Amusement Park Tips for Overweight Guests

Theme Park Tips

According to WebMD the percent of Americans who are obese has now reached 26%. And, the percent who are either obese or overweight is now at an alarming 63%. This trend means that more and more guests will be too large to be safely seated on some theme park attractions. If restraints like lap bars and over-the-shoulder harnesses do not fit correctly, riders could be in danger. Last month, guests were turned away just as they were about to ride the new Forbidden Journey ride at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

… according to some Harry Potter lovers, pudgy muggles — those who weigh about 265 pounds or more — are getting tossed from line at the most-hyped ride in Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter amusement park. – AOL News

Both roller coaster enthusiasts and average theme park-goers could find themselves in a similar situation. Thankfully,  The Fat Girl’s Guide to Living has written a number of theme park tips for larger guests. The writer recounts an early memory of riding Cedar Point’s Magnum in it’s second season. Then she gets into tips like educating yourself on amusement park ride policies and size and weight restrictions.

For example see Cedar Point’s “Guests with Exceptional Size” section of their Rider Safety Guide:

“Due to rider restraint system requirements, guests of exceptional size may not be accommodated on some of our rides. This may apply, but not be limited to, guests who exceed 6′2″ or those who exceed 225 Roller Coaster Test Seatspounds, have a 40″ waistline or 52″ chest or females who exceed 200 pounds or wear a size 18 or larger.

Our larger guests may experience difficulty on Blue Streak, Chaos, Corkscrew, Disaster Transport, Mantis, Maverick, maXair, Mean Streak, Millennium Force, Mine Ride, Power Tower, Raptor, Skyhawk, Top Thrill Dragster, Wave Swinger and Wicked Twister.”

She also mentions the test seats placed in front of the queues of many roller coasters these days. I never really thought about them, but test seats (like this one in front of Intimidator) could definitely prove useful. This particular test seat had a light that needed to turn green before you knew that you could fit safely. The article’s author continues the article by mention non-ride things to do at amusement parks like shows and possibly less restrictive rides like bumpers cars.

What’s Your Take?
Are you an overweight or obese theme park fan? Do you have tips for overweight guests visiting theme parks? Leave a comment below.

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

87 Comments

  1. I was at Hershey Park recently, and on Great Bar, there was a sign saying that the seats in one of the rows was larger, so larger guests would be able to ride it.

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    • Good point Andrew. B&M has a few larger seats on several of their inverted coasters. I've seen those larger seats on Alpengeist at Busch Gardens too.

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      • They also have these seats on The Griffon also. You can find these seats by looking for the red straps instead of the black straps. My father had to use these seats on our trip earlier this year. I tried to get him to try the Apollo's Chariot test seat but he was too embarrassed to do it. I know Intimidator 305 has a test seat outside of the que also at KD.

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        • Rows 3 and 6 on the Hulk at IoA also have such seats. I went on a day when the park was empty, and had row 6 to myself. I decided to try out the seat for guests of “exceptional size” (note: I am extremely skinny). This seat was slightly higher, had more room, was wider, and perfect for anyone who is in that category.

          Just don’t ride in that seat if you are skinny, like me.

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    • do you go to Oakton high school in vienna.

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  2. First…..Americans are just larger people(too many steriods in the food;eat organic)Second, ride manaufactures are building thrill rides based on small Europeans, Asians, and little kids; forget the average size person. Third, I notice a change in restraints back in 2003. My buddy and I used to go to SFA and ride Superman with no issues; he is 6ft5 about 285lbs and me 6ft3 /260lbs. We went to Cedar Point that year and we were about to get in line to ride Millenium Force when they asked him to sit in the test seat. We thought no problem, this Superman on steroids, but he could not fit. It wasn't his size but the seat belt had been altered for tighter fit. Many people were turned away and were complaining saying that they were not like that a year before. The problem only seems to be on Intamin Rides….not sure if RipsSaw Falls is made by them at IOA, but since they added the new boats you pretty much have to have anorexia to ride it now. The "larger seat" is not a larger seat just a double belted harness…which is still too short. I think Theme Parks can to do better in accomodating ALL and still keep safety a top priority

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  3. Thanks for the tips. I am an overweight mom to 5 ( soon to be 6) children and we are looking forward to a fun day at Busch Gardens, so I thought I would do a little research about ride safety for "exceptional" sized riders .

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  4. I see this alot at amusment parks. I feel bad for these people. I am not obese, but i am overweight. I don't have problems fitting into rides, but if I keep gaining weight I might. I always say to myself when I see people leaving rides due to obesity that if that ever happens to me, I am going to run around the park 4 times and come back. 🙂 But seriously if that does happen to me, it would be a wake up call and I would go on a diet or something. I will not let weight keep me from doing my favorite hobby. (roller coasters)

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    • A good many valbuales you’ve given me.

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  5. anyway, thank you to those on the board with helpful suggestions.

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  6. well tell me this, why can a man weigh up to 268 lb. but a woman can only weigh up to200lb. or not wear over a size 18. that sounds rather like sexism to me.

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    • I was thinking the same thing!!!!

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      • i know, right? lol – it’s because of the typical distribution of the weight on a woman’s vs a man’s body… A broad-shouldered 6’0″, 200-lb guy is going to fit more comfortably into most rides than a top-heavy 5’2″, 200-lb woman will. I assume that the final decision is based on a practical test of FIT in the seat, and not on gender and pants-size!

        I recently purchased season passes for the kids at Six Flags in Maryland, I’ll be tagging along frequently so I’ll post comments here about my experiences.

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    • I agree. I don’t understand the weight vs gender thing. If they would say anyone at this height cannot weigh over this weight (for ride and seat belt purposes) then that would be different. Doesn’t make sense to me.

