ORLANDO, Fla. — Disney is banning smoking and vaping inside its theme parks starting May 1, the company announced Thursday.
New designated smoking areas will be available outside the entrances in a move Disney hopes will help with guest flow and reduce congestion in its often crowded parks.
“It’s about time,” said Dennis Speigel, president of Ohio-based International Theme Park Service. “It’s the happiest place on Earth … Why should people be subjected to smoke at Disney?”
Speigel said he expects other parks will explore their smoking policies now, too.
Disney World already bans smoking in hotel rooms and the balconies, although resorts do have marked smoking areas on their properties.
At Walt Disney World parks, smoking enforcement will be up to employees, which is similar to how Disney handles it now, said Disney spokeswoman Erica Ettori. Disney doesn’t plan to punish visitors if they are caught breaking the rules.
Employees will be expected to politely ask smokers inside the parks to go to the designated area to light up outside the entrance. Visitors can return back into the park when they are done smoking, although Disney is still working through the details of how they will be readmitted through the lines, Ettori said.
The current smoking areas make up a small footprint at Magic Kingdom, the world’s busiest theme park, which only has two smoking areas inside and one outside the gate.
It’s not the first time Disney has made a statement about smoking. Since 2015, Walt Disney Co. hasn’t depicted smoking in its films with G, PG, and PG-13 ratings.