". (thigh reference as there is a "hump" in the middle of seat so thighs need to fit on each side)
The trick is to get the seat in row 3 or 6 that has 2 straps. With this seat I was easily able to do up myself, no help from the attendants required so no embarassment. (from my experience on this people with slightly larger measurements should be ok as well in the chest)
This worked well for most rides, including the Hulk and Dueling Dragons. Hulk I was very comfortable in, dueling dragons my butt was a but snug but ok.
Only ride that I needed help to push down on bar to secure was the Doctors dooms fearfall.
Ripsaw falls was a bit tight, but able to do.
The ride that was the tightest for my butt was Men in Black…but still managed.
Don't be embarrassed to use the test seats, too bad what others think! I am happy to report that once others saw me trying they did as well! Have fun!
I am 5'7" and weigh about 350 pounds. I am really big around my middle, no so much around the chest or bottom.
Islands of Adventure. I didn't try the coasters, not that brave……Turnstyles all OK.
Spiderman-no problem. Pop Eye's River Ride (the round river raft)-no problem, I sat in the seat alone and the belt fit around me; Jurrasic Park Water Ride-no problem.
I had no problem with Shrek, Jaws, or Twister.
WARNING: If you are big around the middle DO NOT go on Jimmy Neutron!!!! The tightest lap bar ever made!!!
Universal was not too bad. I didn't go to Islands of Adventure, so I can't say anything about that.
I hit everything in that park except for what might be in Nick Studios, and only had a problem with 3 rides.
The Mummy – if you have a stomach anywhere close to 58", forget it. I sat in the test seat out front and I think I heard the seat laugh at me. It wasn't even close. But for those of you who are my mom's size (200lbs and 5' tall) she fit alright. Another churro and it might have been a different story, though…
Shrek 4-D – I fit just fine in the seats, but since there is movement in the seats controlled by bursts of air, my weight was a bit of an issue. The seats didn't move quite as much as the other rows and I'm sure that had a good bit to do with my butt.
I hope that this helps someone to feel more comfortable with their upcoming trip the WDW and Universal. Not knowing is always the worst part of a new experience, but believe me, any possible embarrassment you think you may encounter would be well worth the feeling you get when you fit comfortably in that ride.
I am 5'8" and 300 pound woman. A solid size 28. I never have much issue at WDW fitting on rides and this trip was no exception. Some things are a little snugger than others, but I always fit.
Universal is another story. We did Universal Studios first. I was so nervoius about riding the Mummy. To be honest, I had plenty of room. It is a great ride. I was suprised that I felt more cramped and uncomfortable in Men In Black. I still fit, but it wasn't as comfortable.
At IOA I wasn't able to fit on any of the looping coasters. I had read someones comments about trying the seats with the 2 buckles cause there was extra room in the chest area. That wasn't my issue. I couldn't have got my hips in that seat for a million dollars. I loved and had no troble with Spiderman. On Dudley Do Right I tried to get into the second seat of the log. It was tight. I then moved to the front seat. The operator told me when he saw me moving that while those seats are easier to get into, they were impossible to get out of. I thought I would take my chances. It worked out OK. I think it would have been a little hard to get out of no matter where you sit.
I visited Universal Studios In January 2006 and went to:
Fear Factor – these are bench seats — no problem fitting
Twister – You stand up the whole time and travel through three separate rooms – there were no turntables to worry about.
Mummy – They have a test seat located at the outside of the Mummy for patrons to sit in and test if they will be able to fit. It was a little embarrassing to walk over and get into it, however, one of my co-workers coaxed me into it. When you sit in the chair you have to pull the lever down to see if it will close. Unfortunately I was too large for the ride. As a point of reference I am 5 feet, 4.5 inches. I weigh 360 and alot of my weight is in my lower stomache/thighs. I know it is embarrasing, however, try the seat — you may feel funny for a minutes, however, if you pass and get to ride the Mummy, you will soon forget it. And if you don't, fit, just walk over to the Twister!
Also spent 2 days at Universal. Islands of Adventure was a major disappointement as I did not fit in any of the coasters and the lines for Spiderman and the Jurassic Park River Adventure were well over 90 minutes each. We were willing to wait….but the kids vetoed the idea. Did enjoy a great (but pricey $$$) lunch at Emeril's in the Royal Pacific Resort.
