Large Riders - Cedar Point

July 26, 2016, 8:09 PM

I went to Cedar Point today, I will not be going again. I have been to many amusement parks that are very good with large riders, Cedar Point is not. I am 5'6" and 276 pounds. However, if you can ride depends on how you are built. If you have large boobs or big hips / butt, you will not be able to ride many. I have big hips / butt. I wear a 2X in shirts and a 18/20 in pants.

*** The ride operator informed me that kings island is better for large riders and that cedar point got rid of adjustable seat belts because they are trying to eliminate riders over 250 "because they are more likely to has issues such as heart failure."

Top Thrill Dragster - No go for me. The lap bar is fine but the seat belt is very very tight. If you try the test seat and the metal of the seat belt touches, you can ride. The actual ride seat has a longer seat belt than the test seat.

Magnum XL - Fit this ride tightly. The seat belt barely worked. I had to pull so hard to buckle it that my hands has marks from the metal. The lap bar was fine.

Iron Dragon - Most comfortable fitting ride for me

Mean Streak - Very tight seat for anyone with wide hips. Lap bar was fine.

Wicked Twister - No way. My big hips / butt made it to where I couldn't sit clear back in the seat, and the shoulder bar wouldn't come down enough to hook the seat belt.

Blue Streak - Barley got my hips in the seat. Seat belt and lap bar were fine.

Power Tower - Was one click from being able to get the seat belt to hook, however the ride operator pushed it a few times until he got my belt to hook so I could ride.

MaxAir - Very tight fit, the ride operator pushed it one click more than what I had it and it was pinching my thighs badly but it was a fun ride.

Wind Seeker - BARELY fit my hips in the seat and barely got the seat belt to hook.

Rougarou - Tight fit for hips / thighs but comfortable room for shoulder bar.

Raptor - The shoulder bar wouldn't come down enough to hook the seat belt.

Gemini and Mine Ride - Didn't attempt due to lack of time.

Millennium Force, Corkscrew, Maverick, Gatekeeper, Valravn - Didn't attempt due to people smaller than me not fitting in the seats.

Skyhawk - The lap bar wouldn't come down enough and the seat belt wouldn't hook.

LOVED Snake River Falls and Thunder Canyon. YOU WILL GET SOAKED so wait until you are wanting to cool off.

Replies (9)

July 27, 2016, 4:24 AM

Thanks for letting me know! I am a little concerned about going in September!

Edited: July 27, 2016, 6:38 AM

A simple check online, or post here would have diminished your disappointment with Cedar Point. Also, you should shift your anger and frustration from the park to the manufacturers who design the restraints on thrill rides. Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster are notorious for weeding out guests with larger hips and legs because of their super short seat belts. The Intamin train design on their giga and strata-coasters has been an issue since they debuted, and unfortunately, aside from buying new trains, there's little that can be done here. Your note about the TTD test seat is a bit misleading. In reality, I would not recommend anyone to get in a line for a coaster (particularly a line that extends longer than 15 minutes - the TTD line can often be over 2 hours on a busy day) if you can not fit in the test seat, or if the team member doesn't direct you to queue for a specific row for a specific seat. The belts on the Intamin trains are not all exactly the same length (there's evidence to suggest that it can be as much as plus or minus an inch), but if you're standing in line for a row, and you cannot buckle the belt you are sitting in, you're not going to be allowed to ride. Also, some belts have been stretched more than others over time (temperature can also affect the amount of play in the belts), so you may have a bit more slack in one seat over another, but again there's no guarantee that the seat you've chosen will have one of these stretched out belts (there are two load platforms on TTD and they frequently cycle 5 trains, so it would take some serious planning to align yourself with a specific train in the limited time you're standing on the load platform). The issue with the Intamin seat belts is not isolated to Cedar Point. Superman Ride of Steel at Six Flags America and Six Flags New England have the same problem. Fortunately, Intamin solved the problem with their second generation trains that now all have OTSRs, and can accommodate almost any sized rider.

Which leads me to Maverick...I'm not sure who you saw getting turned away from Maverick, but those seats can accommodate just about anyone who's not over 6'8". Only riders with particularly large midsections cannot get the belt latched. These restraints are pretty widespread now, and can be found on Intimidator 305, Kingda Ka, Storm Runner, and others. Given your body dimensions you provided, you should have had no problem riding Maverick, and should have fit fine in the test seat.

As far as the woodies (Blue Streak and Mean Streak), this is again a known issue that's not isolated to Cedar Point. Any woodie that uses PTC (Philadelphia Toboggan Coaster) trains will have those dividers between the seats, meaning those with wider hips are going to get squeezed. There are very few woodies in America that don't have some divider between the seats now, so that's just a fact of life if you want to ride wooden coasters (RMC is slowly changing that with their train designs). The Beast at Kings Island is the same way.

