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From the pages of Fat!So?

"For people who don't apologize for their size."

Issue #3

(P.O. Box 423464, San Francisco, CA)

A Fatso Does Disney

By Michelle Gillaspie

I used to wonder where all the fatsos in Southern California were hiding. A recent sojourn convinced me they weren't in hiding at all--they were at Disneyland!

For years and years I didn't go to Disneyland, fearful that I would wedge myself into Space Mountain only to be unable to get out again. The fact that I was terrified of roller coasters had nothing to do with it, I swear. When the opportunity for a four-day family trip to Disney came up recently, I was raring to go. So what if I couldn't wrangle myself out of a seat? That's what all those smiling Disney employees are there for!

As it turned out, (almost) all of my fears-turned-potential-opportunities-for-fat-activism were unfounded. I fit in all the rides and rode every single one, and there were fat people everywhere doing the same.

Some rides were a tighter squeeze than others. I'm 5'6" and about 275 pounds, and carry a lot in my belly, for reference's sake. Big bottomed folk with smaller bellies will probably have a slightly easier time of it than I did, and I did just fine. Seat belts and restraints were of two general sorts, lap belts or restraint bars. (No over-the-head ones, though.) The lap belts were all extremely large. Highly circumferential Disney guests would probably run out of room in the seating compartment before they would run out of lap belt. (Although it was a close call for me in the Rocket Jets.)

Turnstiles were universally tight, and some of the crowd control lines were really narrow. This didn't present a problem for me most of the time (up on tiptoe, heave that stomach over the top) but if it did, I saw disabled entries for most everything, and I wasn't particularly looking for them.

All of the Disney personnel were incredibly friendly. (That's what they're paid for.) And, in addition, were gracious and discreet in accommodating fat folks' need for a car or seat to themselves without being asked. There weren't many fat staff; I got the impression that Disney hires people to fit the costumes.

Fat people were everywhere, wearing their Mickey and Minnie T-shirts. (Available throughout the park in sizes up to 4X.) There were many more fat women than fat men, and lots of fat mommies and their babies and children going on ride after ride. I heard not one single rude, fat-bigoted comment in my four days of Disney, in the park or out of it. (And that includes at the hotel pool while wearing a bikini.)

Walking out the gate at night is a reluctant return to the mundane world after time spent in a truly "Magic Kingdom." Part of the magic comes from the fact that Disney is a place where fat people (and in fact, all types of people) can have a great time without having to worry about fitting in. Overall, I had a terrific time at Disneyland, and can recommend it to all the fatsos out there who are looking for theme-park-style fun.

Just watch out for those turnstiles.

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