One Size Doesnt Fit All – A Guide to the Magic Kingdom for the Larger Guest

Walt Disney World is very good at accommodating guests of all shapes and sizes. There are times however when larger guests may struggle to fit on certain attractions. Having experienced this myself it can be a little embarrassing to be shown to the exit by a cast member because you don’t fit although whenever I have seen this done at Walt Disney World it has been handled quietly and with discretion. I’ve written this guide to help anyone who is concerned decide which attractions they want to experience and what the room and restraints are like on all of the attractions.
This guide is written from my personal experiences of the Magic Kingdom as a larger guest. At the time of these experiences I was 300 pounds and I am 6 feet 2 inches tall. I carried most of my weight on my torso and stomach. Where you carry your extra weight will affect which experiences you can enjoy comfortably. A person who carries extra weight on their bottom will be able to experience attractions that someone who carries their weight on their stomach maybe can’t. This also works in reverse. This guide will give you a general idea of what to expect as I take you through every attraction in the Magic Kingdom describing the restraints and room available on all of them.

Before we get to the attractions let’s talk about some basics for visiting Walt Disney World. The average visitor to the Walt Disney World theme parks is estimated to walk between 7 and 9 miles per day. If you are not used to walking then this is going to hit you hard. At the time of my first visit to Walt Disney World I had a relatively active job and liked to get out and about walking my dog. I was still out of shape though and the walking hit me hard. Walking distances often take the first time visitor by surprise and it can ruin your trip if you don’t plan properly. Sore and blistered feet do not fit well with a visit to Walt Disney World. If like me, you are a little out of shape then I would advise you to start to take some walks in advance of your vacation, gradually increasing the distances until you can comfortably walk 4 or 5 miles a day. On my first visit, being large and out of shape I struggled badly in the heat and humidity. I got tired easily and I suffered from sweat rash and dehydration. Its important to plan a strategy for combating these enemies of Florida Theme Park touring and I’m going to give you some tips as we go along. In general you should make sure you have blister band aids, antiseptic cream a change of socks and a sweat rash treatment with you in the parks. If you don’t want to haul this around the park with you then there are lockers available at the entrances to all four Walt Disney World theme parks

OK, lets get going then. If you are staying onsite and using Disney Transport then you will be dropped off at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom. If you drive then you will arrive at the parking lot for the Transportation and Ticketing Center (TTC). At this point the Magic Kingdom is still 1.5 miles away. You will need to walk to the end of your parking row to catch one of the Disney Parking Trams to the TTC. The parking trams look like this:
Parking Tram 1photograph by aroundustyroads.com

Parking Tram 2Photograph by Disneyatwork.com

Although the trams run frequently you will be exposed to the weather if you need to wait for one. The heat can be pretty oppressive standing on the parking lot asphalt with the sun beating down on you. It doesn’t take long to get hot, sweaty and uncomfortable.
Now – take a look at those tram doors. They are narrow and the leg room when you are on the tram is very tight. Stomach, butt and torso wise once you are through the door though you are fine. Now look at the far right of the tram – there is a wider door leading to a double set of seats, if you are worried about fitting in then head for one of those rows, there is one on every car in the tram. After the rather lengthy safety announcements your journey will begin and approximately 5 minutes later you will arrive at the TTC.
A short walk will take you through the ticketing area where you have two choices for your transport to the park entrance – you can take the monorail or the ferryboat. Both are iconic and I like both of them but lets take a closer look.

The Monorail looks like this
Monorial 1Photograph by disneyparkswikia.com

Monorail 2Photograph by wdwmagic.com

The doors are wide and the seats are very accommodating as you can see. If the monorail is busy though which it frequently is then only the first few guests through the door will get a seat with everyone else standing. The journey takes about 5 minutes.

The Ferryboat looks like this

Ferryboat1photograph by wdwmagic.com

The walkways are wide and the seats are accommodating although there aren’t too many. At busy times you will find yourself standing. The journey takes about ten minutes and for many guests this is the preferred way to arrive at the Magic Kingdom as Cinderella’s Castle slowly reveals itself over the course of your journey.
So at last you have arrived at the Magic Kingdom. Next up is bag check (if you have one) and then the park entrance. Walt Disney World theme parks don’t have entry turnstiles anymore so you don’t have to worry about squeezing through. All four park entrances look like this.

