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Walt Disney World expands alcohol sales in the Magic Kingdom

December 16, 2016, 9:43 AM · Drinkers will be able to find more options for alcoholic beverages in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, starting next week.

Disney will begin serving beer and wine at four more table service restaurants in the resort's original theme park, following the introduction of alcohol into the Magic Kingdom with the Be Our Guest restaurant in 2012. Staring Dec. 23, Disney will offer alcohol at Cinderella's Royal Table, Tony's Town Square Cafe, the Liberty Tree Tavern, and the Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen.

The drinks available will vary by location, keeping with each restaurant's theme. Cindy's Royal Table will feature Champagne, Tony's Italian wines, the Liberty Tree hard cider and domestic beers, while the Skipper Canteen will go for more of an international selection.

Disney's theme parks were alcohol-free (the private Club 33 excepted) until the opening of its third park, Epcot, in 1982. Disneyland Paris was the first "Magic Kingdom" park to serve alcohol to its guests, and, as we mentioned, the Magic Kingdom in Orlando switched its policy and began selling alcohol at Be Our Guest four years ago.

That experiment seems to have gone well for Disney — no increase in unruly guests, but a big increase in beverage sales and profits. So it shouldn't surprise that Disney is now moving to expand alcohol sales to the park's other table service restaurants.

Still, given Disney's slow movement toward expanding alcohol sales in the Magic Kingdom, it might take several more years before the company expand beer and wine sales by establishing bars or alcohol-selling outdoor vending stands in the park, as it does in the other three parks at the Walt Disney World Resort. And there's no movement yet to add public alcohol sales at the original Disneyland, though that test might come with the opening of the Cantina in Star Wars Land in several years.

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Replies (29)

December 16, 2016 at 10:11 AM · I wonder if in addition to solid sales with alcohol, the Magic Kingdom is also seeing the results at Universal Studios in Orlando. The Harry Potter lands have 3 signature beers as well as the Simpsons area with its Duff beers. Heck, the Simpsons area has Moe's tavern and the Duff Brewery! Still, I've never heard of a rowdy drunken brawl there.

Maybe if you do it well themed you can keep your parks "family friends"?

December 16, 2016 at 11:38 AM · Let it flow, let it flow,
I want to booze some more.
Let it flow, let it flow,
The money 's coming trough the door.
Poor a drink, so over priced, and I'll get drunk.
A soft-drink never did it for me anyway.
December 16, 2016 at 1:44 PM · Nobody will get drunk on drinks that start at $8 for beer and $8 for wine at half sizes at the festivals. Mixed cocktails and frozen drinks start at $10 and $12. They are watered down drinks. If you want to get drunk, stay on-site, buy lots of drinks, and drink up before entering the parks.
December 16, 2016 at 2:08 PM · I see no problem with this. I think they are wise to only offer them at table service restaurants. I do hope they limit it to restaurants and don't offer beer/wine/mixed drinks that can be taken out and about through the park. Keep it as something to accompany a meal, not just a way to get drunk and then ride Dumbo.
December 16, 2016 at 2:32 PM · I can see some people getting silly, being sick and perhaps acting the fool but were have to watch this space, many people will see it as a way to have a sociable drink it's just the one or two who may spoil it, let's wait and see.
December 16, 2016 at 2:37 PM · Make no mistake: Magic Kingdom drink carts are waiting in the wings. Alcohol in the Magic Kingdom is a terrible idea.
December 16, 2016 at 4:55 PM · @ OT: "Poor" a drink?

(Chuckle)

December 16, 2016 at 3:52 PM · I think we can trust Disney to keep it clean and safe. After all, DCA serves alcohol and there are zero problems there. We have a young family and I can tell you that during our trip in May we were THRILLED to find the Wine Country Trattoria at DCA. My wife enjoyed a nice glass of wine and I enjoyed a beer. I am pretty sure we are the target market for this, not alcoholics or students. Disney is well aware of the reputation it has to maintain and I am certain they would vigilant to cut people off at the faintest whiff of trouble. Trust Disney, they do deserve that trust.
December 16, 2016 at 8:40 PM · . . . "trough" the door
December 16, 2016 at 8:50 PM · I hate it when I'm right. A few of us saw this coming from a mile away when Be Our Guest opened up.

