The short answer is yes! Back in 2018, my wife and I 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.
Now, 4 years later, we are Magic Key Holders and go to Disneyland at least once a month. In my opinion, Disneyland is actually quite (small to mid) fat friendly! In this post I’ll be reviewing the rides I’ve been on and how comfortable they are for me as a fat person, enjoying all things Disney. I’ll also do my best to explain the types of seats they have, the restraints used, and any other little tidbits I can offer! I originally published this post back when we took our trip and am updating it now to add in newly added, and newly ridden, rides. Be sure to check back again, too, since I’ll be updating this post as I explore the park more and as it continues to grow.
For some context, in case you’re reading this wondering how you’d do with the rides at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, you can check out the pictures in this post and my instagram (@exuberology) 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.
Indiana Jones Adventure – One thing to keep in mind for this ride is that the entrance is very long compared to other rides and depending on how long the wait is, you may have to go up and down quite a few larger sets of stairs. For this ride, you sit in a car that looks like a jeep with 3 rows of bench seating and a seat belt. the seatbelt extends pretty far but with the size of my butt and hips, I had to lean forward and lift up a bit to have my wife buckle the belt. Once buckled, the seat was comfortable with room to move. I do want to note, though, that this ride is very discombobulating for me as a person with sensory sensitivities. You change motion quickly causing the car to rock and jerk, you go from light to dark to light again rapidly, and there are 2 drops. The last drop is completely in the dark and it made me scream so loud the people in front of us in the car laughed at me. Oops! haha I will most likely not ride it again, but if you like thrill rides you’ll enjoy it.
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’ nests and have 3 rows of bench seating and lap bar restraints. My hunny (see what I did there) and have sat in the back row, which is fun because it’s like a half dome with a honeycomb pattern on it, as well as the front row which is a blast because you can see everything so well. 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.
Something to keep in mind when in Fantasyland is that almost all the lines are very narrow with small turnstiles. I am able to fit through them fine (although for some I have 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 for you. At times you may be completely surrounded with little to no room to move.
Alice in Wonderland – This is by far one of my favorite classic Disney dark rides. In this ride you will sit in a car that is shaped like a caterpillar and has 2 rows of seats. They typically allow parties of 2 to either sit 2 people in the back row or 1 in each. We opt to sit together in the back row. I fit comfortably with my wife beside me and I have room to move. There is a lap bar that comes down to secure you.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant – This ride is a classic and I really love it. While waiting in line you listen to various instrumental Disney songs which will definitely put a pep in your step. On the ride itself you can sit 1 to 2 people per elephant. I opted to sit in one myself as they are pretty small. With just me in the elephant I had lots of room and was able to see all around Fantasyland. You’re fastened in with an adjustable plastic seatbelt and there is no door on the elephant car. There is also a joystick so you can move your car up and down. Just a note – when the ride is about to end the operator will take over control of bring all the cars up to the highest point before lowering them to the starting point.
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.
Mad Tea Party (A.K.A. the tea cups) – My wife says that she never hears me laugh the way I do when I’m riding this ride. 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. I do also want to mention that it’s a bit tight when first getting into the teacup but don’t panic! once you get in and close the little door, there is room to slide around to get comfortable. 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.
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 wife 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 pulls down and wasn’t a problem for me at all. It was more about the width of the seat here.
Peter Pan – If you’re using Lightning Lane 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.
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.
Snow White’s Enchanted Wish (Formerly Snow White’s Scary Adventures) – This ride was (relatively) recently updated. 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 with my wife with room to move. The restraint is a bar that will pull down in front of you.
Storybook Canal Boats – This ride is super cute and fun when you get a great storyteller as your captain. Although the ride is open at night I would recommend riding it during the day if possible. We’ve ridden it before and after dark and although the exhibits are lit up, it is much harder to see the little details once the sun goes down. 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.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – I’m a big chicken so I sit 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 wife says I would’ve fit without any trouble had I gotten the courage to ride it.
New Orleans Square
Haunted Mansion – This is one of my favorite rides. I’m obsessed with the details and the music. When getting on this ride you’ll have to enter your car from a moving walkway that advances as the cars arrive on their track. You sit in a little half-shell type car called a Doombuggy 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. In case you didn’t know – they also update it for Halloween to be Nightmare Before Christmas themed. Beware – Lightning Lane passes go really fast for this ride and the line can be quite long. That being said, the line is a lot of fun as you get to see all the detail on the mansion and in the pet graveyard out front.
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.
Just a note here that Toon Town is currently closed for refurbishment and redesign.
