You’ve got a wonderful trip planned to Walt Disney World Orlando. The kids are excited and so are you, but you’re secretly nervous that you might not fit on the rides. If you’re a plus-sized person, or as they say at Disney World, Pooh-sized, then the fear of not fitting into the seats of the attractions can suck the fun out of your vacation. The same is true for people who are taller than average. But should you be worried? Do Disney World rides have weight limits?
Right off the bat, let us tell you that Disney World rides and attractions are designed for guests of all shapes and sizes. There are no weight limits on any of the attractions. There are minimum height requirements on some of the thrill rides, which means your toddler will not be able to go on them. But for adult guests, there’s nothing to be concerned or embarrassed about. If you’re wider or taller than the average person, you’ll still be able to have a great time at Disney World.
Keep reading to learn a strategy or two about making the most of your vacation at Disney World if you’re a plus-sized person. Knowing what to expect on the various rides will put your mind at ease and allow you to enjoy a stress-free vacation. Remember, plus-sized can mean different things to different people, so these are general guidelines for people who are above average weight and/or height.
Types of seats at Disney World rides
The rides and attractions at Disney World have various seating designs, the most common of which are:
Bench seats: Some rides like Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom feature bench seats. These are comfortable for larger folks because no armrest gets in the way. Cast members will quickly recognize that you may need more room than others and seat fewer people in your row, so everyone’s comfortable. Don’t hesitate to ask for a separate row if you think the assigned row is too crowded.
Double and triple seats: On some attractions, such as Peter Pan’s Flight, each vehicle seats two or three people. Plus-sized people may be more comfortable riding alone. If you think you need it, go ahead and ask a cast member for your own ride vehicle.
Single seats: Rides with single seats are designed to accommodate people of all sizes, but your comfort on these rides will depend on how big or tall you are. You’ll need to delve a little deeper into individual rides to see if they’re going to be comfortable for you (more on that later). Fortunately, many rides have a test seat at the entrance where you can check whether you’ll fit comfortably before you wait in the queue. If there’s no test seat, you can always ask a cast member questions about the seating. They’ll be able to tell you what to expect and how best to enjoy the ride.
Bucket seats: Some rides like Space Mountain, Test Track, and Astro Orbiter have bucket seats where you need to step down into the ride vehicle and lower yourself into a deep seat. These seats can be a little uncomfortable sitting down and getting up for people who have trouble bending their knees. You can still enjoy these rides. You’ll just have to do it in steps. For instance, to get out of the ride vehicle, boost yourself to the back of the seat first, and then climb out of the vehicle onto the loading platform.
Types of restraints on Disney World rides
Many of the attractions at Walt Disney World have restraints to ensure guest safety. Here’s what you can expect.
Theater seating: This type of seating is restraint-free and you’ll find it at most of the stage shows. You shouldn’t have a problem here even if you carry some extra weight. However, if you find the armrests of the theater seats are confining, be sure to ask cast members if there are any bench-style seats or extra-wide seats in the theater. Also, remember, all theaters have a place for wheelchairs.
Seat belts: Some rides have seat-belt-type restraints. Be sure to pull the seat belt out all the way before sitting down. For most folks, this will be enough. However, if the connector will not click into place, ask a cast member to help you. They may even have a seat belt extender available.
Lap bars: On thrill rides, guests need to be restrained with a bar across the lap. On such attractions, it’s not a good idea for a plus-sized person to ride in the same row as someone who’s skinny because the larger girth of the bigger person will prevent the smaller rider from being secured. Cast members are trained to seat guests so that everyone’s safe.
Spin rides: On spin rides like Big Thunder Mountain, be sure to seat smaller riders on the inside of the spin to prevent them from getting squished by larger rides when the attraction exerts a centrifugal force. Again, cast members will tell you where to seat smaller riders (especially children) – on the left or right.
Walking and mobility issues at Walt Disney World
One thing you can’t avoid at Disney World is walking. On average, guests walk between 3 to 10 miles a day. If you can, work up your stamina before your vacation by walking every day. If that’s not an option, you can rent electric convenience vehicles (ECVs) or wheelchairs at Disney World. Many guests use them to move comfortably around the theme parks. So, you won’t stick out like a sore thumb, we promise.
Being prepared for specific rides
Some rides can pose a problem if you’re taller or bigger than average. This does not mean you cannot go on these attractions. It just means you may be a little uncomfortable on them. Being prepared can help allay your anxiety.
Tall guests (6 feet plus) may find their legs getting crunched on some attractions such as Dinosaur and Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom and Splash Mountain and It’s a Small World at Magic Kingdom.
Strategy: The front row of some rides such as Test Track, Space Mountain, and Rock n Roller Coaster have more legroom than the back rows.
Large guests (300 pounds plus) may find rides such as Kali River Rapids and Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom and Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Mad Tea Party, and Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom a tight fit.
Strategy: Ask to sit in a separate seat or harness. Ask for a seat belt extender. Make sure the cast members distribute the weight evenly so that one side of the ride vehicle is not weighed down.
Restaurants, restrooms, and transportation for plus-sized people at Disney World
All the restaurants at Walt Disney World can accommodate plus-sized guests. Don’t spend your mealtime squished into a chair because you’re embarrassed to ask for a chair without arms.
Stalls in the restrooms are typically large enough, but if you feel it’s too confined, go ahead and use the handicap stall.
Disney transportation (motor coaches, monorail, boats) are designed for guests of all sizes. You’ll be able to use them without any problems.
The bottom line
Being Pooh-sized at Disney World is not a problem and you’ll be able to go on most, if not all the rides. Getting around and using the facilities is like anywhere else – just a little harder work. The biggest problem you might face as a plus-sized person at Disney World is walking miles and miles. Our advice? Stay hydrated, take frequent breaks, and don’t hesitate to get that ECV if it means your family can have a more enjoyable Disney World vacation.