Disney to add booze at the Magic Kingdom *(Update with Vote of the Week)
Published: September 13, 2012 at 4:08 PM
Yep. It's happened. Today, Walt Disney World announced that it will start serving alcohol at the Magic Kingdom, once the new Be Our Guest restaurant opens in November.
From the Disney Parks blog, which tried to bury the news deep in a post about the restaurant's menu:
And just for dinner, select wines and beers will be offered that complement the French-inspired cuisine.
“As part of the overall theming, we wanted to offer wine that enhances the guest experience and complements the French-inspired cuisine,” says Stuart McGuire, Beverage Director, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “The wines focus primarily on France’s famous wine-growing regions, including Champagne, Alsace, Loire, Rhone, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
“We’ll also offer the leading French beer, Kronenbourg 1664,” says McGuire. “And, staying in the general region, we’ll also offer Belgian beers.”
Disney serves alcohol at Disneyland Paris, but not at the other Magic Kingdom theme parks - the original Disneyland in California, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland. (Alcohol is available in the private Club 33s at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland, but guests cannot access those without an invitation from a member.) So this decision will leave Hong Kong Disneyland as the only totally alcohol-free Disney theme park, and will reduce to three the number of Disney parks where alcohol is not available to "regular" guests.
I'm highly angry at this decision. And yes, I have had an occasional drink with a nice dinner, such as at the California Grill. I also have dining reservations for Be Our Guest in December. This had better be the only place to purchase a drink. I do NOT want to see kiosks with margaritas and beers throughout the park. I do NOT want drunks cursing and throwing up on my kids while riding Splash Mountain. And yes, I have experienced this behavior at Epcot. I will say what I have always said, alcohol, crowds, and theme park rides do not mix. I don't mean to offend anyone on this site by saying that. I just don't understand why you would need or even want to get on something moving rapidly with alcohol.
It is 7:34pm central time, I just witnessed the video at Disneyland with the drunk man on ToT on World's Dumbest on truTV. That was a nice touch.
I don't think it's naive to suggest that if Disney sees strong alcohol sales in Be Our Guest, and minimal guest complaints, then you'll eventually be seeing other locations in the MK offering alcohol. This is a test.
I doubted it would happen, but what a great way to raise revenue! I know, I'm only sixteen, but I always look at this theme park/alcohol thing at a business perspective. As I said before, serving alcohol is a good way to raise sales and revenue. However, there are some parks that operate on certain values (Dollywood and Holiday World, for example), and I understand that.
I agree Robert with this being a test. I think Disney will see how the public will react to not only this announcement, but also to how many buy the first round (so to speak). I expect to see rum drinks in Adventureland, along with some high octane type drinks that glow in the dark in Tomorrowland. I don't want this to happen, but I won't be surprised if by summer of '13 we will be able to purchase these easily as we walk around the park.
I am not surprised that some fans are being over-dramatic in their reactions to this news. I can't believe it only took just about two hours for someone to throw out the "What Would Walt Do" line.
Let's be serious, a glass of wine or premium beer at dinner (it does specifically say "just for dinner") is not going to lead to the Magic Kingdom being over run by drunks. I do not believe that we will see the sale of rum, beer, or Margarhitas in the Magic Kingdom proper... ever.
By the way, crafting wine and beer is an ART, and they will absolutely ENHANCE the DINING experience! I can't wait to order my first glass!
Published: September 13, 2012 at 7:57 PM
I am appalled! OMG!!!!! Booze at the Magic Kingdom! This is a tragedy! Don't get me wrong! I enjoy a drink in EPCOT, perhaps a Grand Marnier Slushy or wine or beer. I enjoy a drink in The Studios or Animak Kingdom....but in MK!!!!! It just doesn't seem right.
While I know a lot of people will be unhappy about this change, I honestly don't have a problem with the park serving alcohol at a sit down restaurant. If people want to have a beer or a glass of wine with their dinner, I think that's fine, even in one of the Magic Kingdom parks. However, I never, ever want to see a bar inside one of these parks, as it would be inappropriate in any of the Magic Kingdom parks and drunk guests would ruin the experience for others.
Oh my goodness.....we're going to have drunkerds with there lighted mouse ears abusing themselves and guests getting drunk off of some french wine and beer. And you throw in those crazy Belgian beers and who you got is insane drunk people devicating in front of children on the small world ride. Minnies drunk and Mickeys in the sac, Goofy is going mad contemplating whether he's a human or dog, pluto's going all over the place, not on his fire hydrant, and Donald is singing the mexican song with vulgar dialect. All hell has broke loose at Magic Kingdom ladies and gentleman, hide your kids!
News flash.......All theme/amusement parks have alcohol since time began. The people on this site are nuts. Another reason why Magic Kingdom is living in la la land. Alcohol is not the problem. We learned that in ....ow lets say prohibition from around 100 years ago...... And to those that think Disney should not have Alcohol wake up people. Not once have I gone to Cedar Point for more than 30 years and felt violated by a beer or cigarette, and I don't drink or smoke. Kids eat to much are you going to have low fat ice-cream? How bout this we home visit an amusement park were we can regulate everything by virtual reality. Fun times......
I sincerely hope you're right Nick. I'm just too much of a pessimist to believe that they will stop with just Be Our Guest being allowed to serve alcohol.
And for those who think we naysayers are going a bit overboard, I know that there are many people who are able to have a few drinks and not act like an idiot. But there is always that one person who ruins it for everyone. I know that many theme parks serve alcohol. I just can't stand the guy/girl who is loud, obnoxious and ends up puking all over me on the ride. I've experienced it, and it completely ruins the day. Those type of people annoy me just as much as those who complain at the long lines for rides during peak season.
"Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!!" Seriously, folks, it's not going to turn into Belle's Pleasure Island. It's (expensive) beer and wine during dinner ONLY and CANNOT be taken out of the restaurant. The slippery slope is a logical fallacy people use when they do not know what they are talking about.
