Overweight Harry Potter fans turned away from Forbidden Journey

Posted Thursday, June 24, 2010 12:34 PM | Contributed by Jeff

According to some Harry Potter lovers, pudgy muggles -- those who weigh about 265 pounds or more -- are getting tossed from line at the most-hyped ride in Universal Studios' Wizarding World of Harry Potter amusement park. For them, the ride "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" is truly living up to its name -- and that's a big disappointment for fans who resemble Harry's rotund cousin Dudley.

Read more from AOL News.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010 12:44 PM

Alternate headline: Amusement ride has completely reasonable guest-size limitations.

In other news: Water- wet, sky- blue. More at 11.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010 1:14 PM

I think it's hilarious that someone who is 5'8" and 265 lbs complains and thinks that just because a pro athlete who is well over 6' and just also happens to be 265lbs got to ride, that they should. It obviously wasn't that he got to ride because of his celeb status.

Best quote from the article:

"You can't design a ride for an excessively large person," he says. "You can't build for that narrow segment of the population. You try to hit average and little bit above."

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Thursday, June 24, 2010 1:24 PM

The only problem I have with it is that there is supposedly inconsistency about ops helping people with the restraint. Some days they will help you push down the restraint, other days they won't so some people who were able to ride one day are being turned away the next since you need 3 clicks to ride.


It's a little different but with Batman at Great Adventure, I can buckle the test seat myself with no help. Some seats on the actual train I can buckle myself, others I am very close but need a little help from an op. If suddenly they said they can't help anymore, then I'd either have to memorize which seats have the shorter belts and avoid them or not ride at all.

Last edited by YoshiFan, Thursday, June 24, 2010 1:25 PM
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Thursday, June 24, 2010 1:35 PM

Cry me a river. There is a major difference between a guy who is 5'8'' and 265lbs versus a guy who is 6'11'' and 265lbs. The 5'8'' guy is going to have significant girth, where else is all that weight suppose to go? There is only so much ride designers can do to ensure properly fitting restraints and safety. I went to work at Great America (CA) right after the Drop Zone accident/death and I can assure people, it is much better to be properly restrained or rejected from riding a ride than dying from a tragic accident and putting everyone (victim, ride operators, first responders, maintenance team, etc) through such a horrific ordeal.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010 1:55 PM

I tried to find the virtual fit software/application that used to be on the H&M website, so I could plug those numbers in to do a side-by-side, but unfortunately, they seem to have gone by the wayside, unless you want to shell out $300+. I'd like to really vizualize what 5' 8" and 265 looks like.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010 2:16 PM

Removed for something more useful by me :)

This is one ive seen for listing averages:

http://www.healthchecksystems.com/heightweightchart.htm

But even then it doesnt really convey what reality is.

Last edited by ridemcoaster, Thursday, June 24, 2010 4:08 PM
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Thursday, June 24, 2010 2:52 PM

Oh. God. Why?

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Thursday, June 24, 2010 3:06 PM

Sorry, I had to run to the nearest eye wash station. Surprisingly, for a hospital, it is pretty far away.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010 3:14 PM

ridemcoaster said:
[link obliterated, hooray!]

Ugh. Great. Could have used an NSFW tag on that one. Fortunately(?) I never made it to whatever image is causing people to scream. Unfortunately it's because the filter at work flagged the site as adult/pornography. Expecting an awkward call from IT momentarily.

Partially my fault for clicking a tinyurl'd link hidden in a hyperlink. There's no need to tinyurl something if it's getting hyperlinked anyway, unless *Admiral Akbar voice* it's a traaaap.

Last edited by BBSpeed26, Thursday, June 24, 2010 4:22 PM
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Thursday, June 24, 2010 3:16 PM

Profanity removed. Do it again and you're done. -J

Last edited by Jeff, Thursday, June 24, 2010 9:22 PM
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Thursday, June 24, 2010 3:40 PM

Profanity removed. -J

I can imagine your solution to other problems:

Depression - stop crying and cheer up

Compound Leg Fracture - take a Tylenol and walk it off

Alcoholism - push the drink away!

Last edited by Jeff, Thursday, June 24, 2010 9:24 PM
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Thursday, June 24, 2010 3:43 PM

Universal Studios representatives did not return calls in time for AOL News' deadline, but the Orlando Sentinel reports that park officials have "instituted a screening system" requiring random park-goers to sit in "test seats" installed in the line area of the "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" ride.

They were doing random checks of before the final little queue when I as there for the preview with my wife. It was unclear why at the time, but now I get it.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010 3:44 PM

What if you eat with a spork (like I always do) I guess I am doomed.

Last edited by delan, Thursday, June 24, 2010 3:45 PM
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Thursday, June 24, 2010 4:04 PM

This doesn't need to turn into another argument about why fat people are fat and whether or not it's their fault. That just isn't the issue at hand.

The fact of the matter is that the Forbidden Journey is a thrill ride, and like any thrill ride, there are restrictions on the size of the guest that exist solely for the safety of the guest. The guy from the consulting firm in the article put it perfectly: "You can't design a ride for an excessively large person... You can't build for that narrow segment of the population. You try to hit average and little bit above."