Guess I'll have to build my own theme park with blackjack and hookers, but no booze! In fact, forget the blackjack. Got to keep it classy for the families, right?

December 17, 2016 at 12:39 AM · Much ado about nothing, as far as I'm concerned.
December 17, 2016 at 1:28 AM · "No lliquor, 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 work around that place all day and I don't have one. After I come out of a heavy day at the studio sometimes I want a drink to relax." - Walt Disney
December 17, 2016 at 2:07 AM · With Disney's influence I bet we can get Casino's in the hotels next, yeh!
December 17, 2016 at 6:27 AM · Epcot, Studios, Animal Kingdom, Universal, Islands, Busch Gardens (of course)....all serve alcohol.

If I go to a high end restaurant, and am paying over $100.00 for a family meal, I want to be able to have a glass of wine with it. ESPECIALLY if I've been in the park all day with my kids.

I don't like that it flies in the face of Walt Disney's philosophy with the parks, just because of my respect for the man. But this is one area I think isn't a problem. Have some drinks, keep the prices up to avoid over drinking, and crack down on rowdy behavior. They're already great at doing it.

December 17, 2016 at 6:33 AM · Anyone who thinks high priced drinks will eliminate drunkenness has never been to an NFL game.

If alcohol sales keep adults at the bars and out of the attraction queues, I'm all for it!

December 17, 2016 at 6:35 AM · OT, you can get alcohol in Universal, so why only criticise Disney on this? It's expensive in any park you go into.

In terms of behavioral problems associated with alcohol, I think as long as its only sold in table service restaurantsa where responsible serving is possible, it shouldn't be a big problem. I do have a problem if they start selling it from carts, this is when it becomes a lot more difficult to regulate.

December 17, 2016 at 9:02 AM · I am all for having a few beers. EPCOT is very well suited for this; however, I have a very specific objection, and it is one that seems to permeate the decisions currently made: Walt Disney expressly did not want this at the main parks, which I will interpret as Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. The reason was not due to drunkenness or a certain 'element.' It was due to the very priniciple of the park: a place were families can all enjoy everything together. He felt that if there was something an adult could do that a child could not, that was inconsistent with the idea of the park. I think that is valid. At all the other parks it is fine. The older kids can ride Tower of Terror, the younger Toy Story, and the adults can have a beer or two at Hollywood. At EPCOT the kids can explore and the adults can have a Guinness at the pub in England. But in Magic Kingdom everybody rides the Haunted Mansion together. Everybody eats at Beast's Castle together. Before long they will replace the railway due to trains not being popular. Or the Hall of Presidents because kids don't like educational experiences.

Understand, I am fine with moving with the times. I cannot wait for Star Wars (assuming they fix the terrible line reservation system). I am fine with Avatar. I adore Universal and what they have done with Harry Potter. Which, I will point out, you cannot get real world sodas like Coke or Pepsi as that is inconsistent with the theme despite the potential lost profits. Go have a beer at dinner at your hotel, but when you take your three year old through the Castle, you don't have to have a beer that day.

December 17, 2016 at 11:08 AM · The company's namesake and visionary specifically prohibited the sale of alcohol. There is no ambiguity about his policy. Champagne at fireworks viewings will be next. Rum drinks at the cabanas will follow. This is weak sauce It is an act of surrender.
December 17, 2016 at 11:55 AM · Bad idea
December 17, 2016 at 12:38 PM · Let me say I'm not against drinking. And I don't think that just becuase Walt said it that it must be true. However, I like the reason for this philosophy. To hold something pure when it flies in the face of profit, is so rare. Be our guest, while awesome, stole a fraction of the Magic Kingdoms nobility. It was always a slippery slope.
December 17, 2016 at 4:54 PM · I don't think that the present day Disney company has cared what Walt would or wouldn't want for a long time. In view of the current state of our culture and that "Disney" is more than willing to embrace virtually all aspects of it, a little booze in the sacred Magic Kingdom is a very small thing. Nothing else seems to be sacred anymore. If you don't want to drink alcohol, then don't.
I really can't see too many people going to the magic Kingdom just to get drunk anyway. I can think of a lot of other better & cheaper places to go for that.
December 17, 2016 at 5:56 PM · Wait a second, isn't this the same Disney guy that opened a club in his original park to serve alcohol? True, his original intention was to use it as a way to schlub with business associates, but that same place is now the home for the 1 percenters to drink and dine.

