FARMINGTON, Utah — A West Valley City woman is upset at the Lagoon theme park for telling her she couldn’t ride a roller coaster because she’s too big.
Last week, Mary McBroon abruptly left Lagoon feeling embarrassed after two park attendants said she couldn’t safely ride “The Bat” because of her weight.
She says the chest restraint fit her just fine but not the lap belt and when the ride attendant called another employee for help, McBroon says it quickly became uncomfortable.
“He just said ‘I’m sorry, it’s just not gonna work.’ The girl then said ‘yeah it will, I’ve helped bigger people,” said McBroon. “I went to guest services, explained I was too fat for the rides and got a refund. The whole experience was just mortifying and disappointing.”
“We’re sorry for any embarrassment or discomfort this lady experienced, we’re not in that business. We’re in the fun business,” said Dick Andrew, Vice President of Marketing at Lagoon.
After the incident, McBroon didn’t attempt going on any other rides.
“We would have loved her to stay,” said Lagoon marketer Adam Leishman. “We have many, many things for people of any and all sizes.”
Lagoon says its rides are designed for 95 percent of the population, but there are several like “The Samarai” that have larger seats for bigger customers.
According to Lagoon’s policy on its website, because of safety, guests of unusual body proportions, whether height or weight, may not be able to ride. Also, outside “The Bat” there’s a similar sign that McBroon did not notice.
McBroon thinks Lagoon should be more clear. For example, if signs say you have to be a certain height to ride, McBroon thinks they should say what the appropriate weight or girth is.
“I’m not sure there is a good reason why you couldn’t have a sign indicating what your girth would be. I still think that would be problematic though,” Andrew said.
“We can put up a board with tick marks for height measurements to give the ride operators some guidelines on who’s acceptable to ride within that height range. To do a width restriction, would they have to go out with a tape measure and measure people? That’s uncomfortable for a lot of reasons,” adds Lieshman.
“I understand,” says McBroon. “But couldn’t they have said, ‘hey did you read the sign?’ ‘Did you read the disclaimer.’ That would have been much better and more discreet.”
It’s unclear what, if any, action Lagoon is going to take, but company officials say McBroon’s letter caught the attention of the company president and owner, plus the operations manager. Company officials say they take her complaint seriously.