My spouse and I recently went to Disneyland for Halloween Time and I have to say that my biggest fear about the trip was that I would be too fat to fit in any of the rides and I would have to sit on the sidelines.
The previous year we went to Universal Studios Hollywood and I was able to comfortably fit in most of the rides except, of course, the one I wanted to ride. I couldn’t fit in the Harry Potter ride. You see, I’m rather deep. I don’t look that wide from the front but I carry my weight in my stomach while also being very busty and when it came to trying to fit in the test seat for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, I couldn’t pull the over-the-head chest restraint down quite far enough to make the green light go on. So I sat on the sidelines while my spouse rode it and managed to be a good sport. I tried to tell myself I was too scared and that the ride would have made me feel trapped or it would trigger my anxiety. But the reality is, for months after that trip I felt pretty terrible that I didn’t fit in that ride.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you work on your own body positivity and fat acceptance, shit happens that just fucking sucks and makes you feel like poo on a stick. And I was terrified that this experience would happen to me again when we were at Disneyland. I wanted so badly to be able to let go and have a good time.
Well folks, I have good news for you! Disneyland is actually very (small to mid) fat friendly in my opinion! In this post I’ll be reviewing the rides we went on and how comfortable they were for me as a fat person, enjoying all things Disney. I’ll also do my best to explain the types of seats they were and the restraints and any other little tidbits I can remember!
For some context, in case you’re reading this wondering how you’d do with the rides at Disneyland and California Adventure, I am about 5’ 6” and I wear around a size 16 to 18 pant, XL or 2XL shirt (depending on the brand). I don’t know how much I weigh since I no longer weigh myself since recovering from disordered eating. You can also check out the pictures in this post and my instagram (@lostherskittles) if you’re curious about my size.
The first thing I want to point out is that if you grab a paper map of the park on your way in, there will be certain rides marked with a blue circle. There aren’t very many of them- just a hand full or so- but those are the rides, which may not be accessible to people of certain body shapes and sizes. This is a nice feature on the map because it can help to set expectations when heading to those rides. Some examples include Goofy’s Sky School and Space Mountain.
Something to keep in mind when in Fantasyland is that almost all the lines are very narrow with small turnstiles. I was able to fit through them fine (although for some I had to turn sideways due to the width of my hips) but I wanted to make sure to note it here just in case. Also, the lines are very windy so if you get claustrophobic or aren’t able to stand in close crowds for extended periods, this area of the park may be more difficult.
Alice in Wonderland– This was the first ride we rode on our trip. I loved it! But I also love Alice in Wonderland so I may be a bit biased. In this ride you will sit in a car that is shaped like a caterpillar and has 2 rows of seats. When we rode, they were allowing parties of 2 to either sit 2 people in the back row or 1 in each. We opted to sit together in the back row. I fit comfortably with my partner beside me and I had room to move. There is a lap bar that comes down to secure you and it didn’t touch my stomach at all when engaged.
Mad Tea Party (A.K.A. the tea cups)– This is my favorite ride in Disneyland. My partner says that they never hear me laugh the same laugh that I let out when I’m riding this ride. We rode it 3 times. Both of us fit comfortably across from each other in the tea cup with room to spin the middle. Our knees touched, though, so I don’t know that we could fit a third adult in there. You may be able to fit a child or 2 but it would be tight. There are no restraints in this ride to worry about. Also, I would highly recommend riding this at night- the lights are amazing and add a lot to the ride.
Snow White’s Scary Adventures– When entering this ride, be sure to touch the golden apple for an extra spoopy surprise! On the ride itself you’ll be sitting in a car similar to the one for Alice In Wonderland with 2 rows of seats but this one is designed to look like the bed frames of the seven dwarves. I was able to sit comfortably in the back row beside my partner with room to move. The restraint is a bar that will pull down in front of you.
It’s a Small World– For this ride you’ll sit in a boat with 4 rows of bench seats. There are no restraints and you can easily fit 2 to 3 people in a row. However, I wouldn’t recommend it. I know, I know… it’s a Disneyland staple, which is why I stood in line FOREVER to ride it, and about 5 minutes in I thought, “Wow. This is a lot longer than I remember” and then it kept going and going and going. It was the longest 15 minutes of my life. Not to mention, you’ll have that damn song stuck in your head forever after the ride is over. Just trust me on this.
