Disney World is meant to be an inclusive place and theme park, and for the most part, it is. There are certain attractions, however, that are a little less than inclusive when it comes to size. Now, Disney has officially made body type restrictions on certain rides, and the decision to “prohibit” certain body sizes, as per Disney’s wording, has struck quite a chord with fans, sparking massive debates.
Lately, we have seen Disney make a huge push in the direction of inclusivity and diversity. The initiative is strung across from their Disney Parks to the Walt Disney Company’s content, from movies to series on Disney+ and theatrical releases.
Disney has indeed taken many steps towards ensuring inclusion is prevalent within the company. The Disney Parks celebrated Pride Month this year larger than ever with murals, merchandise, and more covering Walt Disney World Resort. Disneyland Resort held Pride Nite, and After Hours event. We have even seen many accusing Disney of being “too woke” after finding out the future live-action film, starring Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot, will not have a Prince Charming, or the iconic seven dwarfs.
We have already heard of the progress coming along on the new Princess and the Frog attraction, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, that is replacing Splash Mountain’s racist undertone scenes due to the Song of the South IP, as well as changing the storyline on both Walt Disney World Resort’s and Disneyland Resort’s Jungle Cruise attraction to ensure cultural appropriation disappears.
Although it is great to see cultures brought into more films and attractions, it seems that body types cannot be as universally diverse when it comes to creating theme park attractions that can fit the majority of guests.
Many attractions are plus-size friendly due to their construction, like Pirates of the Caribbean or Haunted Mansion. These rides do not have specific seats, so the width of the rider is never an issue, and if a lap bar is being used, it is not tight to the rider. According to the CDC, 41.9% of Americans are obese, so it is important that Disney knows these statistics so that they can service their clients.
At Universal Orlando Resort, the issue of guest sizing is very prominent as the park has a lot of thrill rides which require more secure restraints. When a restraint has to be tightly locked to the guest for safety, it has a certain limit on how far down it needs to be pushed. Because of this, some rides are much more restrictive. A good example of this would be Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
In the past, we have shared that plus-sized riders have been having concerns when it comes to Disney attractions. For the most part, riders need not worry. As we previously mentioned, most rides are size-inclusive. Even Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure was recently changed to move the seat dividers off the ride, which previously indicated how wide a person would be. Now, the seats are flat, so size is not an issue.
There is one ride, however, that has had many guests rejected at the loading dock. TRON Lightcycle / Run is the newest attraction at Magic Kingdom. Located in Tomorrowland, the ride is a copy of the popular Shanghai Disneyland coaster. When the coaster was brought to Walt Disney World Resort, the structure and design of the Lightcycle was not conducive to plus-sized riders due to the locking mechanism on the back of the ride.
Most recently, a sign has appeared in front of the attraction warning guests that size does indeed matter on TRON Lightycycle / Run. The language on the signage has been updated to be reflected on the website: “The seating and restraints on this attraction may prohibit Guests of certain body shapes or sizes from riding.”
As we know TRON Lightcycle / Run took nearly five years to build, making the anticipation for the ride huge. So, launching a ride that does not fit a lot of guests did end up causing quite an issue online, with many noting that they were turned away from the ride vehicle as they did not fit on the attraction.
Luckily, there are Lightrunners on two of the seven coasters. A Lightrunner is a normal-style coaster cart with a lap bar, which resembles that of Big Thunder Mountain. It allows for a larger size range to be seated there. So, if guests are unable to ride the forward-leaning motorcycle-style ride vehicle, they can be moved to the Lightrunner.
There are also test models of the Lightcycle out by the front of the ride. Although many have been using this space as a photo-op, it is meant to be a test section where guests can see if they will fit the attraction seat. That being said, many have noted that it is embarrassing to have to try out the test seat in front of all the guests, only to show people that they will not fit on the attraction.
It seems that there are many people who think the inability to fit into the TRON ride vehicle should be a wake-up call for that rider’s health. Tim noted, “This has to be said and it will upset some people. About 98% of large people are to blame for their condition. In these are the same people that you see at the restaurants and food places scarfing down enough food to feed 3 or.4 people.”
When it came to height, Tim continued, “The height issue is a different issue, just as being very short you have no control but have to accept that you will be limited on some things. But girth is an individual choice that can be controlled by one’s self.”
Kat stated that there are some guests with medical conditions, however, that can have little to no control on weight gain, “Some people do have hormonal or metabolic conditions which cause this kind of waking nightmare (the couple months old baby weighing as much as a toddler comes to mind; thankfully he got diagnosed and is doing well now). More commonly, it’s medication side effects. I was put on one once, which when they raised my dose, made me gain 20 pounds in two weeks. I lowered my dose back down as soon as I realized, but never lost the weight.”
All of this being said, Disney does not lower the cost based on one person’s body; as David noted, even having a limiting disability when it comes to ride experiences does not save you any money, “Disney talks about impulsivity what about handicapped people, we pay the same admission price as everyone else, but our choice of attractions is limited . So much for an inclusive environment”. Clearly, David does not agree with this decision, however.
Terri replied, “Should not have to pay the same price if all rides not available to overweight people”. Trina did recognize that the reasoning for this new language is likely due to safety, which is correct, “I’m sure this is for safety reasons, so I think it is a good idea. Could be a good incentive for folks to be more health conscience. Me included.” It seems she thinks that this could help some guests make a lifestyle change.
Byron stated that. “Size is not the important thing here. Every park everywhere, every vehicle you ride in anywhere has size restrictions. You cannot make anything that will fit everyone, no matter what.” Joe had a similar sentiment, “Unfortunately, not everything is for everyone. Some people may be to short to ride certain rides, some people may be to big to ride. There is always something that everyone can enjoy. Enjoy the rides you can do.”
For the most part, many agree that size inclusivity is not something that can be accommodated 100% of the time.
Rox even defended Disney and thinks they do a great job, “Husband is 6‘4“ and has to sit sideways on many rides because of those long legs of his. He gets it. If all rides were made to accommodate his height, then shorter guests might not be safe. The same goes for weight extremes. I think in general, disney goes out of its way to accommodate many abilities and conditions with special cars on most rides.”
In the end, although some larger guests think that they should not have to pay the full ticket price, others agree that not everyone can ride everything, much like how some kids may not fit on some rides while they are still smaller. One way that Disney could avoid embarrassment is putting a more private cover around the test seat for TRON, like Universal Orlando Resort did with their test seat of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
What do you think about Disney’s new language regarding TRON seating?
Are you looking to visit Magic Kingdom on your next Disney World vacation? There is no better feeling than riding the monorail after parking at the Ticket and Transportation Center (or riding it from a monorail Resort such as Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa) and walking down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A. U.S.A. with Cinderella Castle greeting you in the distance! Indulging in churros and Mickey Premium Bars while waiting in line for attractions like Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is always a great way to enjoy the lines, and a midday break to watch Festival of Fantasy doesn’t hurt either. Nothing tops ending the night with their Happily Ever After fireworks spectacle. For more Disney information, information on Disney Genie+, and to look at booking a vacation, the Walt Disney World website is a perfect one-stop shop for all things Mickey Mouse. Plus, it has all the information you need on Disney Genie+, so you will be ready to go on your My Disney Experience app once you download it! Click here to check it out today.