Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride seats modified to fit larger guests

The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure just became a lot more accommodating. As of Sept. 10, 2010, many of the seats on the ride have been modified to fit larger guests who had previously been turned away.

Since the feature ride in The Wizarding World of Harry Poter opened in May, many guests have been complaining that they can’t ride because they weren’t getting three clicks. As the safety restraint is locked down over the guest, it clicks three times. If a guest couldn’t get it the third click, they were told they couldn’t ride. For many guests, this was the only ride at Universal they couldn’t fit on.

The new test seats, which are outside the attraction and just before you get on the ride, feature three lights, a red one, yellow one and a green one. As the guest pulls the restraint down, the lights go from red to green. If a guest gets yellow, they’re asked to go in a special line with their riding party and are directed to the modified seats.

So far, some of the ride vehicles (or benches as they’re called in the ride) have the modified seats on the each end of the four seats per bench. The benches with the modified seats are spaced out along the track so there isn’t a long wait. A team member working at the attraction said they’d eventually add the modified seats to each bench. The modified seats aren’t any larger, but the locking mechanism has been modified to safely secure larger riders. Smaller riders can also safely ride in the modified seats.

Team members we talked to said the modified seats have helped tremendously. They said before they had to turn away hundreds of guests, but over the two days since the modified seats have been in place, they’ve only had to turn away one guest.

We previously wrote about the issue and featured Banks Lee (pictured above). Banks was one of the ones who couldn’t fit, so he made it his goal to lose enough weight so he could ride. We then wrote about Banks again recently when he made that goal.

Banks said he’s happy they didn’t modify the seats before he lost the weight or he might have lost his motivation, but he’s still glad to have the modified seats available. Banks posted on his blog, “Even though I have lost the weight to get the three clicks in a regular seat, I was still at a size where it depends on how hard the ride attendant pushed the restraint. There would be times where I could ride it, and then I’ll get back in line and not be able to ride.” Banks said he plans to continue his weight loss to get to a more healthy size.

So, if you’ve tried to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey before and were turned away, give it another try. Whether you lost weight or gained some, you still may not be too big to ride.


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  1. My biggest concern was that they were going to make modified seating that would not be able to restrain a small child the same as the larger person that they were created for. It is my opinion that riding a given ride is not a right but a privilege and to those that are willing to find issue if a ride doesn’t accommodate them then we have the alternative that Mr. Lee showed us.

    1. Disliking heavy people is no different than being racist. Some people actually can’t hep how big they are. They should not be discriminated against.

  2. I seriously doubt they’d do anything that could risk a child…but at the same time there IS a height requirement for a reason. Children get older and bigger then they’ll have a turn. This doesn’t appear to be an exceptionaly “dangerous” ride. I do believe the restraints were a bit too tight…some “modified seats” that would compare to Hulk or Dragons seem reasonable.

  3. This is nice but any woman with a big chest can not ride this ride. It is a shame they did not design this better from the get go. The NEED to listen to their employees! Any one of them will tell you about the hundreds of people a day they have to turn away because even the modified seats aren’t good enough. They really should have known that this above all other attractions needed to be open for ALL types of people.

  4. Universal needs to get a clue from Disney. All the rides at Disney accommodate large guests. I had a friend who is 350 pounds, and 6 feet tall. He fit comfortably on all the Disney rides.

  5. Thank God they modified the restraints. I’m not overweight but I wear a size EE bra. I was terrified I would be turned away when I visit with my husband and kids in a few weeks. How embarrassing! Now we can all ride together without Mom’s boobs getting in the way.

  6. Just another example why Disney is so much better than Universal. Universal does not have a clue about serving the customers. Disney does not have an issue with accomodating larger people so it is posslbe, Universal just chooses not to address this issue. Even the modified (not larger) seats are still an issue for larger chested people (men and woman) as a body builder, I am not fat but have large chest/shoulders and arms and I cannot fit this ride. Make the overhead restraints more rounded to accomodate various size people.

  7. From the jaws of victory! Why would Universal do this yet again? When will they get a clue from Disney? This is why when our family visits Orlando every year, we sometimes go to Universal Studios. I realize that it’s impossible to cater to every size and body type out there but, come on. In the millions of dollars spent designing the ride, the engineers couldn’t come up with some way to alleviate this problem, especially since all you have to do is type in IOA seating in a google search and see a myriad of complaints in every social media outlet there is about this and previous IOA rides. When you go on vacation the last thing you want is to feel bad about your body type. Because this is more than just an issue of, “well fat people just need to take a clue and lose weigh.” This is an issue of, if you are a female with a chest or a male who is broad across the shoulders being unable to ride. I resent this always being linked to just the “fat” people not being able to ride, which by the way, take a look at video shot in any amusement park and see how stupid universal is for constantly ignoring the size issue to begin with, but a blatant, “We don’t care” on behalf of the designers. Maybe they should do less engineering and utilize more “imagineering!”

