Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

Another Death at Knott's: Time for Maximum Size Restrictions?

After the death of a woman on Perilous Plunge, is it time for restrictions on how large riders can be?

From Robert Niles
Posted September 26, 2001 at 2:46 AM
Another park visitor was killed at Knott's over the weekend.

This time, a 40-year-old woman fell from Perilous Plunge. Investigators are asking if the woman was too large for the ride's safety restraints to hold her in place effectively.

Most thrill rides have minimum height requirements. But only a few have posted maximum height restrictions. I don't know of any rides that have published weight restrictions--large or small.

Having loaded my share of very large individuals onto roller coasters and flume rides, I've wondered why more parks haven't developed and posted maximum size guidelines. I always thought of it as a comfort issue, but, obviously, there is an important safety issue at hand as well.

Do you know of any rides that have maximum size requirements? Or, better yet for this discussion, do you know of any that *don't*, but *should*?

From Anonymous
Posted December 10, 2001 at 2:56 AM
There needs to be size and weight limitations. There needs to be unmistakable and unmissable signs at the entrance to rides stating that the weight and size restrictions will be observed strictly. This is seen typically for childrens' rides. It only logically follows that it would be necessary on other nonchildren rides as well.

From Anonymous
Posted August 3, 2002 at 10:50 PM
Some rides in parks have a size and weight limits for children. Is it possible there's no set excess weight to size guidelines is because heavy people will say they are being discriminated against? They could sue saying they paid the same admission fee and not being given the same freedom to ride as everyone else. I'm overweight but not so big it would cause concern. But if there were ever a question of whether a ride is safe for me due to my size I'd want to know.

People find any excuse to scream prejudice and sue. I worked in a bar when a woman entered with her 5 yr. old daughter. I told her the girl couldn't be in there because she wasnt 21. The next day a NAACP lawyer came in to sue me and the company. The woman wanted $500,000 stating I was prejudice tward her african american daughter. We showed him a video tape proving the girl with her was white (not the same child she had showed the lawyer) and the case was dropped. That night my car windowshield was beaten out- perhaps that woman was prejudice against my black car!

From Anonymous
Posted May 28, 2003 at 7:46 AM
I am an overweight woman who has now avoided theme parks because of the weight issue. I loved theme parks as a child but because of the lack of information available for the rides and whether the extra weight would compromise the rides safety I just don't go. Most overweight people understand that they are going to be left out due to their lifestyle. The parks would probably have more success if they posted weight restrictions for the main attraction rides on the website so that overweight people would know ahead of time and not be embarrassed or resentful because they already knew. It's a fact that our society and culture has a large percentage of overweight people and some people just don't care about the rules or their safety. But most want to be just as safe as a 140 lb adult on a dangling roller coaster and wouldn't attempt to ride if there was a notice against it. There are some things that are just not easy to say, but I think weight restrictions are a good idea.

From Jet Nitro
Posted May 28, 2003 at 8:25 AM
I think the problem with alot of the "Big Folks",esp. with the Big Beautiful Women(BBW) Movement, is that they think EVERYTHING should be open to them. But, when it comes to rides at amusement parks, Thats where I draw the line. Maximum weight limits should be practiced on every single ride at every park. If ya cant fit in(flab and chins hanging over the seat,unable to fasten the restraints properly), you dont ride. Simple as that. Before you make it a "fat peoples rights" issue, look at the other peoples rights for safety and fun on that said ride as well.

From Jefferson Heller
Posted May 28, 2003 at 8:44 AM
I am a 6'0" Male of normal weight who sometimes finds it difficult getting myself seated and belted/harnassed in a ride due to lack of leg room, etc. I have noticed that lately some parks provide one seat of a coaster directly outside the entrance with a sign that reads, "Guests must be able to fit comfortably within the restraints of this seat in order to ride."

I realize that rides are designed using the laws of physics based on weight is my personal belief that since adults pay the same amount for the theme park experience, it is the responsibility of each park to provide a safe and comfortable experience for ALL of it's guests.

From Iris Brown
Posted May 30, 2003 at 10:30 AM
The restraints on a coaster are, indeed, built for "average" sized people. I am a 5'6" female of small build. Restraints that fit a 6' tall person fit very badly on me. I get lots of air time! People who are large and don't fit into the seats may not be able to ride some things. I cannot ride some things because the lap bars do not go down far enough, but I accept that and ride what I can. It's not discrimination, only safety that's the issue here. Everyone on that ride is jeopardized by someone who doesn't fit into the seat properly. It could cause the coaster to malfunction or cause injury to that person or other riders. People should understand their limits and be mature about it. I'm sorry for you if you can't ride, but it's better than getting hurt!

