Anybody been to the new Harry Potter attraction at Orlando Universal?
If you have, did you check out the ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey”?
Lots of visitors to the park have and some of them aren’t too happy. Why you ask? For the same reason airline flights are uncomfortable for some and why we have to build emergency stairwells wider. Americans are too big.
Apparently the park has received several complaints, from both guests and ride critics, that the seats and harnessing mechanism are too tight.
When you design rides like this you have some pretty specific guidelines you follow. You also have an extensive testing process, doing lots of run throughs with safety experts, park employees and the like before opening up to the general public. Now I am certainly not an engineer of amusement park rides, so some of this is an educated guess. I have managed projects before however, so I know you don’t do something that big without a plan.
My thought process is we, as Americans, have outgrown the specs that they have used in the past.
If you look at the data, it’s hard to dispute the fact we keep growing. The CDC says that in the early 1960s the average male weighed 166.3 lbs and the average female weighed 140.2 lbs. Fast forward to the year 2000 and the numbers go up to 191.0 lbs for males and 164.3 lbs for females. Based on the trend, Iwould be willing to bet the numbers are even greater today.
So where does it stop? When do we say enough? Do we keep supersizing accommodations like amusement park rides, airlines seats or even coffins? Do we just throw in the towel and accept the “inevitable” and all the consequences it may bring?
Not me. I won’t accept it. I will continue to fight it every day, one willing participant at a time. I think we are better than that.
Amusement parks could help in this fight, just like schools and restaurants. Serve better food choices, keep people moving by incorporating activity into the attractions or even get rid of parking lot trams so people take more steps. Give people the choice to do the right thing.
I know Universal has to do what they have to do to keep people in the seats, even if that means making the seats bigger.