I saw what is claimed to be the drink menu and the prices are high. A glass of wine there cost about the same as a bottle elsewhere. A glass of beer costs about the same as a 6-pack. I'm talking $9 (or $39 bottle) for cheap Beaujolais-Villages and $6.25 for Kronenbourg 1664 beer. These are the cheapest, wines range up to $17/$75 and beer to $10.50. I don't think drunks would like these prices. They would just get hammered in the parking lot, like they do now.
I don't drink much, but some people really need a drink at this park. To be such a magical place, you'd never know it watching people leave. You go to Busch Gardens in the summer and at the end of the night everyone is happy, walking around with a dance in their step. At the MK there is an unusually high amount of frustration, anger, yelling etc.. Maybe a few drinks will mellow these people out.
Drink around the Kingdom anyone? Counting Main Street there are 6 lands.. I'm kidding, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it started if alcohol was served throughout the park.
Oh and I think you're on to something Anthony. With the US economy continuing to tank, WDW is depending more and more on international tourists, so alot of the policies at WDW will continue to shift to fit the demands of the international guests.
Perhaps with the Next Gen deployment of radio cards WDW figured they could monitor how many drinks someone orders. I can imagine requiring a card scan every time you order a drink, then limiting total drink purchases to 3 or 4, or controlling for a minimum amount of time between drinks. From a theme park administration perspective, it's a total win: you end up being able to sell alcohol (huge money-maker, almost pure profit), with almost no downside (public drunkenness, protein spills, etc). You heard it here first!(btw, I'm not a big drinker, but I love being able to get a beer at the hogs head pub in WWoHP.)
The company's history is clear on this point. Its namesake (who is championed across the parks as a visionary in family entertainment) said no alcohol in the Magic Kingdom park.
And then to place it under an umbrella of maintaining a theme? As if it were an indispensible requirement for proper presentation -- or in Disney-Speak "good show?" Please.
This is an ugly idea. It's not necessary and it will CERTAINLY and INEVITABLY extend beyond the single restaurant and further into the park.
Published: September 14, 2012 at 2:37 AM
I have to say I think that people are overreacting - at least a couple of restaurants in Disneyland Paris have been serving wine and beer with meals for quite some time now, and it hasn't expanded further into the park. A beer or some wine with dinner is hardly going to lead to people being ill on rides.
Similarly, the Magic Kingdom has had a no alcohol policy, not a no drunkenness policy - I've stopped at the Contemporary for a few drinks in the bar before heading into evening EMH several times in the past. If people really want to be drunk in the Magic Kingdom they will be - one restaurant serving alcohol will not cause this.
As an aside, I once accidentally entered Tokyo Disneyland with a beer in by bag... I felt like a criminal when I realised! After getting over the shock I bought a soft drink, reused the cup for the beer, and spent a very pleasant ten minutes enjoying the drink whilst watching boats plummet over Splash Mountain. Very nice way to end the evening.
In the early 1960s, Mr. Disney and his company kicked around the idea of building a theme park in St. Louis. According to JHM one of the reasons Mr. Disney elected not to follow thru on the park was "... a rude remark allegedly made by beer baron August A. Busch, Sr. (At a dinner party attended by Walt, Busch supposedly said that "Any man who builds an amusement park in St. Louis that doesn't serve beer is a fool.") reportedly got back to Walt. Immediately after this, Disney lost his enthusiasm for building an indoor theme park along the waterfront in St. Louis.
Source: All Ears Network: - Topic Seeking a Location for Walt Disney World.
"Walt and his team spent a considerable amount of time talking with officials from each location, making as many trips as necessary to insure all questions from each side would be answered. During one trip, Disney Company Vice President Donald Tatum was asked a simple question regarding a certain Disney Company policy. It involved selling liquor in the Magic Kingdom theme park, or I should say The Disney Company's decision to NOT sell liquor in the Magic Kingdom. Tatum maintained that the company would never allow liquor to be sold on the Disney premises. The Disney brand and image would be tarnished if they began selling alcohol to the public. Tatum and the other members of the team hoped they had made this clear to city and state officials and businessmen."
The story continues reporting on the St. Louis incident:
"Apparently not, as one fateful night in 1963 the issue was raised again. Not only was it the wrong time to raise the issue, but the manner in which it was raised would prove to be somewhat fatal. Walt had made the trip with a dozen of his top executives including Vice-President for Construction Admiral Joe Fowler and another Disney VP, Card Walker. This was a big deal. Everything was oh-so-close. As a matter of fact, Disney officials had gotten to the point where all the financial arrangements had been set and were already composing a letter of commitment to be signed and delivered the next day.
It was an exciting time for Walt and his team.
Then there was that fateful night before all this would take place. On that night Walt and his team attended a huge dinner party. Attending this party were all the local and state government officials, local bankers and prominent businessmen from the area who too were excited about the impending partnership. You would have thought that with everything in place, with almost all the T's crossed and I's dotted that nothing would have prevented this project from becoming a done deal. If there was ever evidence as to the power of words, this night would surely be a showcase for such.
During the dinner the following remark was made: "Any man who thinks he can design an attraction that is going to be a success in this city and not serve beer or liquor ought to have his head examined."
Everyone at the party, most importantly, Walt himself, heard these words. To his credit, Walt did not offer a response. But Joe Fowler, Card Walker, and the rest of Walt's team saw Walt's right eyebrow rise a bit and they knew that Walt had taken offense to what was said. Furthermore, they knew that it was one thing to offend Walt, but to do it in public was ten times that sin. The remark had offended both Walt's sense of ethics and morality as well as his business acumen.
After the party, back in Walt's suite, he called in Card Walker and asked what was the earliest time in the morning they could leave. Walker did not understand. He reminded Walt that the next day was filled with meetings and announcements and legal papers to sign. As Walker explained all this Walt held up his hand to interrupt and said, "It's finished."
