Scary tight fit on Harry Potter Forbidden Journey during breakdown

Discussion in 'Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure Forums' started by rayoflight, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. rayoflight

    rayoflight Earning My Ears

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    Hey all - I visited the park for the first time 9/28/18. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is an incredible ride. But I had an issue. I ride everything - every roller coaster, etc. I've been skydiving and bungee jumping. I'm 5/11 and 220 pounds. Never had an issue with fit on any ride, so never thought to check the sample seats out front. Once I got to this ride's seats themselves, I choose one of the two middle seats - and my shoulders didn't fit - I mean, it was crushing. Coincidentally, another guy riding on my same "bench" has the exact issue - so they ushered us behind a curtain, said they had something for us, and put us back in the front of the line and told us to sit in the outside seats. This was slightly - and I stress slightly - better. I'm not claustrophobic at all - never been. But when they pushed the shoulder harness down, I was immobilized. I thought,"whatever, it will be over soon and I won't even be thinking about it once the ride starts". I didn't realize how much this ride flails you about - my cell phone was in my pocket and I feared it would fall out - but I couldn't reach it because my arms were pinned.

    As I said - the ride was incredible. My younger son wanted to ride again. I was going to skip it because of the uncomfortable fit - but I sucked it up because he was afraid to ride the ride and I was the one who talked him into it the first time. I again took an outside seat. But about halfway through the ride - it stopped. An announcer came on saying there were technical difficulties or something of the like. Unfortunately, my ride car was in an odd half-sideways, half backwards position and I was pushed oddly sideways in the seat. And it was hard to breath. Just like that - panic set in. Never happened to me before. The shoulder restraint allowed me to move my forearms (my elbows were basically pinned to my side both times) - but I couldn't move my whole arms. So I couldn't even scratch my nose. It was impossible for me to reach my cell phone in my pocket. It would be one thing if you were stuck but could still move about a little. But I was seriously restrained on movement. The seats also have dividers between each rider (you are basically in a box where each rider can only see forward). Whatever the case, it took everything in me not to scream out for help. Maybe a minute later, they repeated the "technical difficulties" message. I literally did my greatest "mind-over-matter" focus ever...told myself I'd just take a nap to refresh. A minute later - the same message over the loudspeaker. I knew there were hundreds of people on the ride. I'm sure people actually have claustrophobia, and perhaps this would have been an even worse nightmare for them. I knew that when rides break down, even if a car is right near the exit and the car in front has already let people off, even ride operators can't unlock seats until their car moves just a bit forward. And we were somewhere deep in the ride suspended in midair. If this thing was actually broken - it could be an hour - or hours - until they made their way to us with a ladder or something. I've never had a panic attack...but I think one was just about to set in - when suddenly, a message over the loudspeaker said the ride would be starting again - and it did. Maybe a minute later - I was out. Being free felt so good.

    I'll say this - the ride is so good that I actually might do it again - only because I play the odds.

    That night - I looked up accounts of breakdowns on this ride. They happen but are more rare. But I saw some posts of them lasting really long...like 30 minutes or more. That would have been a living nightmare. Being squeezed in like a sardine and half immobile, then having the ride stop was terrifying. I guess I learned something new about myself.

    You hear about passengers being stuck on the tarmac for hours. But at least they can move about the plane and aren't pinned in the seat awkwardly sideways with arms immobile and facing a wall, unable to see the person next to them. Many rides break down. But generally, you're just sitting there more comfortably waiting. This was entirely different.

    It's a curious thing - I'm sure there's fine print we all agree to when we buy the tickets or ride the rides - but how long can they keep people in contorted, restrained conditions before a line is crossed?

    For me - I guess I was lucky - it was must minutes. And I'm still giving the ride a good review...but....just sayin'. This new breed of ride is different. The joy of the experience now comes with the risk some people may feel quite like a bound hostage should it break down....
     
  2. smiths02

    smiths02 DIS Veteran

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    I'm sure there is a point at which if they cannot safely get the ride moving again that fire/rescue comes to help evacuate the ride. I don't think they can guarantee a time limit for rescuing people in an emergency situation.
     
