One of the last booze-peddling holdouts in the theme park racket, Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, will now start offering beer and wine for the first time in its 41-year history, but only at the Beauty and the Beast-themed Be Our Guest restaurant set to open this November as part of the much-anticipated Fantasyland expansion. This is happening because Disney likes to make its rides, shows, and "experiences" as authentically bastardized as possible, and Be Our Guest is, but of course, a French restaurant, and no self-respecting French restaurant would deny wine to its patrons.
According to Maribeth Bisienere, vice president of food and beverage for Walt Disney Parks, the people have spoken and the people — overwrought parents who blew all their vacation time on a misguided family-fun adventure to Disney World, the alternate universe where adults can ride the monorail while their dreams of a more fulfilling life recede into the swampy South Florida landscape — want a glass of wine at dinner. "You cannot," insists Bisienere, "walk into a French restaurant and not get a glass of wine or beer. It made more sense to do it than not to do it."
Disneyland Paris (obviously) sells alcohol liberally. Orlando's Hollywood (formerly MGM, for all ye faithful Disneyites) Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot also all offer booze, and Epcot will pay homage to its proud tradition of being the Niles Crane of the Disney parks by celebrating its 17th food and wine festival later this month. Universal Orlando and SeaWorld, the nose-pickers of the Floridian theme parks, sell all manner of booze because the E.T. ride is only endurable if you're throw-up-on-a-stranger's-child wasted. Disneyland in Anaheim sells alcohol in the private Club 33.
Magic Kingdom in Orlando had been the big holdout, but not everyone is celebrating the news — some park visitors were initially worried that folks would be drinking beers on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride or getting into drunken spats with the unnervingly life-like (but not at all real-looking) Country Bears. Limiting alcohol-service to the Be Our Guest restaurant seems to have palliated the teetotalers, but that's just until Disney introduces its first cannabis coffee shop at Epcot Netherlands.
Disney's Magic Kingdom will serve beer, wine in new Fantasyland restaurant [Orlando Sentinel]