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Orlando Trip Report aka Rides for Fatties!

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Just got back from a wonderful vaca to Orlando. I thought I'd post my observations/reviews for the attractions we visited.

First of all, no matter what park you visit in Orlando, it is going to involve a LOT of walking. If you absolutely aren't able to walk a great deal, you'd be best off renting a scooter from an off-site location and renting a car big enough to accomodate it. If you can walk, but prefer not to and aren't keen on being responsible for your scooter 24/7, you can try to get a scooter in the parks, but get there early as they go FAST. If you are willing and able to walk, but aren't necessarily accustomed to a lot of it, I'd suggest starting a walking program at home at least a month prior to your trip to increase your tolerance. Even if you wear comfortable, broken-in shoes, I'd suggest bringing some moleskin for hot spots, and some good, solid adhesive bandages for any blisters that pop up. Also, prepare for chafing, even if you don't usually get it, and actually, even if you aren't fat. I know there is a thread somewhere on the boards regarding prevention/treatment of chafing--good idea to check it out and be prepared.

Don't forget to ask for a room close to the elevators--some of the hotels have hallways longer than a football field (no kidding).

Also, I'd suggest renting a car, since any of the bus systems can get extremely crowded and are sometimes standing-room-only.

I didn't visit any of the major Disney parks, but I can tell you from past experience that they are extremely fat friendly. You can also check out www.disneyatlarge.com for trip reports from other fatties who've been there.

I did go to both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, which are Disney's water parks. There are solid walking paths, but a large part of both parks is sand, so a scooter is nearly useless. The lounges and chairs are all solid metal tubing with plastic strapping, and carried my 340 lbs. effortlessly. However, most are very low to the ground, and more than once I'm sure I resembled a turtle on its back trying to struggle to my feet. If you look around, though, there are a handful of chairs that sit about 6-8 inches higher off the ground than the rest and are easier to get in and out of. They do have arms, but I didn't experience any trouble with them. There are plenty of armless (but low to the ground) options if that works better for you.

The best attractions at the water parks, IMO, were the lazy rivers and the wave pools. Both are fat friendly, although be forewarned that you may have some trouble getting into a tube in the lazy river. You don't have to have one, but it kinda negates the lazy part of it if you end up walking all around the whole darn thing. The best strategy is to stand on the steps at an entry point, position your tube behind you, and plop right on/in to it. If you are very hippy or thigh heavy, make sure the hard plastic handles are positioned to be near your head or at your side, or you'll be pinched. There are 3 sizes of tubes--very small (for little kiddos), large (I'd say about 4 feet across from side to side, with a 1.5 foot hole in the middle) and double, which has 2 holes. Those can be very tricky to get into comfortably, although they are tempting because they are very large.

The wave pool doesn't allow tubes or floats, you just bob and float on your own, and duck for cover when the waves hit.

I didn't go on many single rider tube rides, but the ones I did go one were just fine. I went on the "family" raft ride, which is in a very large round raft with an uninflated bottom, but got grounded in a couple of places, so I probably wouldn't recommend those. After some wiggling around and water build up behind my raft, we managed to move on, but I had a few moments of panic that we were going to be run into by a raft behind us.

I also did went to the Universal parks this year. As far as Islands of Adventure, save your money unless you like watching people get off and on rides. It is extremely NON-fat-friendly. I carry the bulk of my weight up front, in my chest and very large stomach, and would not be considered pear shaped by any stretch of the imagination. However, I couldn't even sit in the test seats for any of the major coasters--my hips wouldn't go past the arms, not by a little, but by a lot--I couldn't even squeeze in with wiggling about. The Jurassic park ride is fine--bench style seating with a pull down bar. It does have to reach a certain number of "clicks" to be considered safe, and I was one click short initially, but with a little wiggling, we got it down to the right number. However, I think that wouldn't have been a problem at all if we hadn't been in the crowded front row (5 people total). With more room to spread out, I think it wouldn't have even been an issue. The Poseidon Adventure is also fine, but involves a lot of walking and standing--no sitting--so it can be hard on the feet after a while. We didn't go on Spiderman, but I did ride it about 4 years and 80 lbs ago with no problem.

Universal Studios was MUCH better. Unfortunately, I have no report for Shrek 4-D :( The lines were just too long for my party to want to wait (50 minutes) for it. However, I had no problems whatsoever on the other 2 rides I was most interested in--The Mummy Returns (fantastic!!) and Men in Black (also much fun). Of the two, MIB was a bit of a tighter fit, I had to scootch my bottom down some to get comfortable in the molded seats, but once I was in, all was well. Et was fine, as was Twister, Jaws, Earthquake, and Back to the Future (although that one made me ill).

That about sums it up. Sorry if this bored most of you (probably did!), but thought it might be helpful for anyone planning a FL vacation!


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