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Old 10-31-2013, 02:25 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
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Unhappy Our no good very bad day

For months leading up to our vacation, my mom and I have been dreaming about heading to Harry Potter World. Our family even tried to dissuade us from leaving Disney to go to Universal for even one day because the price was so high, but we could not be swayed. We read reviews and looked up information and counted down the days until we would get to see Hogsmeade and the castle.

We arrived before the park even opened and lined up at the gates. It was the last day of our vacation, and my mom had blisters from all the running around we had done for the previous week. She pushed through the pain, and we hurried to Harry Potter World along with the mad dash of people around us. We arrived in excitement and glee, and hurried to the castle.

We enjoyed walking through the castle, and the wait was not too long because it was still relatively early. We arrived at the front of the line, and got ready to depart. My parents and siblings were on the car in front of us, and as my husband and I began to take off, we noticed our family exiting their seats before even leaving the gate. I did not understand, and thought perhaps their car was broken.

It was not until we exited the ride and saw my parents waiting for us that we began to understand. My mother is not skinny, but she is by no means large either, but the restraints did not fit her arms. The space in between the side and the bar would not allow her arms to fit comfortably, although the lap bar was fine. My mom was trying to be positive, but she kept seeing children leave the ride ecstatic at how amazing it was.

The pain of seeing my mom cry is so intense, that days later I still cannot get over the hurt feelings of the situation. I feel partly responsible for hyping up our visit there, but I think Universal also needs to take responsibility. I never saw any postings online about the possibility of not being able to ride the ride. In fact the only reason we went to Universal at all was so my mom and I could go to Harry Potter World.

Unfortunately now, no matter how I try to look back, that entire day and visit is tainted by the pain it caused my mom. I will never return to Universal for that reason, and I will tell as many people as possible to never attend as well. I am so hurt by the experience. I could never imagine our trip ending in such a horrible way. I find it very interesting that Universal Studios is the most expensive theme park in the world, I personally will never return.

Last edited by EAW; 10-31-2013 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Forgot the first paragraph
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Old 10-31-2013, 03:38 PM   #2
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I'm sorry you had such a horrible time.

I have a friend who had the same experience. She thought about it differently though. She came home and lost 52 pounds and went back the next year. She had never felt so good about herself and was so proud when she got to go on the ride. It made the whole journey worth it.

Maybe you could turn this bad situation around and make it about something positive. I think Harry Potter world is worth it
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Old 10-31-2013, 04:06 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear

Sorry to hear about your bad experience. I recently went with my kids and parents and made everyone try out the seats they have at the front of the castle to make sure everyone would fit, myself included. My daughter is younger and we made her check her height before we got in line for any ride. Better to make sure everything is ok than to get to the front of the line and be disappointed.
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Old 10-31-2013, 06:03 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by EAW View Post

I find it very interesting that Universal Studios is the most expensive theme park in the world, I personally will never return.
there are other parks more expensive than UO.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:37 PM   #5
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Sorry to hear that. I went a couple years ago and had heard about it and tried the test seat outside but it couldn't close so I could not ride.

Now I am thinner and am going back next month and will conquer it. I hope you do go back it is a fun park.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by macraven View Post
there are other parks more expensive than UO.
Try buying a one day ticket to Disney sometime...it's the same as Universal and the MK is actually MORE expensive.
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by EAW View Post
My mother is not skinny, but she is by no means large either, but the restraints did not fit her arms. The space in between the side and the bar would not allow her arms to fit comfortably, although the lap bar was fine.
Strange. My DH is a big guy. He's by no means skinny and he IS indeed large. 6' 4" tall and 280-ish pounds when we visited. BIG arms (a big torso all around, to be honest) and he had no problem riding.

I am very sorry to hear that your mom's trip was ended on such a sour note. That really stinks.

But I have to agree with some of the previous posters.....Universal is no more expensive for a one-day add on to a Disney vacation than a day at Disney is as a one-day add-on to a Universal or SeaWorld vacation.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:58 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by macraven View Post
there are other parks more expensive than UO.
I guess they have never priced out WDW or Disneyland.
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:54 AM   #9
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I am very sorry your day was ruined, whether there are more expensive parks or not it still sucks to be dissapointed and feel $$ was wasted. I just find it odd that your mom didn't fit. Like was there something wrong with that particular seat?
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Old 11-01-2013, 07:40 AM   #10
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I am truly sorry your mum was upset, that couldn`t have been nice to see for anyone.

But, to say Universal needs to take responsibility for her not fitting on the ride is unfair.

They do have test seats outside in plain view for people who are on the larger side.....I include myself in that phrase too. The rides at Universal are more extreme therefore some body dimensions will not fit into the types of seats these rides have. They do have signs up at certain rides saying this.