From JP parking Guy
Posted May 30, 2003 at 3:01 PM
that should encourage ya to lose weight

From Anonymous
Posted June 2, 2003 at 6:25 PM
My husband is 6 foot, average weight and he has a really hard time fitting into a lot of the coasters. He has to squeeze in so much that I don't think he could fall out because he's practically wedged in!

Though I have seen large riders "dismissed" from riding coasters at Paramount's Kings Island several times. If they don't fit into the seats or the lap bars will not lock in place they are not allowed to ride. I believe its okay for parks to put the safety of the guest first.

From Robert Verginia
Posted June 3, 2003 at 8:29 AM
JP Parking guy - That's like telling a paraplegic to learn to walk. Either a park can accomodate everyone, or it can't. They just need to state the limitations. If heavy people are falling out of the back of a ride, they need to 1. Sandbag test the hell out of it, or 2. Quit loading heavy people in the back of the ride! Many parks now have an extra train/car near the queue so that oversized people can try it out. This should be done at more parks - descretly and conveniently for the guests. I am above average weight and recognise that I may be restricted from some rides. Oh well, I'll have to just enjoy myself anyway!

From Robert Niles
Posted June 3, 2003 at 10:07 AM
The following thought occurred to me when I rode Scream at Magic Mountain, which does not have the "larger rider" seats that Kraken, the floorless coaster at SeaWorld Orlando has.

"I guess they figure teenagers don't get that big."

In other words, a park's failure to provide seats for larger visitors isn't so much a size issue as it is an *age* one. When your target market is teenagers, you don't care how your ride seats fit middle-aged men and women.

From Anonymous
Posted June 10, 2003 at 4:19 PM
I work at a theme park coaster. And because of the small seats & lap bars. sometimes we have to turn away larger people.
I am a smaller person myself. so sometimes even I am unconfortable telling people they can not ride due to their size.
I think having some kind of sign. & as i've seen before one of the ride's seats in the front for people to know... it would make a lot of people feel better.
And i'm sure a lot of ride attendants feel better too.

From Anonymous
Posted June 22, 2003 at 6:14 PM
While we're at it... how about some accomodation for us skinny people? I realize that the thread is on the other end of the scale, but at the same time, us skinny folks take the beating in restraints that don't fit for the whales which they're trying to accomodate. Just this past weekend, I was at Busch Gardens Tampa and found that many of the restraints just didn't quite fit securely. I don't mind a bit of lift out of my seat, but at the same time, I don't want my hands to be the only thing keeping me in the seat if the ride should fail. I'm 6' btw too.

From Bryan Fear
Posted June 22, 2003 at 6:36 PM
Not everyone has the common sense and the perspective that Robert Verginia does. ( in his post ) Some people who will not be easily accomodated into a ride may be total brats ( regardless the age ) and insist they be let on the ride. Some cause quite a scene. Nonetheless, even the annonymous poster above has a good point too.

In the end, the ride designers are making a design based on averages. I recall once reading that a medical study said the average weight of a human was 150 lbs. HA! I haven't been that light since I was 12. I wonder if ride designers consider the 90-lb and 290 lb passengers or do they just design based on averages? Robert Verginia has another good point. Sandbag the hell out of it.

From Anonymous
Posted July 2, 2003 at 11:41 AM
Heck, you don't have to be fat to have trouble with those rides. I hit the gym 5 days a week and, while I used to be fat, that's changed a lot. With all the upper body training, my chest is the problem now. I can barely squeeze into those pull-down shoulder restraints. Another inch and I'll have to start waiting for my friends at the exit. :( Weight is an issue, too. While I've lost a lot of fat, I've traded it for much heavier muscle so I never got below the 220 range. Guess how many 220 pound guys can sit on one side of those "vertical launch" rides. :P I think I need to start a class action of my own. Theme parks are obviously discriminating against the physically fit as well as the obese. ;)

From Anonymous
Posted July 5, 2003 at 6:14 AM
Being larger than average in both height and weight, I live within two aspects of the issue as I see it. Tall people are unfairly prevented from enjoying many, mostly older, coasters; while more ample riders may be squeezing onto rides that they shouldn't.

