A woman claims she was booted from Universal Studios Hollywood’s Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride due to her size and its incompatibility with the park’s safety standards.
In the throes of enjoying Potter-themed delights, Schmiedling says she was informed via text by a plus-size friend she may not be allowed on the ride, which prompted her to immediately test the warning’s veracity.
Once she and her friends were seated into the ride, she assumed there was no problem.
However, writes Schmiedling, “One of the 20-something ride managers walked over and asked us all to step off because of a ‘safety’ issue. We were ushered through a door to what looked like a backstage area where another 20-something employee rattled off a spiel about ‘safety’ and ‘three clicks’ and having to ‘try out a safety seat.’ That’s when we all knew that I hadn’t actually made it onto the Hogwarts ride.”
While park regulations require each restraint to be clicked down three times, Schmiedling was only able to accomplish a single click. She insisted her friends ride while she waited for them at the end, observing “several other people, bigger than [her] or with breasts as large as [hers] or with children in tow, walking away from Hogwarts dejected.”
Schmiedling maintains her ejection from the ride constitutes discrimination. “Exclusion and shame,” she asserts, “are not motivational techniques; they’re forms of bullying. … Exclusion makes me, a logical and educated person, believe that I’m at fault for not fitting into this ride instead of recognizing that rides should accommodate all people’s bodies.”
Furthermore, Schmiedling notes the incident made her realize the Harry Potter saga itself is sizeist. “Upon further investigation, the books and movies have only a few big characters and most of them are antagonistic,” she laments.
Schmiedling also explains her obsession with the supernatural book series, which began in 2017 due to her malaise over politics: “I got deeply sucked in last year. It was the depression and disgust surrounding Donald Trump’s election that sent me into a [Young Adult] fantasy endurance run.”