Disney World To Ban Smoking At All Of Its Hotels
Wednesday, May 2nd 2007, 10:38 pm
By: News On 6
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) _ Kath Petchey, a cigarette smoker for 32 years, lit up freely as she walked with her husband along Downtown Disney's shopping district Wednesday.
But if the Petcheys, from England, want to stay in a Disney hotel on their next visit, Kath Petchey won't be allowed to smoke in her room, balcony or patio.
The ban, effective June 1, permits smoking at designated outdoor area. It extends to all the Walt Disney Co.'s 22 hotels and time-share resorts.
``Disney is being a bit of a drama queen.'' Kath Petchey said between drags of her cigarette.
Disney, however, is simply responding to demand from their guests, the theme park's spokesman Jacob DiPietre said Wednesday.
The transition to become smoke-free will allow Disney to better accommodate the increasing number of guests requesting nonsmoking hotel rooms, DiPietre said.
The ban follows a 2000 measure that restricted smoking throughout Disney's theme and water parks, limiting smoking to designated areas, DiPietre said.
``We're focused on responding to what our guests are asking for and our guests are overwhelmingly asking for smoke-free rooms,'' DiPietre said. ``The number of guests requesting smoking rooms has declined dramatically in recent years.''
DiPietre could not provide figures tracking the decline, but said it has been ``significant.''
Less than 4 percent of Disney's more than 24,000 hotel rooms are currently smoking optional, DiPietre said.
Guests caught smoking after the ban could face cleaning surcharges as high as $500, DiPietre said.
If Disney does not have the demand for smoking rooms, then the theme park should reduce the number of smoking rooms available _ not ban smoking rooms altogether, said Gary Nolan, U.S. regional director of The Smoker's Club, a smoker's rights group.
``Disney is going to send money elsewhere,'' Nolan said.
Abraham Pizam, dean of the Rosen College of Hospitality at the University of Central Florida sees Disney's smoking ban as a positive move.
The odor from smoke lingers long after the smoker has checked out of the room _ even permeating to nonsmoking rooms, Pizam said.
``Nonsmokers are really belligerent,'' Pizam said. ``They want a smoke-free environment and they don't want to be affected by second hand smoke.''
Some hotels located on Disney property are not owned by the theme park and will still offer smoking rooms after Disney's ban takes effect next month.
The 17-floor Royal Plaza hotel, for example, offers its 4th floor to smokers.
Not all smokers are upset with the ban.
Samip Bhavsar, of San Jose Calif., was taking a smoke break Wednesday outside Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, where Bhavsar was staying in a nonsmoking room.
``(The ban) doesn't bother me at all,'' he said. ``(I only smoke) when I travel or when I'm with friends.''