Entrance polesPhotograph by wdwmagic.com

To gain entry touch your magic band or ticket to the Mickey head on top of the pole, scan your finger and in you go. If you need a locker you can rent one from the gift shop immediately on your right as you walk in. Once your belongings are stored you can proceed under the railroad bridge (deliberately designed to stop you seeing the castle) and walk into town square. You will then experience a moment that was planned into the very design of the park. As you emerge from under the bridge the awesome sights and theming of Town Square, Main Street USA and Cinderella’s Castle will hit you full on in a huge ‘WOW’ moment. The sights are deliberately obscured from outside the park so that this moment would exist for every guest that ever visits the Magic Kingdom. If you haven’t seen it yet then I promise you that it is an awe inspiring sight and a moment that still takes my breath away.
To your right is the Town Square Theater where you can meet Mickey or Tinkerbell. If you want to see both then you can but that’s two separate lines for two separate attractions. There are no problems here for the larger guest.
Behind you as you walk into the park is the Main Street Station of the Walt Disney World Railroad. This is usually the busiest station so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you board here but we will cover the attraction now. I like the railroad, it’s a lovely way to spend 30-40 minutes doing a loop of the park. There are stations in Fantasyland and Frontierland.
The train carriages look like this:

Railroad seatsPhotograph from allears.net

They have a similar set up to the parking trams. If you are worried about room head for the double seats at the end of each railroad car.

Feeling the pace? For an air con break have a wander around the emporium or some of the other shops. Need arest and a drink? Try for a seat outside of the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor or Casey’s Corner.

At the top of main street you will arrive at ‘the hub’ which is at the center of the Magic Kingdom. Take a right and walk into Tomorrowland. First up on your left hand side is Stich’s Great Escape. Quite frankly I think this is an appalling attractions but that’s not what we are discussing today. Inside the attraction you sit in a sort of circular theater however there are over the shoulder restraints to hold you in place. The seats don’t go anywhere though but as this attraction frequently terrifies young children I think they are there to stop the poor kids from running out.
It looks like this

Stich2photograph from disneyparksinfo.com

StichPhotograph from youtube.com

It’s been a few years since I experienced this attraction but from memory the legroom was fine and the restraints did not cause a problem. The chairs of the arms are fixed in place though and can be uncomfortable if you are wider than average.
Next up on your right is the Monsters Laugh Floor. This is a show and takes pace in a crescent shaped theater. It looks like this.

MonstersPhotograph from allears.net

No problems here as room is plentiful.
Next up on the right is Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Spin. This ride is an omnimover which means it doesn’t stop. You board by walking onto a moving conveyer belt before climbing into your car. The car looks like this

Buzz lightyearPhotograph from allears.net

This is where you might start to experience some problems. The front of the car with the gun mounted on it pushes back before you set off on your journey. It will stop when it reaches its locking point, not when in reaches you. It can be very uncomfortable. Its worth noting for the wider guests among us that if there are three of you the Cast members will put you all in one car and this can be very tight. If youre concerned about this tell the CM loading the ride that you want to ride as a 2 and a 1 rather than a 3. They will be fine with this.
Walking around Tomorrowland to the right you will come to Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress next. This is a theater style presentation and it looks like this

CarouselPhotograph from thedatereport.com

Plenty of legroom in here but the seats are a little on the narrow side with fixed arms so it may be a little uncomfortable for the wider folks among us.
Space Mountain is next and again there may be some issues for the larger guest with this attraction. First off it’s a long line to walk through so be ready for some exercise. When you eventually reach the loading platform you will notice that you will be sitting in your ‘rocket’ single file. You also have an individual lap bar. The front seat of the three in each rocket has more room than the other two and the middle and back seat are a little difficult to get in and out of. If your worried about fitting in then ask the CM loading the ride for the front seat. The ride vehicle looks like this.

