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Be Our Guest! Magic Kingdom To Start Serving Wine and Beer

Aww yeah, brah

(EDITORIAL CORRECTION: Though our original source said Disneyland, we did a bit of confused post-pub checking, and it turns out the expansion is coming to DisneyWorld, not Disneyland. Sorry, California.)

Fantasyland is about to get wilder…in the most mild of ways.

When Disneyland sees an expansion in the Fantasyland section of their park this fall, a new Beauty & The Beast-themed restaurant (titled, what else, Be Our Guest) will have beer and wine offered on their dinner menu. The licensing of the restaurant will be a big break with longstanding tradition upheld by the late Walt Disney himself. Broken long ago elsewhere in the park, the Magic Kingdom area has been a holdout that harks back to a time when Walt moved his DisneyWorld plans from St. Louis to Orlando because the city insisted on serving beer. According to the Disney blog, there’s a concern that opening a new section of the park to alcohol could result in cases of obvious drunkenness, and lead to bad word of mouth due to the presence of “drunken louts”.

Hey! As a lout, I take offense to that!

For those not personally steeped in the Disney theme park culture (and it is its own subculture), or who are simply concerned parents, the whole thing can seem like a bad idea. Yet in reality, at least from personal observation, the point is fairly moot. Breaking out the ‘tradition’ stick is a daily process when it comes to Disney culture, which relies heavily on the nostalgia of park properties to draw in its adult customers. What Walt wanted seems to be talked about a lot, and honored at a much more curtailed level of actual commercial planning. Despite the tone of the in-house blog, there seems to be a pretty level-headed understanding among park higher-ups as to the probable difference in views between generations. (If you don’t think they do, or at least try to, you’ve clearly never seen videos of the Mad T Party.)

This also assumes a fairly straight-laced look at ‘families’ that is, frankly, squeakier and cleaner than is credible. It’s not like there’s a hard line here with bachelorette rager on one side, and wholesome, sober family fun on the other. One reason adults like to bring their kids to places like theme parks and fairs is that there’s something for everyone, including a little light day-drinking while the smaller ‘uns beg to get their picture taken with people dressed in giant cartoon animal suits. Disney is far from alone here. After all, Six Flags serves alcohol. Even Chuck E Cheese serves beer and wine!

It makes sense on the surface to desire a drink-free zone at an all-ages park. Or it would if that had already made a difference. Far be it for me to point out the most obvious, which is that Disneyland already serves alcohol, and lots of it. EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and others all serve not just wine and beer, but spirits. For those who want something a little harder than what Belle & Co. have on offer, they need only wander just outside the Magic Kingdom. Disney is an open park once you’re inside, more or less. It’s not as though you get breathalyzed at each subsequent area’s entrance. But while Disneyland is well known for its lively nighttime party scene, that is where most of the heavy partying seems to happen; when the kids are all back at their hotels. In the end, I anticipate that little is going to change.

Disneyland, I raise a glass to your expansion.

(via The Disney Blog)

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  • Alana Beltzer

    I’m confused, is this expansion (and therefore alcohol availability) happening at Disneyland or DisneyWorld? The article mentions both parks but I can’t parse which one is getting this upgrade. An expanded Fantasyland with booze at Disneyland in Anaheim would be quite relevant to my interests ;)

  • Zoe Chevat

    “When Disneyland sees an expansion in the Fantasyland section of their park this fall,” so, Disneyland, as far as I know.

  • Kate Ryan

    I know for sure that the Fantasyland portion of the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World is being expanded. Since the Magic Kingdom is basically the WDW version of Disneyland, it’s plausible they are both getting upgrades, and thus this is applicable to both.

  • Tera Brasel

    Nope, sorry, it’s Walt Disney World (FL). Massive redesign of that area of the park, including a large restaurant themed to the Beast’s castle/Gaston’s tavern (yeah, hence, the alcohol). Previously, the only Magic Kingdom park that allowed alcohol was Disneyland Paris, and to a select few who could afford membership at Disneyland’s Club 33 restaurant.

    Sorry, Disney nerd here. And for the record, I’m against it. As Zoe mentions, the other three parks at Walt Disney World offer alcohol, but they’re all more adult-oriented than the Magic Kingdom, and Fantasyland is pretty much the MOST kid-friendly area of the entire resort.

  • Joshua Whitman

    I think the confusion stems from the headline, saying that Magic Kingdom (a Disney World resort) is serving alcohol. Also, among the parks listed as serving alcohol already, only one is a part of Disneyland – California Adventure. The others are Disney World.

    Very informative article, though! I like it a lot!

  • Anonymous

    No, it is definitely Walt Disney World, it is Walt Disney World that is getting the Fantasyland expansion and this new restaurant. Alcohol is already served at Disneyland, but only in the “Club 33″ private club that isn’t accessible to the public without an invitation or membership.

  • Zoe Chevat

    Corrections mightily appreciated. My original source said Disneyland, but I’ll be more than happy to cede to knowledgeable Disney parks fans on this one.

  • Sarah Nuckolls

    On a side note the California Adventure Park in … well California serves alcohol and though it’s not technically Disney Land, close enough

  • Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley

    It is in Disney World. Disneyland is undergoing no such revamp.

  • Steven Ray Morris

    The best part of the Tron part of California Adventure? The Glo-jitos. =)

  • Kris

    There’s no way anyone is going to be publicly drunk at a Disney park; it’s too expensive.

  • Lauren

    You’d be surprised. It happens at CA Adventure fairly often.

  • Lauren

    I actually work at Disneyland, and I have to say I’m relieved this won’t be happening there. It is to me, above all else, for the kids and I would never want kids to be exposed to the crumpled up beer cups and rude drunk people that come with the territory when you serve alcohol at a theme park.

  • Alexis the Unicorn

    Personally, I think this makes sense, realism wise, at least. In the movie Beauty and the Beast you see them drinking alcohol regularly. The Beast drinks wine in meal scenes, and there’s even a scene that takes place directly in a bar. The Disney movies themselves don’t really have much of an issue with it, really (at least the newer ones don’t) I don’t see any issue with them serving it as long as it’s regulated. (aka only one drink a meal, don’t serve someone who already looks tipsy) It won’t matter as long as they don’t get drunk.

  • Laura W

    It’s not like it’s going to be available at street carts. One restaurant
    — which means it’ll probably be served in nice glasses than never
    leave the table by wait staff who’ll have plenty of time to observe
    behavior and refuse to serve anyone who’s had more than they should.

    EPCOT has alcoholic beverages available at pretty much every single one
    of the World Pavilions, and I have never seen a crumpled beer cup or
    rude drunk person there. Plenty of rude sober people, though. Not so
    much with crumpled non-beer cups, as Disney parks in general are
    obsessively cleaned.

  • s…

    welcome the addition of a nice place for my husband and i to enjoy a glass of wine after a walk around the park…. not a drunken lout…. just a disney fan for over 30 years

  • Kristina Pino

    Least you can do is change instances of Disneyland to Disney World in reference to the Fantasyland expansion and all that. :x

    Re: the booze though, a lot of folks are blowing it completely out of proportion. The only way someone’s going to get access to it is by actually sitting at the restaurant and ordering it with food. I don’t think drunks will be a problem – but if they are, Disney will (they always do) take steps to reduce or eliminate it. EPCOT used to have half yards at the Food and Wine Festival, except people were getting a little *too* drunk and rowdy, so they were taken away. If people start getting way too drunk at the Be Our Guest experience, they’ll likely place some kind of drink limit.

  • Kristina Pino

    What about Blizzard Beach then? Definitely an all-ages park, and they do serve alcohol.