Tips for Plus-Size Guests at Universal Orlando Resort

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During a recent visit to Universal Orlando Resort (UOR), I was reminded that many of their theme park rides are not plus-size friendly, which is a stark contrast to the rides at Walt Disney World.  While there is still plenty to see and do at UOR beyond the rides, it is always a good idea to be prepared ahead of time for specific rides that may be an issue.

Let’s first dive into rides and attractions at Universal Studios that commonly give plus-size guests issues, along with the type of restraint used and helpful tips if issues arise.

  • Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster – has a lap bar restraint; ask to be seated alone
  • Revenge of the Mummy – has a lap bar restraint; ask to sit in the modified seats in the back row
  • ET Adventure Ride – has a lap bar restraint; ask for a bench seat
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit – has a lap bar restraint; ask for modified seats in rows one or four; note that riders taller than 79” will not be permitted to ride
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – has a lap bar restraint; ask for the modified seats in the back row of each cart
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem – has a lap bar restraint; ask for the back row for additional leg room
  • Race through New York starring Jimmy Fallon – has a seatbelt restraint; request a seat belt extender

There are test seats at the following ride entrances at Universal Studios that you may try before boarding – Revenge of the Mummy, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Race through New York starring Jimmy Fallon, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and VelociCoaster.  Ask the ride attendant if you don’t see the test seat and they will direct you to it.  In most instances there is a red light, green light system.  A green light means you are cleared to ride.

Now let’s look at the rides and attractions at Islands of Adventure that commonly give plus-size guests issues, along with the type of restraint used and helpful tips if issues arise.

  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls – has a lap bar restraint; ask for an ADA seat accommodation
  • The Cat in the Hat – has a lap bar restraint; ask for a single seat
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish – has a seatbelt restraint; ask for a single seat
  • Caro-seuss-el – has a seatbelt restraint; ask for a bench seat
  • Pteranodon Flyers – has a seatbelt restraint; intended for children
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster – has an overhead restraint; ask for a modified seat in various rows (will have two seat buckles instead of one)
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall – has an overhead restraint; no modified seats available
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure – has a lap bar restraint; ask for a modified seat (limited availability)
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – has an overhead restraint; ask for modified seats at the end of the row; has a moving platform, ask for handicap entry if you need extra time to board
  • Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges – has a seatbelt restraint; ask for a seatbelt extender
  • Flight of the Hippogriff – has a lap bar restraint; ask for a single seat
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride – has a lap bar restraint; ask for a single seat
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventures – has a lap bar restraint; ask for the motorbike seat instead of the sidecar; has a moving platform, ask for handicap entry if you need extra time to board
  • Jurassic World VelociCoaster – has a lap bar restraint; no modified seating options

There are test seats at the following ride entrances at Islands of Adventure that you may try before boarding – The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventures, and Velocicoaster.  Again, riders are cleared with a green light in the test seats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  If I am close to fitting, will the ride attendant assist me in getting the restraint secured? 

A:  This is a MAYBE, but don’t count on it.  If the ride attendant were to hurt you or cause injury, that is problematic for Universal Orlando.

Q:  Can I wait with my party in the queue line and not ride the ride? 

A:  Absolutely.  Just let the ride attendant know as you approach the loading area.

Q:  Can I be called out of line prior to loading to try a test seat? 

A:  Yes.  It is not uncommon and also not super pleasant, but it happens.  This is how Universal prevents hold-ups or problems during the loading process.

There is an amazing Facebook group dedicated to Universal Orlando plus-size riders that can be found here at Universal Orlando Plus Size Riders Facebook Group.  This group has resources including full ride guides that cover seating and tips and tricks for rides that tend to give plus-size riders trouble as well as Ride with Me Bios, where members share their individual ride experiences.

While it can be frustrating to have ride issues due to physical size, being prepared and knowledgeable when going to UOR is key in having a positive experience.

 

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Sarah Goff

Sarah is an Ohio native, but travels multiple times a year to the Orlando area (as well as other fun destinations) to enjoy the theme parks. She is one of our Destination Specialists with the TouringPlans travel agency and would love to help you book and plan your next vacation. You can find her on Facebook at Sarah Goff, Destination Specialist with TouringPlans and on Instagram and TikTok at sarahgoff_touringplans.

4 thoughts on “Tips for Plus-Size Guests at Universal Orlando Resort

  • February 15, 2021 at 8:07 pm
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    For anyone riding the Jurassic Park River Adventure, only the front row will be a slight hassle since it has a smaller width than the rest. Also it is one singular lap bar that goes across everyone in your row and stops lowering on first contact: good to think about if the rest of your group does not share your size. And PLEASE ask questions if you’re unsure. That’s what the Team Members are for. 🙂

    Reply
  • August 2, 2021 at 2:31 pm
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    Thank you so much for this list!!!!

    Reply
  • August 27, 2021 at 9:40 am
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    This list may have to be updated..I was just at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. and was told by staff they discontinued seat belt extenders for Bluto’s Barges

    Reply

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