Walt had two more simple sentences. "We're not coming. Forget about it." Walt and his team would move on to the next location, Central Florida, which would become the future home of the World's most popular vacation destination.
So I guess it's not really "What Would Walt Do" but rather "What DID Walt Do?"
I'm with you TH. This change is a big mistake, like serving shots at a daycare.
FYI - Dollywood (~3.5M visitors annually), Silver Dollar City (~2.5M visitors annually), and Holiday World (~1.5M visitors annually) are dry parks, so there are still a few great alternatives for wholesome family fun here in the US.
Is Chicken Little a new Disney character? Sounds like it from some of these postings. Over reaction? Yes! Epcot, Animal Kingdom(primarily a kid's park)and Hollywood Studios have not met their demise due to demon alcohol. Our local park Kennywood, one of the nation's oldest, introduced beer to a limited portion of the park for the first time this summer. The outcry from the park prohibitionists was loud. The end result. No real problems, and no, the sky did not fall. Seperating the Magic Kingdom parks from the other Disney family oriented parks(aren't all Disney Parks family oriented?) is a wee bit of a stretch. I'd rather deal with a customer that had a drink or two then one of those wild stroller people pushing their 8 year old kids around the park impervious to anyone near by.
Times change. Walt may not feel as strongly today as he did then. Heck, if this happened 10 years ago, I might be in front of the property entrance on 535 with protest signs. Walt wouldn't have allowed it at an Epcot theme park at that time either. But it is there.
I really don't think this was some master plan to bring booze into the park. I think they have a restaurant they are really proud of. They want it to be well rated and well reviewed. That's not going to happen if they don't serve alcohol. All of the reviews will be about it not serving alcohol. People eating there will expect it, and complain about not having it. Especially the international guests who don't get 1950 American values.
TH Creative you really should move past that horrible saying. Trying to do things the way you 'think' a deceased visionary would have done it will never allow you to evolve. Think about this, around the same time that Disney was planning Disney World, Walt also started thinking up something new and exclusive for Disneyland... Club 33. As we all know Club 33 sells ALCOHOL! The club opened just a few months after Walt passed away, so it seems that his unwavering direction to ban alcohol waivered.
Consider the fact that Walt was a chronic smoker, and seemed to have no problem allowing cigarettes to be used in his family park. There is no debate that 2nd hand smoke is a direct health hazard- much worse than alcohol. Yet the modern Disney company did not become 'smoke free' until 2000... clearly NOT something that 'Walt did', but it made the parks better.
If you are going to get hung up on a saying, at least pick something that WALT actually said. Here is Walt quote for you; it permits growth and imagination, and I think it fits nicely for many circumstances...
"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths". --Walt Disney
Oh and thank god for Augy Busch's comment to Walt in St. Louis. While St. Louis is a wonderful city, I for one am glad to be in sunny Orlando-- where we also have SeaWorld, and USF- all of us attracted here thanks to Walt, and so it seems Busch's comment. Thank you Augustus Busch Jr.!!
@Nick Walt Disney's smoking really has nothing to do with the overbearing greed of the current incarnation of the company and its desire to eke out every nickel even if it means going against long standing company traditions. However, Walt was not a fan of smoking, but was addicted to nicotine. And succumbing to that addiction is what ultimately killed him. Further, he never let his kids see him smoking, so I presume he didn't want other kids to see adults smoking either.
Like I said, smoking has nothing to do with the price of tea in China, or the fact that a once proud company tradition has been swept aside as a side note in a blog release, but you brought it up, so there you go.
And there is nothing "new" or "forward moving" about selling booze. Sadly, getting liquored up at theme parks is a common ritual across the expanse of the nation. By taking this step the Disney company has moved backwards, not forward. They are now just like [most] everybody else.
Mr. Smith writes: "Walt may not feel as strongly today as he did then."
I Respond: Respectfully that assertion is based upon conjecture. History teaches both in the anecdotes about St. Louis as well as the implementation of the original policy that came straight from Mr. Disney
Mr. Smith writes: "Walt wouldn't have allowed it at an Epcot theme park at that time either."
I Respond: Again that is based upon conjecture. Mr. Disney envisioned EPCOT as a community not a theme park.
Mr. Smith writes: "I really don't think this was some master plan to bring booze into the park."
I Respond: When I was a student in the MKCP in 1982 I was fortunate to be at the opening of EPCOT Center. At that time there were two bars (Rose & Crown and the Catina in Mexico). Alcohol was also served at the restaurants. Today at EPCOT you can't walk 30 feet without running into a beer stand. This is not about alcohol being served at one location NOW. This is about what will happen in the park five or ten years from today.
Nick Orlando writes: "TH Creative you really should move past that horrible saying. Trying to do things the way you 'think' a deceased visionary would have done it will never allow you to evolve."
I Respond: My post is not how I think he would have done it. Rather it was based upon his actual actions with regard to this specific issue.
Nick Orlando writes: "If you are going to get hung up on a saying, at least pick something that WALT actually said."
I Respond: Okay ... Walt SAID to the Saturday Evening Post in 1956: "No liquor, no beer, nothing. Because that brings in a rowdy element. That brings people that we don't want and I feel they don't need it. I feel when I go down to the park I don't need a drink."
To me, as long as they limit it to the one restaurant, I have no problem with it at all. Like others, I do hope it doesn't start to spread around the entire park. That being said, I do enjoy the beer at EPCOT because to me that's part of the experience of walking around the different countries. It fits the theme, and in that case, I'm all for it. I just don't see where alcohol as a whole fits the theme of the Magic Kingdom. Just my two cents.
Published: September 14, 2012 at 6:35 AM
TH, you are doing the same thing you accuse me of. People change. You can't know what Walt would do today based on what he said 50 years ago. The park was different too. There was a low gate price and ride tickets. Today, the admission price alone makes the park exclusive to guests with higher disposable income. Most of these guests expect wine and beer with their meal. Like I said, 10 years ago I'd be saying the same things you are, But now it's no big deal to me.