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  4. JaxDad

    JaxDad DIS Veteran

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    I'm very sorry you had this experience. I'm 6'2" and 200, and never felt so confined on FJ, but one size definitely does not fit all. The worst ride seat for me is Manta at SeaWorld. I don't like the clamped feeling on it, but I still love to ride it! I am glad you still enjoyed the FJ ride itself, and were so willing to deal with the discomfort for your son!
     
  5. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    Hi I am so sorry about what you went through on the ride being stuck!! It sounds like you handled it very well.

    My daughter and I are claustrophobic and it can be a nightmare. We use to go on Forbidden Journey and take the gamble it wouldn't break down because like you said not only the restraints are tight but I think the scenery a lot is tight. I felt like all the stuff was on top of me. We no longer go on this ride, I just don't think it would end well for us if we got stuck. I take the gamble all the time with rides and them getting stuck. I swear every lift hill I go up on the coasters I mumble "please don't get stuck":rotfl2: It has worked for me so far. I have gotten stuck on rides in other parts but some of the lift hills on the coasters are steep and wouldn't be fun.:scared1:

    I am glad you are considering it again!

    JaxDad It's interesting you mentioned Manta. I am going there this summer and in my ride research noticed the leg clamps on it... Nope not for me:goodvibes
     
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  6. JustCallMeMommy

    JustCallMeMommy DIS Veteran

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    I have been on FJ quite a few times when it has stopped. Most were only for a few seconds, but one time it broke down over and over, so they pulled our car out of line and sent it through again. My secret is that I kind of look forward to the opportunity to sit and really look at the details around me. Fortunately, I have always felt secure and have been able to move some, despite being heavier than you. If you go back, I would use the test seat outside to see if you can find an arm position that works better for you.
     
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  7. JaxDad

    JaxDad DIS Veteran

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    I actually found I enjoyed the ride more when I got the extra click on the restraint. It was very tight but felt better on the ride, especially for the pretzel loop part.

    Mako is real crazy. It is just a padded lap restraint, and I definitely get every click I can get, since the thrill of the ride is feeling like you're going to fly off it!
     
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  8. pattyw

    pattyw DIS Veteran

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    So sorry about getting stuck on FJ! It happened to us, too- the part where you're leaning back almost upside down! Yes- thought I was going to have a panic attack but luckily, like you, the ride started again!

    Very scary!!
     
  9. rayoflight

    rayoflight Earning My Ears

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    I'm the OP, so wow, I feel better that others feel like I did and also managed :) I want to stress that FJ is an awesome ride...I don't mean to take away from it at all. Looking back, it may be one of the best rides. Worth riding 100%. I have broad shoulders and rock-like biceps, or at least really strong stacks of pebbles :) So I'm sure my shape contributed.

    I have been on so many rides that have broken down - to me, it's actually a very good thing! You get to actually closely inspect the sets, etc. I took a 10 minute nap on Haunted Mansion during one breakdown. I guess it is just the particular mechanics and seat isolation of this FJ ride that caused me to have this "moment" for the first time during breakdown.

    And for those of you who have mentioned Manta - I was on that ride when it broke during a brake-run at the end. I was just hanging there. But my arms were free and it was comfortable - zero issue for me at all - it started again a few minute later and I had zero panic inklings. I've got to also give major props to Manta - that ride is also incredible...possibly up towards my #1 ride and maybe one of the best in Florida...
     
  10. Stargazer9

    Stargazer9 Loves Universal and Disney

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    I've also been on FJ when it broke down, right at the spider scene, with my friend terrified of spiders, losing her mind..... but for me Mantra at SW was the absolute worst. Like you, the ride broke during the brake run at the end....but it was at least 10 minutes of face forward immobalized hanging. I definitely talked myself out of a series of panic attacks that day. Couldn't manage to get myself back on it....
     
  11. heidijanesmith

    heidijanesmith DIS Veteran

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    DH and I are both claustrophobic! We were at IOA when Rip Ride Rocket broke down for 3 hours. The passengers were stuck on the lift, 90 degrees straight up.

    It was crazy, news helicopters were every where. I felt so sorry for those riders.

    We like riding FJ and just take our chances and hope that it never breaks down for long.
     
