If you have been keeping up with news about Disney for the past few months, you are probably aware of the company’s plan to put alcoholic beverages on menus in the Magic Kingdom. Needless to say, parents with little children are far from thrilled about the fact that booze will be served in a child-friendly setting. Prior to this time, Club 33 was the only location in this theme park that sold anything with alcoholic content. Now, visitors to the park can expect to find intoxicating drinks in Menus at Tony’s Restaurant and Cinderella’s Castle (just the places you would expect to find these kinds of drinks). However, did you know that this is not the first time alcohol will be introduced into Disneyland attractions? Let’s take a closer look at the reality of alcoholic beverages at Walt Disney World locations.
1982: Epcot Scandal
After its grand opening in 1982, alcohol was available for adult visitors (unlike Walt Disney World, which did not offer booze at the time). According to the Miami Herald, the attraction offered LaBatt’s beer (Canadian section), Beck’s beer (German beer gardens), and Bordeaux and Burgundy wine (French restaurant). At the time, Disney President Ron Miller explained that you could not set up an English pub and serve a collection of Coke (quite an ironic statement, given Walt Disney’s negative views toward alcohol during his life).
1989: Pleasure Island Crowds
Upon its opening in 1989, Pleasure Island became such a popular Disney attraction that (in an ironic twist) it threatened the stability of nightlife in Orlando at the height of the 1990s. In fact, patrons in Florida were shocked that the family-friendly company bothered to introduce a chain of nightclubs in the first place. Ultimately, the strip closed in 2008.
2012: Be Our Guest
Ultimately, local news was set ablaze with a media firestorm when Disneyworld opened a Beauty and the Beast-themed restaurant called Be Our Guest, which served alcoholic drinks like wine and beer. This moment served as the first time in 41 years that the Happiest Place on Earth served an intoxicating beverage. In defense of the situation, Maribeth Bisienere (vice president of food and beverages at Walt Disney Parks) explained that a patron cannot walk into a French restaurant and not have the choice to order wine or beer and reiterated by stating that it was better to allow booze and restrict it.
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