WDW is the largest single seller of alcohol, wine and beer in the world by a large margin over the MGM Grand in Vegas.
And on numerous occasions I've dealt with intoxicated guest already at MK, from sneaking booze in or partying already at another park or hotel.
While the beer list starts pricey what happens when the 100th request comes in for a Bud Light, of course American Lagers will be on the list to accomodate Americans and international guest who have been "programmed" to order them when visiting.
And next maybe Tortuga Tavern could be open year round when its remade with a full rum bar.
Personally, I am against this. But, let's be real here, the Magic Kingdom already has it's fair share of drunks. If people want to get boozed up, it is not exactly a challenge even in a park that does not sell said booze. All Disney is doing is making it (potentially) easier along with trying to make more money.
Like I said, though, I am against this in almost every possible way. The Magic Kingdom already has an issue with rude parents and rude children, we don't need an infestation of drunks to add to the 'magic'. I hope that the only place to get booze will remain the new restaurant and not spread throughout the park.
Honestly, this is one of the things I always thought kept Disney above everyone, that you would not see shirtless drunks all day long like you see in other parks. Now, the only thing separating them from their competition is they don't have silly carnival games all over the place where people can win basketballs that they then try to bring onto a roller coaster.
I wouldn't be worried about this if I haven't experienced first hand the idiocy of some patrons when boozed up at Epcot. To the point of slinging out the F-word several times within earshot of children. Of course, my attempt to talk sense into them by telling them "Hey, there are kids around" was met with more curse words. I hope it's kept to a minimum at Magic Kingdom...that park of all parks is supposed to be the kid/family-friendliest. Hope they amp up undercover security to quickly and quietly deal with any drunkards.
I Respond: Respectfully we are going to have to agree to disagree. For me that quote, "No liquor, no beer, NOTHING" is definitive. The fact that he walked away from St. Louis seven years later further demonstrates his commitment to the policy. In Florida, the policy was so important to the business model's philosophy that the company stayed true to it for 41 years.
However, if you truly believe that assertion that "people change" I am going to assume you would agree with the "camel's nose" problem. Indeed if "people change" then company line that it will be limited to one restaurant should be dismissed as an empty commitment. You have to accept the possibility (or considering what happened at EPCOT the PROBABILITY) that alcohol will eventually be available throughout the entire park.
But then (as you say) "people change" -- so while he opposed alcohol in the Magic Kingdom 46 years ago, I guess it's safe to assume Walt would have no problem with beer stands on Main Street USA, Sam Adams served in Liberty Square or shots poured by Muff Potter when they re-open Aunt Polly’s as a walk-up bar on Tom Sawyer’s Island.
Published: September 14, 2012 at 8:02 AM
I think people are overreacting to this decision. I think I will be able to handle someone who's had a bit of beer and wine over the many non-disciplined children running a amok throughout the park. Lol!
Published: September 14, 2012 at 8:29 AM
It's about maximizing profit. I'd rather they didn't sell alcohol at MK. It's easy to run over to the Contemporary if you want a drink.
Published: September 14, 2012 at 8:32 AM
If beer stands show up everywhere, then throw a hissy fit. Up until now there he's never truly been a fine dining experience in any of the magic Kkngdom parks, but it fits here. It's contained and served only with food. That's what is under discussion, not what your worst fears may be.
After reading more comments, I am quite frankly shocked at the intensity of the sentiment that serving wine with dinner is somehow equivalent to "serving shots at a daycare.". If I may be so bold, I think that the US (and please understand that I am a proud American) has a strange relationship to alcohol dating back to the puritans and to our Prohibitionist history. But this approach, where we liken a drink with dinner to public drunkenness and chaos, CREATES more problems than it solves. Because we don't model healthy, balanced ways to enjoy alcohol, our children end up binge drinking in high school (this is a much more prevalent problem in the US than it is in countries where moderation in alcohol consumption, rather than demonization of drink, is taught). I don't want to see beer carts at the MK. But I wouldn't mind a glass of wine at dinner in a nice restaurant. Let's complain about real, not theoretical, problems. If the beer carts come, I, along with many others, will be complaining loudly. And of course, as they say, vote with your dollars...
Published: September 14, 2012 at 9:04 AM
James - I disagree with your rational on moving forward and evolving. Once Disney shows that limited alcohol sales will not lead to leud drunken behavior maybe you will understand how this is an evolution in thinking. Having a glass of wine or a beer at dinner is not comparable to 'boozing it up'. I can tell you that your statement "Sadly, getting liquored up at theme parks is a common ritual across the expanse of the nation" is grossly exaggerated-- I have worked in the industry for the past 15 years and your claim is simply not true.
TH Creative Explain Club 33. Your entire argument is based on the assumption of what a deceased man might do. You point to examples from Walt's past as a way to predict behavior. I bring up Club 33, one of his final projects, and you ignor it.
Explain to me how Walt said 'no liquor' in 1957, and then in 1965 he started planning Club 33 (a place that sells alcohol in Magic Kingdom).
To TH: Sorry, I was the anonymous poster you are replying to. I replied in a hurry from my phone, and didn't realize I wasn't logged in.
I wasn't around in Walt's time, so I can only offer an opinion based on speculation.
You quoted Walt: "No liquor, no beer, nothing. Because that brings in a rowdy element. That brings people that we don't want and I feel they don't need it. I feel when I go down to the park I don't need a drink."