Space MountainPhotograph from digitaldisneyworld.com

In the middle of Tomorrowland you will find two attractions, one on top of the other. On the first floor you will find the Tomorrowland transit authority people mover which will take you around Tomorrowland and inside Space Mountain on an elevated track. It’s a gentle attraction that gives you a great view. The trains look like this

People mover OnlyWDW.com.comPhotograph from OnlyWDW.com

There is plenty of room in there for two people facing each other but the Cast Members may put as many as four of you in one car. Again if you are concerned about room just ask the Cast Member loading the attraction if you can ride in parties of two.
On the level above the people mover you will find the Astro Orbiters. As with the people mover this attraction will also afford you an excellent view. Room is very tight on this attraction though and the rockets look like this

AstroPhotograph from arondaparks.com

If you are on the larger side then your best option is to ask to ride on your own, you may still struggle to fit on this attraction though, its probably the most challenging attraction in the Magic Kingdom for larger guests.
Next up is the Tomorrowland Speedway. You will smell this attraction before you see it due to the gas fumes from the car engines. The cars look like this

SpeedwayPhotograph from theaffordablemouse.com

The cars are low down and not the easiest to climb in and out of. Room isn’t too bad once you are in there though.

Feeling the pace yet? Grab a drink in the air conditioned interior of Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe or grab an outside seat by the speedway and an ice cream or smoothie from Aunty Gravity’s Galactic Goodies.
That’s it for Tomorrowland and moving around the park counter clockwise you will come to Fantasyland.
First up in Fantasyland is the Mad Tea Party which is basically a teacup spinner ride. The teacups look like this.

Mad Tea PartyPhotograph from Orlandosentinel.com

Everyone should be ok on this attraction, you may just need to ride in parties of 2 or 3.
Right in front of the Mad Tea Party you will find the Magic Kingdoms newest and most popular ride – The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train however the entrance is further around to the left. Heading in that direction though you will come to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Poo. This is a slow paced dark ride and very popular with younger children. You ride in a honeypot which looks like this

Winnie the pooPhotograph from allears.net

The challenge here is around that T shaped lap bar. While most will fit in here the lap bar will stop when it touches you. As it is a shared bar though if you are riding with a small child they will have a lot of room between them and the lap bar. Now the bar is to stop people standing up and getting out of the ride vehicle, I’m sure your child would be safe enough but its something you need to be aware of before you ride.
On your right hand side now you will see the entrance to The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This is an excellent addition to the park however it presents a big challenge for larger guests wishing to ride. The mine train cars are very tight and look like this

seven dwarfsPhotograph from floridaleisure.com

Both width and legroom are at a premium here and a lot of larger guests will struggle to fit. There are individual lap bars though so once you are in the restrains won’t cause you a problem. While requesting to ride on your own may help you will still need to fit into a single seat for the lap bars to operate properly.
Off to the left of the entrance to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the Magic Kingdoms most popular meet and greet. Inside Princess Fairytale Hall you can meet Anna and Elsa or alternatively you could choose Rapunzel and Cinderella. The Frozen girls are the most popular by far. No challenges here for the larger guests, the spaces are wide and open.

In the center of this area is Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel and it looks like this.

prince_charming_regal_carrousel1Photograph from disney-pal.com

Room wise you have that pole at the front of the saddle to contend with which can be problematic if you are carrying weight on your stomach. There is of course another challenge here which is getting on the horse to start with something I’ve never been able to achieve with dignity!
Next to the Carousel is in my opinion one of the best and most overlooked attractions in the Magic Kingdom – Mickeys Phillarmagic. This is a 3D theater presentation of Donald Ducks abortive attempts to conduct the enchanted orchestra. There are songs and clips from many Disney Movies and it’s a hit for all ages. As with similar attractions challenges for the larger guest come from the fixed armrests between seats. If you can fit in a standard theater seat though you will be fine here.
Moving around to the right you will come to Enchanted Tales with Belle. This is a live interactive show aimed at younger children and it is absolutely charming. Seats are benches with no restriction to width so there should be no problems here.

