Man, I could use a drink. After a day of waiting hours in lines for rides that last three minutes, listening to overindulged children plead for overpriced treats and souvenirs and sweating it out under the hot Florida sun, many a Disney patron has had just that thought. Soon, it’ll be possible to quench that yearning for a refreshing alcoholic beverage without having to leave the park.
For the first time ever, a restaurant inside the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando will be serving booze. While many Disney parks offer alcohol — EPCOT even has a Biergarten — the Magic Kingdom has traditionally been dry.
Disney sneaked the introduction of alcohol into the family-friendly park down toward the bottom of a blog post discussing the Magic Kingdom’s forthcoming Be Our Guest, a “Beauty and the Beast”–themed restaurant serving French cuisine, set to open Nov. 19. The post notes:
And just for dinner, select wines and beers will be offered that complement the French-inspired cuisine.
“As part of the overall theming, we wanted to offer wine that enhances the guest experience and complements the French-inspired cuisine,” says Stuart McGuire, Beverage Director, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “The wines focus primarily on France’s famous wine-growing regions, including Champagne, Alsace, Loire, Rhone, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
“We’ll also offer the leading French beer, Kronenbourg 1664,” says McGuire. “And, staying in the general region, we’ll also offer Belgian beers.”
The announcement glosses over the fact that, until now, no alcohol had been sold anywhere inside the Magic Kingdom. But commenters certainly noticed that this is a groundbreaking move. Some understood and welcomed the introduction of alcohol (“Fine French food requires fine wine”), but several others chimed in, presumably while making that old “Church Lady” face, with some variation of the phrase:
I am very disappointed that alcohol will be served in the Magic Kingdom!
Disney executives told the Orlando Sentinel that the decision was based on guest feedback desiring a more “gourmet experience” at Magic Kingdom restaurants, and including beer and wine seemed especially appropriate for the park’s new “gourmet” restaurant:
“You cannot walk into a French restaurant and not get a glass of wine or beer,” [Disney parks vice president of food and beverages Maribeth] Bisienere said. “It made more sense to do it than not to do it.”
Disney is also introducing alcohol very carefully to the Magic Kingdom. It’s offered only during dinner hours and only to sit-down patrons. In other words, you won’t be able to order a beer t0 go and chug it in line right before hopping on Space Mountain.
The Be Our Guest beverage list includes 20 wines ranging from $8 to $17 a glass ($35 to $99 per bottle), and three beers starting at $6.25 and going up to $10 for a glass of Chimay Blue, a “Dark Belgian Strong Ale brewed by Trappist monks” that boasts “aromas of spice and dried fruit with light caramel notes.”
Let’s hope nobody is chugging that.