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?Tweet
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