enchanted tales with bellePhotograph from flickriver.com

A short walk down the slope will bring you to Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid. This is an omnimover and has a similar ride system (and lap bar) to Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Spin. This time you ride in a clam shell that looks like this

Under_the_Sea16Photograph from allears.net

As with Buzz Lightyear concerns here start with width. The cast member loading the ride may try and put three people in each clam shell. If you think this will be a problem for you then ask them not to, they wont have a problem with this. The next challenge is the lap bar which once again will lock when it reaches its locking point, not when it reaches you. If you are carrying weight on your stomach then be prepared for the bar to push on in to you. I find this ride a little more forgiving than Buzz, probably as it was manufactured a lot more recently. If you fit in Buzz you will fit in here.
Right next to Under the Sea you will find Ariel’s grotto where you can meet the Little Mermaid herself. As with previous meet and greets there are no issues here for the larger guest.
At the bottom of the slope is Storybook Circus where your eyes will be immediately drawn to the two identical spinner rides. Dumbo the Flying Elephant draws long lines and is extremely popular with younger children. Originally there was just one of these spinners in the Magic Kingdom however when Fantasyland was expanded a second identical Dumbo was installed and they are now fondly referred to as the Dueling Dumbos. To combat the long lines Disney also installed an indoor waiting area with interactive games and air conditioning. This is what the Dumbos look like

DumboPhotograph from disneydining.com

Room is tight in there and you may need to ask the cast members loading the attraction if you can ride on your own. My advice is to watch it unload and load before you join the line so you can make an informed judgment.
Next is Pete’s Silly Sideshow where you can meet Mickey and Pals in their circus outfits. Again no issues for the larger guest here.
You will also find the Fantasyland stop of the Walt Disney World Railway next to The Barnstormer which is a roller coaster for kids. These ride cars are very tight and my advice would be not to ride if you are on the larger side. If you really want to give it a try then tell the loading cast member that you need to ride alone. This is what the ride cars look like

BarnstormerPhotograph from allears.net

Make your way back up the slope towards Liberty Square and you will pass the final two attractions in Fantasyland.
On your left is Peter Pans flight which is a slow paced dark ride on a flying pirate ship. Your ship looks like this.

Peter Pans FlightPhotograph from susiej.com

The lap bars work in the same way as they do on Winnie the Poo. This time though your ride vehicle is about ten feet off the floor so take that into account of you are riding with young children.
On your right is one of the Magic Kingdoms most iconic rides – it’s a small world. This is a boat ride through scenes filled with hundreds of singing and dancing dolls in costumes representing countries and cultures from around the world. You get a free gift on this ride – you will take the accompanying song home with you in your head where it will stay for many days maybe weeks.
The boats look like this

its a small worldPhotograph from disneyeveryday.com

While legroom is a little tight width is unrestricted and I don’t foresee anyone having any problems here.
Feeling the pace? There are lots of places in Fantasyland to grab a drink and some air conditioning. Why not grab a seat and a glass of lefue’s brew in Gaston’s Tavern. For an outdoor break grab a seat outside the Cheshire Cafe and grab one of their excellent Frozen Strawberry Lemonades.
Next you will walk past the best themed bathrooms in Walt Disney World as you take in Rapunzel’s tower. You will emerge into Liberty square and looming in the background on your right hand side you will see the Haunted Mansion. This is a Haunted House themed omnimover attraction and you ride in a doom buggy which looks like this

Haunted MansionPhotograph from undercovertourist.com

There is ample room for boarding however the front of the car will push back before you set off on your ride. Again if you are carrying weight on your stomach be prepared for that bar to push on into you as it wont stop until it locks. For the wider folks among us be prepared to ask the Cast Member loading if you can ride as a two as they will put any parties of three in the same buggy.
As you make your way through Liberty Square you will see the Liberty Bell River Boat on your right hand side which looks like this. The River Boat is full of wide open spaces and you wont have any issues.

