Should Disneyland end its ban on beer and wine in the park?

May 22, 2018, 1:22 PM · Disney started selling beer and wine at the Magic Kingdom and the world did not end. In fact, attendance at the world's most popular theme park has continued to rise in the five years since alcohol first appeared on the menu at Be Our Guest. Visitors seem happy to have the option of a drink with their meal and the park has avoided any perceptible uptick in misbehavior.

Since Disney started selling alcohol at Be Our Guest, it has added the option to all the other table service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom. So if Disney's most popular theme park is no longer dry, will Disney end its no-alcohol policy at its oldest theme park, too?

That's the question I ask in my newspaper column this week: Is it time for Disneyland to begin selling alcohol to guests?

You can find plenty of places to get a drink at the Disneyland Resort, of course, including at the resort hotels, in Downtown Disney and pretty much throughout Disney California Adventure. And if you are rich or well-connected, you might be able to snag a reservation inside Disneyland's Club 33 — the one place in the original park that does serve alcohol, though it is not technically open to the public.

But given Disney's success in managing the introduction of alcohol sales at the Magic Kingdom, I suspect that Disney will use the opening of the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge land at Disneyland to try the same at the original park. Start with limited alcohol sales in the Cantina, and when the world doesn't end as a result, then bring it to the Blue Bayou and then on to Cafe Orleans and eventually the Carnation Cafe.

What's driving Disney's change of attitude about alcohol sales? Ultimately, it's demographics. As I wrote in my column, "the families visiting Disneyland these days are more likely to include multiple generations above age 21 than families with little kids. An ongoing national baby bust is reducing the percentage of visitors with small children to the nation’s theme parks, so Disney simply would be reacting to a changing market by expanding alcohol sales in its parks."

I know that the only thing some theme park fans enjoy more than a cold beer on a hot day is arguing about alcohol at Disneyland, so let's have at it, shall we?

Replies (14)

May 22, 2018 at 2:07 PM

The problem with these options is that, for example, if the ban is lifted from table service restaurants, people who just want alcohol will unnecessarily fill up the table service restaurants. The same goes for lifting the ban on restaurants. Disneyland should either lift the ban entirely or keep it the same (club 33).

May 22, 2018 at 2:23 PM

At California Adventure, you can buy and bring your beer or wine anywhere you wish to drink it. It isn't a problem. At Disneyland, I can imagine select table service (Blue Bayou, Café Orleans, or River Belle Terrace) restaurants should have the choice to order beer, wine, or cocktails. I would never buy it since they are outrageously priced, but if I'm in a generous mood, I might just get one. Maybe it's time to visit SeaWorld with the free beer samples.

May 22, 2018 at 2:40 PM

I'd rather they not. Needing a cold beer on a hot day would be a good incentive to drive some of the crowd over to DCA.

May 22, 2018 at 2:46 PM

Don't really care about the money it could generate, it was Walt himself who said no to this. Without him there would be no Disney. Leave it alone!

May 22, 2018 at 3:21 PM

I've seen enough drunken fools in California Adventure for me to be against lifting the ban. I think about the kids who have to deal with drunk parents on a daily basis, for them a trip to Disneyland might be a rare time when they get to see pops sober.

May 22, 2018 at 3:21 PM

If its a drink with a meal, then fine, I don't have any objection to that. However, it shouldn't be sold on its own (outside of a wine sampling maybe)

May 22, 2018 at 4:31 PM

Let's be real: anybody at Disneyland who wants to get boosted, can. It's a five minute walk from just about anywhere in the park to the Grand California bar, or Napels' bar in Downtown Disney. So why not?

May 22, 2018 at 8:05 PM

I have been to DCA many times and never encountered "drunken fools." In fact, I have never encountered a drunken fool at any of the other Disney or Universal theme parks that have widespread alcohol sales. Not denying they don't exist, just saying its not the problem some would make it out to be. Walt is dead and has been for a long time. Lift the ban!

May 23, 2018 at 5:56 AM

It was Walt himself that didn't want the parks to be a museum, but a constantly current place for families. Young families expect quality craft beverages that fit the theme. In fact, it completely takes you out of the theme when you are in a pirate town and there's no rum to be found. There are thousands of other things Walt wouldn't like that the parks do on a day to day basis, and the fact is the drinking culture of today isn't the drinking culture of the 50s. Time for the parks to grow up.

May 23, 2018 at 7:07 AM

Walt sipped everyday, but for some reason did not want it in the park even though it could have probably been lucrative...

May 23, 2018 at 1:26 PM

Disney is supposed to be a family place. Walt didn't want alcohol, and I agree. There should be no alcohol in any Disney Park. Club 33 should NOT have it either. Have a Club 33 outside of the Parks. The profits shouldn't be the only reason. How about living up to a set of family standards.

May 23, 2018 at 4:03 PM

I don't think it's appropriate to sell alcohol at a family park. I know EPOT is the exception to the rule but maybe that has more to do with the demographic attending that particular Park. What nobody wants is the potential for drink related disturbances at , say, Magic KIngdom. Although I'm sure that most of us would be fine and drink in moderation there will always be those who might spoil the day for everyone after a few too many beers.

May 23, 2018 at 4:34 PM

My WDW self says ok, but DL seems to be a whole different animal that WDW.

I voted for table service because thats how it happens at the Magic Kingdom. Robert is right, the MK did not burn down. Honestly, they have offered alcohol for awhile at Be Our Guest.

Disney World has been serving booze at their other parks forever. EPCOT has become the beacon of the barcrawl elite. You do not see too many blitzed people at Disney World. I also think security is perhaps a little too good at making the drunks disappear!

May 23, 2018 at 8:18 PM

Maybe EPCOT patrons burn off their buzz during the long walks between pavilions?

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