Believe me I'm all for drink carts in the Magic Kingdom. If I have to stand in line for 45-70 minutes to ride Space Mountain I need a drink or five to deal with the claustrophobic wait.

If you believe that this is diminishing the "innocence" of the Magic Kingdom park, that innocence died a long time ago with the introduction of upcharge events to stay in the park later, dessert parties, and $600 cabanas.

I do have one idea for Bob Iger (bestest showman of the year ever)- he should allow rum to be served while you're riding the Pirates of the Caribbean. That's corporate synergy at its finest!

December 17, 2016 at 7:43 PM · Not completely agreeing with Kris V, but times do change. Culturally the world was a far different place when Walt built Disneyland. Walt was 19 when prohibition was brought in, and 32 when it stopped. Even though he was a drinker, alcohol consumption was far different back then, and meant different things.

While I would admire the company for continuing it's non-service of alcohol, I don't consider them doing so a blasphemous disrespect of their founder. Like I've previously said, my concern would be if they serve it without adequate oversight out of restricted areas.

December 18, 2016 at 2:10 PM · The reason Walt Disney was against alcohol being served to the general public at his amusement park was because he wanted to build a park that was different most of existing amusement parks in Southern California at the time. He observed first hand the effects of public intoxication at places like Long Beach's The Pike, where young sailors, returning WWII war vets and locals would go to get drunk. Walt wanted to keep this and other low-brow elements out of his park. But I've never read anything that would make me believe he personally against drinking.

I always have a drink or two when I visit the Disneyland Resort. But I've have never drank in DCA and of course unlike the Magic Kingdom Disneyland still prohibits alcohol sales to the general public. Star Wars Land might break that tradition. I have no problem waiting until I'm in Downtown Disneyland or at the hotels. Of course, Disneyland has a great advantage over the Florida property in that you can just walk out of the front gates of either park and you're just a few yards away from Downtown Disney. I guess I'd prefer Disneyland remain "dry" but wouldn't get too upset if they did allow drinks in a place like the Blue Bayou but I don't think the future Cantina needs it. Idk it seems like a lazy way to make money. And that alcoholic expansion at the Magic Kingdom seems way too much and unfortunate.

December 19, 2016 at 9:04 AM · I hate to say it but alcohol at Magic Kingdom should never have occurred and definitely should not have been expanded. I like my beer but the Magic Kingdom is not the place for it. The other three parks are much more appropriate. I am a connoisseur of the "Beers around the World". I just have this problem with alcohol in MK it doesn't fit in my book. On the other hand "maybe a signature drink for Fantasy Land should be Hot Buttered Rum served in a medicine bottle. Seriously I don't see major problems since it won't be walk up stands, but let's face those are not far behind because they know they can make a lot of money off of it.
December 19, 2016 at 9:27 AM · Welcome to the 21st century Magic Kingdom. The lack of alcohol severely limited the theming of the park, and always made me feel like I was in a child's play area, rather than an immersive zone. No rum in Adventureland? No beer in the wild west? MK can finally join the themed perfection of the Harry Potter lands now.

The drinking culture that Walt was against in the 1950s is worlds different from the craft cocktail and beer culture that dominates high end dining now.

December 19, 2016 at 10:22 AM · Fine dining means fine wines. A $40 sirloin deserves a $10 or $15 glass of Cabernet. (or a microbrew) Once the parks opened fine dining establishments this was a fait accompli. The Wizarding World has done an excellent job themeing beverage selections to their park areas Liquor sales are big business, and could help offset rising prices elsewhere. Maybe the price of a Coke will go down. Yeah, right. Here's looking' at ya!
December 22, 2016 at 4:44 AM · Not good! They start with alcohol, and next they'll bring in a casino (as someone else mentioned) at Disney Springs (Downtown Disney). And of course, I expect to see beer carts around the kingdom. Family friendly? Sorry, but this is going to keep me away.
December 22, 2016 at 5:12 PM · I am glad that TH and I are on the same page!

If alcohol is a dealbreaker for you entering the Magic Kingdom, you probably shouldn't be allowed in the Magic Kingdom.

I think it is more the tradition. Disney doesn't serve alcohol at the Magic Kingdom Parks. That was their rule. Just like their cruise line doesn't have gambling, Disney should not be buckling into pressure.

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