Ferryboat1Photograph from guide-to-disney.com

On your left is the Hall of Presidents which is a theater style show presented by an animatronic Abraham Lincoln. The theater seating looks like this

Hall of PresidentsPhotograph from allears.net

Plenty of legroom is available and if you fit in a standard theater seat you will be fine with this attraction.
Feeling the pace? Grab a frozen drink and a seat in the air conditioned interior of Columbia Harbor House. Alternatively grab something from Sleepy Hollow refreshments and take a seat in the Liberty Square Market.
Pushing on you will make the transition from Liberty Square to Western themed Frontierland. On your left as you enter you will see the Country Bear Jamboree. This is a theater style musical production delivered by animatronic bears. The theater looks like this

Country BearsPhotograph from blog.touringplans.com

Plenty of room in these bench seats and you wont have any problems.
Next up is Splash Mountain which is a log flume ride through scenes from the classic Disney movie ‘Song of the South’. Your log looks like this

splash mountainPhotograph from kingdomkeepers.wikia.com

Leg room is tight and if there are two of you in a row then width can also be an issue. Note that the lap bar on this ride is shared so if you ride with a small child they may have a lot of room between them and the restraint. For years Splash Mountain didn’t have restraints before they were introduced mainly to stop riders standing up. While I am sure that your child would be safe they may prefer the reassurance of having the bar against them for the 80 foot final drop. You can ask to ride in a row on your own if that would be better for you.
Next its Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This is a runaway mine train themed roller coaster and your ride vehicle looks like this

Big ThunderPhotograph from allears.net

Leg room is ok on here and as long as there aren’t three of you in a car then width is ok too. If you are riding as a party of three tell the cast member loading that you need to ride as a 2 and 1, it wont be a problem. As with Splash there is a shared lap bar here so bear that in mind if riding with a young child.
There is one more attraction in Frontierland which is Tom Sawyers Island. This is a walk around attraction accessed by riding a multi passenger raft. No issues with the raft or the island for the larger guest.
Feeling the pace? Grab a frozen drink and come air conditioning in Pecos Bills Tall Tail Inn and Cafe.
Our final area to explore is Adventureland and the first attraction you will come across is Pirates of the Caribbean. This is the classic Disney attraction that inspired the truly awful but popular film franchise. The ride itself is a slow moving boat ride through scenes of animatronic pirates laying siege to a Caribbean island. Your boat looks like this

PiratesPhotograph from orlandoparksnews.com

Width isn’t an issue here and if you are worried about legroom then ask for the front row where there is plenty.
Next up on your left is Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. This is a musical performance by animatronic birds in a sort of circular theater which looks like this.

tiki roomPhotograph from easywdw.com

No issues for the larger guest with this attraction
Opposite the Tiki room you will find another classic attraction, The Jungle Cruise. This is a guided scenic boat tour with some of the corniest puns and jokes you will ever hear. Your boat looks like this.

Jungle cruisephotograph from allears.net

You sit on long benches and there are no issues with width or legroom on this attraction.
Next up on your left is another spinner attraction, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and your ride vehicle looks like this.

Magic CarpetsPhotograph from allears.net

You shouldn’t have any issues width wise and there is more legroom in the front than in the back so request the front row if you think this will be a problem. There are seat belts on this ride and you might need to let yours out a little before you sit down. I haven’t needed a seat belt extender but attractions like this usually have them available.
The last attraction in the Magic Kingdom is the Swiss Family Tree house. This is a walk through attraction and while it will not cause you any problems size wise it is worth noting that it has a lot of steps.
Feeling the pace? Grab a Dole Whip from Aloha Isle or a Citrus Swirl from Sunshine Tree terrace and find a spot to people watch.
And that’s it folks you are now back in the hub and we have covered all of the attractions in the Magic Kingdom. I hope this article has been useful and I will be posting a guide for the other three Walt Disney World theme parks in the coming weeks. Please leave me your comments and feedback.

Adam Watson
Adam Watson is a Travel Agent with Pixie Vacations and can offer expert advice to guests of all shapes and sizes based on his extensive personal experiences of the Walt Disney World Theme Parks.

For a quote on a Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line or Disneyland vacation you can email Adam@PixieVacations.com. Alternatively go to Get A Quote and select Adam as your agent from the drop down list.

You can read more about Adam on Pixie Vacations and you can follow him on Facebook

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