People have now accused the popular Mario Kart ride at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Super Nintendo World of perpetuating “fatphobia” by being too small for plus-sized visitors.
While Super Nintendo World has received rave reviews from the few who have visited ahead of its release date, some feel that the weight and height dimensions for the Mario Kart ride (based on the 1990s video game) needs to accommodate larger sizes.
“The safety information for the attraction states that riders with waistlines that are 40 inches or larger ‘may not be accommodated on the ride,’” reported Entrepreneur. “People are encouraged to sit in the tester seat at the ride’s entrance to see whether or not they will fit.”
“As far as height goes, riders must be over 40 inches tall to ride and those under 48 inches tall must be accompanied by an adult,” the outlet added.
Universal Studios said in its safety guidelines for the ride that it “moves along a track and includes sudden accelerations, turning and spinning as well as augmented reality simulations of a high-speed race,” adding that it “employs restraints which may restrict certain guests from riding due to body shape and size.”
“As part of Team Mario, guests will steer through courses underwater and in the clouds to compete for the Golden Cup while collecting coins to defeat Team Bowser and win,” said the original press release.
Not all fans who attended an early sneak peek event ahead of its February 17 release appreciated the “restrictions.”
“Nothing but wonderful things to say about Super Nintendo World except this: the body size limitations on the Mario Kart ride are absolutely ridiculous. I’ve never had any issue fitting into any ride in my entire life, and I can BARELY fit into this one. Completely absurd,” said influencer Rocco Botte.
Nothing but wonderful things to say about Super Nintendo World except this: the body size limitations on the Mario Kart ride are absolutely ridiculous. I’ve never had any issue fitting into any ride in my entire life, and I can BARELY fit into this one. Completely absurd.
— Rocco Botte (@rocco_botte) January 31, 2023
While Rocco Botte at least visited the park to experience the ride, others were more incensed about the requirements themselves:
Still mad about that 40-inch waistline requirement for the Mario Kart ride.
It’s just blatantly fatphobic, there’s nothing about it that can’t accommodate a bigger human. Let alone an average-sized one, as 40 inches is hardly monumental. I’m a few pounds from there myself!
— David (@DavidtheBookwrm) February 1, 2023
guess i’m not going to bother going to universal, if you’re over a 40″ waist you can’t go on the mario kart ride 😒
— nyx🍓 (@coffinslime) February 4, 2023
Me going to work out with my primary motivation being able to ride the Mario kart attraction
— Dorf (@KevinGingerColo) January 31, 2023
Universal Studios Hollywood told outlet KTLA in a statement that the park always strives to balance people’s needs with safety.
“We are always listening to our guests and seek to balance their needs against our strong focus on the safety of our attractions,” the park said. “We have a company-wide task force actively working with this community to make changes that can help them safely increase access to our experiences.”
Universal Studios has been accused of fatphobia previously, such as when blogger Jana Schmiedling lamented in the Huffington Post that the “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” ride could not accommodate her size.
“I took the bullet and pulled the restraint over my shoulders, pressing down as tightly as I could, my precious E-cups getting smashed into my chest and up around my neck. One click. That’s all I could manage,” she wrote.
“So I got out of the test seat and negotiated with my dear friends, who in solidarity were about to walk away with me. I demanded that they go on the ride and I waited for them at the end, watching several other people, bigger than me or with breasts as large as mine or with children in tow, walking away from Hogwarts dejected,” she added.
Schmiedling further called for theme parks and other public spaces to be more accommodating to people her size.
“We must be more intelligent and inclusive about the way we’re designing spaces and experiences for people. My ordeal at Hogwarts was so slight compared to the kind of exclusion that others experience, but it’s not the first time a place has been built that doesn’t accommodate my body,” she wrote.
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