One rule that Disney implemented semi-recently was the decision to ban smoking from their theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort. Now, if you are planning to smoke at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you must be prepared to know that the designated smoking areas are very far from the Parks.
In the past, all four theme parks had smoking sections within; now, only at Disney Resorts are you able to smoke nearby your room at one of the designated smoking areas that are located across each Disney Hotel property. If you are ever caught smoking at a Disney Park, you will be asked to put the cigarette out immediately; failure to comply will likely leave you removed from the Park.
Guests visiting must recognize that this is a family park with lots of children around, and Disney has chosen to put everyone’s safety and enjoyment first. As many do not like the smell of smoke, this was likely an easy decision for Disney, as the previous smoking sections were areas of the Park that Guests still had to pass through.
One Guest who recently visited Disney seemed to question if the no-smoking rule was still in place, as they saw a woman smoking a cigarette at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The Guest who wrote about the situation was in no way judging the woman, as they too were a smoker, but they did not understand why she would not only smoke out in the open like that, but also in a highly flammable area littered in foliage.
So, I just got back from WDW and I thought about not posting this at all, but I have some real questions…
We went to Animal Kingdom last Sunday and we were on the trail for Rafiki’s Planet Watch and there was a woman just standing in the middle of the trail smoking. Now, I’m a smoker (not judging the woman for smoking), but there was a ton of dead foliage and the parks are now non-smoking. On the latter point, they are still non-smoking, right?
Cast Members walked by and did nothing. This woman was not hiding at all, she was stopped right in the middle of the trail. When I asked a cast member who walked by and not only saw but also acknowledged the woman smoking where the nearest smoking area was, I was told that smoking is not allowed, and I could be escorted from property if I choose to smoke… but, he just saw… my brain still hurts trying to figure this all out. Yes, before anyone asks, my group was sure he saw her. He asked her if she needed anything and she was holding her cigarette up and blew smoke right at him when she responded. Lady wasn’t hiding it at all (other than being on Rafiki’s Planet Watch). We also know they weren’t escorted out, because she was in front of us later in the day for Flight of Passage and Celebration of Festival of the Lion King. So, I’m just curious what I’ve missed. Is smoking allowed again? Are the employees uncomfortable confronting smokers?
Can anyone shed some light? Like I said, I’m not judging the woman for smoking… I might be judging her for finding the dumbest place to light a cigarette since it’s a legitimate fire hazard. But, I’m also confused on what exactly transpired here that in a thirty second-ish window it went from being okay to smoke to being escorted out of the park if you’re caught. Those are drastically different reactions/ responses from a single cast member that feel like “official policy” versus policy in practice.
One reader responded and noted that perhaps any Cast Member who saw was too scared to confront the Guest due to past outbursts that have occurred from other Guests told not to smoke. They said, “Smoking is still not allowed. CMs are harassed, insulted, and even attacked, so yes, it’s entirely likely they did not want a confrontation. Escorted out is always possible, especially if the guest gets belligerent, but more likely, they’ll just be told to stop.”
Another reader seems to have a job where they must also tell others to stop smoking, and it seems that the reaction is often negative, “Yeah, I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve been spat on or been threatened with violence for very politely asking someone to please stop smoking in a clearly-posted no-smoking area. I can’t blame a poorly-paid, harried, overworked member of the still-skeleton-crew-sized WDW staff for deciding it was above their pay grade to put themselves at risk. Hopefully, they have the option of calling Security.”
A past Cast Member joined the conversation, and noted that they were the ones who would have to deal with smokers. They said, “I used to work at Animal Kingdom and we were absolutely told to do it ourselves. Security would not come just because someone was smoking, it was too common. Some older Cast Members unofficially created a little “force” in our area – if you were afraid to confront a smoker, you could find them and they’d do it for you – but it was unfortunately my 19-year-old self’s responsibility at the time. :(.”
One Disney fan suggested that Disney should sell nicotine lozenges to help curb Guests who have an addiction.
In fairness, nicotine withdrawl symptoms can set in at about the 2 hour mark, and can get really severe around 4-8 hours depending on the person.
Extreme irritability and irrational anger are symptoms. Yes, otherwise gentle and kind people can lash out, much to their shame and horror.
Disney really should just start selling nicotine lozenges at the park, they’re fast, they’re effective, and they’re fairly inexpensive. I’d imagine over the course of the year they’d likely even manage to get a couple people started on the path to quitting if they did.
Many others, both smokers and non-smokers, noted that they were either happy or understood why Disney made the decision to ban smoking in the parks due to the smoking locations that were previously set out.
Again, please remember that if you are planning a Disney vacation, and you need to smoke, you will not be able to do so in any Disney Park, so planning for breaks or another supplement during your Park day will be necessary.
If you want to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there is a ton to see and do! You can head over to Expedition Everest in Asia to visit the terrifying Yeti. Pandora will bring your Avatar dreams to life with Flight of Passage bringing Guests into the world of the Na’vi. DINOSAUR is still filled with giant dinos at every turn, and over at Kilimanjaro Safaris, you can take a ride on a real safari, and if you are lucky, a giraffe might even step in your way! A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King is now running, and the show is not one you should miss.
What do you think about Disney having banned smoking from the Parks?
Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!