‘Fatphobic’ rider size limit on new Mario Kart ride at Universal Studios causes outcry
Safety rules could bar larger visitors from riding the new Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Now some are calling the requirements “fatphobic” and “absurd.”
The ride, based on the popular series of racing video games, will be part of the California theme park’s upcoming Super Nintendo World, NextShark reported.
The ride uses “augmented reality and animatronics to allow guests to compete as part of Team Mario in a battle against Bowser and his minions,” the publication said. Riders sit in vehicles modeled after karts from the game and wear VR headsets.
The ride can only accommodate people who have a 40-inch waist or smaller, according to safety rules published by Universal Studios Hollywood. “Guests whose waistlines are 40” or greater may not be accommodated on the ride and are strongly encouraged to try the test seat provided at the entrance of the attraction to assist guests in determining their ability to ride.”
They also must be at least 40 inches tall, and riders below 48 inches tall must have an adult companion. But it’s the waistline limit that has some fans upset.
“It’s just blatantly fatphobic; there’s nothing about it that can’t accommodate a bigger human,” one Twitter post reads.
While Super Nintendo World won’t formally open until Feb. 17, some visitors have been allowed in to try out the rides.
“Nothing but wonderful things to say about Super Nintendo World except this: the body size limitations on the Mario Kart ride are absolutely ridiculous,” wrote one visitor on Twitter. “I’ve never had any issue fitting into any ride in my entire life, and I can BARELY fit into this one. Completely absurd.”
In a later post, the visitor said he found the requirements offensive because he could see no need for them since the ride is not overly fast.
“Can we discuss how at my biggest I would not have been able to fit on Mario Kart?” read another Twitter post. “A 40” waist line is about a size 20. Are you freaking kidding me, @UniStudios? It’s a DARK RIDE.”
Others, however, seemed to feel the requirements were fair.
“A 40 inch waist is pretty big,” one wrote on Twitter.
Men in the United States have an average waist size of 40.5 inches, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For women, it’s 38.7 inches.
In a statement, Universal Studios Hollywood said it had heard the complaints.
“We are always listening to our guests and seek to balance their needs against our strong focus on the safety of our attractions,” Universal Studios Hollywood said in a statement to KTLA. “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.”
But the theme park also said the waistline requirement is not a hard and fast rule, but more of a guideline to encourage guests to try out a test seat before boarding, Fox News reported.
The 40-inch waistline size limit also applies to Universal Studios Hollywood rides such as Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey, Revenge Of The Mummy: The Ride and The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, among others, according to the park’s safety rules.
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