It's hilariously unreasonable for the 5'8", 265lb guy to be whining that the ride couldn't accomodate him, and that Universal should've expected that because, and I'm paraphrasing, Potter has fat fans. First of all, I'd love to see any sort of evidence that supports that, and second of all, should they really have designed the restraint to accomodate you and potentially further raised the height requirement, thus preventing a larger swath of the target audience (you know, kids) from being able to ride?

Terrible "journalism" all the way 'round on this one too. I sincerely doubt that Universal has a scale sitting there and that anyone over 265lbs is auto-rejected. It's a matter of whether or not you as a guest are able to ride safely based on your body size - height, girth or otherwise. If you can ride safely, you get to ride! If it is the opinion of the park that you can't ride safely *for any reason*, you don't get to ride *because it's not safe*.

If anything I say kudos to Universal for being proactive about it with the semi-mandatory test-seat check. They don't need headlines about how a fat Potter fan got thrown from their new thrill ride because he whined his way onto a ride it wasn't safe for him to ride and (surprise!) fell out.

Last edited by BBSpeed26, Thursday, June 24, 2010 4:06 PM
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Thursday, June 24, 2010 4:10 PM

BBSpeed26 said:

Ugh. Great. Could have used an NSFW tag on that one. Fortunately(?) I never made it to whatever image is causing people to scream. Unfortunately it's because the filter at work flagged the site as adult/pornography. Expecting an awkward call from IT momentarily.

Partially my fault for clicking a tinyurl'd link hidden in a hyperlink. There's no need to tinyurl something if it's getting hyperlinked anyway, unless *Admiral Akbar voice* it's a traaaap.

I doubt they will call for one errant link. If they do they must have an employee base of 3 to monitor and time for one errant link clicker.

Also the content filters base the root URL and sublinks not specific images, else the database would be huge. So everything in that sub URL is probably filtered, good bad or indifferent..

That said I removed it.. Course you Quoted it, so thats not my fault ;)

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Thursday, June 24, 2010 4:25 PM

*fixed. No call from IT either, and regardless I don't think it would've put anything in jeopardy. As a rule though, I just prefer that anything even peripherally related to the word pornography remain a very large, safe distance from anywhere I ever work.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010 4:25 PM

BBSpeed26 said:
The fact of the matter is that the Forbidden Journey is a thrill ride, and like any thrill ride, there are restrictions on the size of the guest that exist solely for the safety of the guest.

Well, not *any* thrill ride. There will always be someone who is too big, but there are plenty of thrill rides that will accommodate someone who is 5'8" and 265lbs.

Disney isn't the thrill ride mecca, but they do have aggressive rides. I'm not aware of anything there that is restrictive to the point of needing test seats. It's not like this is an impossible concept. I'm certainly not saying Universal is wrong, I'm just making a point in general.

I'll defer to RideMan on the issue of restraints. If I recall correctly, he wrote a post recently where he discussed rider size and restraints.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010 4:51 PM

That's not the point though. Yes, there will always be someone who is too big, and yes, there are thrill rides that will accomodate someone who is 5'8" & 265lb. The fact of the matter though is that that is *not* an average body size or shape, and if you fit that profile, you shouldn't expect to fit into every thrill ride.

I agree that restraints can be designed (within reason) to accomodate a wide variety of body sizes and shapes, but there will always be outliers who can't fit. That said, the article mentions that 6'11" 265lb Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard got a ride, so if anything, that indicates to me that the ride's restraints are extraordinarily inclusive when it comes to what body sizes/shapes can and can't ride. I'll note that the article doesn't present it that way though, choosing instead to whine along with the rejected party and using it as an example of Universal's "unfairness". Terrible journalism.

Re: Disney, I would say that the majority of Disney's more aggressive rides don't deliver the kind of forces that a ride on a Kuka arm can*, and I would say their more aggressive rides absolutely have issues with rider size. I'd like to see a particularly large gentleman fit into Mission: Space, and California Screaming has some previous iteration of Intamin OSTR's, which I seem to recall being notoriously restrictive when it comes to larger riders (not just girth here, also talking about torso length).

*disclaimer, I have not ridden the Forbidden Journey so comments about the nature of its ride experience are pure conjecture based on the capabilities of the Kuka arm that the bench is strapped to, and my experience on static RoboCoaster installations.

Last edited by BBSpeed26, Thursday, June 24, 2010 4:53 PM
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Thursday, June 24, 2010 4:55 PM

I cringe every time I see a ride op pushing heavily on a restraint to get it to close for a rider. I understand the emotionality behind it. But I fear for the safety of the guest. I also can't imagine how uncomfortable some of those forces may feel when the body has been pinned inside the restraint like that.

And I also understand why there would be inconsistency in rider op's willingness to do it. That's a potential liability issue really.

Last edited by Carrie M., Thursday, June 24, 2010 4:56 PM
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