“it’s a small world” Retrofitted for Larger Riders?

2 Nov

Al Lutz reported this on MiceAge October 9, but I’ll confess it didn’t catch my attention until Mr Broke Hoedown sent me email today linking to BoingBoing’s coverage. Rumor has it that Disneyland’s “it’s a small world” is being refurbished to accommodate more large guests, because of traffic problems caused by overweight boats bottoming out.

Quite simply, the boats weren’t designed to handle multiple adults weighing more than 200 pounds, and they now routinely bottom out in the shallow flume and get stuck. The Imagineers who designed the unique flume ride system for the World’s Fair assumed that adult men would average 175 pounds, and adult women would average 135 pounds. Needless to say, those 1960’s statistics are hopelessly out of date in today’s world. This same issue creates similar problems on the drops at Pirates of the Caribbean, or even on the older dark rides like Pinocchio or Alice In Wonderland as the more heavily loaded cars try to keep up their pace throughout the ride. But at it’s a small world, the weight related problems happen more frequently.

BoingBoing linked to CalorieLab for this story . . . and I was amused to see that a good chunk of the discussion there was about whether Al Lutz had been appropriately credited. BoingBoing had the more interesting comments on the story, particularly this one from Richard Giles:

The thing that I find the most amusing about this story, is this seems to be the opposite approach that other corporations would take.

Airlines would just downsize the boats, and charge more. The RIAA would sue the overweight customers for sinking the boats. And the Fast Food Industry would turn the water into slurpee.

The airlines clearly aren’t dealing well with the plus-sizing of Americans. I hate to see large people charged for two seats, and I also hate to share my tiny little seat with whomever’s sitting next to me.  I’m much more comfortable with Disney’s (rumored) approach: Re-design the vehicle to fit the occupants.

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