By being able to scoot down, crossing my ankles, or jamming my knees, my height/weight has only kept me off of two rides in my lifetime. SF Great Adventure's Nitro and Rye Playland's Dragon Coaster (sadly not listed as a ride in Playland Park, Rye,NY... it's a classic wooden coaster). Otherwise I've ridden every coaster in SFGA, Dorney, SFGeorgia, and SFMM back in the '80s.

Good seat design should accommodate all the riders for which safety isn't an issue while saving unsafe riders from themselves. These issues are being addressed in newer coasters but not in older ones. Older designs weed out the tall for little to no reason while not adressing weight at all.

In my opinion the seat design of SF Great Adventure's Nitro is the best. It has seats which automatically weed out any rider too large anywhere between chest & thigh. And that's exactly where a person with a weight issue carries their weight. What the shoulder restraint misses, the lap bar will get. But the design of the car in no way impeds tall riders.

Then there's the Batman Chiller which retro-fit a seatbelt along with it's lap bar. If I'd been any larger, that seatbelt would have kept me off a ride that the lap bar would have allowed me on. Good job on the retro-fit as far as weight goes. But for the tall, Batman Chiller is a squeeze. There's no fix for that.

I want to ride just as much as anyone. If I'm too heavy to do so safely, then don't let me ride. But until they come up with a potion to make me 5 inches shorter, I want more rides that will accommodate my height.

From K M
Posted July 7, 2003 at 4:20 PM
I believe it is up to the individual to have enough common sense if he/she is too large to ride on a ride. If you are to big to fit in the seat or the restraint bars do not fit/lock then you should speak up and say I am not comfortable sitting in this ride. I would like to leave and not ride it.

I do think though that some ride operators need to be better trained at dealing with such situations. A "I am sorry sir/mam do to this attractions safety restrain system you are to large to ensure a safe ride experience. We cannot let you ride this attraction at this time."
See you do not need an engineering degree to deal with this situation. It is not offensive and even the most disappointed customer will eventually realize that you only looked out for their personnel well being.

I had a situation July 3rd at Darien Lake theme park where I road two roller coasters one was a heedful experience and the other was a tight experience. I am a large person, bigger than an average size, but I am not a huge person. I do have a healthy girth, wide hips and a large stomach but not overly obese. I boarded the Mind Eraser and I fit perfectly in the seat. The pull over bar came down all right and I attached the pull up belt without any problem. The main issue with the Mind Eraser ride was its roughness. I could easily see where someone could have a problem with a neck injury riding that ride. If the ride manufactures want to provide a thrill in their ride then they should also make sure the rider is comfortable throughout the ride duration. I do not like my head being bounced off from either side of the pull over bar like a basketball in a NBA game.

The other ride was the Superman Ride of Steel. I had read, on the often misinformed Internet that, there was a test car near the entrance to the roller coaster for people to test there size out before waiting in a long line. There is no test car at Darien Lake Superman Ride of Steel; which is fine by me. I think displaying ride cars in public so people could see if they fit may come across in a negative way. Having a ride attendant tell the person in a nice way is more personal and less tactful. Anyway, I went up to the person checking for height restrictions and I asked him if he thought I would be ok fitting in the restrain system.
He looked at me for a bit and said there should not be any problem; they will get in... I had to laugh a little at that. The wild thought processes took control for a split second. How were they going to get me in? Do they have a special shoehorn or a hydraulic press?
It came to be my turn to board the train. I sat down without any problem but when I attempted fasten the seat belt it was too short by about 5 inches. I have problems with airplane seat belts as well. The seat belts are short and they do not take into account for large people even though the large person fits comfortably in the seat. I called over the ride attendant and said that I was not able to fasten this seat belt. I would have gladly left the ride at that point but he proceeded to attempt to also fasten the seatbelt. He tugged, I pulled it towards him, he used his foot against the train car to get a good leverage and it finally fastened but it was tight, very very tight. As the seat belt clicked another ride attendant came along and using his foot pushed the lap bar tight against my chest. I was not happy about that. It is one thing to make sure the lap bar is secure and latched it is another thing to tighten the lap bar against the rider's chest using a foot. If I were not so preoccupied with the seat belt, I probably would have grabbed his foot and tripped him after he had done that. That moment came across as if he had done that on purpose. After the train pulled back into the unloading/loading area everyone got out except me. I could not get the seatbelt unfastened. The ride attendants were too busy to notice because they were to busy loading other passengers in the train. I called the same ride attendant over who had a tough time fastening the seat belt and said I cannot get the seatbelt unlocked. In the mean time the second train had finished its run and was waiting in the break track before the load unload station. Yep, I caused the roller coaster to get out of sync... Next time I go to Darien lake I plan on dropping off to guest relations a letting indicating what had happened. Not a complaint but a letter of awareness. I did fit fine in the seat and the lap bar was snug and locked. I probably did not need the seat belt. Small people yes, I could see a need for it. …

