I love Disneyland. I love Disneyland so much that I have an annual pass. I have an annual pass so that I can go often. I go so often that I know where everything is, what the busiest rides are, what shows are playing, where they're playing, when they're playing, and how to get my own boat on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride. I know the folklore, the ride stories, the urban legends, the characters, the songs, and the ghosts.
And, though I love Disneyland, I do have issues with it on the fat front.
1.) Dude, lap bars. Need I say more? Now, hardly anyone goes to Disneyland alone and hardly anyone goes on rides alone. It's lame. I've done it. Now, lap bars fit me just fine, and so do the belts. The problem comes when you're riding with a passenger that is somewhat smaller than you and the ride has one of those lap bars that goes across the both of you. For some fatties, this isn't a problem, for some it is. It is for me because, even though the friend I go with isn't thin, her weight is in her boobs, mine is in my stomach- coincidentally right where the lap bar goes. So when I get on a ride that contains a lap bar that (unlike the Haunted Mansion lap bars) you pull down, I suck in my gut as much as possible to make sure that my friend isn't totally insecure in the ride. This doesn't always work and usually leads to me being slightly uncomfortable and kind of embarrassed.
Luckily, most rides today have individual lap bars built in to ride seats, even the seats that hold two people. I think that is totally awesome and really takes the pressure and embarrassment off of me. Some rides (I'm looking at you Mr. Toad's Wild Ride), however, do not. Yeah, that kind of sucks... But, on the upside, the ride doesn't really go fast enough to throw anyone out if the lap bar isn't all the way down.
On the upside, like I said, most of the rides that really go fast have individual lap bars or individual belts. I'm really impressed with the length of the Indiana Jones belts- those fuckers are long enough to get around my substantial tummy and they have length to spare. Awesome. I believe Space Mountain also sports individual lap bars. Good call- that ride is fast!
2.) Merchandise. As I've explained (at length), I love Disneyland. I love most things Disney, in fact (excluding newer live-action shows and movies). I love Disney to the point where I buy their over-priced (though, usually, high quality) junk! I would even buy their over-priced clothing. I have talked to several Disneyland cast members about this and most seem to agree that many fatties would like to buy and wear clothes from Disney. Luckily some things go up to a size 3x, which will fit me just fine usually. However, the thing that bothers me most about Disney merch? The fact that only some things come in bigger sizes. The really cool, artsy princess shirts that I love? They tend to go up to a large or an extra large, but that's it. The more generic, not-so-fashionable clothing items? They're the ones that sometimes, if you're lucky, hit a 3x.
What's with the selectivity? If you're going to go up to 3x at all, Disney, do it for all of your clothing, not just the stuff aimed at older people. I want a Captain Eo shirt, damn it, and I'm willing to pay for it if you're willing to produce my size!
One of the stores, one of the hipper stores, at Downtown Disney (the strip of shops, stands, and restaurants just outside of the Disney park in California) only has shirts that go up to a 1x. That makes me feel bad. That makes me feel like I'm too fat to be in that store. Disney not handling my sizes in clothing styles that more fashionable makes me feel like Disney doesn't want me, a fatty, in their stores or wearing their clothes. Now, that's ridiculous- of course Disney wants my money, they just, apparently don't want my round and rolly frame in their clothing. I dunno.
I shot Disney an email about the possibility of getting some bigger sizes in stock and was answered quite quickly with a reply stating that the idea had been tossed around for some years now but had not been put into play because they figured the demand was not high enough. A Disneyland cast member also told me that the company was thinking about going up, possibly, to a size 6x (of course, this is just what I've heard). I think that would be fucking awesome. She said that she sees, daily, how high the demand for larger sizes is, but she also said that the company didn't think the demand was high enough. Okay. Well, Disney, let me tell you- there is a demand. Fat people come to your park just as often as thin people do. Fat people love your company and your clothing, and your over-priced merchandise just as much as thin people do. You know how you had to fix up It's a Small World recently to be more accommodating to larger passengers? Well, that alone should tell you that fatties are there and when you don't have the sizes they need, they're not going to spend the money in your gift shops. Sorry. Putting larger sizes in stores (and making sure all stiles have the largest size) is a win for you when it comes to profit, and it's a win for fatties who get to feel more included, catered to, and they'll end up liking your company all the more for it. I know I will.
The upside is that Disney does go up to a 3x, which, in this fat-hating world, is pretty cool. It sucks butt when you notice that only certain things go up to that size, and that the more fashionable stuff is only for the thinner people... That, honestly, really makes me feel like shit.
I guess I should end this on a high note. Disney hires fatties. That is pretty cool. A lot of the Disneyland cast members are large and in charge and I really appreciate that. I also heard that there are no physical standards for who can try out to play characters in the parks. That's just what I've heard. That doesn't mean that a fatty will be hired to play Tiana or Cinderella (or any other princess, though, I'm praying that someday, Disney will step up and give us a fuller-figured, maybe even a little bit chunky princess). But being able to audition no matter if you look like a character or not is pretty cool. Of course this is just a rumor I heard... But it's a rumor I'd like to believe- it helps keep the magic of Disneyland alive for me.