  8. I just got back from Universal and Disney. I was turned away from Forbidden Journey. I am overweight, but not huge. However I do have a very large chest and I could not fit the ride. The thing that irked me was we did not see the test seats, and the worker at the front did not tell me to test first, so I got stopped after our 90 minute line wait. The worker inside was unbelievably rude to me and raised his voice asking why I didn’t test before I got on. Universal needs to work on its employees’ people skills. I was able to ride everything I wanted to ride in the park except the Forbidden Journey (the main ride I wanted to ride). My boobs just wouldn’t let the bar down enough. Come on people! Think when designing rides!

  9. Having recently been to islands of adventure I tried to ride this ride. I am a “full figured” woman, but as many have said this is the ONLY ride at any theme park in Orlando I could not ride. After some tears and some thought I realized the main issue keeping me from getting the yellow light was that my rather large breasts in my well supporting bra was keeping the bar from coming all the way down. So I did what any harry potter loving person who wanted to get my money’s worth out of my day would do and went to the bathroom and removed my bra. This gave the “girls” more room to move and I got the yellow light. So ladies if you are willing you can try that as a last resort. Have fun and it is worth it.

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  11. I went very happy to see the new ride at Universal of Harry Potter sunday jan 8 2012..it was a nitghmare. Im 44inches waist and it was uncomfortable at the ride. They push to tide the security bar I let them know and they fixed a little they told me it was the most they can do. I agree because the excitment of the ride but do it very unconfortable. I do try for a second ride and had the same problem but worst they push to tide the bar…finally reject the ride. Why? Why if others rides are especial seats this doesnt visualize. I read here about new seats ..false because I do the ride twice…and i wasnt refer to those especial seats. Hope in future they correct this..because I didnt enjoyed. Im 5’8″tall and 220 weight.

  12. The modified seats still don’t work for apparently a number of people. I am 6’0″, 260 lbs, and was turned away. The issue with the seat seemed to be more with my shoulder width than anything else. Saw 4 other people turned away in the 5 minutes or so I was at the ‘test seats.’ And, as someone else mentioned, I was told I should have checked the test seats found earlier in the line, but was never directed to them and never noticed them. I cannot find this limitation mentioned in the Islands of Adventure map/guide or brochure or on the Universal website. After 4 GREAT days at Disney, Universal was a real disappointment. Obviously this ride was poorly designed, since no other Universal or Disney rides seem to have this issue, and Universal’s employees are remarkly uncaring. They will never get any more of my money.

  13. I am just over 6ft 275ibs and I have not been able to ride this ride in Univeral Iskand of Adventures, this seat sizing weight restriction thing is a bit lame I am of he opinion it restricts the number of riders to keep the line to workable levels once the ride ceases o be as popular the body size thing will disappear.. As it has with the mummy ride. I was there today in the 5 mins I waited to try the seats out at the entrance at least 12 people were turned away or offered the walk through. Wise up Universal in a country with the largest population by weight as opposed to number who do you think your kidding.

  14. My partner and I have been to universal studios hundreds of times over the past 31 years but find it extremely frustrating when I am turned away because of my size. After all these years one would have thought that Universal would have made LARGER seats at the back of each set of seats for the LARGER of us. We are from the UK and pay exactly what other people pay but are, what I can only describe as, VICTIMISED. There seems to be lots of other rides ect that the LARGER person cannot get on and when one is paying all this money to be turned away is heart wrenching. People look forward to this kind of holiday and are “shot down in flames” when told “SORRY, YOU ARE TOO BIG, GET OFF”…how embarrassing for the LARGER person, to be humiliated in front of all the other people waiting. What is more worrying is that the USA has a much larger population of, shall we say, the Larger person but still these “Theme” parks do not do anything to accommodate us larger people…WHY NOT?….do we not deserve to ride these to which we have paid for?……come on “theme ” park engineers, pull your finger out and make them back seats BIGGER BIGGER BIGGER

  15. I was in universal in 2012. Weighed 297 at 5″10 And got on. I was given a yellow light.

  16. 2019 – the ride at Universal Orlando does not have a yellow light: it’s either red or blue. So if you are anything more than 230pounds, you won’t fit