A lot of things are changing as both U.S. Disney Parks get ready to open the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Before that happens, Disney Parks have instituted a handful of new rules. The most important of which is that as of May 1, smoking areas are being removed Disneyland Resort, the four theme parks of Walt Disney World, the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Florida, and Downtown Disney in California, making all those areas completely smoke free.
When Disneyland first opened in 1955, smoking was permitted throughout the park. However, as information and education regarding the dangers of smoking became more widespread, this shifted to the creation of designated smoking areas, where people who wanted to smoke had to stand if they wanted to indulge.
While I can't speak about Walt Disney World as well, as somebody who has visited Disneyland with a smoker on several occasions over the last few years, I can say that the number of designated smoking areas has been steadily on the decline (my friend's favorite smoking spot over by the Matterhorn disappeared a few years back), but this morning the Disney Parks Blog announced that in just over a month those few remaining smoking areas will be gone as well.
Those who smoke won't be completely out of luck when they go on their next Disney vacation. Smoking areas will be set up outside the entrance of all the newly smoke free areas. Since there's no problem with re-entry to any Disney park, all tickets allow it, you can always leave the park to smoke and then go back in if you absolutely need to do so. Disney Springs will apparently be keeping its designed smoking areas and will not be going completely smoke free.
A few other minor rule changes were announced alongside the end of smoking that will also go into effect May 1. While Disney Parks have always been surprisingly open in allowing guests to bring their own food and drinks into the park, loose ice, and also dry ice, have now been banned. Reusable ice packs are still permitted so if you need to keep something cold, that's the way to go.
Disney Parks are also changing the rules on what strollers will be allowed inside the parks. The new limits on size are 31" wide and 52" long. This should still allow for most standard and even double strollers to be admitted, but those that transport their kids in wagons or strollers that look like small villages will need to make other plans.
Seeing smoking banned in the parks was certainly a move that was going to come sooner rather than later. It was already largely restricted and considering how smoking is gone in most other public places, it's not a surprise. No Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort hotels even have smoking rooms anymore.
At the same time, it probably wasn't looking out for people's health that led to this change. Both the smoking ban and the stroller restrictions are likely being put in place to simply make movement through the parks easier for everybody. Smoking areas are now places everybody can be and nobody will be holding up traffic with strollers that are too big. This, combined with reports that Disneyland has actually been removing benches to make space, would likely indicate this is all being done as a way to help with guest traffic ahead of the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios especially are about to become very crowded, and every bit of real estate is going to matter.