Universal Studios was better as I was able to ride everything but The Mummy….which was, of course, the ride we wanted. I had read here that it was not geared to the larger riders…..however, I tried the sample seat outside the ride and fit just fine. However, inside was a different story. We took the front row of a car and I could not get the bar closed enough. A little embarrasing…but I disembarked and sent the family on their way. The cast members controlling the ride went out of the way, however, in apologizing and even gave me a pass to the front of the line on all rides that was good for the remainder of the day. For the larger patrons…..just be prepared as there is a (Disney) world of difference between Disney and Universal in how they accommodate larger patrons.
Just wanted to let everyone know that Universal and IOA is not very "Fluffy-Friendly". I am a 5'7" and 270 pound women, with my trouble areas being tummy and thighs and fanny and… I did fit onto all of the rides, including the Mummy, but the other coasters were a bit "snug". Snug, meaning the attendant has to PUSH the bars down, and a seatbelt comes between your legs and latches onto the bars. Also, the seats are very NARROW and my fanny wouldn't even fit all the way into the seat. We did have a great time, but with the coasters, take those size restrictions seriously. The Mummy, however, did accomodate much larger people, even though the seats look narrow. Also, be careful at SeaWorld with the Kraken…almost didn't make that one!
I am a 5'4, 320 pound woman, a solid size 26/28. I'm just back from Universal parks in FL
Parking. You can pay more money to do preferred parking. Preferred parking is a rip off (even in the opinion of the few employees we spoke with in City Walk). They put you next to handicap parking, which is in the same gararges (there are 2, equal distance from City walk) that everyone normally would park in. Regular parking just puts you on a different level in the deck. (same amount of walking, all you have to do is ride the elevator. They do offer valet parking (for more money) which we didn't try, but I could tell using this method of parking would cut off a few blocks, which may be worth the extra dollars (and time off your feet).
A word of warning. Be Prepared to Walk! The parking deck is a good 6 blocks from where the park entrances are. While they do provide the moving escalators to get you into City Walk, I found most people were rude and in a hurry to get around us other slower people that were not walking (rather standing around) on the escalators. They detour you through City Walk (tons of shopping, eating, entertainment) before you even see the main entrance for either park. When you enter City Walk, there are no longer any moving escalators to assist in the walk to the main gates.
I was impresed with both parks, as they seem to have newer turnstyles that are lower. I walked through without getting stuck. I had no problem fitting in any of the rides at Universal Studios EXCEPT Men In Black. I probably could have jammed my body into the molded seat, but even a few thin people complained the seat was not appealing. There is a sample seat outside.
Shrek 4D- Theater seats
Jimmy Neutron- Bench seat with pull down bar (same bar for all in your car) with thick padding. Was a tad tight
Twister- standing ride
Earthquake- bench seats
Jaws- boat with bench seats
Back to the Future- I skipped ths one. Had rode it the first year it opened, when I was 280, without any difficulty.
ET – Tip: You can ask to ride on a bench seat (they may call it handicaped seating). There are a few special cars that have a bench seat in the last row. Lap bar (individual) fit with no problem.
T2- theater seats, tight
The Mummy – was tight but I did just barely fit, the best ride at the park by far! molded seat with a padded individual lap bar. At some points I was out of my seat catching some major air on this rollarcoaster.
Beetlejuice show – bench seat
Makeup show – theater seats, tight
Feer factor show – bench seat
Island of adventure, here are my comments on a few rides I did try:
Spiderman – car with a bench seat with lapbar (same bar for all in your car), no problem, great ride
Dudley Do-Right log flume – tight fit. Individual seat one behind the other, I was so scared we were going to fly right off the track, then to top it off, we had a ton of water in our flume. Too much weight. I'd have to be thinner to ride this one again
Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges – Tip: you can ask for a seat belt extender, I did need one. seatbelts are individual, rather than having 2 people belted in together.
Cat In the Hat – bench seat with a lap bar (same bar for all in your car), no problem
As far as Disney, I 've never encountered a problem fitting into any of their rides in all of their theme parks in CA and Fl.
