I wrote a First Timers Guide to Universal Studios where I shared a few tips on visiting the parks, but I wanted to share a bit more information with my readers who have asked a lot of questions about being plus size at the parks; if you’ve ever been nervous about visiting Universal because of your size, I’m here to answer questions, and put your mind at ease.
What to Wear.
The first thing I want to address is attire. Besides wearing thin clothing to help fit on rides (we will address this more down below), you want – no need – to be comfortable. Number 1 its hot. If you are not used to Florida weather, you don’t realize how hot and humid it can be. Dress for the weather. Personally I have pretty big calves and knees, so I don’t like to wear shorts. My favorite thing to wear when its hot is cotton capris. My favorites are Spalding Women’s Capri’s – and they aren’t even expensive! Under $20 for plus sizes! They are breathable, and comfortable. The band doesn’t roll over, and if you decide to go for the yoga pants vs capri, they have pockets!
Secondly, as a woman – I highly recommend breathable under garments. Sports bras can also be great if you are well endowed, because it can help with fitting on rides that are a close fit.
For a top I say go with what you are comfortable with: If you are comfortable with a tank top that would be my suggestion because of the heat, tee shirts, tanks, sleeveless tops, whatever works for you (just don’t forget your sunscreen!)
Last but not least when it comes to what you wear – shoes. This one is super important. Even if you are relatively active, you walk a lot, like a LOT when you are in the parks. And you stand a lot. You want to make sure that you have comfortable shoes – preferably more than one pair if you’ll be in the parks more than one day. Now personally I prefer Sketcher Go Walk’s. They are comfortable, padded, and they come in wide width. I wear their slip ons, sneakers and flip flops. Even with the best shoes, you still will have achy feet, and maybe some blisters. Be sure that you soak them every night, and have these moleskins handy!
Possible Ride Complications.
So the biggest issue at the parks is – will I fit? No one wants to do the embarrassing walk of shame when you are told that you don’t fit, and you have to exit the ride.. right in front of everyone else that fits, and everyone else that is in the queue. So being plus size at the parks, what rides are the biggest concerns?
Revenge of the Mummy – Universal Studios
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – Universal Studios
Hollywood Rip Ride Rock It – Universal Studios
Jurassic World VelociCoaster – Univeral’s Island of Adventure
The Simpsons Ride – Universal Studios
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – Universal’s Island of Adventure
The Incredible Hulk Coaster – Universal’s Island of Adventure
Doctor Dooms’ Fearfall – Universal’s Island of Adventure
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – Universal’s Island of Adventure
So with that being said, I want to preface that most of the other rides are not a problem for plus size people up to a 3x/4x or so. If you are plus size past size 3x, there could be other rides that may be a problem.
Now with the rides I mentioned above, there isn’t a specific way to know for sure you are going to fit; Unfortunately height and weight aren’t the only factors in if you’ll be able to ride or not. I know of people ‘smaller’ than me that couldn’t ride, and people ‘bigger’ than me that could. I highly recommend joining the Universal Orlando Plus Size Riders Group on Facebook. It may help give you some insight on what rides you’ll more likely be able to ride, and what ones may give you problems. You may find someone else who is close to the same height/weight/measurements and ‘squish’. It definitely made me feel better about riding.
So here’s my personal experience: I am 5’6, in mid 250’s, and I wear anything between an 18-20 or a 1-3x top (depending on brand). I have been to the park when I was closer to 220, and I didn’t have a problem riding anything. Since I have gained weight, I was a little more concerned and didn’t try certain rides. For example, I could ride Incredible Hulk, but I asked for the extended seating; all that is , is a longer seat belt. I am not very squishy; my fat is hard lol. So though I fit in the seat, its hard to pull over the restraint and buckle it without the extender. The staff was nice, and always put my party in the same row and just told me which seat had the extender. Easy peasy.
Forbidden Journey always made me nervous bc it would depend; I have large arms, so that made it a little difficult to pull down. If you pull down on the restraint as you sit down and pull it hard with you, most likely you’ll get the 2 clicks needed to ride. Sometimes they will help you push it down – sometimes they won’t. Don’t go after lunch lol. I road several times, sometimes I was able to do it myself, sometimes I wasn’t. Depending on who you talk to, it can be an issue.
Revenge of the Mummy was a little tight, but if you ride in the back, it seems to be easier to fit. same with Escape from Gringotts.
Even when I was smaller, I did NOT try Rip it, or Doctor Doom because I have heard of people even small plus size people, not being able to ride and I have an awful fear of being embarrassed, and unfortunately would rather miss out than do the walk of shame.
Now there are test seats for a lot of these rides – but that doesn’t mean for sure that you’ll be good. I have heard of people fitting in the test seats, but being turned away on the ride itself. I really wish that Universal would put the test seats in a private area, maybe behind a wall, or even be creative like a ‘virtual ride’ box, or something – but that is neither here nor there I guess.
Again, like I said – definitely join the Facebook group, it will give you better insight on people that may be your same size/shape, and give you a better idea on what to try!