Universal Park Openly Removing Guests Who Don’t Meet Strict Requirements

in Universal Studios Japan

Guests riding Flight of the Hippogriff in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

Credit: Universal Studios

One Universal Studios location has an incredibly strict policy when it comes to the size of guests – something one TikTok user found out for themselves while trying to ride a Harry Potter attraction.

Size requirements are a common feature at every theme park. Not only do all guests need to reach a minimum height to ride a huge number of attractions, but there’s sometimes a maximum height and an unspoken rule around size that means the lap bar or restraint must be able to fully close before you’re allowed to ride.

Crowds at the entrance of Universal Studios Japan
Credit: Dick Thomas Johnson via Flickr

In recent years, Universal has received flak for not ensuring that its rides are inclusive for guests of all sizes. Universal Studios Hollywood’s Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge ride, for example, is off-limits to guests with a waistline measuring 40 inches or more (despite the fact the average American man’s waist is 40.5 inches, according to the CDC).

At Universal Studios Japan, guests have reported that rides are even less inclusive, largely due to the fact that the average waist size of local residents is considerably smaller than in the U.S. In fact, the average Japanese man’s waist is allegedly 31.1 inches – over 10 inches smaller than their American counterparts – while the average Japanese woman’s waist measures 26.5 inches compared to the American average of 38.7 inches.

Guests ride Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge
Credit: Universal Studios Japan

Related: Universal Adds New ‘Harry Potter’ Experience, Starting This Week

On a recent visit to the park, one TikToker documented how this comes into play with the way Universal Studios Japan builds its attractions. User @yesivhdez shared a video in which she revealed she was removed from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Flight of the Hippogriff as she “didn’t fit on the ride.”

lol the way he was so sweet about it but the rides here are built smaller just fyi 😆😆😆 #universalstudiosjapan #fyp #osaka

@yesivhdez

lol the way he was so sweet about it but the rides here are built smaller just fyi 😆😆😆 #universalstudiosjapan #fyp #osaka

♬ original sound – Nintendo – Nintendo

Showing both Universal’s Harry Potter attraction itself and the Express Pass given to her by Universal team members as an apology, Hdez explained that she was “humbled to [her] core.” She was apparently escorted off the ride in front of other parkgoers while the ride attendant explained that “Japanese people are built smaller.”

Later, Hdez shared a follow-up video to show her body type, explaining that she is “wider at the hip” and that her “thighs are a little bit thicker,” which proved to be the biggest issue with fitting on Flight of the Hippogriff. “I didn’t take offense to it,” she clarified. “Like I said, the ride attendants were super nice about it, super apologetic, but it’s like, it’s not their fault.”

A diverse group of people, including adults and children, smiling and enjoying a ride on the Harry Potter-themed Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster
Credit: Universal Studios Japan

Other guests have previously reported similar issues at Universal Studios Japan. One Tripadvisor reviewer described the park as “sometimes fun” but “problematic for the overweight traveler.” Another advised that anyone worried about fitting on rides while visiting the park should take full advantage of the test seats to avoid wasting their time in line. “If you’re a bigger guest, go in expecting to have to sit in the test seats each time,” they wrote. “I made sure to go up to the staff first and request to sit in them as that limits any embarrassment on either participant’s part.”

Do you think theme parks need to be more size-inclusive when building new attractions? Let us know in the comments!

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