I didn't really want to go into this because people have romanticized Walt and I'm fine with it, but.... The country was different when the statements were made, and the park's core audience was different. I'm assuming that the majority of people who drank in public back then were viewed as more rebellious or 'rowdy'. As Nick Orlando already pointed out, if Walt's statement is so definitive, then why did Walt build Club 33? "That(alcohol) brings people that we don't want" ...well the people that he did want, his millionaire friends, wanted to drink at the park with their meal. Walt didn't worry about his millionaire friends getting rowdy and ruining the park. With WDW costing so much to get into nowadays, current management is not worried about it's clientele getting rowdy and ruining the park. It is worried only about giving them what they want and what will keep them coming back. If alcohol causes problems, park management will do away with it. If it doesn't, then yes as you say, it probably will lead to more availability. But to me it's no big deal. I trust Disney to keep the atmosphere there a place where people want to visit.
Drinking wine with a meal will not make people end up drunk. Wine is not the same as tequila. Also, the setting of Be Our Guest is French, so wine is a must if you want authenticity. The irony is that this restaurant is targeted to kids, yet they will not have the full experience because they will not be able to drink the wine.
Slippery Slope = Logical Fallacy. I really wish people would stop using this as an argument. This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because there is no reason to believe that one event must inevitably follow from another without an argument for such a claim. So saying that next there will be beer carts and drunks everywhere is absolutely baseless with the evidence presented. Sorry to go on this rhetorical rant, but it's a pet peeve of mine when people use the "camel's nose" argument, because it just does not work that way.
Brian L writes: "So saying that next there will be beer carts and drunks everywhere is absolutely baseless with the evidence presented."
I Respond: I disagree. Again consider EPCOT. At it's opening the availability of alcohol was limited to the Rose & Crown, the Cantina and dine-in full service restaurants. Now there are beer carts and drink stations all along the World Showcase promenade. The fact that the company ramped up the number of outlets serving alcohol demonstrates precedence. Your claim that it is "ABSOLUTELY baseless" is inaccurate.
Further (and PLEASE correct me if I am wrong) in the multiple articles I have read, I have yet to see any statement from Disney that says "this will be the only place in the Magic Kingdom where alcohol will be sold." I have read that diners will have to consume alcholic beverages in the restaurant. But I have not read a statement from a spokesperson promising that this will be the only venue that will ever serve alcohol in the Magic Kingdom.
Michael Owen writes: "It will raise revenues during a time of economic struggle and provide increased capital to reinvest in a park which is in desperate need of a little cash."
I Respond: Respectfully, where is there financial news about the performance of the Walt Disney World parks that characterizes them as being in "desperate need of a little cash?" Emphasis on the word "desperate."
Actually, Oswald is probably mad that alcohol made it into the park before he did!!
I just don't see this resulting in the chaos that some might be predicting. The WDW resort ALREADY serves alcohol in the other 3 parks. I'm sure if there were huge issues with guest consuming alcohol, this would be seen at the other parks (as most guest visit the other parks as well)
And as others have said, it's not like it's moonshine or malt liquor that's going to be served all over. It's expensive French beer & wine served only during dinner time.
Here in SoCal, DCA serves alcohol (and DL at the club)
I don't drink, and can understand why some may not a huge fan of it, but to go completely to the other side and suggest that the park will be over run with people drinking is a bit extreme in my opinion.
It's not like MK is serving alcohol to kids. Again, if the other parks are already serving it, this appears to be an extension of that.
I don't see why everyone is so up in arms about this. It's wine and beer, not whiskey and vodka. Americans would do well to take some lessons from the Europeans and relax a little bit. If people want to get sh*t faced at Disneyland, they're going to find a way to do it. I've seen lots of people sneak in flasks of booze. Some wine and a few French beers isn't going to harm anyone. We should just call this country Puritancia.
Oh my Lord..... So many people are freaking out about this. A cousin-in-law of mine has something to do with Disney vacation packages and is preaching all over Facebook about the dangers of alcohol at MK.
You can't walk ten feet in a Universal Park, hotel or CitiWalk without running into a place that sells alcohol, which is why I prefer the party atmosphere of USF compared to Disney's squeaky clean image (unless you watch those awful shows on thier channels, then you will realize they aren't so pristine)
Amanda, I have been going to Universal for years now, they serve alcohol everywhere. I have never seen a drunk staggering around the parks or the hotels. I wouldn't worry too much.
TH, where have you been? Although we rarely agree on anything, it's good to see you posting again.
For the record, and from my perspective, I am not worried about the parks being filled with drunken louts. And none of my posts express that sort of fear.
We've talked about this park evolving and how its progress is one of immersive entertainment. How it's a unique cultural experience. The Magic Kingdom (as much as its sister park in California) is iconic.
The visionary behind these parks said they would evolve, but in the context of being a platform. And he made it clear that the presence of alcohol had no role in this medium.
I first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1973. I arrived to become a cast member 30 years ago this month (1982). I have family who are still CMs. I have visited the park at least 1,000 times.
And I don't see the value in this decision. I do not see how alcohol plays a positive role in the experience. I trust the instincts of the park's creator: "No liquor. No beer. Nothing."
Without undermining the incredible accomplishments of the designers and operators of the other Disney parks or the parks of their competitors (who have attractions that I helped to build) I just believe that the Magic Kingdom should maintain its distinctions. Alcohol does not serve that purpose. It is NOT required to further enhance the experience.
This is not written because I am outraged. It is written because I am concerned. EPCOT's history demonstrates how alcohol began with a limited presence and is now available in every corner of World Showcase. And (as I have posted above) in all of the coverage I have read there has been no statement from the company that commits to limiting alcohol service (now and always) to the one restaurant.
Then again maybe I am overstating ... and I should simply regard the Magic Kingdom as "just another theme park."
jinie francis writes: don't see why everyone is so up in arms about this. It's wine and beer, not whiskey and vodka.
I Respond: Not yet, anyways.
Published: September 14, 2012 at 4:04 PM
Great news. It would be naive to think this wasn't coming. WDW is not in the business to solely make memories; its there to make money and this clearly raises revenue. Furthermore, a French restaurant without wine? That would compromise the theming.
Anonymous writes: It would be naive to think this wasn't coming.
