Friday, October 1, 2010

A Walk Around The World With Ridge--Riding For Big & Tall

Go Big or Go Home. These are certainly words everyone has heard about one situation or another. It’s a fantastic mantra for a challenge but not always the best way to handle your life. I am a "person of size," a "rider at large" or any number of euphemisms for overweight. I am the most in-shape out-of-shape guy I know. I hit the gym 4-5 times a week, go hiking, swimming, and any number of other general outdoor activities I love to participate in. This so far hasn't changed the fact I take up some extra space. My sister has been after me for a while to talk about attractions at WDW that are both good and bad for the rider of larger than average size. I myself am tall and larger than your average bear and so far in my Disney visiting career, I have had little trouble with rides at WDW. Disney is a place where in general the ride vehicles are large enough to accommodate me just fine and I don’t often have to make the conscious decision not to try something. I have complaints with only a few of my favorite rides.

Most of my problems come from thrill rides with lap bars that cover more than one person. Since I am the first one it hits, am I am the only one to be safe? Big Thunder Mountain is the first one that comes to mind. I thought I was going to have to hold my big sis in the car with me because she was sliding all over the seat. However, this happens to lots of people on this ride because it is really jerky. Single riders beware; no matter the size on this one you will be tossed about vigorously. The omni-mover rides tend to have a bar that comes down on you: Haunted Mansion, The Seas with Nemo, Peter Pan; all could potentially be a tight squeeze to the larger rider. Personally I have never had a problem with any of these rides but the turnstiles just before the doors to Haunted Mansion always try and steal my wallet when the arm comes up. There have been some changes to the turnstiles in recent years with the addition of the electric eye versions. These do make it much easier to get around for everyone. In a situation where the line gets backed up and you happen to have someone behind you that has no concept of personal space, they can't bump you with the padded end of the turnstile arm. Oh yes, this has happened.

One of the rides that I can't and just haven't even attempted in years is the Tea Cups. I can sit in it, however turning it becomes a problem since I tend to fill in all available space between the seat and the turning wheel.

One ride that was successfully converted from a lap bar to seatbelts is Tower of Terror. I rode once with an Asian family on the same row as me. I like to think of that as single handedly changing everything. I mean, really, what was the cast member thinking on that one? Well, now that it has been corrected for many years now I like it better with the seatbelts because it seems like a more intimate experience for riding.

Space Mountain is more of a problem on the tall side, rather than the large. I am 6 feet tall and I find that my legs and feet get crammed into the spaces behind the seats unless I ask to sit in the front of the vehicle. It can get uncomfortable quickly and it makes disembarking more difficult as I try and remove your feet from the little nooks and crannies from either side of the seat in front of me.

I also can't recommend ever riding Primeval Whirl at Animal Kingdom to large or small. The ride concept idea is nifty idea, however the ride vehicle has a terrible design. It is a four seat vehicle that has the riders sitting all in one row with at a 45 degree angle to one another so the two in the middle share leg space. Back a few years ago big sis, her hubby, a friend of mine and I all tried it together and quickly learned just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. It was horribly uncomfortable for all involved.

Overall I find that the rides that use seat beats to be plenty large enough to handle the vast majority of visitors to Walt Disney World. The attractions with theatre seating are usually ok, however they can be a little tight to some. The good part of that is usually these attractions aren't filled to capacity in every showing so you can get a seat between yourself and others if needed. The only attraction I find that is full most of the time is Mickey's Philharmagic. Because of its popularity you may want to be towards the end of the theatre loading if you think you need some extra space. Rides with lap bars and shoulder restraints are decent to get in and out of and are generally comfortable. An exception to this could be Mission Space because the shoulder harness comes down and the forward console tilts in. If you are someone with a large middle or chest you could feel really cramped. Riders to WDW shouldn't be afraid because in general Walt Disney World is the most understanding theme park in all of Orlando.

If you have any questions about rides please feel free to ask me or you can check out for WDW At Large for more information and pictures of some of the rides.


  1. Hi Amy! Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog! And for the kind words! I'm a huge Disney fan and I look forward to getting to know you better! =)

  2. Hi there! I am your newest follower from the weekend blog hop. Lovely blog:) You can find me at

  3. Very informative article. Although not as tall, I definitely pay close attention to size and ride ratios in whatever park I'm in.

    Thanks for being willing to share like that!

  4. Days In The Park you are welcome. I love Disney because it somewhere I don't often have to think about it. So few things there are prohibitive, other than the Segway tours, but I am well on my way to being able to qualify for that in the not to distant future. Thanks for stopping by, I am enjoying your site also.


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