Smoking in parks

Just curouis - I am not a smoker, so this is something that I have not paid much attention to while visiting Amusement Parks. What is the smoking policy at various parks in the US.? Allowd, banned, or designated areas only?

Life is an amusment park -and I can't get off of the damn spinning teacups!

Disney - designated areas

Holiday World - designated areas.

Life is an amusment park -and I can't get off of the damn spinning teacups!

In most parks I have gone to, smoking is restricted to designated areas. HOWEVER, seeing that policy enforced can be a rare thing, which really can suck.

I can understand it can be difficult to enforce smoking policies in a wide open park. But I know some employees will ignore someone smoking outside of a smoking area to avoid the confrontation, despite training telling them to do the opposite, out of fear of the customer retaliating or reporting them to management.

I am a smoker. (Don’t judge me) But I’m always a courteous smoker. I don’t light up in line and I will use designated smoking areas. Most places in the US allow smoking only in your home or car so we’re used to it.
Once I was walking toward the resort entrance at Cedar Point very late at night long after the park was closed and everyone was long gone. I lit up for the walk. I got to Planet Snoopy and I heard “Sir? Sir? We ask you to use the smoking areas please”. C’mon.

Let’s rate some of the smoking areas at parks around the world.
CP- they do a pretty good job. They’ve provided better spaces , Adirondack chairs and shade structures in several locations. The one behind TTD by the Dinos is the best. For a long time they had those slender smoker’s poles for ashtrays everywhere and I swear they were on fire by 11:30. (Inconsiderate non smokers like to jam their trash in there too.) Now at least they have regular ashtrays that are easy to empty and clean.

Six Flags- what I noticed about their smoking areas was a lot of them weren’t off to the side anywhere but just a bench or two along the midway. So I’m not sure who they’re trying to save, the non smoking public still has to walk by or directly through our stench.

Holiday World- should get the Golden Ticket for Best Smoking Areas. They really are nice and away from the crowd. Oddly, at that park I noticed the most number of non-compliant smokers. I attribute that to the fact that it’s southern Indiana which is close to Kentucky.

Hersheypark- the absolute worst. They’ve installed the smallest yard gazebos available from Menards and they’ve plopped them along the paths, few and far between. And don’t dare step out from under that little roof, or you’ll suffer a park reprimand. Sometimes there’s ten smokers crammed in those tiny spaces. Ugh.

Disney- the smoking areas are fewer and fewer these days, especially at MK. I get it, and I toughed it out. And one of the popular, secluded areas will bite the dust for the Tron ride, so I don’t know about what’s in store. Probably nothing. I think Disney’s biggest challenge is the amount of foreign visitors who aren’t hip to our rules and regs over here. Once at EPCOT I was sitting outside The Land pavilion and the couple next to me lit cigarettes. I cautioned them to not get in trouble and the smoking area was right over there if they wanted to use it. Turns out they were British and they looked at me like I had two heads.

Speaking of Europe- while the continent is slowly catching up to smoking regulations, in general it’s still permissible to smoke anywhere outside. At the parks I visited there were no smoking areas, but clever (and sometimes highly themed) ashtrays along the park paths. People were courteous, used the convenient ashtrays, and not once did I see anyone fall to the ground because a smoker happened to be nearby. And as a consequence there were no huge clouds of stinky smoke rising up over certain corners anywhere. Smoking in line or indoors wasn’t permitted and was enforced. I found it to be the most sensible solution of all.

Adventureland (Iowa)- I bring this one up because they have no smoking areas whatsoever. Smoking is not permitted. For a drag you have to get your hand stamped and leave the park. So what do the smokers do? They sit on the brick walls just outside the entrance and smoke. Apparently that’s ok. So everyone entering or exiting the park is forced to walk through that smoke which led me to question their motives there. Seriously, it made no sense.