Just got back from Universal Studios and while having a wonderful time, I was a little disappointed by not being able to ride The Mummy. This ride does have test seats out front but I didn't fit in them. (I'm 6'1" and 400lbs, 58 waist). The rest of the rides were no problem, since they mostly have bench type seats throughout the park. The only other ride that was a squeeze was Back to the Future, but the CM gave me some advice, always ask to sit in front it is most comfortable and she was right. I skipped IOA for just the simple reason of the reviews on here, I didn't waste my time. These parks really need to rethink ride designs in the future to allow a "wider" percentage of the population the chance to experience the rides. Thank you for the chance to submit my perspective.
Tammy writes: I am a 5'10, 400 pound woman, roughly size 32. My husband is 6'3 and 450 pounds, and wears a size 60 waist… we may be the biggest reviewers on the site, so should put lots of minds at ease regarding Universal Studios.
Shrek 4D– Theater seats, no problem whatsoever.
Jimmy Neutron– Bench seat with pull down bar with thick padding. Ride operator suggested standing up a bit and sitting down 'with the bar' (stomach on top), and this worked perfectly.
Twister– standing ride, no issues.
Earthquake– bench seats, no restraints, no issues.
Jaws– boat with bench seats, no restraints, no problem.
Back to the Future- molded seats with lap bar and side doors that close. The ride operators will guide you to the 'larger size' cars (Row One, I believe?) and will probably put fewer people in the row if necessary. We rode with our young children, so had no real problem fitting. The ride was jerky, so I found it unpleasant, but my husband and son rode three times!
ET– I didn't ride this one, but my husband says he fit okay, but tightly. He says people with larger bottoms may have trouble, even I could probably have done it if I really wanted to and hadn't developed a headache by that point in the day! There is also a lap bar that comes between your legs, that he put under his stomach to fit.
T2- theater seats, smaller, but still fit.
It sounds like this might be the better choice of the Universal parks for larger people, because we had no problems, unlike reviews I have read from Islands of Adventure.
Meli writes: Many of the rides at IOA have test seats outside the attraction (basically, to see if you fit in the seat). My husband, who is 6'6" and about 350 pounds did not fit in any of them – they were too narrow. He was seriously disappointed that he couldn't ride any of the major coaster attractions. The water rides and Spiderman were not a problem.
Let me give my measurements as a reference point: I'm a shade over 6 foot tall and weigh about 290. I have a 44 inch waist (my stomach area probably measures about 50 inches) and about a chest size of about 42 inches. Like Karen, I too found the trial seats out front of the rides a bit on the embarrassing side. There is nothing like a large person being put on display to see if they would fit on the ride vehicles.
The first ride for me was the Hulk roller coaster. I tried just one seat (the one with one buckle) and it fit fine, so off I went to ride the coaster. I got in the car and like Nancy, the staff person had to push the harness down in order to attach the buckle. It was a little uncomfortable but I managed to enjoy the ride all the same.
After riding, my family and I worked our way back to Dueling Dragons. Again, I tried out the seats in front. To my dismay, the seat I tried wouldn't buckle. I had tried the one with one buckle again. The staff person standing by the seat saw that I was upset that the harness didn't fit and explained to me that there were two types of seats (I didn't realize that the two seats our front of the entrance to the queue were different. I thought they had two seats to help move people along who wanted to see if they fit), one with one buckle and one with two buckles. The seats with two buckles are made for persons with larger upper bodies (as the seats themselves appear to be the same size.
People with larger bottoms still may not fit in the seat portion. If you try the seats out front and you can't sit in them comfortably, then I would skip the ride). The staffer also informed me that each train has ONE seat in row 3 and ONE seat in row 6 (same setup on Hulk as well). I tried the seat with two buckles and it fit fine. I then decided to try out Dueling Dragons and I'm glad I did. I rode in row 3 on both Fire and Ice and had no problems with the harness either time. In fact, I was very comfortable.
Later in the day I made it back over to Hulk to ride one last time before we left the park for the day. Again, I rode in row three and was able to get the seat with the two buckles. This time the staff person didn't have to push down on the harness in order to buckle it. I didn't really realize how much more I would enjoy a roller coaster without having the feeling that the harness was going to crush my chest during each of the seven inversions.
This knowledge helped even more when we went back the next week. I already knew which row I'd ride in and where the seat was located.
I hope this helps anyone of larger stature that may have been persuaded not to go to IOA.
