Thursday, September 13, 2012

Be Our Guest Restaurant to Offer Beer and Wine


 The Be Our Guest Restaurant, when it opens in November as part of the New Fantasyland, will be the first restaurant ever at the Magic Kingdom to serve alcohol.

The Magic Kingdom has been a dry park ever since it opened in 1971, so what made Disney decide to finally start serving alcohol after all these years?

The answer...the ever popular answer from Disney...guest feedback.

According to guest feedback, guests wanted some alcoholic beverage options to go with their gourmet dining experience.  The upscale restaurant will offer different beers and wines that will pair well with the French cuisine that will be served.

Wines served will be mostly French, with a few Californian wines included. Beers served will also be mostly French, but a few Belgium choices will be available as well.

For those who would like to take a look at the wines and beers that will be offered, Disney has included the menu on their website.

I can honestly see both sides of the coin on this one.

First of all, I understand why people would be upset about this choice.  The park is dry for a reason, it wasn't a place where people needed to be sloppy drunks.  It was a place for people to come with their families, as a family, and have the bonding time together.  It is also a time honored tradition that it not be included.

However, I also see the other side of this one.

First, families visiting Disney are different than they used to be. Sure, most are the 2 parents, 2 children combo that is featured on ever Disney promotion ever.  But now, Disney is also appealing to the extended family demographic, with people like grandparents and aunts and uncles joining along.  Families get together over big meals like this usually, and big family meals like this usually have some sort of alcoholic beverage present.

Plus, this restaurant is the first real upscale restaurant in the Magic Kingdom (I'm sorry, but Cinderella's Royal Table does not count, even though they try to make it count) and upscale restaurants (especially upscale French restaurants) have a little sip to go with the entrees and desserts to help accompany the flavors of what is being served.  So in that regard, it makes complete sense.  This is not a place where people's focus is going to be on getting sloshed.  It's focus is just to complement the dishes that are prepared.

Personally, I am torn on this issue.  Part of me thinks that this is an absolutely terrible idea because it is a time honored tradition for the Magic Kingdom to remain dry, but part of me thinks that times are changing and I don't really see a problem with people enjoying a little vino with their dessert, if they so choose.

I mean, I know that this isn't going to turn the Magic Kingdom into World Showcase 2.0 where by the end of the night, you can pick out the people who have had more than one too many.  However, part of me wonders, will this eventually open the floodgates.  We'll start with alcohol being served here and then in a few years, they'll add it to another dining establishment, and then another, and then another, until this park is covered in spots to imbibe.  (Technically, I don't believe this will happen...just sort of playing devil's advocate here.  I mean Disney has already stated that the one place that would be a shoe in for serving alcohol, Gaston's Tavern, will not be selling it.  So, I'm really not extremely worried.)

This brings me to you.  This is such a hot button topic that I want to know your thoughts on the matter.  Do you think this is a good idea?  Or does it spit in the face of everything Disney has done since the Magic Kingdom opened?  Make sure to let me know in the comments or even on my Facebook page! 


disney_barbie said...

    It was nice to read a balanced view about this news Rikki – thank you! I feel the same as you, I like the nostalgia and tradition of the Magic Kingdom being a dry park – but at the same time, it fits the theme of the Be Our Guest restaurant to serve wine and beer.  It’s limited to one location, and only in the evenings – and not really that different to guests having dinner at a monorail restaurant and drinking, and then visiting the park?  And it’s not like there’ll be a full bar with Beauty & the Beast themed speciality drinks ;)
-       I think it’s an interesting decision by Disney, I’m sure they would have known it would cause a great deal of discussion among guests and fans.
-       Walt Disney wanted Disneyland to be a dry park, but understood there are certain situations when serving alcohol is appropriate – such as offering drinks to VIP guests at Club 33.
-       The decision for Disneyland to be dry was made nearly 60 years ago, the world has moved on – Walt didn’t want the parks to be museums (or pubs/bars either I guess! lol)
-       People won’t be drinking beer from plastic cups on Main Street USA, it will only be available in the evenings and at a sit-down restaurant – which is likely be very hard to get ADRs at!  So no one would be able to just pop in and drink.
-       It’s interesting how different the reaction to this news has been compared to a year ago when DCL announced it would be limiting the amount of alcohol guests could bring onboard; which Disney quickly repealed.
-       I wonder how people would feel if the opposite happened, and it was announced that the other Disney parks would no longer serve alcohol – I think a lot of people like to get a beverage and stroll around World Showcase in Epcot.
-       Alcohol is served at Disneyland Paris – because Europeans have a different view on drinking, and expect to be able to have a beer or glass of wine with their meal.
-       When visiting the Magic Kingdom a few years ago with family, I had to explain to them why alcohol wasn’t available there – to them it seemed a strange decision by Disney.

Again thanks for a well-written article on this topic... it will be interesting to see what happens when the restaurant opens in a few months time :)


Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed in this decision. It's so distasteful to see World Showcase in the afternoons & evenings looking more like New Orleans, or someone's 21st birthday party. More & more over the years, I'm often embarrassed to walk my daughter through the area. I hope MK doesn't ultimately suffer in the same way.