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I went to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom for the first time this year. 37 years old, and a size 28, I had never been to any Disney parks! Let’s just say it’s not at all what I expected from start to finish.
There are lots of sites out there to help you navigate the parks and tell you special ways to enjoy the parks. I’m here to let you know how fat friendly the parks truly are and fill in the blanks that seem to be missing from all the other resources. Let’s jump in!
Disney’s Magic Kingdom needs a tutorial
If you haven’t been going to Disney your entire life, even booking your trip can be difficult. There are SO many options, and so many opinions about what you should do and how to do it. You can get dining passes, Genie + (often called “fast pass”), park hopper passes, magic bands, the list is endless. I had zero clue what any of those were prior to my visit and I’m still not completely sure.
You need a damn Disney strategy. I highly recommend joining facebook groups for plus size disney visits, and reading as many websites about recent Disney experiences as possible. I love the Mouse Hacking website for Disney World info.
If you have a hard time walking 100 yards you need a scooter
Period. Seriously. Disney World is 25,000 acres and 4 parks. They have transportation systems within Disney World, but if you have a knee injury or are an ambulatory wheelchair user you are likely going to need a scooter.
Even with a handicap parking pass the lot is at least 100 yards away from the transportation entrance, which is then another 50 yards away from the park entrance – and that’s just outside Magic Kingdom. Do not plan on renting a scooter at the park. They sell out as soon as the park opens and often are not available for the rest of the day. Disney does not accept scooter reservations. There are several different scooter rental places in and around Orlando, including Scooter Bug which will deliver directly to your hotel.
You will fit on most rides
I will put a caveat on this section – people over 500 lbs may struggle with fitting on Disney rides. This is wildly dependent of course on how you carry your weight and your height.
There is a cast member (Disney employee) at the beginning of every ride line who can tell you about the seating and let you know if they think you’ll fit or not. There are a couple rides that plus size riders have had a hard time with (Tron), but for the most part the rides will accommodate people of size.
Your size is not necessarily the only hurdle for rides. Remember that many of these rides were built with smaller bodies in mind, and this means that the openings to the seats are small, the spaces where you put your feet can be snug, and in some situations you have limited space to turn around or to the side.
Some blogs will tell you that there are rides you can still ride while remaining on your scooter – there are 4 of these rides in all of Disney World. Other rides require you to transfer from your scooter to a wheelchair or most often from a scooter directly to the ride. Some ride lines can accommodate wheelchairs and scooters, some cannot.
All of that being said, the rides are fun! Many are lowkey and not for thrill seekers which makes it a relaxing ride down Disney movie memory lane.
The weather matters a lot
My family and I visited Disney World’s Magic Kingdom during Spring Break (middle of March). Because we had two youngsters with us we really only wanted to spend 6-8 hours in the park max. We decided to forego the early approach and ended up at the park around 2 o’clock. And ya’ll – that first hour was hot. And uncomfortable. But by 4 o’clock I was a changed woman!!!
The evening at Magic Kingdom is beautiful. Most of the park shades, and it feels like everything calms down a little bit. Lines got a little bit shorter, and everyone’s grumpy sweaty face turned into a pleasant shiny smile. Ok, it wasn’t that magical – but it was really nice to be there in the evening and not be uncomfortably hot or sweaty.
It’s ok to not go right at open. It’s ok to do what feels right for you and your comfort.
There’s no right way to Disney
Ok, look if you’re a seasoned pro maybe there is a right way. But if this is your first time, just take it in. It can all be a little overwhelming and trying to do it all “right” may prove to be totally fruitless. Enjoy yourself, be a kid for a day, eat some yummy food, and feel the magic.
I hope you have a blast – I did!