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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Friday, September 14, 2012

Magic Kingdom--No Longer a "Dry" Park With Alcohol Added to Be Our Guest Menu

Disney fans have been waiting patiently for details of the Fantasyland Expansion attractions, shows, and restaurants.  So, when Be Our Guest started taking Advance Dining Reservations for dinner, the spaces filled up quickly. Just recently more details were released regarding the dinner menu which will feature beer and wine selections.  This seemingly minor decision has stared a firestorm of controversy as this will make alcohol available at the Magic Kingdom for the first time in history. 

The Magic Kingdom has been known as “dry” park since it opened in October of 1971 based on Walt Disney’s wishes that the Magic Kingdom be a family oriented park with families participating together—making memories, family memories.  He had seen alcohol being served at other fairs and carnivals where the adults sent the children off to play while they headed to the “beer tent” or other establishment that served alcohol.  That’s why Walt was adamant that the Magic Kingdom be alcohol free.

What made current Disney leadership make the decision to include alcohol as a part of the menu for Be Our Guest?  Reports indicate that the availability of wine and beer with dinner are a continuation of the “theme” for the restaurant; a part of the “story.” 

The other three Disney theme parks offer alcoholic beverages for purchase.  Guests at EPCOT have beverage stands at virtually every Nation pavilion in World Showcase and are welcome to promenade around World Showcase Lagoon while consuming an alcoholic beverage.  Restaurants have alcoholic beverages for sale as well.  Hollywood Studios sells alcohol at most restaurants and nearby some counter service locations.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom has similar offerings. 

It is my understanding that Be Our Guest will not offer “to go” options for the beer and wine served Be Our Guest during dinner, so guests should not see alcoholic beverages being consumed throughout the park.  This is similar to Club 33 in Disneyland.

Amazingly, I’m indifferent to this announcement.  The availability of alcoholic beverages does not change my feelings about Be Our Guest, the Magic Kingdom, or Disney in general.  Some feel that this decision is a “slap in the face” for Walt and does not “obey” is wishes.  Hmmm. . . well, the current design of EPCOT wasn’t his initial wish either, but we enjoy the park without scorning the fact that it isn’t Walt’s original design.

Can the availability of alcohol change a trip?  Well, other than the husband’s consumption of a beer or two at the Beirgarten in Germany, it doesn’t change our trips at all.  Though, we have seen the affect of alcohol on other guests and it isn’t pretty.  Cast Members have shared stories with us that indicate the same.

Will the decision to serve alcohol at Be Our Guest be reversed to the outcry of dedicated fans?  Doubtful.  Will there be expansion on the serving alcohol to Gaston’s Tavern?  Hopefully not, but the mighty dollar and guest demand may prove otherwise.  

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