Disney Cracks Down on Strollers as It Braces for Star Wars Mobs
(Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co., facing potentially record crowds when its new Star Wars attractions open in coming months, is tightening its theme-park rules.
Starting May 1, the company is banning strollers larger than 31 inches wide. Wagons of any kind will no longer be allowed. And loose ice or dry ice will be prohibited: Disney argues that it streamlines the bag-check and entry process if people aren’t carrying those items. (Sorry, Elsa.)
Disney also said it was eliminating the smoking areas in its theme parks and other attractions in Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California. Areas for smokers -- and e-cigarette users -- will still be available outside the parks and its hotels.
“As we expand our offerings, we will continue to take steps to enhance the guest experience and make it more enjoyable for everyone who visits,” Liz Jaeger, a Disney spokeswoman, said in a statement.
For visitors adjusting to the new rules, Disney suggests renting a stroller and going to a concession stand for a free cup of ice.
The world’s largest theme-park operator plans to open two new Star Wars areas at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park in Orlando and at its original Disneyland in Anaheim. The first, in California, opens May 31, and the crowds are expected to be tremendous.
The company has been taking other steps to manage traffic, such as raising ticket prices, introducing higher prices on days when crowds are expected to be highest, and requiring reservations for the first few weeks -- a first for the company.
The Star Wars lands are -- at 14 acres each -- the largest additions to Disney’s parks. They’ll include rides on the Millennium Falcon ship, mock battles and a cantina staffed by otherworldly creatures.
It will be hard to manage the crowds, said David Price, a theme-park consultant.
“If you overpack it, you’re cutting into the experience,” he said. “This is the biggest thing that’s happened at Disneyland almost since it opened.”
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