All of the B&Ms at Cedar Point (Raptor, Valravn, Gatekeeper, and Rougaroo) have special seats on the train to accommodate larger riders. If you were unable to fit in the test seat on Raptor or Rougaroo, the team member should have told you to queue in row 4 or 5 on the train where there are seats with an extra belt to allow the OTSR to be 2 clicks looser. I seem to recall a number of seats on Gatekeeper that are designed for larger riders, and a couple of seats in row 2 of Valravn with the extra belts. Team members on the load platform would see you and direct you to the special seats.

Wicket Twister has an oddly configured OTSR, so I'm not surprised you had difficulty with large hips, though team members have been known to be able to squeeze larger riders into the seats to get the belt to latch.

Unfortunately, I think the team member you spoke to that stated they're trying to eliminate riders over 250 lbs was lying. Cedar Point is merely trying to meet the safety standards put forth by the manufacturer, state, and in house safety professionals. The configuration of restraints designed by some manufacturers unfortunately does not allow guests of all sizes and shapes to fit and lock. Also, it's not always about weight...it's your body shape and type. I know people over 300 pounds who can ride TTD and Millennium Force because they carry their weight in their top/gut, but someone that's just 200 pounds cannot because they carry their weight in their legs/hips.

As with any park, you seemed to do the right thing by trying the test seats at all of the rides, but also don't be afraid to ask the team member at the head of the line to see if they have any special seats or if the crew running the ride has the patience to get you on (some crews will try repeatedly and allow you to switch to seats they know have a little more play while other will make you do the walk of shame if you cannot lock the restraint yourself). In the end, your frustration should be aimed at the ride manufacturers, not the park, because if Kings Island had the same lineup of attractions, you would have had the same problems there that you did at Cedar Point.

Edited: July 27, 2016, 9:09 AM

I asked the team member at Raptor and she said if the test seat did not work, then you cannot ride because all the seats were the same. At Top Thrill Dragster they informed me the test seat is tighter than any seat on the actual trains so people don't wait in line for nothing. Meaning if you can fit the test seat or get the metal to touch you will be fine. The ride worker was actually standing beside the test seat telling people that could not hook the belt if they would be able to ride or not.

July 27, 2016, 9:24 AM

Contact the park directly via the website and tell them exactly what happened, when,where,who, any info you can give them. They can't fix a problem if they don't know about it. I had a customer service problem at a food outlet, told them about it on the website and got a personal call from them to be sure they had all the information so that they could retrain the entire staff.

July 27, 2016, 6:31 PM

First off, every Cedar Fair park (and probably most other major parks) publish a guest assistance guide that contains a section for larger guests. I would highly advise checking this section before deciding to visit any theme park you do not have previous experience with. This section will list what are defined as guests of larger size by the park, as well as which attractions typically have accommodating issues. If you find that you will likely not fit on many of the attractions you are most interested in experiencing, it may be better to just not visit the park. If in doubt, look online or post in a fan community before visiting to see what others have experienced.

Second, the employee who told you that Kings Island has more attractions for larger riders is only partially correct. In general, it is the manufacturer and not the park that sets safety restrictions on rides, so rides by the same manufacturer at different parks will likely have similar fitting issues. For example, Beast and Racer at Kings Island both use the same exact trains as Blue Streak, so they will be just as tight. If you can't fit Gatekeeper or Valravn, you won't fit on Banshee (same goes for Corkscrew and Vortex). While Kings Island doesn't have anything as tight as Millennium Force, they do have a couple other coasters (Backlot Stunt Coaster and Flight of Fear) that are fairly tight fits and don't have an analogous ride at Cedar Point. However, their biggest coaster (Diamondback) tends to be one of the more accommodating. Even though the employee was likely correct, don't interpret that as not having any problems at Kings Island.

Third, the rest of that employee's statement is very likely BS. Manufacturers do not design safety systems as a means of preventing certain guests to ride, and parks are required to operate rides as specified by a manufacturer. Now, Cedar Point has a large number of very intense rides, and in general a more intense ride requires tighter restraints in order to safely secure the rider (particularly if the ride has strong negative or lateral forces). Intamin, who manufactured several of Cedar Point's major coasters, is well known for extreme rides and as a result they tend to have the most restrictive restraints in the industry. At other parks with fewer extreme rides, there are likely fewer attractions with tight fits. It would definitely be worthwhile to do a little research and see if the manufacturer and ride type of attractions at a park you're visiting match those at one you've visited before so you can get a sense as to how the day will go.

Lastly, when it comes to test seats it is generally true that they are slightly tighter than the actual ride. It is impossible to cut all the belts to exactly the same length on an attraction, so there is an acceptable tolerance for how much they can vary. Most parks will measure the cut belts and then fit the test seat with the shortest one in order to reduce the number of false positives. Therefore, if you can fit a test seat you can be 99% sure you'll fit on the ride, and if it is really, really close and the wait isn't too bad it is worth trying as well. However, no park employee should ever be telling guests that don't fit the test seat that they will be fine on the attraction. If you didn't fit the test seat and they told you to ride anyway, but then you failed to fit on the ride, that is definitely worthy of a formal complaint.

