Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ride vehicles and the American public

This is a touchy subject, and I have been on both sides of the aisle on this one. I am 5 feet tall, and have struggled with my weight for years. I have weighed as much as 215 pounds and as little as 126 pounds in the last 10 years. I fluctuate quite a bit and struggle when I go places and have to think about fitting into something. We won't even get into the bathing suit issue here, that is something I do not want to scare you all with.

I was reading about the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter park and especially the the new Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction. One website stated that as you entered the attraction there are warnings posted. Next to the warnings were two ride seats to make sure you will fit on the attraction. These look just like every other roller coaster seat out there. There is an over the head restraint,which buckles between the legs. On the side of the seat is a red and a green light. If you lower the restraint and the green light illuminates, you’re good to go. Red light, well, the queue is open to you, but you won’t be able to ride. They do the same thing in other amusement parks with tryout park vehicles, so that lines are not held up, or people embarrassed at the last minute when they do not fit.

We all know that Americans are larger than ever. Statistics point to 65% of American being overweight, including the writer of this article. Some airlines are asking larger passengers to pay for two seats, if they can not fit in one seat comfortably. We have all experienced having someone sit next to you in those tiny airline seats, that took up more than their share of seat.  At Disneyland It's A Small World ride renovations were made to make canal deeper and the fiberglass boats were replaced with more buoyant ones, to accommodate our growing waist lines. I am sure that renovation will be felt in our pockets in ticket prices and growing food prices.

So, why are we not making seats larger? The answer in this writers opinion is money. Larger seats on a planes, means less passengers to charge. Less money coming in, in actuality they are doing the complete opposite trying to get in as many seats in an airplane as possible. On a ride less seats on a ride means longer queues which makes for unhappy customers. I am sure some rides have weight limits for it to function safely, so that has to be taken into affect.

For the Harry Potter ride someone who does not fit can experience the queue but not the actual ride. Some places have special places where the physically disabled or those who do not fit can watch. Harry Potter is not one of them, and that is a shame. What the answer is I do not know. Larger seats would raise prices I am sure, so wouldn't adding an area where people could watch the ride. Right now, I know what my option is, lose weight before I go in August or miss out. There is no way I am missing out, so dieting for Harry it is!

Maybe I should learn to play Quiditch...I am sure that would burn a few calories.... What do you think? Let us know....

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