The new Mario Kart ride at Universal has been making waves for its thrilling experience and nostalgic appeal. However, controversy has arisen as it has been revealed that the average American male may be too overweight to ride the attraction.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the current average waist size for American men is 40.5 inches, while women’s average waist size is 38.7 inches. This has led to concerns that plus-sized visitors may not be able to enjoy the ride due to weight restrictions.
Critics have called the ride “blatantly fatphobic” and have accused Universal of excluding a significant portion of their audience. They argue that this decision perpetuates harmful stereotypes and body shaming.
On the other hand, some feel that the weight restrictions are justified for safety reasons. Roller coasters and other theme park attractions have long had size and weight restrictions to ensure the safety of all guests. Additionally, some argue that larger passengers may struggle to fit in the ride’s seats, which could cause discomfort and potentially harm the rider
It’s important to note that weight restrictions on amusement park rides are not unique to the Mario Kart attraction. Universal, along with other theme parks, has safety guidelines in place to ensure that all guests can enjoy the park safely. These guidelines are based on engineering and safety standards, and while they may be inconvenient for some guests, they are ultimately in place for the well-being of all visitors.
Regardless of differing opinions, it’s clear that the debate over the Mario Kart ride highlights larger societal issues surrounding body image and weight stigma. As conversations around body positivity and inclusivity continue, it’s important for theme parks and other businesses to consider how their policies and practices may impact marginalized communities.
Universal Studios officials told Gizmodo that the 40-inch waistline guideline isn’t absolute, and tall visitors may still be able to participate in the Bowser Challenge. They said:
This guide is not a specific limitation, but rather aims to encourage customers to try out a test seat or speak with a member of our team before leaving so they can ride comfortably and safely.