Mister Toad’s Wild Ride– This ride has cars that are literally little cars. They are designed to look like old-fashioned cars with a single bench seat. My partner and I were able to fit together on the seat but it was a little tight. If either of us had been much larger it wouldn’t have been comfortable. The restraint system is a bar that will pull down and wasn’t a problem for me at all. It was more about the width of the seat here.
Pinocchio’s Daring Journey– The lines for this ride are very narrow. The cars are designed to look like wooden benches and there are 2 rows of seats with a pull down bar restraint. My partner and I were able to fit comfortably in the back row, side by side.
Storybook Canal Boats– I almost didn’t ride this ride but I’m so glad I did. It was super cute and a lot of fun. You’ll sit in a boat with a row of people on each side, facing inwards. There are no restraints and you have to stay seated the whole time. The seats are pretty low so keep that in mind when choosing your seat- if you’re like me and need to keep your knees apart to be comfortable you’ll want to make sure you sit next to someone who doesn’t mind. The boat “captain” i.e. a cast member, will sit on the back of the boat and will tell you all about the scenes in the storybook canal.
Peter Pan– If you’re using fast passes for other rides this will probably be the longest line you’ll wait in and I would say it’s worth it. You’ll sit in a floating pirate ship car that has a bench seat and a restraint bar that will pull down in front of you. The track for this ride is actually above you like a gondola to create the illusion that you’re flying to Neverland. Because of the design of the ride, there are some small drops and the car will lurch a bit but it’s not too bad.
Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin– For this ride, you’ll sit in a little car that’s supposed to look like a taxicab. It has one bench seat with a lap bar and a wheel you can turn to make your car spin more. It’s a pretty small car but my partner and I were able to fit side by side in one car and they were able to still turn the wheel. That being said, there wasn’t a lot of arm room and or room to move.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh– I love this ride! But I also love Winnie the Pooh and Heffalumps and Woozles soooo… The cars on this ride are shaped like sideways bees nest and have 3 rows of bench seating and lap bar restraints. My hunny (see what I did there) and I sat in the back row, which is fun because it’s like a half dome with a honeycomb pattern on it. It was comfortable and an easy fit for both of us with room to move. Also, we went with a family of four but due to the size of the cars, it didn’t feel like we were with their party. And if you look closely at the back of the cars- you’ll see a tiny Heffalump along for the ride.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad– I’m a big chicken so I sat this one out but this ride is a train that twists and turns on a, seemingly, rickety track. It’s got bench seating with a lap bar. My partner says I would have fit without any trouble had I gotten the courage to ride it.
Indiana Jones Adventure-I also sat this one out- again, I’m a coward when it comes to this type of ride. I rode it as a child, though, and you sit in a “jeep” with 3 rows of bench seating with a seat belt. My partner rode it and is confident I would have been fine sitting next to them.
New Orleans Square
Pirates of the Caribbean– For this ride you’ll sit in a boat that has five rows of bench seating with no restraints. We sat in the back row and there was room for a third person if we’d had a bigger party. Since this ride starts at the top of the building, you have to ride the ride down into the bottom. This means there are two drops in the beginning. I forgot they were coming and they scared me- I screamed and gripped the seat in front of me for dear life and didn’t let go for the rest of the ride (convinced that another one was coming). The drops are large enough to feel your butt lift a bit off the seat but not so large that you need a restraint. Towards the end of the ride you’ll be pulled up a large hill that will make you think there is a giant drop on the way- fear not! There isn’t one. There is a small drop at the end but the main intention of that hill is to get you back up to the entrance of the ride.
Haunted Mansion– Loved this ride! In case you didn’t know- they update it for Halloween to be Nightmare Before Christmas themed. When getting on this ride you’ll have to enter your car from a moving walkway that advances as the cars advance. You sit in a little half-shell type car that has speakers in it so you can hear the music and audio in your personal car. It is a bench seat with a lap bar. We fit comfortably in the ride with room to move and even though the ride broke down multiple times it was a ton of fun. Beware- fast passes go really fast for this ride and the line is quite lengthy. That being said, the line is a lot of fun as you get to see all the detail on the mansion and in the yard. We rode it at night which really made the decorations pop.
Space Mountain– As you can probably already guess- I didn’t ride this ride. I would not be able to handle not being able to see where I’m going. My partner rode it, though, and the cars have rows of 2 individual seats with a lap bar restraint. This ride is marked on the map as one that may be hard for people of certain body types.
Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters– We got on this ride on a whim and frankly I’m glad we didn’t wait in line for it for more than 5 minutes. It was a total let down after riding the much better Toy Story Midway Mania over at California Adventure. This ride is very similar but it’s a bit worn down and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets refurbished or replaced soon. You’ll have to get on this ride from a moving walkway and you’ll sit in a roundish car that has two Astro Blaster guns on it that you’ll use to shoot lasers at targets throughout the ride. The seat is a bench seat and there is a lap bar restraint. We fit comfortably in this ride with no trouble.
Luigi’s Rollicking Roadsters– This ride is super cute! You sit in these little Italian looking roadsters that have a bench seat in them and they dance! All the cars move in a choreographed dance than swings you around and spins (similar to the way the tea cups move but a bit more aggressive). The restraint is a seatbelt and we fit with a bit of room left to spare on the seatbelt. Feasibly we could have both been bigger and still been able to fit in this ride.
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree– During Halloween Time they update this ride to be the JamBOOree, which is adorable. Each car is made up of a tractor cow like in the movie Cars and a wagon attachment. You will sit in the wagon portion of the car and as the music plays, the tractors will move around, swinging the wagons attached to the back. It’s a lot of fun and each round they play a different song. For Halloween they take classic Halloween songs and change the lyrics to be car related- i.e. the purple fender bender instead of the purple people eater. The restraint on this one is a seat belt like the Luigi ride and we had room to spare.
Monsters Inc. Mike and Sully to the Rescue– This ride is awesome, visually, and a lot of fun. I would recommend going into it blind without watching any ride throughs on YouTube or anything as it may spoil the fun. We watched one before and it took away a bit of the magic. You’ll sit in a taxicab that has 3 rows of seats. The inside seat will have a small TV screen attached to it on which you’ll watch some of the story. The restraint is the standard lap bar we’ve seen on most rides and there was plenty of room for the two of us.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout– This used to be the Tower of Terror and essentially it’s the same ride with a different story. You go up in an elevator and take multiple drops down to the bottom. I opted out of this one as I hate the feeling of my stomach dropping. My partner said it has individual seats with seat belts and the seats are very close together. You are in a cage type thing so since they were on the end, they were able to have an extra thing to hold onto.
Paradise Gardens Park
Goofy’s Sky School– This one is actually marked on the map as one that may be restricting for people of certain body shapes and sizes. Each car consists of two rows of seats. We were able to sit together in the back row but it was a bit tight. By belly touched the lap bar restraint and if I had been any bigger, I wouldn’t fit.
When we rode this ride, I was definitely facing a fear of rollercoasters. These twin girls sat in the row in front of us who were probably about 7-8 years old. I screamed almost the ENTIRE TIME. And I kid you not- these little girls were judging me HARDCORE. They kept turning around and laughing at me like “look at this fool.” When we’d head into a drop they were watching me like it wasn’t even a big deal. It was pretty hilarious that I couldn’t even handle a kids ride. *Shrug*
The Little Mermaid– I would highly recommend riding this ride. It is a lot of fun and although it’s pretty short, the animatronics are pretty impressive. Like Haunted Mansion, you’ll enter your car from a moving walkway and you’ll sit in a clamshell. Although this time it is literally shaped like a clamshell since, you know, you’re under the sea. The restraint is a lap bar and we fit without any problems.
Toy Story Midway Mania– This is my favorite ride in all of California Adventure! It is soooo much fun!!! You sit in a two-sided car with a bench on each side (so you’re back to back with the other set of people in the ride). There are two midway game guns mounted on the car with a screen in between and the restraint is a lap bar. You’ll wear 3D glasses for the entirety of the ride. The idea here is that you’ll slide and spin through the ride and stop in front of different midway style games. You’ll play each game with the hopes of getting the highest score in your car. The screen between you in the car will tally your score as you go through the ride. We rode this twice and would have gone even more if we’d had time.
Incredicoaster-This used to be California Screamin and was recently updated to be themed after the Incredibles. I didn’t ride it because it goes upside down and if you read my description of Goofy’s Sky School you can understand why I wouldn’t be itching to ride this one. My partner rode it, though, and you sit two people per row. This is the only ride between the two parks that either of us rode which had a pull down restraint that goes over your chest.
Overall I felt comfortable and was able to move around in all the rides we rode. I was even able to fit my purse on the floor at my feet on all the rides, which was an added bonus- I didn’t have to worry about where to put it. I would rate Disneyland as being very fat friendly for someone of my size. I can’t wait to go back and am already planning my next trip! I hope this post helps others who may be feeling anxious about enjoying the parks!