I am an agile 5'4" BBW who weighs 220 and has measurements of 53", 50", 53". The reason I tell you that is so you can figure how I fit on the rides. 😀
Simulator-type ride Back to the Future – I fit snugly in the back row with my body mass and height – anyone taller might not. The caution I would give for back row large adults is not to go on the ride – this ride is herky, jerky and you bang your head a lot. I left the ride with a headache and not a happy camper. I won't ride it again unless I can be in the front row and then it's even chancy if I would.
The Hulk rollercoaster ride: I just fit – it has a harness that comes down around your shoulders, bosum and a seat belt locks it into place. I needed help clicking the seat belt into the harness. (The staff person pushed down on my harness and helped to finally click my belt in place – NOTE: it was not uncomfortable for my 53" bosum but the staff person needed to push in to click the seat belt) Check my measurements again to help you decide if you will fit.
Dueling Dragons rollercoaster: Same fit, same device. I must admit that me snugly fitting into these coaster's seat arrangement does give you a better sense of protection. I didn't have any room left over but I was able to "catch-some-air" on both during the G-forces. What a cool sensation!!
Jurassic Park ride: This was a tight fit once the padded bar comes down but I still fit And it wasn't uncomfortable.
The Hulk has a seat for you to try out ahead of time to avoid embarassment when you try and board. I didn't see seat belt extensions for The Hulk or Dueling Dragons so I believe if you're large than me – you won't fit. : (
A Special Report by Karen……..
Oh, and boy, was I disappointed with Islands of Adventure.
Before going to Islands of Adventure and paying the $97 admission for two people, I decided to call ahead and ask if there are accommodations for larger people (e.g., a few larger seats, seatbelt extenders, etc.).
I was called back by a woman in Guest Relations and was told we "shouldn't have any problems", except on the two rollercoasters. For those rides, she said, there were sample seats out front, so you could try them before getting in line.
For background info, I'm about 5'9" and a size 32W/34W and usually wear those clothes loose and am basically proportional. My boyfriend is 6'3" and can wear a XL to 3x size t-shirt and about a 50-inch waistband. Neither one of us looks like we weigh as much as we do, and usually don't have many problems with size, except some small restaurant booths or extra small theatre seats. I thought I might have a problem, but definitely not him.
So, we get to the first rollercoaster ride (Dueling Dragons) and see the two trial seats out front. One even says it's a modified one for people with larger upper body proportions, apparently there are one or two of those on each vehicle. First, let me impart how embarassing it was to actually try the seats. They are in the wide open, facing a large courtyard where people gathered to sit/eat/drink while they watched people get on this very ride. If you ended up not being able to get into the seat, it would be a very pubic display. Of course, in hindsight, I suppose it would be more embarassing to get through the entire line and then not being able to get on.
Well, I mustered my courage and tried it. Not a chance. My butt is not very big, but I could hardly fit it over the upcropping that you would normally straddle while sitting. The chest harness, when I could finally bend in two to get under it, would barely come down across my DD's, not to mention enough for it to get connected to the seatbelts that attach to it.
My boyfriend, although much smaller, did not have any more luck than I. Although his butt fit better and he has a smaller chest, he could not get underneath the harness. Very disappointing.
This same scene was repeated at the two other major rides, Incredible Hulk (coaster) and Dr. Doom (vertical slingshot ride). This day was hardly seeming worth the $97.
I began looking at people as we walked around the park and realized a good 30-40% of them wouldn't be able to ride these rides. In fact, rides that most people COULD ride, like Jurassic Park, had waiting times of 75 minutes, while the Incredible Hulk's wait was just 10 minutes long.
The very fact that they put the sample seats at the beginning of the rides, shows they've had problems with numerous people getting in line and then not being able to fit. It was quite obvious that this park as basically meant for teenagers and slender adults.
The Jurassic Park ride was a kind of rollercoaster boat and I just did fit into that one. My boyfriend and I were given the back row to ourselves and we basically just wedged in beneath the cushioned bar, which we did not pull down.
The other ride we were able to enjoy was the Dudley Do-Right log flume. This was a wide, although low seat, with no bars or belts, and you could have a seat to yourself instead of sharing. It was so roomy that I swear I almost fell out during one of the steep drops. It was quite fun, but hardly worth $97 and a $27 lunch (2 burger combos and refillable drink cup).
Even if we had just brought small children with us, the 3 or 4 rides in Dr. Seuss land, would not be worth the price.
Live and learn, I guess. I don't recommend this park to very tall or averagely large people.