From Jefferson Heller
Posted July 8, 2003 at 5:28 AM
KM~ That is an unfortunate experience you had and I think writing a letter is a very good idea. I personally disagree with your thoughts about the test seat outside of a coater's entrance. I would rather make sure I fit in the ride BEFORE waiting in line for a ride hoping that maybe I'll fit safely into seat without the embarassment of being asked to exit. Just my personal preference.

From Anonymous
Posted July 8, 2003 at 7:14 AM
I'm 6'3" and have been turned away from some coasters in the past at King's Island...I was disappointed that I wouldn't fit, but happy that they had checked it out beforehand so I didn't become a statistic.

To a certain extent, even without posted weight limits, it's the rider's responsibility for their own safety. I like to hold my hands in the air, but there are plenty of coasters where straight up may not be a problem, but 6 inches outside the car and you'll lose a finger. That doesn't mean the coaster is defective, it means I should be aware that sticking my hands out there is unsafe. Just like the person who doesn't fit right due to their build should exercise some caution.

I would think the reason parks don't put weight limitations on rides are because it's not so much the weight that was the cause of these people not fitting in the restraint, it was their build. We all know people who pretty much have no lap when they sit down and I'd guess plenty of them weigh under 250. Their lap bar doesn't have a chance to do it's job.

From Jennifer Stidham
Posted September 10, 2003 at 5:59 PM
This is an old discussion but one that still has impact today. I am extremely overweight person and I do look for weight limits on rides. (I have even asked a cast member at Peter Pan's flight at Magic Kingdom if there was a weight limit. I was told their wasn't.)

Most theme parks have a good way of keeping larger people off...they design the seats so that larger people don't fit. For instance, I don't fit on ANY of the rides at Busch Gardens. I only fit on SOME at Islands of Adventure. At the Disney parks, only a few cause problems i.e. Star Tours, Space Mountain, and now, the Tower of Terror thanks to their recent retrofit.

The convenient thing about most of the rides is that they have examples of the seats outside so I know ahead of time that I don't have to waste my time waiting in line. Although they don't do that at the Disney parks, I have been allowed in the back way to try a couple out and that has been helpful as well.

(Let's not even talk about turnstyles!)

The ironic thing is that I don't fit in most of the big roller coasters, but I don't fit in the little theatre seats either! Fortunately, some of the theatres (i.e. Muppets 3-D, Voyage of the Little Mermaid) have a few bench seats in the back.

And as one person suggested, I suppose that would be an encouragement to lose if there was a shortage of reasons besides that.

From Chuck Campbell
Posted September 10, 2003 at 7:11 PM
I posted this on another thread having to do with safety. I'm a, let's say, "stocky" person now, but I was larger in the 1970s, when Knott's was running the Motorcycle Chase (which begat the Wacky Soapbox Racers, which begat the Miserable Togo Torture Device from the 7th Level of Hell). The Chase was a "steeplechase" type of coaster with motorcycles running on a single rail. The restraint was a seatbelt.

My brother and I took a spin on the Motorcycle Chase one evening--fun ride, no problem. We decided to ride again, but an attendant, who wasn't there previously, motioned me over to a sample motorcycle. He pulled and tugged and grunted at the seatbelt, but said that the ride couldn't accommodate me safely.

Where was this guy ten minutes earlier?

From Matthew Woodall
Posted September 11, 2003 at 2:24 PM
I think this is one of those things that riders and operators have to be concious of. As an operator, and a "person of larger proportions" this is an issue that I am accutely aware of. There are some seats that I just don't fit into. My rule of thumb (for myself at least) is that if I can't be comfortable in the seat, then I shouldn't be riding. This means that I don't make the operators push the restraint down so that I can't breathe...just so I can ride. If they're available I take the "big-boy" seats on a ride. As an operator, I often have to tell people that if they don't fit safely into the restraint, then I won't let them ride. This is not a criticism of their size, but rather for their own safety. This isn't something that needs to be dealt with by the parks, this is something that the individual riders need to deal with before they go to a park.