There is loads of information online, this website and on other websites from people who have ridden or not ridden due to body dimensions, to say you had seen nothing suggests you had not read some information boards before you left. If I was going anywhere for the first time I would be reading every bit of information possible. Not Universals fault at all.

As for telling people not to go to Universal because you had such a dreadful time......well that is entirely up to you of course. But maybe you could impart the information you have discovered to help others in their planning, it may help someone else who doesn`t know about ride limitation sizes. I know that is what I would do....I would rather help someone if I can rather than dissuade them from going somewhere just because I had a miserable time.

As for cost.......there is no way that Universal is the most expensive theme park in the world......that is quite a claim....and not a correct one.
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:27 AM   #11
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When I went last summer, i had done my research. Universal does mention in many places that some of their rides may not be available for larger ineividuals. They have test seats outside the rides. I tried them, and the attendants were always ready to help, polite and very encouraging ( i did fit!). Should you go back, you may wish to read the 'pooh size' threads so that you know what to expect for your mother.
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:36 AM   #12
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I have to agree with others. It is a tough situation to have your heart set on riding something, but are unable to because of restrictions. I am sorry she had that experience and that it impacted her visit. My dd really wanted to ride the roller coaster at Uni(can't remember the name) and she wasn't quite tall enough. She was very disappointed and sad. I understand that weight isn't quite the same as height, but the restrictions are there for safety and does not make the park any less of a great place because they have those limitations in place. There are lots of great rides and it really is an amazing park. I find it no more expensive than any of the other ones out there.
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:25 AM   #13
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I know it's horrible to have so much anticipation and excitement about going on a certain ride and I'm sure it must of embarrassed your mom and I'm so sorry she had to experience that.

That being said these ride have restrictions for a reason... Safety safety safety, I've read a lot about WWoHP and I've seen a bunch of posts about the test chair they have outside the ride. Universal can't be blamed for your situation, if they would of allowed her to ride regardless of her arms not being able to fit comfortably and something awful happened, THAT would of been universals fault. A larger man was allowed to ride the superman at Six Flags New England when he/they ignored any restrictions and that man died because the holster wasn't secured properly. You should look at this as universal caring about the safety of their guests. Not them turning away people based on some sort of judgement.
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:35 AM   #14
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Well, she may have gotten motion sick anyway. I did and had to close my eyes, get off in a hurry and run outside 'just in case'. I ride Star Tours at WDW and rode the Simpsons ride at US and never felt as bad as I did on that HP ride. When we go back, my family can ride it but I will wait outside.
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:24 AM   #15
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Thanks for the replies!

I do want to start by thanking you all for your replies! I posted because I want to have a discussion, so thank you. I also am happy to see all the positive Universal replies. This shows that perhaps they are doing something right, even if our experience was negative. I know that if someone were to talk about a bad experience at Disney, I would do the same thing.

Let me clarify my opinion about why Universal should take some ownership.
[img] photo IMG_0447_zpsccf9d899.jpg[img] This is my mom.
I believe my mom is an average US American in size. Quite honestly, I believe she could have fit snuggly into the restraints, but by the time she was testing she was already so embarrassed she did not push the issue. Yes, there are tester seats outside the ride, which we did not see until leaving. The area where I find Universal responsible is the fact that this is an issue at all. I do not know if my source is accurate, but after doing research (and after quoting this information to Universal which was neither confirmed nor denied), I found that the arms at the Harry Potter ride can hold up to 2000 pounds. With four seats on each arm, that means the seats could technically hold 4 500 pound individuals. With all the technology we have, with all the knowledge we have, with all the abilities we have, Universal could not design a seat that would more comfortably fit someone who is not thin and fit? I do not buy that Universal could not create a solution to this problem that even other posters have talked about happening.

From a business perspective, if Universal really wants to compete with Disney for the Orlando market, then this will have to be taken into consideration. If you have watched the recent Dis news cycles, the crew at the Dis has been giving rave reviews to the new Universal projects and atmosphere. I don't believe that Universal can compete though, not yet, because they have not addressed a fundamental issue: most Americans are not young, thin, and fit. Perhaps Universal does not want to attract an older, less fit, market, but I think they are doing themselves a disservice. Of course safety comes first, but this is not an issue of safety. This is an issue of a simple problem with a simple solution. If my mom were the only to have experienced this, and if my mom were obese, then it would be a non issue. This however, is a reoccurring problem. With all the money being spent on the expansion of Harry Potter World, why is this not a part of the new investments?

Last edited by EAW; 11-02-2013 at 11:04 AM. Reason: with pic
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