LIFE

Disney Just Announced A New Smoking Ban In All Of Its California And Florida Theme Parks

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Bad news for smokers who want to enjoy the Most Magical Place on Earth: Disney has officially banned smoking throughout all of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and other California and Florida parks.

The company announced the news on the Disney Parks Blog. The post says that “beginning May 1, smoking areas will no longer be present inside Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme parks, water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex or Downtown Disney District in California.”

Anyone caught smoking inside the parks will be asked to leave. Designated smoking areas will continue to be available outside of the park entrances.

“As we expand our offerings, we continue to take steps to enhance the guest experience and make it more enjoyable for everyone who visits,” Disney spokesperson Liz Jaeger told the New York Times.

The smoking ban comes alongside a few other policy changes, including new stroller size requirements and a ban on loose ice.

Disney just announced a series of policy changes on the Disney Parks Blog. Most of the new rules are pretty minor and uncontroversial — loose ice and dry ice, for example, are no longer allowed within the park, so visitors will have to use ice packs or grab free ice at the park.

Also, heads up to caregivers: The stroller requirements are changing. Starting on May 1, strollers must be no larger than 31 by 52 inches. Large strollers and wagons will be prohibited.

You can still rent a stroller at the park to keep things simple — or rent a Cinderella carriage.

The other major policy change, though, has some parkgoers up in arms, while others are rejoicing.

Disney has officially banned smoking throughout all of its California and Florida parks, including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and water parks.

The smoking ban begins on May 1, along with the new stroller requirements.

Per the Disney Parks Blog, designated smoking areas will be available outside of the entrances to the parks. Also, guests who are staying or dining at hotels within the Disney Resort can access smoking areas there.

Even before this rule, most of Disney’s parks weren’t particularly smoker-friendly. Smokers had to stay in a few designated smoking areas on the properties.

Now, though, they’ll have to refrain from lighting up until it’s time to leave — or face consequences.

“As we expand our offerings, we continue to take steps to enhance the guest experience and make it more enjoyable for everyone who visits,” Disney spokesperson Liz Jaeger told the New York Times.

“Employees will ask anyone caught smoking to leave the park and smoke in a designated area,” she explained.

Disney hotel guests can also be fined between $250 and $500 for smoking outside of designated areas.

The ban does not apply to parks in France, China, or Japan.

Some people are hoping that this new policy will lead to widespread change throughout the entire theme park industry.

Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Service, told the Times that this ban is “the right course.”

“You’re going to the most wholesome, family-oriented place on the planet. Who wants to run into somebody smoking?” he said.

He anticipates that the policy will “ratchet up the bar for the industry.”

“Other park operators will follow suit,” he said.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, a smoking visitor at the Magic Kingdom park told reporters that he wasn’t happy to hear the news.

“It’s not fair. It’s legal,” he said. “I think people who smoke should smoke if they want to smoke.”

In 2015, Disney also banned portrayals of smoking in films geared toward young people, including Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Disney films. It was the first major studio to do so.

It’s not clear whether other theme parks will follow Disney’s lead. A spokeswoman for Cedar Fair Parks says she’s not aware of any plan to ban smoking, and a rep for Six Flags Great Adventure didn’t respond to the Times.

While the smoking ban might deter some would-be Disney visitors, the park’s new Star Wars exhibit will probably win them over.