Super Nintendo World, the latest addition to Universal Hollywood’s theme park, is set to open in just a few weeks, giving Mario fans the opportunity to step into a vivid recreation of the Mushroom Kingdom, packed with sights and sounds they know and love. Not all of them, however, will be able to experience the featured attraction Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, as it has a very specific requirement: Your waistline must not be 40 inches or larger.
An elaborate “3D and 4D ride,” according to the official page for Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, the single-user ride takes attendees through a variety of Mario-themed settings brought to life with “cutting-edge technology.” On the ride, you’ll individually or collectively team up to foil Team Bowser’s plans to grab that golden cup before Mario and friends do. But as The Wall Street Journal observed in an article highlighting the limiting weight requirements, (which can be found on the official app for park navigation and line management) “Guests whose waistline is at least 40” or greater may not be accommodated on the ride.” The app’s copy indicates that there’s a test seat available to gauge whether or not an attendee meets these requirements. Given that the average waist circumference in the U.S. is just around 40 inches, this certainly seems likely to exclude a good number of folks.
“Nothing but wonderful things to say about Super Nintendo World except this,” opens one tweet from YouTuber and “Food influencer,” Rocco Botte, “the body size limitations on the Mario Kart ride are absolutely ridiculous.
Another popular tweet calls out the absurdity of such a strict waist limitation. “A 40” waist line is about a [women’s] size 20.”
According to CDC statistics cited by Healthline, the average clothing size for adults assigned female at birth hovers between 18 to 20. As many replies to the tweet above indicate, a 40-inch waist is a “very normal and common size to be for many body types.” And Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge isn’t the only ride with such strict limitations. At least four other Universal Studios rides, including Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Revenge of the Mummy — the Ride also cite the same 40-inch limit, with suggestions that attendees ought to use the test seat to determine if the ride can accommodate them.
As The Wall Street Journal found out, such test seats are hardly accurate and aren’t terribly private. “Visitors say the tryouts can be awkward [and] less forgiving than the actual seats on the ride,” the paper reports.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Universal Parks & Resorts provided Kotaku with the following statement:
“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.”
The company also said that it values accessibility and will be reconfiguring some existing rides, starting with Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in Universal Orlando.
The waistline requirement particularly stings as Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge is the only ride to be featured at Super Nintendo World, yet it’s not designed to accommodate average or plus size attendees’ physical dimensions.
Update 2/2/23 2:30 PM: The story has been updated to include a comment from Universal Parks & Resorts.