Many people have asked me about my experiences with Disney as a plus sized person. The questions are usually about fitting on rides, being able to walk around the park and worrying that people will judge. I know how it feels to worry yourself to death that you may not fit on anything and be terrified of other people seeing that. I'm writing this post to help ease the minds of many people just like me. So here's my story...and my recommendations for people like me.
If you don't know by now, I'm slightly obsessed with Disney World. If it was up to me, I would spend every weekend at one of the four parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios). I wasn't always this way though. At one point, I feared going to Disney. Every theme park I've ever been to was NOT plus size friendly and I didn't want to be embarrassed..again at another park in front of hundreds of people.
In middle school we took a class trip to Universal Studios Island's of Adventure and I remember getting on The Hulk roller coaster and having to have a cast member push as hard as they could to get me to that last click....I was 13.
The majority of my late teenage years and early adult years were spent avoiding any and every thing that involved theme parks because I didn't want to deal with the embarrassment. If I didn't fit when I was 13, I know for sure I wouldn't fit now.
My first trip to Disney as an adult was to Epcot with my best friends. We didn't ride too many rides because we mostly went for the food (lol, what's new). I noticed there were many other plus size people there that seemed to have no issue with waiting in line for the rides. I remember thinking, can they fit? If they fit, can I fit? My doubts definitely took over that day because I stayed off of most of the rides.
My second trip to Disney as an adult was to Epcot with my boyfriend, now husband. We went on a few rides and I pretty much had a panic attack as we waited in line. Imagine being told you aren't going to fit on a ride in front of a guy you've been dating for a few months...I was absolutely terrified! Before our trip, I spent weeks reading forums and watching videos of other plus size peoples experiences at Disney. I drove myself nuts. But I worried for nothing. Every ride we went on, I fit, with room to spare.
Once I got married, I bought Disney annual passes. I go at least once a month, sometimes multiple times a month. I've never had an issue with anything I've ever gotten on. There are a few rides I avoid because of my research, but they're few on that list and I try my best to give every ride a shot.
My biggest regret is waiting this long to visit the parks. I spent so many years being afraid to go..for nothing. Of course, I'm still on my journey of weight loss, but why the hell should I be miserable along the way? No matter what size you are you should be able to get out and have fun...and Disney allows me to do that.
My favorite park would have to be Epcot. There's nothing like being in one place and being able to see so many different cultures. There's loads of festivals as well! The Food and Wine Festival is finishing up, but they have the Festival of the Arts, the Flower and Garden Festival and so many more events. It's definitely a go-to if you're looking for more lounging/people watching and aren't interested in going on too many rides...plus, you can drink around the world. You can never go wrong with that lol.
(Images from Festival of the Arts 2018 at Epcot)
There aren't many rides I avoid, but I feel giving some recommendations about certain rides may help someone as you plan your trip to Disney. There is a lot of information on the internet about different rides and their specifics, so I will just mention a few that I was most worried about.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Trail - This ride has a lap bar and bars that go down each side of your legs. If your bigger in your lower half I would definitely avoid this ride.
- Space Mountain - If you have issues getting up from a "seated floor position" this may not be the ride for you. When you sit in the cart, it's basically like sitting on the floor...so getting up could be challenging for some.
- Soarin' - I don't avoid this ride, but I do think if you have bigger hips you should request an edge seat. You can pull out the seatbelt and fasten it before you completely sit down and you'll be just fine. If you have bigger hips, it just may be harder to fasten your seatbelt if you're in the middle of two people.
- Avatar Flight of Passage - This is a ride you should avoid if you're plus size or tall. I've actually seen a lot of small sized people turned away as well just because they had bigger calves.
- Rock 'n' Roller Coaster - This is a fun ride, but it does have an over the head/shoulder restraint that comes down on your chest. I've never had a problem, but if you have a large chest it may be a tight fit....I've seen many shapes and sizes on it though.
It's important to mention that just about all the parks have turnstiles and awkward narrow entries into rides...if you can't get through them you can always mention it to a cast member and I'm 100% sure they will help you through a different way...I haven't had a problem, but I've seen many people ask about it in the past.