Will Universal’s Epic Universe Adopt Unpopular Disney World Policy When It Opens?

An update to this Universal Orlando Resort policy has fans wondering if the Epic Universe theme park expansion will feature a controversial ban already in place at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Universal Studios announced the grand opening of its third Orlando theme park location, Universal’s Epic Universe, in the summer of 2025 to great fanfare. In fact, Universal has stated that Epic Universe will be its “most immersive and innovative Park” ever created, reaching “an entirely new level of themed entertainment” sure to permanently change how Guests experience some of their favorite theme park attractions and inspirations.

Epic Universe

Credit: Universal (Epic Universe)

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Moreover, according to Universal, “Guests will venture beyond their wildest imagination, traveling into beloved stories and through vibrant lands on adventures where the journey is as astounding as the ultimate destination.” For instance, the new Park is rumored to feature a whole land dedicated to the film studio’s classic monster movies and include a hotel, a dual-track roller coaster, a second SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, an entire area themed around Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon franchise, and a third Wizarding World of Harry Potter featuring a Ministry of Magic attraction.

However, will Universal itself ban one Guest experience when the new theme park opens? In January, Universal hinted at possible changes to its smoking policies for Guests inside the theme park. Now, the Universal Orlando Resort greatly reduced the number of designated smoking areas at each of its Parks, with Guests only authorized to smoke in one specific location, while Universal Studios Hollywood has banned it outright.

universal studios smoking policy

Credit: USH

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As a result, Universal will only permit smoking in Gramercy Park at Universal Studios Florida, at the Port of Entry lower landing in Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and East Wave Village for Universal’s Volcano Bay. Furthermore, while visitors to Universal CityWalk can currently smoke outside of ear Park’s exit, as well as at spots near Universal Cinemark, Hollywood Drive-In Golf, Red Coconut Club, and in front of Hard Rock Cafe Orlando, many assume this measure precedes future plans to eliminate all smoking areas in the same fashion as Walt Disney World back in 2019.

Even so, Theme Park Tourist recently ran a poll asking readers if they agreed with the new smoking-policy decisions, with a majority of voters responding in opposition to a smoke-free Resort. Of course, this seems to suggest that an all-out smoking ban would be an unpopular move, especially since still providing these areas at the Orlando Resort differentiated its Guest experience from that of Disney.


Credit: Universal Studios

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On the other hand, a smoke-free Resort is less at risk for accidental safety hazards caused by discarded butts and reduces Guest exposure to secondhand smoke, something which is highly important given Universal’s family-oriented options geared towards small children. While Universal has yet to confirm if Epic Universe will be smoke-free when it opens, one side of its Guests will likely regard the decision positively, no matter which policy it enacts.


About Spencer Johnette

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the Walt Disney Family Museum halls and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @gothelsflower.