From Anonymous
Posted September 12, 2003 at 4:21 PM
Something slightly off topic but somewhat related:

Space Mountain at Disneyland is being completely rebuilt, and among the design changes is a special addition to the load area platform. A section of track is designed to slide a train to one side, allowing other trains to pass, while those with special needs can take their time to load into the vehicle and not slow down the entire ride. I have often been in line behind people who have taken a long time to load and unload, due to a handicap or other condition, and I think this is a great idea.

I would really like to see more places, especially Disney parks, have the sample ride vehicles out front, (perhaps with a built-in weight-limit sensor??) so that larger people can know for certain whether or not they can be accomidated.

From Anonymous
Posted September 22, 2003 at 3:23 PM
I was injured at Soak City Palm Springs on 09/13/2003. Left park by ambulance, unable to breath, w/a collapsed lung, cracked ribs, sternum, and a dead right arm. I am still having a difficult time resuming normal activities due to pain and stiffness. As yet, no one from Knott's has returned my calls.

From Anonymous
Posted September 24, 2003 at 11:05 AM
JP is right, just because you cannot control your intake of food, it is the theme park's fault, no it's YOUR fault!

From Justin Mclean-Lynn
Posted October 13, 2003 at 11:43 PM
Im suprised that 6' people can't fit on some rides. my friend is 6'1' and he fits into all of the rides in Australia

From Anonymous
Posted October 22, 2003 at 3:54 AM
Having worked in the amusement park industry for 5 years I have seen amny people who have had to leave rides because they are unable to fit safely into the seats. As for posting a maximum height or weight that is not usually possible as most ride manufacturers do not have that information. Also is is not always weight that determines your ability to ride but body shape. I have seen heavy people be able to get on some rides while lighter weight people with a shorter stocky chest have been unable to ride. I agree that a test seat would be a good idea especially for the more popular rides at a park.

From Anonymous
Posted October 22, 2003 at 12:36 PM
I am a over weight teen and avoid roller costers, not only because I'm overweight and not because I'm somewhat scared of them.I would ride but I am afraid that I will not fit. My friend is somewhat overweight but not as much as me.I would love to ride but afraid. I went to Disney a few months and on their cruise,but at Disney I was able to fit on all the rides with my friend. Like The Tower Of Terror. My I have a Season passport to Busch Gardens.So I will go there alot.

From Anonymous
Posted October 22, 2003 at 12:36 PM
I am a over weight teen and avoid roller costers, not only because I'm overweight and not because I'm somewhat scared of them.I would ride but I am afraid that I will not fit. My friend is somewhat overweight but not as much as me.I would love to ride but afraid. I went to Disney a few months ago and on their cruise,but at Disney I was able to fit on all the rides with my friend. Like The Tower Of Terror. I have a Season passport to Busch Gardens.So I will go there alot.

From Allison P.
Posted April 18, 2004 at 5:19 PM
Interesting... when an overweight woman dies a traumatic death in front of her loves ones, all that is discussed is her "wrong" in riding a ride she was ALLOWED to be on.

Now that a non-overweight, attractive 16 year old, dies from the same ride mechanics--everyone and their brother demands answers!

Everyone BOTHERS to ask import questions and screams, "wait for the investigation", do not rush to judgment.

How SICK and SAD a society we live in when a person's weight determines that their life was too WORTHLESS to have anyone question the circumstances of their DEATH!!!

How easy it is for so many to declare the woman's death her own fault and offer no condolences. I suppose that only an attractive female can be a victim of faulty restraints. An overweight woman is not worth the consideration.

If it is determined that the attractive 16 year old was too thin to ride the ride safely will you blame her and ridicule her for her size and say she should of known better-- shame on her? I think not! You will blame the ride operators or the manufacturers.

BOTH women were allowed to ride-- there was nothing posted or said to tell either woman, otherwise.

Five children lost their mother-- have a little compassion.