  12. Pinkgurlshubby

    Pinkgurlshubby Has not been blessed by the TF

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    I read your report and felt odd because I'm 5'9 and 230 pounds. I've been on the ride a few times and never felt pinned or uncomfortable. Maybe it's different body styles or something. Now in August when we were on it it did stop but was probably only about a minute and we were pretty much straight but 2 years ago it broke on my wife and son and they were upside down. She did almost lose a shoe but managed to curl her toes to keep it on. I've had that image in my mind and laughing ever since. And by the way, your 10 minute nap on the haunted mansion seems like a good idea to me. I'm pushing 50 I will sneak in naps when I can LOL
     
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  13. maverik85

    maverik85 Mouseketeer

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    yea don't think there is usually a set time for how long they can or cannot hold you there in the ride broken down. It's easier and safer to keep people on it then having them walk around a ride, especially one like Forbidden Journey where the ground is actually down quite a bit form the vehicle. Comes down a lot to when they find out exactly whats wrong and how long they estimate it will take to fix. Outside of that it also depends on how big of an issue it is for someone. Like if you, or another rider, started having a full on panic attack, then they would probably come let you out. I have worked at hotels and that is the general policy for elevator breakdowns as well. In general wait for engineering or elevator company to get it opened properly but if it will take too long or someone is having a panic attack we can call the fire department and they can force it open.
     
  14. skylock

    skylock Mouseketeer

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    I guess I am just average. Fit everything fine, no motion sickness, actually like getting stuck on rides, because if I had the problems some people on here report, I just don't think an amusement park would be my ideal vacation.

    I would seriously have a problem spending that kind of money to be tortured.

    It is a good thing the OP has a good attitude about it, but man...

    BTW, Manta is my favorite ride of all time. Sometimes I dream of flying. Sometimes I fly all night and wake up very tired.
     
  15. Ben E N

    Ben E N DIS Veteran

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    I still remember this happening to me years ago. 2010 I believe, and it's still fresh in my memory. The ride is neat in how it puts you on an arm that moves around, but when it locked up on me for a minute or two, I was stuck at 45 degrees back, and about 10 degrees pitched to the right. Just stuck there. And I'm 6'1" and was about 235 at the time.
    I've been stuck multiple times on Disney rides and never had an experience like that. And I, too, am looking forward to going back, despite the bad experience.
     
  16. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

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    I have too. My reaction was somewhere between you and your friend. I kept my eyes shut.

    We were there too! We’d gotten back to our room, though, before knowing what was going on.
     
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  17. pigletto

    pigletto DIS Veteran

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    Ok so I had this exact issue on Splash Mountain about 10 years ago. My park bag was on my lap and the lap bar was pushed down too tight. When the ride stopped I could actually see the corner you turn to get to the area where you get off the boats. I was close and it was no big deal. Until I wiggled and realized I was wedged tight, or trapped. Long story short I eneded up having a quiet but embarasing panic attack . I had never had one in my life and it terrified me.
    Looonnnng story short , I started avoiding things with restraints which meant most rides at theme parks. Avoidance is kind of the hallmark of anxiety or panic disorder. Then I didn’t want to get on planes because I couldn’t get off if I wanted, then it was elevators. It was ridiculous, I knew it was “in my head” but it didn’t respond to me trying to make it go away.
    What I learned from my doctor and from research helped a great deal. One.. if possible, I had to stop avoiding anyplace I could potentially get stuck.. the list was just getting bigger. So if I could handle it, even somewhat uncomfortably, then I had to try. Secondly, I’m having this physiological panic response to a perceived threat. If I can control the flight or flight repsonse and subsequent adrenaline overload that causes panic, it’s far less likely to happen. So I have a prescription from my doctor to fly. I take it before ever boarding the plane, and I never get to the point where I am so anxious that I have the physiological response. I keep one pill in my pocket on theme park days. It helps me to know if a ride broke down I could take it quickly if needed. They are fast acting and dissolve under my tongue. I don’t like to take them ahead of time because they make me drowsy. Just having it in my pocket helps.

    All of this is pretty extreme, I know. And I’m certainly not suggesting everyone should be medicated. I’m just sharing what worked for me in the hope that someone can relate. I didn’t expect it, I didn’t want it, and it just kept getting worse until I dealt with it. I don’t have any issues in my every day life, so I just control it the best I can when I fly or go a theme park.
     

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