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.
Space Mountain– As you can probably already guess- I sit this one out. I would not be able to handle being in the dark and not being able to see where I’m going. My wife rides 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– I’ve only ridden this ride once. We got in line 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.
Disneyland Railroad – I love riding the Disneyland Railroad! For one, it’s a great way to rest your feet if you need a break. Two, it’s shaded and the breeze is amazing. Three, it offers hidden sites as you move on down the track! There are stops in various lands so you can get on and off as needed to get to different areas of the park. Some of the stations have smaller turnstiles that are a tight fit but the train itself is roomy with bench seats facing out to the right of the car so you can catch the view. The cars each have 3-4 rows of seats that are stadium-style so even with the car full you can still see.
Monorail – Even though the monorail only has 2 stops – one in Tomorrowland and one in Downtown Disney – I’ve added it to the miscellaneous category because it’s less of a ride and more of a way to get in and out of the park. That being said, it has bench seating throughout and offers great views. If you’re staying at the Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier Hotel, I highly recommend catching this into the park from Downtown Disney. It will save you quite a walk to the main entrance. Keep in mind, though, that it does not run during Magic Morning early entry.
DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE
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 she was on the end, she was able to have something to hold onto.
WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure – This ride offers similar vibes to that of Toy Story Midway Mania in that you are trying to score points as the ride progresses. You sit in a half dome with a bench seat which fits 4 people. There are lap restraints which come down but they offer room to be comfortable. As you progress through the ride, wearing 3D glasses, your job is to use web slingers to defeat spider drones with Spider-Man (Tom Holland). You sling the webs by moving your arms which they teach you how to do while in line. It is a lot of fun but it can make your arms tired after slinging so many webs.
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 that 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 – Each car of this ride 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. The restraint on this one is a seat belt like the Luigi ride and we had room to spare. It’s a lot of fun and each round they play a different song. During Halloween Time they update this ride to be the JamBOOree, which is adorable. 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.
Radiator Springs Racers – The line for this ride can get really long (I’ve seen it as high as 170 minutes) but they have water misters throughout which are fantastic on a hot day! When you get on this ride, you sit in a car with 2 rows of 3 seats each. You buckle yourself in with a seatbelt which offers quite a bit of extension but I did have to have my wife help me do up the buckle since it was between us and hidden once I sat down. The beginning of this ride is really mellow and fun. You get to see all the different Cars characters living in Radiator Springs. But don’t get too comfortable! About half way through the ride you take off on a race against the car ahead of you (which is now beside you). You go quite fast all around and up and down hills in a race to the finish. I don’t like thrill rides but I would still ride this again. The drops are pretty small and when I know what to expect I think I can enjoy it more. Word to the wise – remove your hat before riding! I lost my Goofy hat mid-race and it flew down the track like a tumbleweed.
Soarin’ Around the World – I try to ride this ride every time I’m in DCA. It’s a half-dome screen that offers an immersive flying experience. When you enter the ride, there are 3 large sets of seats. Each one has 3 long rows of seats and the front row goes to the top when the ride starts. You sit in individual seats with arm rests and a seat belt which I am able to fasten pretty easily. Once the ride starts, the seats all lift up and your feet dangle below you as you soar around the world seeing different countries. There are no drops in this ride but they do blow wind in your face and there are cuts between countries which can be startling the first time you ride it. I highly recommend this ride! And if you have a choice, aim to be towards the middle of the screen.
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 ridethroughs 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.
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 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.
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 wife his ridden on it quite a few times, 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.
Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind – This ride is a similar set up to Dumbo the Flying Elephant except it can fit up to 4 people per car. You get in a box with 2 bench seats on either end and plastic seatbelt. The ride lifts off and you whirl around (slowly) while the featured emotion for your turn talks to you. I loved this ride but it’s very short. I wouldn’t wait more than 10 minutes as the ride length doesn’t make longer waits worth the time (a big bummer). Maybe one day they will make it longer.
Jessie’s Critter Carousel – Did I ride the kid’s carousel on Pixar Pier? Yes, yes I did. Did I hurt myself getting off my animal? Yes, yes I did. This is pretty much a standard carousel but the animals are quite tall. It’s obviously designed for kids to be lifted up by their parents. The animals are all super cute, though, and they move up and down as expected. Just be careful when getting off if they stop at the high point on their pole.
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 a lap bar restraint. 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 on a video screen. 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. When you exit the ride, you have to go up a large flight of stairs and then down the stairs on the other side.
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!
Originally published October 2018. Updated in August 2022.