I know I am wasting my breath here, but contrary to your belief, most overweight people do NOT force themselves into rides. I have yet, in my entire lifetime, seen an overweight person scream "lawsuit" because they couldn't fit in a ride. The few I've seen who even tried, walked away, quietly, head-down.

Yet, I've seen COUNTLESS irate parents scream at ride operators to allow their "too short" children onto rides. I've seen them stuff their shoes to make them taller-- put their lives at risk-- and YET, if one of these children die you will find sympathy-- you will offer prayers and condolences, speak of heartache and loss... unless, of course, that child's parent is fat. Then you will rant and rave about the stupid, fat, parent.

Fat prejudice is still politically correct and so pervasive that no one even hears themselves when they are practicing it.

READ the threads on all the websites about the "overweight" woman's death -vs- all the threads about the 16 year old's death. TELL ME you can not see what I am talking about.

And no-- I am not implying that anyone and everyone should be allowed on every ride-- quite the contrary. And no-- I am not a Big Beautiful Woman. I am an average woman who just calls them as I see them.

I offer both sets of friends and loved ones the same consideration, prayers and condolences.

From Andrew Swanson
Posted April 18, 2004 at 7:28 PM
When did a 16 year-old who was skinny die on the perilous plunge? I must have missed that one and I re-read all of the posts on this thread and didn't see anything to that affect. I would have assumed that if there were two fatalities on the same ride in such a short time span, we would have heard about it.

Can someone please fill me in?

From Nathan Alexander
Posted April 19, 2004 at 2:14 AM
At the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster at Warner Brothers Movie World in Australia. There is not a weight restriction, but most overweight patrons do not fit into the harness, and therefore cannot ride. The lap bar must come down to a certain point before the cars can be dispatched.

Staff inform guests if they think they may be to large to ride. But that's all.

From Ben Mills
Posted April 19, 2004 at 11:53 AM
Hey Andrew. Allison is referring to the sixteen year old girl who died on a similar ride un the UK, Hydro at Oakwood. It happened recently and there was an article on TPI about it.

And Allison, there are points from either side of the argument. I'm sure there would be on the "Hydro death" thread as well, if there were a larger number of people posting on it. And in case you didn't notice, I haven't just assumed that it wasn't Hayley's fault. But as of yet, we have NO IDEA how or why Hayley fell from the ride. We know both for the Knott's accident.

I know you're trying to stick up for the little guy (or the big guy, I guess), and I admire that, but you need to take everyone's opinions, thoughts and comments into account before you go off on a rampage, don'tya think?

From Steve Barth
Posted April 19, 2004 at 12:21 PM
While I feel bad for the family and the tragedy, I do get frusterated with both larger people insisting on riding rides that they are clearly to big to be on, and the parks not having maximum rules to enforce.

Last year I witnessed a very large lady insist she be allowed to ride Space Mountain at Disneyworld. The cast members let her on, and in the process of trying to get her into the seat, the ride got so backed up, they ended up having to shut the entire ride down for an hour to reset the system. It didn't just affect her, it affected everyone in line, everyone who had waited for hours to get on and suddenly had the ride shut down, everyone already on the ride, who, when the ride came to a sudden stop had to be taken off the ride. It became a huge mess. All because of one person who insisted that she be allowed to ride and no rules preventing otherwise.

After she finally got off that ride, she proceeded to the Matterhorn, where the exact same thing happened there. Alot of people were affected because of lack of rules and people being afraid of being sued for discrimination.

From Jeff Arons
Posted April 23, 2004 at 4:24 AM
They can't sue someone for not allowing another person to ride a roller coaster because she was overweight.

I've had a similar experience at Six Flags St. Louis. I was on the Boss, and this obese man kept on insisting that he could fit. By the time that they got his restraint down and checked everyone else's, there was a big backup, and the people waiting in the hot sun for 2 hours had to wait another hour and a half for the ride to restart.

