Universal Studios’ New Mario Kart Ride Explicitly Bars Fat People

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Gretchen Clayson Contributor
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The new Super Nintendo World attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood is slated to open Feb. 17, but the ride will be accessible to park-goers only if their waistlines are 40 inches or less.

Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge will allow riders experience Mario Kart “like never before,” transporting them into the game with “cutting-edge technology” as they steer their way through multiple courses for a chance to win the coveted Golden Cup, according to Universal Studios Hollywood’s official website.

But safety recommendations for the ride indicate not everyone will be able to climb on board, according to page 14 of the park’s 2023 Guide for Rider Safety and Accessibility. “This ride employs restraints which may restrict certain guests from riding due to body shape and size,” the guide reads, adding that those with a waistline of 40 inches or more “may not be accommodated on the ride.”

“All passenger restraint systems- including lap bars, shoulder harnesses and seat belts – must be positioned and fastened properly to assure your safety. Guests who don’t fit properly in a safety restraint won’t be allowed to ride,” according to the Rider Safety tab on Universal’s website. (RELATED: 14-Year-Old Boy Falls Off Amusement Park Ride Labeled As Tallest Of Its Kind In World)

The guidelines have received backlash on social media.

“Nothing but wonderful things to say about Super Nintendo World except this: the body size limitations on the Mario Kart ride are absolutely ridiculous. I’ve never had any issue fitting into any ride in my entire life, and I can BARELY fit into this one. Completely absurd,” one user tweeted Monday.

“Can we discuss how at my biggest I would not have been able to fit on Mario Kart? A 40″ waist line is about a size 20. Are you freaking kidding me, [Universal Studios]? It’s a DARK RIDE,” another user wrote.

Still, one user pointed out size restrictions for the ride are in line with other size restrictions on numerous rides throughout the park — most notably Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey and Revenge of the Mummy, he argued. Both rides are listed under the same safety restrictions as Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge on page 10 of the park’s rider safety guide.

A test seat will be available at the start of the ride “to assist guests in determining their ability to ride,” according to the guide.

“Our first priority is always the safety of the guests and the employees,” Premier Rides President Jim Seay told The Wall Street Journal. The ride manufacturer has built attractions for parks such as Six Flags, SeaWorld and Universal Studios. “We balance that with a very focused effort to make the rides as accessible as possible.

“We are always listening to our guests and seek to balance their needs against our strong focus on the safety of our attractions. We have a company-wide task force actively working with this community to make changes that can help them safely increase access to our experiences,” a Universal company spokesperson told the Daily Caller. 

Universal noted it has a company-wide task force that works with members of the community to “collaborate on everything from test-seat placement to ride design” as well as working with others in the industry to implement new American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards for attractions to make them more accessible.

They further noted the guidelines provided are not meant to be taken as a specific restriction, but rather are meant to inform guests so they might be encouraged to determine their ability to comfortably and safely ride, either by utilizing a test seat or by speaking with a Team Member.