I Respond: And it is equally naive to think now that it has arrived it will not permeate throughout the park and THAT is the problem. THAT is where the park as a platform, an artistic medium begins to falter.
Anonymous writes: Furthermore, a French restaurant without wine? That would compromise the theming.
I Respond: Respectfully I disagree. The suggestion that Disney would fail to make this dining experience amazing without the presence of alcohol is baseless.
@ TH: You're entitled to your own opinion, but I will say this based off of my time working for the Mouse. I experienced many more angry, sober guests at Splash Mountain (as in too many to count) than I ever did drunk jerks working at Mouse Gear in Epcot (I remember 1 and he was escorted out of the park pretty fast by security). Also note that I only had night shifts at Epcot where apparently all of those on the devil's nectar congregate. I can't wait to have a Hoegaarden at Be Our Guest.
@ Brian L: Please show me anywhere on this thread where I express concern about drunken guests. I am expressing trepedation about lost ambiance. I am fearful that indiscipline in the name of ... whatever undermines the form of the medium. I fear that the decision deviates drastically from Mr. Disney's vision ("No liquor. No beer. Nothing.")
I am concerned that there is absolutely zero reason to believe that (based on EPCOT's history) happy hour will not eventually be scheduled between 5 PM and 6 PM at the newly renovated Main Street Cinema where you can get a photo taken with Mickey holding a martini glass.
I Respond: Again, I can't find a single statement in any of the news reports where the company says it will never ever ever expand alcohol sales in the Magic Kingdom beyond the new restaurant. And (again) EPCOT started with two bars and alcohol served only at sit down restaurants. Now drink locations are located everywhere in World Showcase.
This company's history does not support your assertion.
TH, you express concern as soon as you use Walt's quote about the "rowdy element" in opposition to alcohol in the MK. If you use quotes as evidence, be prepared to own the entire argument along with it and not just pick and choose where you please. True, I can't find anything that says there won't be an expansion of alcohol sales in MK, but I also can't find anything that says there will be expanded alcohol sales either. So as of right now, I can only assume that it stays there at BoG.
@Daniel - I believe they call that "Grape Juice", lol.
I just read the article from the Orlando Sentinel, and it sounds to me like they've been looking for a way to get booze into the MK for a while.
Orlando Sentinel: "The company's decision was not automatic, she said.
"We really wanted to wait until it became something that worked with the particular theme," Bisienere said."
Does that translate to anyone else like?.. "We've been wanting to add alcohol, but we needed a good excuse to do so...now we have one."
I kind of know where you are coming from TH. A few years ago I argued almost your exact same argument to people who complained about no alcohol at the MK. I have no idea when or why I changed my mind on it. I'm huge on tradition and I love the park. But this addition just doesn't bother me. Putting a desert themed carpet ride in the middle of a tropical jungle bothers me, putting a red clay mountain right next to southwestern looking rock mountain bothers me. Adding ugly wooden walkways to deal with overcrowding bothers me. This, just doesn't.
@ Brian L: TH, you express concern as soon as you use Walt's quote about the "rowdy element" in opposition to alcohol in the MK
I Respond: Oh sir, the "rowdy element" was only part of Mr. Disney's quote. You left out "I feel they don't need it. I feel when I go down to the park I don't need a drink." That speaks to the park experience which has been the crux of my position. This is NOT necessary ("I feel they don't NEED it.") That's the consistency of my position. Because I am unconcerned with the company's ability to manage a security and safety problem (a problem which I do not believe will ever exist) does not mean I cannot embrace the second opinion that appears in the quote.
Brian L writes: True, I can't find anything that says there won't be an expansion of alcohol sales in MK, but I also can't find anything that says there will be expanded alcohol sales either. So as of right now, I can only assume that it stays there at BoG.
I Respond: So why didn't Disney come right out and say "This will be the ONLY location that will ever sell alcohol in the Magic Kingdom?" And since they have not done that, why would this be the "only" assumption you can make? Why does the corporation adding profit to its bottom line earn (from you) the benefit of the doubt?
@ jinie francis - So you're backing off that whole "slippery slope" is not "a valid argument" thing?
Published: September 14, 2012 at 6:50 PM
It is a change that will be against Walt Disney's Philosophy. I think it is the wrong choice. Too many changes are made while the Disney executives bend Walt's wishes to conform with their own. I honestly don't think Walt would approve. He knew what he was doing when he designed the parks (or 'park' since he died way too soon.), and it just isn't right to change such an important decision.
Over the years I have found one thing is constant: TH Creative is always fair and objective about everything but hippos. His argument today is sound and this debate is over. The rest of you simply need to concede and move along. You are just embarrassing yourselves if you continue to argue.
And +1 to Mr. Niles for the "erasing memories" comment. Perfect!!
@James and @TH, I'm sorry that you guys can't take criticisms and feel the need to belittle those that don't share your opinion. Fact is, this decision has been made, better get used to it. Me? I'll be enjoying a good Belgian beer to complement my meal. Brian L - OUT!
Belittle? Us? No way. I am sorry that TH's objective commentary caused you such pain. Sometimes the truth, whether it is intended to or not, hurts. Enjoy your $10 beverage....and have fun on the tea cups!
And to anonymous poster 18.104.22.168, more than likely I have been going to theme parks for longer than you have been alive (40+ years), and sadly your limited 15 years of experience fails to impress me. Should I believe you or should I believe what I have seen with my own eyes? I live in the "Show Me State", so I will stick with my own eyes. Try spending some time in the World Showcase on a Friday night during extra Magic Hours to gain some real "experience".
Published: September 14, 2012 at 7:55 PM
There are some stipulations with the voting that are not neccessarily represented because I think it's one thing to have alchohol offered with fine dining as oppose to random bars set up for drinking.
There needs to be an option for only at fine dining resteraunts.
Published: September 14, 2012 at 7:59 PM
While I think this wasn't what Walt would've done, I don't think it will make Magic Kingdom an intolerable place. Just a different one. Eventually there may be beer carts, but that's not terrible. It's just against tradition.