From Telita Davis
Posted August 6, 2004 at 12:41 AM
First let me start off by saying that everyone is entitled to their own opinions regarding this issue, but I strongly agree and strongly disagree with many of the responses on this topic. I agree with many of the things that Allison P had to say because I think that today's society is built up around the idea that if you are among the "beautiful or handsome people of average height and average weight" then everything in the world must (and often does) cater to you. If you take a look around, the majority of people in the world are overweight to some degree. They may be a skinny or petite woman, but they still have fat rolls on their back or thighs. A man may not be considered overweight although he may very well appear to be nine and a half months pregnant. SO if we're all speaking in terms of averages, than I think "AVERAGE" needs to be reevaluated. When the engineers design thrill rides they need to consider everyone's enjoyment as well as safety. I think it's unfair to build rides that only fit the "Average Person." Society is changing quickly, the majority of kids are now overweight, and if (most likey when) they grow up to become overweight teens or adults is it fair to say "Your skinny friend can ride but you're too fat" Hell no it's not. If rides can be designed for the average person, the handicapped or physically impaired, and small children then why shouldn't a overweight person be able to enjoy parts of amusement parks other than the Water Park. I do agree that each rider has a responsibility to protect him or herself to a certain point but let's be realistic here. How embarassing would it be to wait in line all day and get up to a ride to be turned away beacuse you can't fit, or to try out the test seat in front of thousands of onlookers and you just know "Oh well, I can't fit" let me try to laugh off this emabarrasment and try another ride. I do think I'd rather know before I get on but DAMN. I don't have all the solutions to this problem but for those who say "FATTIE JUST LOOSE SOME WEIGHT" That's just mean. Why should a person's weight or anything else about them determine whether or not they are allowed to have fun at an amusement park. For the people that are too small to fit comfortably we wouldn't say "GO GAIN 20 POUNDS AND COME BACK NEXT YEAR." While I know that next summer rides won't magically be made to accomadate people who are 300Lbs. or more, I do agree that weight restrictions should be posted wherever any other restriction is posted. But on the other hand I agree with those people who say it's all about a person's build or body shape. This problem will problaby never be resolved, but in no way can we be so blindly discriminative that we say if an overweight person dies on a ride it's his or her fault for being an overweight rider, then turn around and say that this cute little teenager died because of equipment failure. The case may have been the same for the overweight person, the equipment could have simply failed. Does anyone know the ratio of people who died at amusement parks because of weight v.s. equipment failure. No, none of us do so until we get those facts let's not be so judgmental and cold to a person based on any of thier physical characteristics. Let's just be sorry thet we lose anyone on amusement park rides. No matter what your size you are human none the less and deserve the same respect and compassion that any other person gets, and hopfully we are all mature enought to agree to that.

From Jeff Arons
Posted August 8, 2004 at 1:36 PM
Let me strike that last post that I didn't even know that I posted. I exagerated big time. Probably only a 15-30 minute extra wait.

Anyway, I'm 6'6" and usually don't have problems on rides. Most coasters have enough leg room for me to stretch out my legs, and sometimes, I can (uncomfortably) bend my legs a lot. One of the coasters that I have trouble on is Revolution at SFMM. There are shoulder harnesses and lap bars, and you're kind of cramped in. I had to squeeze in. I'm not overweight, and I'm not so muscular that I weigh a lot. Maybe the only thing that helps me get in is that I'm thin.

From Sherry Heida
Posted August 8, 2004 at 2:49 PM
Hello, I am a heavy person and went to Six Flags over Mid-America (St. Louis, MO) in July with a friend of mine. He loves roller coasters and of course, we had to try & ride them all. I was up for it, but worried about my size. I fit onto Batman, although I felt squeezed into the seat, and I did not fit on the next roller coaster, Mr. Freeze. I almost fit, but the security belt just would not latch. I told the young worker that I would gladly get off the ride, and I did without holding up the ride at all. It was a bit embarrassing, and I had wished there would have been weight restrictions listed at the beginning of the ride. I still would have waited with my friend, and just not tried to get onto the ride but walk over to a "waiting area" until his ride was through. Instead, I got looked at by at least 100+ people who noticed that I could not fit onto the ride. Just what a paying park customer wants to go through. I hope someone in charge of this at the various parks reads this ... and figures out a way to correct this embarrassing situation for the "bigger" park patron.

From Carolanne Hamingway
Posted January 6, 2006 at 3:46 PM
i wonder if someone can advise me - i am an extremely large girl and weight approx 280 lbs - does anyone know if i will be too big to ride at disney / universal / islands of adventure / seaworld / busch gardens?
thanks a million!

From Jessica Warburton
Posted January 8, 2006 at 1:16 PM
some rides, particularly IOA have trial seats at the beginning of the rides so you can see if you fit in them. Duelling Dragons and The Hulk have these for definate. I think Kraken has one at Seaworld too. Its not really about wieght with these rides its more about whether you fit into the over shoulder restraints. Try the seats to save embaressment and wait time just to be denied when you get to the front.