And finally, while many non-smokers feel the parks take these steps in order to protect the health of them and their children, I would somewhat disagree. I know second-hand smoke is a real thing, you don’t have to tell me. But a side (and major) benefit to the parks comes in the form of cleanliness. Smoking is dirty, and it’s a litter problem everywhere. Confining smokers to certain areas eliminates the general mess around the entire park. Ask a sweep the next time you meet one. They used to spend all day sweeping up cigarette butts. Now, not so much. Trust and believe the parks have noted this as well.

Last edited by RCMAC,
Tommytheduck's avatar

As someone who absolutely hates secondhand smoke, I'm in full support of smoking areas in parks, stadiums, or any public area.

It's my observation that not all smokers are as courteous as RCMAC above. If there are no smoking areas in the park, they will just light up anywhere, including on the midway, in line, in the bathrooms, and worst of all, in the Family Restroom. (This last one is extremely common in airports, only the biggest of which seem to have smoking areas.)

I am glad (Sorry RCMAC) that smoking seems to be finally on the way out. It's no longer seen as "cool" or "rebellious" by the youth of today, and my H.S. aged son says nobody does it anymore. Vaping is another story, but at least it's better than cigarettes.

RCMAC said:

Once I was walking toward the resort entrance at Cedar Point very late at night long after the park was closed and everyone was long gone. I lit up for the walk. I got to Planet Snoopy and I heard “Sir? Sir? We ask you to use the smoking areas please”. C’mon.

And this attitude/response is why some people are afraid to enforce the rules to their strictest. But the rules do exist, you knew you were not following them, and they were following their job training. So why the "eye roll" attitude? Rules are rules, regardless of time of day. Because for some people you give them an inch and they take a yard, which helps no one in the end.

Hypothetical, but would you have responded differently if it had been a security guard asking to adhere to the rules, even after close, compared to a ride-op/sweep/other employee?

Maybe it was a “security guard”.
And don’t misjudge my attitude, I didn’t give her any. I put it out. Promptly. And I didn’t litter by doing so. And the minute I was on the boardwalk on my way back to Breakers I lit up again. Maybe they think the lake breeze has healing affect.

Anyway, I didn’t post here to engage in conversations about the evils of smoking, second-hand smoke, park policies, or what employees are empowered or expected to do. I’m hip. Merely, someone asked about smoking areas and I have answers.

Vater's avatar

I'm an ex-smoker, and the longer I'm an ex-smoker, the more the smell of secondhand smoke bothers me. That said, I don't encounter smokers very much at all in public (working at an office building where two healthcare companies are based--mine included--helps...along with the decline of smoking in general), and when I do I really don't care. Might give it a fleeting thought and a sour face if it goes right up my nose, and then I'm over it and move on.

I live 10 minutes from a casino, and I spent maybe an hour there about a month ago. There are non-smoking sections which do a great job of keeping the smell out, but the main area where all the tables are (I don't really do slots) allows smoking. I smelled like a tobacco factory when I left. But no big deal, I showered and did laundry the next day.

Honestly, the only thing that bothers me are the people with giant vapes bowing fat clouds right into my face. It’s happened 4 or 5 times at Cedar Point. Guys don’t pay attention to the wind, they blow a stupid cloud of super terrible smelling whatever it is and it carries into the wind not very far right into a group of people.

Last edited by Go Intamin,

Hey, let's ride (random Intamin coaster). What? It's broken down? I totally didn't expect that.

Jeff's avatar

Smoking is something I noticed all over the place in New York last week, because it's a crowded place and you can only do it outside.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

I'm not sure what the statistics are, but it feels like lots of people still smoke throughout the northeast (where I have lived almost my entire life) compared to other parts of the country. I've traveled out west multiple times and it feels like nobody smokes out there. I was at an IAAPA conference in San Diego a few years ago and I remember thinking to myself that I didn't see one person smoking the entire time I was out there.

Last edited by Hanging n' Banging,
Raven-Phile's avatar

In my office here in Ohio, I am in the minority as a non-smoker. It seems that every 45 minutes, or so, the same people disappear for about 15-20 minutes. These are the same people that complain that having to walk 10 steps to a printer/copier is a "hinderance to their productivity".