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  7. thanks for the tips it was helpful and it really is changing because my uncle who is bigger then me used to be able to ride the same rides as i used to {i recently got told that i have hypothyroidism} but now neither of us can ride them. he's still the same height/weight and while i'm still shorter and smaller then him i can not ride them either and i am a size womens 24.

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  8. I recently went to the TX state fair & was told that I couldn’t go on a ride because I am overweight. it is very upsetting since there was a man in front of me that was at least my size or larger who was able to ride. I am about 5 ft 9& weight 260.

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  9. I removed a number of comments that were basically an argument around being overweight. This post is for tips for overweight riders. That’s all. I apologize for letting it get out of hand.

    Respectful discussions are allowed and welcomed, but I will not allow people to disrespect others on this site. If you feel that any comments have been inappropriate anywhere on the site, feel free to use the contact form and let me know. Thank you for reading.

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  10. Are any rides at six flags over weight friendly?

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  11. Im going to be going to my grad night at six flags and id like to know what I can ride I am 300 pounds or more.

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  12. I was 350 lb and went to six flags in tampa and was able to ride a few roller coasters but had to get the person that was with me to put his knee on the restraints and stuff me in like a 6 pound sausage in a 5 lb casing and i couldn’t breathe really good but at least I got on it. I think my amusement park days are over. The thing I hate is that you spend your money at the gate and they don’t tell you that you can’t ride anything before you go in. I think if people knew that a lot of them would not go.

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    • It’s good to get a fresh way of loikong at it.

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  13. While it obviously costs more than most parks… my sister & I save our money to go to Disney World each year or 2 with her son. It’s the one place we never have to wonder if we are going to fit on a ride or be embarrassed. We both wear 28/30 and fit just fine on every ride

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    • Reading posts like this make surfing such a plarusee

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    • I was just thinking the same thing. That I don’t remember not 1 single ride being a problem at Disney. Last week we were at Cedar point and a few rides, WT and MF had side belts that wouldn’t fit over my hips, but the OTS bar fit fine

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  14. This has always been a hit or miss thing for me. I weigh about 310 for last 10 years (average as I yoyo quite a bit), I’m 6′. Kennywood: couldn’t fit the “pitfall” of all things. No problem with the Phantom or any other rollercoasters or rides. Hershey Park: No problem with the Wildcat (first one I went on) but couldn’t fit the Lightning Racer. Didn’t try the Great Bear wish I had nOw I hear it has accomodations. No problem with the Comet. didn’t try the “wilder” ones so not sure on those. No problems with any other rides.

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    • It’s good to get a fresh way of lonkoig at it.

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  15. I have been trying to research Theme Parks in NY or close to it that are accomodating to heavier set individuals.. My husband is a overweight as well as I am but I am an adventurist and love thrills but since I was diagnosed with thyroid problems and other issues have been gaining the weight instead of losing. Anyone could help it would be wonderful, have been looking to go this upcoming weekend.

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    • I’m not sure what part of New York you’re referring to, but I do know that Six Flags Great Adventure (New Jersey) has coasters designed by B&M which might have seats for larger riders. I don’t know for sure if they’d fit you or your husband, but it’s really the only tip I can think of. You might want to call the parks near you or if its a large park like Great Adventure, you could find a fan website dedicated to the park. The message boards there might be able to help. There are no guarantees, but that might be your best bet.

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  16. Does anyone have suggestions for six flags great America in Gurnee, IL?

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    • I don’t have any specific tips, but I can share which rides at Six Flags Great America were designed by Bolliger & Mabillard. I know that some of their coasters have a few seats for larger riders, but I’m not sure if all of them do. You might even be able to call the park in advance to see if these rides have those seats.

      Great America’s B&M rides are: Batman, X-Flight, Raging Bull, & Superman Ultimate Flight.

      Again, it can’t hurt to call ahead and see if they have the larger seats. Have fun!

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  17. Does anyone have suggestion for six flags great America in Gurnee, Il I am going the 4th

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  18. I’m female, 5′ 9″ and weigh 260 which I carry mostly in my hips and thighs. I work out so it isn’t all fat (and therefore less “squishy”). Anyone of similar size have any advice for rides at Busch Gardens Williamsburg? My son wants to finally try the big coasters now that he is tall enough and I want to be able to ride with him!

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  19. Does anyone know how the rides at Dollywood in Tn are….im 5’7 and around 270….but im scared to go because i went to kings island a month ago and almost didnt fit…. i also have hypothyroidism, but i got on medicine at the beginning of summer and lost 20 lb…thankfully or i wouldnt have been able to ride them…..i dont look really big at the waist or my legs, but i have big hips and ….”chest” if you get my drift = genetics

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    • CH – I went to Dollywood recently, and if it’s helpful, my weight was about 260, my hips were about 53-54″ and my waist was 44-45″. I’m about 5’7 as well. I was able to fit on Thunderhead (it was tight) and Blazing Fury (a little easier), but I didn’t try Wild Eagle or Tenn Tornado that day. Hope that helps!

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      • Last year, I tried getting on the Wild Eagle weighing about 300 lbs, 6’2″. My friend helped me get the seat belt buckled by pushing down on the harness. Even after getting buckled, I was told to get off the ride and take a walk of shame. Not sure if it measured weight or how far the harness was down, but it was depressing watching my friends and family enjoy it twice. We are about to go back this year in early May and I’m now at 275. I want to lose another 10 just to be sure I can make it.

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    • i went to kings island last summer and I did fine. I’m 5’10 and 280 and it was a bit tight in some rides. But I did fine on most of them.

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      • Oh yeah, fauoubls stuff there you!

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      • That’s a smart way of thiinkng about it.

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        • That’s a brilliant answer to an ineirtsteng question

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          • Your article pecflrtey shows what I needed to know, thanks!

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