But if you really look at quotes from Walt's life, he probably wouldn't like much about the parks now. He detested Coney Island and the games of chance. Now we have those in Animal Kingdom. He thought there should be no shoddy merchandise or overpriced food and beverage. I think that thought is clearly being broken. He also said he didn't like to do the same thing twice, that he always wanted to create new things. Now there are 5 "Disneyland" parks with a 6th coming and they are all largely the same. If you want to live with the parks in Walt's image, that's fine. I believe they always should. But they have adapted, altered, and straight up ignored his original ideas since he died. This isn't the first time and it won't be the last.
TH Creative still won't respond on the topic of Club 33... obviously because it proves that Walt did change his mind, and that having one location sell alcohol will not definitely result in more. History has already spoken for its self.
I do owe Mr. Orlando a response to Club 33. Apologies.
If the same VERY restricted type of club were to open in the Magic Kingdom I would have no problem with it as alcohol being served in that VERY VERY SPECIFIC environment was in fact acceptable to the founder.
Likewise I have no problem with the private events (conventions) that take place in the Magic Kingdom were alcohol is served. That is not a service accessible to day guests.
However, I would hope Mr. Orlando would acknowledge that those two conditions are different (to whatever degree) from a restaurant accessible to all park guests on a daily basis.
And likewise, I hope Mr. Orlando will acknowledge that the announcement about the new restaurant does not say that this will (now and always) be the ONLY venue in the Magic Kingdom that will sell alcohol.
As TH stated, Club 33 is an exclusive rights, private venue, not open to the general public. It is not even listed on the park map and is, in essence, a lounge for corporate sponsors and VIPs. For people like you and me, it does not exist.
Nick, your Club 33 argument is apples and oranges and therefore not worth refuting.
I really can't believe this has stirred up such a heap of comment. I mean... you'll be able to buy wine in ONE restaurant in the magic kingdom, (as you can in Disneyland Paris for example). It's not exactly Armageddon folks. Get a little perspective please...
Disney decided to add authenticity to their new french restaurant in the Magic Kingdom by adding a selection of beer and wine? Authenticity and Fantasyland - now that's a dichotomy. Will we also get rude waitstaff and bad body odor? I seem to remember that also being present in the restaurants on my last visit to France.
I strongly believe that the no alcohol policy in the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland is one of the things that has made those places as special as they are. You've got booze just about everywhere else. Is there anything wrong with having a place where booze isn't allowed? Some of you have asked, "What's the big deal with allowing booze in the Magic Kingdom parks?" Maybe the question you should be asking is, "Why do I want to have booze in the Magic Kingdom?" Is it that hard to go a day or a meal without alcohol?
Honestly folks, TH Creative has nailed this issue dead to rights. There is no place for booze in the Magic Kingdom.
Those of you who differ with him are most likely responsible drinkers, but it doesn't take many irresponsible drinkers to ruin the party for everybody. In my life, I've seen far too many of them, and I've also seen otherwise nice people become complete nimrods when they've had too much to drink. I delivered pizzas for several years during and after college to help make ends meet, and I can assure you that being on the roads after the bars have closed can be incredibly hazardous due to the drunks heading home.
And those of you who scoff at the "camel with the nose under the tent" argument are flat out wrong. Lowering your standards in one small area inevitably leads to lowering your standards overall. It is human nature, and those of us who have been around a while have seen it repeatedly. I'm not predicting disaster and mayhem if they start selling alsohol in the Magic Kingdom, but something will be lost.
TH Creative, thank you for your responce regarding Club 33. I do adknowledge that in the official Disney blog it only states that these items will be available 'just for dinner' and does not say that they will not be served anywhere else.
However, when reading the Orlando Sentinel that very topic is mentioned specifically . Here is a section from their article yesterday which references Disney's VP of food and beverage as a source...
"The sales will be restricted to dinnertime hours and only at the new Be Our Guest restaurant, which opens in November as part of the Fantasyland expansion."
So the reality of the situation is that these sales will be restricted to those guests who made dinner reservations 90 to 180 days before (whatever the policy may be at the time), in other words a limited number of guests. Despite what James Rao wishes to believe, the comparison to Club 33 is valid.
I can't predict the future, so I will also admit that maybe your camel's nose metaphor will hold true-- but it could also fall flat. only time will tell.
Published: September 15, 2012 at 6:14 AM
does it change anything for anyone that the number one Guest complaint at MK table service dining establishments is the lack of alcohol? The Guests are asking for it, WDW is using the new establishment to give people what they want.
"I will say this about Hogs Head - the domestic beer of choice is Yuengling. There is no Budweiser or Coors. The remaining selection are imports, mostly British. As long as your in park restaurants offer alcohol, they should adhere to the theming. I didn't ask for a drink menu and not sure if there is one, but I'm sure that it would have listed British style cocktails."
I have enjoyed all the comments back and forth on this topic and believe it is a big non-issue. Maybe because I like theme parks and am not a Disney-centric fanatic, this issue seems to be blown all out of context. But, I was disappointed in James Rao taking it upon himself to try to end discussion by putting in useless comments in order to get to "100" and thereby silencing everyone else. Robert, thank you for extending debate.
So many comments about such a non-issue. I'd probably have one if I were there. There's something about the combination of long lines, screaming kids, and the "It's a Small World" theme song that makes me want a drink.
I say let them drink. As long as their drink pourers are trained properly it's fine. To those who really think the park will be full of drunks, get real. Nobody is going to the Magic Kingdom and getting drunk on ten dollar beer and fifteen dollar scotch. As for Walt's wishes, those were thrown out the window a long time ago anyway.
@Tony - After 100 posts everyone had been given quite a bit of time to post an opinion or two or three. Furthermore, it seemed like everything was getting a bit redundant. Moreover, my comments are certainly not the only "useless" ones in this thread, to be sure.