From Jason Lester
Posted January 8, 2006 at 4:09 PM
Knott's actually began placing some of those trial seats in the park after this accident. I know Xcellerator has one.

From Danny Bernard
Posted January 8, 2006 at 6:39 PM
Most of the "high" level excitement rides at Knotts now.

From Bo Jangles
Posted January 11, 2006 at 11:05 AM
One thing I really love about IOA/USF, is that on Hulk and DD they both have 'Tall' seat in row 3 and 6 usually the second seat in from the right side of the train (they have 2 safety staps, regualr seat have 1). I am 6'4 and 260lb and these seats fit me perfectly. Usually the problem for me is the distance from tailbone to shoulder. A couple of extra inches there lets the seat fit me. This makes me very loyal to IOA, as I love coasters and a lot of seats are too short at other parks, limiting what I can go on. I can fit on all of Disneys rides. Really though as rides become push the limits of what a regular person can handle physically, better seat design to fit more customers well is essential. Engineering a seat that can protect everyone is difficult. In the future we may see seats that are better designed and adjustable for all heights/sizes (within reason) of more riders. This would provide a better ride experience for everyone, for example my girlfriend is 5'4" and she at first was terrified of the Hulk, she now loves it but is limited on the number of tiems she can go on it because her head rattles around in the shoulder harness like a bobble head, her ears take a beatin'. A sliding and locking back section would make all riders fit better and that equals a better park experience. Overall I applaude IOA for the two seats on every train.

From Gareth H
Posted January 11, 2006 at 11:37 AM
I totally agree with you.
I am 6ft 6 inches, about 200 pounds.
I'll take any seat on DD or hulk, I generally slouch in the seat so I get lifted out, but the rides at USF that can be a problem are Jaws & Back to the future. On Jaws, I now ask for the back row. 99% of the time they let me go there. Back to Future is harder though, as you have to beat everyone else onto the car and get the front row. Then all you get is tutting because the people in the back can't see past the "lanky person" in the front row. If you do get stuck on the back it is really a nasty 4 minutes!
On Spiderman, try and avoid the middle row, unless you suffer from motion sickness (It moves less in the middle)
The front and back seem to have more leg space.
On revenge of the mummy, i think you need rows 1 & 3 for the extra leg space. Staff have always been more than willing to out me in either row!
Hope this helps!

From Chris P.
Posted January 20, 2006 at 2:57 PM
Most parks that I have been to have "size" restrictions on their rides/coasters. For instance when I went on Sledgehammer at Paramount Canadas Wonderland, a man of large size was politely told that he could not ride because when the ride attendant tried to close the restraint, a computer in the rides system was indicating that the restraint was not closed enough to be safe. Most other rides in the park like Psyclone and Shockwave have special seats that accomodate riders of large size. Unfortunately the seats on the rollercoasters at Wonderland are not that big.

From Ryan Guad
Posted January 21, 2006 at 11:05 AM
Hello everyone! Yes i do know of one ride that has a restriction... Excelerator at Knotts Berryfarm. The height limit is 6'. Yet that is the only restriction that i have seen at true parks.

From Dusint Kern
Posted February 8, 2006 at 8:25 AM
I have a friend who is over 6 ft tall and he only fits in certain seats on Anaconda at Kings Dominion. We found this out the hard way when he tried to squeeze in and didn't fit in the back row of the individual car. He fit fine into the front row of the car. He was also too tall for Shockwave, but we didn't try the seat out that they had at the entrance of the line.

All theme parks should:

1. Have a test seat/car at the entrance to the line so people can try the seat.

2. Have a sign where everyone will see it stating a weight limit or saying that people with a broader body may/will have difficulty fitting into the restraints and may or may not be able to ride.

3. Train attendents how to handle such situations in a very polite way as to not draw attention and causing embarrassment.

4. Have height limitations, short and tall, at the entrance posted where everyoen will see. Also state which seats, if any, will better accomondate the taller crowd.

5. Post all of this information on the parks website as well as on the RCDB

From Michele K
Posted March 9, 2006 at 4:30 PM
I am going to Magic Kingdom, Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, Sea World and Wet N' Wild in June. I am 280lbs and was wondering if any knows about any rides/attractions I may have a problem fitting in or if any rides have special seats for "larger" people. Thank you.

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