be our guest restaurant beer

Disney’s Magic Kingdom to offer beer, wine for first time

For the first time in its history, beer and wine will be available in the Magic Kingdom. It will be served at the soon-to-be-open Be Our Guest restaurant in the New Fantasyland. Be our Guest is a French restaurant themed after Beauty and the Beast. The story is set in France.

The restaurant is scheduled to open on December 6th.

More >> ABC News.

 

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6 thoughts on “Disney’s Magic Kingdom to offer beer, wine for first time

  1. …But didn’t they sell beer before? I clearly remember Dan (John Goodman) getting a yard of beer there in an old episode of Roseanne.

  2. Being as I am in the odd intersection of beer geek and Disneyland geek, I’d like to clarify this situation a bit. The ABC News article is decent, but I’ve heard a couple of other news articles screw this up.

    Until this news, Disney has not sold sold alcohol to the public at most of its magic kingdom-style parks. The ones with a castle in the center: the original Disneyland park in California, the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World in Florida where this change is being made, Tokyo Disneyland (which isn’t actually owned or operated by Disney, but that’s another story), and Hong Kong Disneyland. My understanding is that Disneyland Paris does serve at least wine; the legend I’ve read is that they did not when Disneyland Paris opened but French culture twisted the corporate arm hard enough to allow it.

    There are two exceptions I know to this rule, at least as applied to Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. First, if you pay to host and cater a private event at the park you can have alcohol. Second, there is a members-only club inside of Disneyland called Club 33 which serves alcohol. If you’re not familiar with Club 33, that’s an entirely different tale that’s too large to tell here. Google it for yourself.

    There are six other Disney theme parks worldwide (Epcot, California Adventure, etc.), and they all serve alcohol. As do all of the Disney hotels, entertainment districts, cruise lines, etc. It’s too big of a market to ignore. This isn’t about morals; rest assured that Disney is very knowledgeable about how to get dollars out of tourists.

    Jim W, I am not familiar with the Roseanne episode, but I would venture they were not in the Magic Kingdom park. I would guess they were at the Disney Studios park (formerly Disney-MGM Studios).

    At the Disneyland Resort they have a partnership with Karl Strauss Brewing. Last year they opened a new beer hut in California Adventure, which supplements KS with a few other popular California brews, Sierra Nevada and Anchor and such, when I was there last year.

    At Epcot the Germany pavilion has a beer hall. Also, every year they have a food and wine festival at Epcot which includes wine seminars and tastings. The past couple of years the festival has had a craft beer stand with a decent selection of drafts. (Caveat: I’ve never been there, I just read about these things on the Internet.)

    My understanding of why Disneyland and the other magic kingdom parks do not serve alcohol is because Walt Disney wanted it that way. Walt was no tee-totaler, he enjoyed a drink in the evening like most folks. The reasoning behind the alcohol policy is because when Disneyland first opened in 1955 he wanted it to be unlike any other amusement park in the world in that it would be an atmosphere that the entire family could enjoy without the problems of the real world. He visited and studied the operation of other amusement facilities and noted what worked and what didn’t. One of the problems he noted at the typical county-fair style amusement park in the U.S. was the beer service, where young men would over-imbibe and misbehave. Walt didn’t want that sort of distraction; he saw the opportunity to become intoxicated inside of his park as a complication to the ideals of the self-contained world he was building.

    Or, at least, that’s my understanding of this situation. Disney has upheld Walt’s alcohol principle to this day inside of Disneyland and the other parks with a castle, with some exceptions. (One exception, which occurred during Walt’s lifetime, was that beer was served at the short-lived Holidayland picnic grounds, approximately where Pirates of the Caribbean stands today.)

    The Disney fan community has had much debate over this announcement. Do you honor Walt’s principles or do you give in to modern culture? Attitudes about alcohol have changed. And one can easily argue that Walt was being overcautious to begin with; so many things about Disneyland are different, and predicting human behavior is a fickle science. It’s easy enough to sneak in a flask, or to just pop out to the nearest bar to get your fix anyway, why miss the financial opportunity to serve alcohol in the park? As noted above, Disney has had no qualm, and I venture no serious problems, with serving alcohol at their other properties.

    For my own part, I’m a little bothered by the tradition being broken but I’m happy to move on and will probably take advantage of the situation, should I find myself in the Magic Kingdom at dinner time. But during the day I don’t think I’d want to down a pint right before going on Space Mountain. Disneyland is exciting enough without being drunk.

  3. Tim K, thanks for the rich explanation. That’s some fascinating info, and inspired me to look into Club 33 (seems pretty swanky). I’ve also always found Walt to be one of the most interesting people to read about.
    After further research, that scene in the Roseanne episode took place in Epcot.
    Chris, thanks for the intel. I may be headed back down to that neck of the woods on vacation in the winter, and it’s nice to know what to expect!

  4. Tim K -

    I like your summary, and have always been curious about how Disney handles alcohol in their theme parks.

    About 20 years ago, Pleasure Island was always a blast, and I liked the party adult atmosphere when it first opened. They then messed it up when they allowed kids into the clubs and general public to “hang out” on the streets. I am sure there were incidents which made them kill the whole idea.

    Another incident I distinctly remember was an inebriated man with his son (approximately 7 years old). It was after the fireworks and my wife and I were going to downtown Disney and waiting on the bus line. The man cut in behind us and irritated the family that they cut into. It was a very loud verbal altercation and security was all over it.

    They made sure that the inebriated man did get on the bus and I could see that security touched base with the other family to make sure they did not get on the bus.

    They were also monitoring the man with codes with the bus driver. I also found it interesting that the bus driver was talking to the drunk man and suggesting that he go back to the campground if he wanted more beer. She was telling him about all his options at downtown, and trying to persuade him to go back, since his son would not get into any of the bars. I felt bad for the boy, but I thought it was interesting that the Disney Organization seemed to have a check system to keep an eye on this patron.

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