Magic Kingdom starts selling alcohol

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- For the first time since Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom opened four decades ago, thirsty tourists will soon be able to order a glass of wine or beer within park boundaries.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, sales will be limited to dinner hours at the Orlando park's gourmet, French-themed Be Our Guest restaurant, which opens in November as part of the park's Fantasyland expansion.

"You cannot walk into a French restaurant and not get a glass of wine or beer," Disney's Maribeth Bisienere told the Sentinel. "It made more sense to do it than not to do it."

Bisienere said alcohol has been served at catered events at the Magic Kingdom for years, and noted that other Disney World parks -- Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot -- also sell alcohol.

But at the original Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., booze is only available at the private Club 33, which Walt Disney modeled after VIP lounges at the 1964 New York World's Fair.

There will be no beer and wine "to go" from the 500-seat Be Our Guest, Bisienere told the Sentinel. According to the menu, the restaurant will sell 20 mostly French wines from $8 to $17 a glass plus three beers from $6.25 to $10.

AJ Wolfe, editor of the Disney Food Blog, told the paper reaction from readers was split.

While several note Walt Disney's desire to keep the original Disneyland evolving with the times, "you have your purists. You have the people saying. 'Walt is spinning in his grave.'"

Indeed, argues one commenter, the "very bad" decision is "definitely a slippery slope. It's all about money and not the French theme of the restaurant. What's next, Italian beer & wine at Tony's Town Square, rum at Tortuga Tavern, Mai Tai at Aloha Isle, how about rotgut whiskey at Pecos Bill's? And yes, I do drink beer/wine with my meals at the other Parks, but it just doesn't belong at the Magic Kingdom."


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