Regardless, I offer you my sincerest apology. I did not intend to disappoint or upset anyone with my attempt at levity.
TH and James: I'm not saying that Disney is struggling in the economic climate, nor am I say that Disney are desperate for money because they have none.
What I am saying is that the park itself really needs investment. Yes the new Fantasyland area is a fantastic addition, but Tomorrowland is looking shockingly old.
Will serving alcohol at one table service restaurant be enough to spark park-wide improvements? No. But the more profitable that park is the better chance it has of getting some investment from the higher echelons of Disney in order to maximise its money-making potential.
For the record, I'm fully against adding beer carts and alcohol at counter service locations, but having a glass of premium wine or beer enhances an evening meal without having a detrimental impact on the rest of the parks guests.
I can't wait Disney anounce nudist day at the Magic Kingdom so you can get drunk and naked, wonderfull!
This discussion is just silly. There is a group who thinks Disney, and Magic Kingdom espacialy, is more then a theme park that is there only to make a load of money for the Disney company and it's investors. The only reason! What it's for you, well Disney don't care. As was stated before correctly on this site is that Disney is shifting it's focus from middel income family to high income and that group wants a wine or beer with it's dinner. They cather to that group because that group can come to WDW and they have losts of money.
Yes that was not wat Walt intended, but Walt is dead and the board of directors don't have the same vision as Walt and they want to earn as much money as they can from their rich visitors. I know that's not what some of you want to hear, and I'm not overly happy about it but thats what it is.
Is not alcohol freely available in the other three Disney Parks in Orlando? And are these parks over-run with drunken louts? No - in fact I have never seen any drunkenness in any Disney park. The notion that somehow the Magic Kingdom is going to be ruined because a few middle class dining guests can have a glass of wine with dinner is laughable. Nothing will change. Nothing at all.
Must be a really quiet week on the theme park forums to generate such a hysterical response to such an inconsequential announcement...
It probably wouldn't pay for expansion, but it would help them to make some money and be profitable. Alcohol is added to any operation for one reason and one reason only, to make money. People seem to assume that money simply falls out of the sky and makes big piles for Disney...it doesn't. Such a big and complex operation that runs so many attractions and hotels at a high level requires a lot of capital. They spend a ton just to maintain their standards.
For those who believe that Disney will limit alcohol to just this one restaurant for just dinner, to me is living in a fanstasy world. Here is what I believe will eventually happen. People will begin to complain and state to cast members, guest surveys and such about how they were unable to get dining reservations for their trip and really wanted to try the wine or beer at BoG. I believe that since Disney is in the businness of making money, that they will in turn offer either to serve it with the counter service lunch at BoG, and possibly have a special window just for those who want a glass of wine/beer. Then the crowds will need to be thinned out in this congested area. How to do this, spread out the areas to purchase an alcoholic beverage.
And for those who have never encountered the drunks at Epcot and DHS, be very thankful. I have and it is not a pleasant experience. I've even left before Illuminations so that my kids did not have to continue to witness such behavior. There again, this is my choice and opinion. I respect those opinions on here but, I do think we are deluding ourselves if we believe that this will be the only time and place to get an adult beverage at Magic Kingdom.
The notion that Disney is suddenly scrambling for ways to make more money is just plain silly. Disney is not hurting for money. Sure, companies always want more, but with billions of dollars in PROFIT every year, Disney is one company with plenty to spare. This move is certainly not an attempt to stave off financial ruin. It is an act of greed, wholly and completely.
I'd like to say that while some controlled booze in a theme park is OK, as theme parks have changed a lot since Walt's time. However, it will likely become more available as the years go by and therefore more drunk situations will occur. So prospective future drunks and tradition keeps my vote as a solid no.
Also, greed isn't the only reason it's being added! .01% of the reason is for the restaurant to be more authentic! The rest, yeah, $. Sad...
I think this is a $$ move. Alcohol makes $$ - and Disney is there is make $$. Personally, I think Walt would have added booze a LONG time ago if he were still here and saw it would have made money. He was a very VERY smart man. Family fun in every other park includes alcohol - why not in the MK? Is there no 'family fun' at Animal Kingdom? At MGM? Just seems like a naive view to assume that I can't have a nice glass of wine with my dinner and allow my 15 year old son to have a soft drink sitting across from me - and we can't still have a nice family dinner. But maybe we in NY do things a little different than folks do in other parts of the country...
Seriously folks...how are you going to open a properly themed French restaurant and not serve wine. As far as serving in the rest of the park, who cares if they do it or not. This isn't 1923. People can control themselves, and they want a drink with dinner, or a beer at the park. Let them serve and let me drink.
As far as money goes, I never said they were in financial dire straits. I do know however that this operation costs a lot of money to run, and they haven't spent a whole lot in the last 4-5 years...especially when compared with the previous 10 before those. If it didn't cost that much to run, they wouldn't have to charge $91 for a standard admission. James if you have access to a P&L and expense sheet for the Orlando properties, by all means provide me with evidence of this grand profit that the Disney resort in Florida makes.
@Derek, Disney is a publicly traded company, you can find out pretty much anything you want with some Yahoo searches...
From Disney's last earnings announcement: "Total revenue in the parks and resorts segment gained 9% to $3.44 billion...Net income for the three months ended June 30 rose 24% to $1.83 billion, beating market expectations."
And that's just "parks and resorts" for one quarter. Throw in the success of the "Avengers", ESPN, and all the other operations at Disney, and they are definitely doing very, very, very well. The pittance they will make off booze in the MK is going to be like p*ssing in an ocean of profit. Someone will be happy as a clam with a drink in their hand, just not 63% of the people who have responded to this survey.
Serving of alcohol will have no significant bearing on Magic Kingdom's atmosphere. The more important issues are, and will always be, the quality of attractions and the ability of the park to provide their guests with an immersive entertaining experience.