Bobbie1951's avatar

Great Adventure has a very nice smoking gazebo not far from El Toro and several smoking areas consisting of benches set back from the midway (e.g., off the Boardwalk entrance and across from Green Lantern, closer to slingshot). SFOT has a great smoking area away from the flow of traffic, not far from New Texas Giant, while SFNE has a similar smoking area not far from Wicked Cyclone. Some park - offhand I can't recall which - has a number of smoking areas designated by red benches, which makes them very easy to locate. Agreed with RCMAC that Hershey is the worst. As to Europe, I don't know about the Continent but I felt that Alton Towers provided perfectly acceptable smoking areas. Going back there next month and visiting Thorpe for the 1st time so it will be interesting to see what their facilities are like. Re CP, I haven't been there in years but thought that they did a good job when I was last there. The one and only time I ever met RCMAC was in a smoking area at CP and that would probably have been in October of 2011 b/c I'd never ridden a steel coaster until the year I turned 60.


Timber-Rider's avatar

I wish parks would do a better job at keeping people from smoking in line.

I was at Cedar Point and this lady was smoking in line, and I asked her nicely to put her cigarette out. To which I got mind your own FN business. She waved her cigarette all over the place, gesturing like a drag queen. Then lit a little girls hair on fire. I mean poof!!!

She just said. did I do that? And went right on smoking. I confronted her again, and she put the cigarette right in my face and told me to back off. ok bitch fine.

I reported her to the girl with the stick who said. I see her. We get into the station. And there is this loud booming voice. "lady in blue halter top, put out your cigarette. You have been asked repeatedly, we have called secutrity, and you will be removed from the line!!"

Everyone booing her and giving her dirty looks. Payback is great. Poor little girl lost a huge chunk of her hair. Did the lady care. Not one bit.

Last edited by Timber-Rider,

I didn't do it! I swear!!

Where’s my “cool story, bro” Bitmoji when I need him?

I'm shocked that T-R had an over-the-top anecdote about someone smoking in a park.

OhioStater's avatar

Hanging n' Banging said:

I'm not sure what the statistics are, but it feels like lots of people still smoke throughout the northeast (where I have lived almost my entire life)

Well, taking a look at this map would suggest that here in Ohio we live in what you could call "The Smoke Belt"

Last edited by OhioStater,
LostKause's avatar

I'm not making fun here... I really enjoyed your story, Timber-Rider. You are a pretty good storyteller.

Schwarzkopf76's avatar

Cedar Point always seems to have plenty of smokers not following the smoking rules, consistently. Ironically, the first smoking section I ever saw was at Hersheypark. I think the Comet queue went "smoke-free" in the 90s sometime?

I've hung out at a park with RCMAC and he is indeed a courteous smoker (and courteous all-around!) My concern for breathing smoke is not necessarily a health concern, but that the smell gives me a headache. Here in Chicago I cross the street regularly to avoid walking by or behind someone who is smoking. We've come a long way with regards to the stink issue; remember when everyone smoked everywhere?

My bigger issue is that I'm allergic to synthetic fragrances, basically everything. Laundry products, colognes, air fresheners, anything by AXE, etc., etc... I tried to use the free sunblock at Holiday World around 2005 and my entire back immediately puffed up with red painful welts (I take my own sunblock and soap everywhere now). It's a strange issue and I handle it the best I can. The smoking issue pales in comparison, but it's nice to not smell smoke everywhere!

Tommytheduck's avatar

OhioStater said:

Well, taking a look a this map would suggest that here in Ohio we live in what you could call "The Smoke Belt"

I often joke that the state flag of Ohio should be changed to a picture of a 45 year old woman with 80's hair in a jeans jacket standing outside of a building shivering uncontrollably while sucking on a cigarette.

Only I'm not actually joking.

Last edited by Tommytheduck,

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