July 28, 2016, 9:53 AM

I have been to Cedar point and Kings Island multiple times. I never had an issue at cedar point until they got rid of the adjustable seat belts. However, I can ride everything at kings island with no problem.

Edited: July 28, 2016, 10:58 AM

"got rid of the adjustable seat belts."

I don't understand this comment. Aside from the B&Ms, all of the other coasters at Cedar Point have adjustable seat belts. The B&M seat belts are the same on all of their OTSR-equipped coasters (latch to the base of the restraint with varying lengths depending upon ride). In fact the seat belts on B&Ms (along with Maverick and Wicked Twister) are merely a fail safe in the event the restraint comes unlocked during the ride, while seat belts on the other coasters act as a secondary restraining system in addition to a lap bar. Now, MF and TTD received shortened belts following the ejection incidents on Superman: Ride of Steel at SFNE in 2004, which was a request from the manufacturer. That was done probably 8+ years ago (don't know the exact year, but the belts have been their current length for quite a long time - I know because my wife has larger dimensions, and she's been unable to ride TTD and MF since then), but there's been little change to the lengths of the belts since then - they may have changed an inch or 2 here or there as scraggly belts have been replaced over time. However, they didn't change the fact that the belts are still adjustable, it's just the range of adjustment is not as wide as it was prior to the belt shortening.

If you can ride Banshee at Kings Island, you should have had no issues on Valravn or Gatekeeper, as those use the identical flyer-style OTSRs.

Your statement "I can ride everything at kings island with no problem" really doesn't have much basis, because the two parks have very few rides with the exact same restraints and seat configuration, aside from the ones noted (Banshee = Valravn and Gatekeeper, Beast = Blue Streak and Mean Streak, and Vortex = Corkscrew). It's a shame you had such a bad experience at Cedar Point, but I think your frustration is being aimed at the wrong target. The fact that you didn't even try to get on Maverick, Valravn, Gatekeeper, and Corkscrew "due to people smaller than (you) not fitting in the seats" demonstrates that your argument has very little basis.

I can definitely empathize with you regarding being denied access to some of the park's best rides or being placed in a very uncomfortable position during the ride because of your size, but I think your frustration has been magnified from a singular incident that clouded your entire day at the park. Gatekeeper, Valravn, and Maverick, three of the top 6 coasters in the park (TPI actually ranks Maverick as one of the top coasters in the world) were there to be ridden and you didn't even try to board because of your preconception about the park and observations that I find a bit dubious. Now you come here to bash the park (one that is managed by the same company that runs Kings Island mind you) that they have some vendetta against larger guests that no other park in the world has. Face it, all parks have to struggle with granting the greatest access while still generating the greatest thrills while doing so safely. The fact of the matter is that as the thrill factor increases, the restraint systems must become more restrictive, meaning guests that are too large or too small cannot ride. So, I have a larger proportioned wife who cannot ride with me on TTD or MF, but I also have a 6 year old (who could ride the Demon at SFGA over a year ago - 42" height requirement) that can't ride any coaster at Cedar Point outside of Camp Snoopy - everything is 48" or higher (he's 46.5" right now). It sucks, but I know those size restrictions are being done for guest safety. The last thing any park wants is to have a guest ill-fitted to the restraint system and end up injured because of their negligence to properly screen guests and prohibit riding by people outside the manufacturer (or state) recommended sizes.

July 28, 2016, 3:39 PM

From Wikipedia's page on Intamin rides
On May 16, 1999, a 365 lb (166 kg) guest was unable to close his lap bar on the Ride of Steel roller coaster at Six Flags Darien Lake. As a result, he was ejected, fell approximately 9 feet as the ride went over a camel hump hill, and suffered serious injuries. He sued the park and the ride manufacturer for negligence and was awarded US$3.95 million.

In September 2001, a 40-year-old woman fell from the Perilous Plunge attraction at Knott's Berry Farm into the water, was hit by the boat, and died. An investigation showed that the 300 lb (140 kg) woman had loosened the safety restraints so she could fit more comfortably into the ride.

The second incident of 2004 was on one of Intamin's mega coasters, Superman: Ride of Steel at Six Flags New England in Massachusetts. The ride, again with lap bar restraints, was dispatched with a cerebral palsy sufferer in the front seat, who died after being ejected from his seat. According to an investigation, the ride operators were primarily to blame for not ensuring the rider was properly secured. Intamin was also partially blamed because the ride's safety system allowed the train to be dispatched without all the restraints properly secured.

August 1, 2016, 5:10 AM

Russell's statements sound more in line with Cedar Fair's policies. What he described was how it went down at Knott's for me last year.

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