Alcohol In Disney Parks: Why You Couldn’t Drink There & Now You Can

by SharonKurheg

When Disneyland first opened in 1955, it was “dry” – no alcohol was served. When Walt Disney World opened 16 years later, it was also an alcohol-free park. However, that’s all changed over the years.

Club 33, an exclusive, members-only restaurant at Disneyland (most regular guests would never have access to it due to membership requirements), has sold beer, wine and hard liquor since it opened in the 1960s. The story goes that Walt was against the idea of selling booze in any part of his park, but it was easier to sell memberships if alcohol was available at the restaurant.

Similarly, Walt Disney World has served alcohol at select hard ticket events (special events held outside of regular operating hours and for which you have to buy a special ticket to attend) for decades. For example, when we had dinner inside the Haunted Mansion in 2002, a hard ticket event offered by Disney’s Dining Experience (now Tables In Wonderland), wine was available before and during the dinner.


Our dinner inside the Haunted Mansion included a different wine with each course.

Other U.S.-based Disney parks, such as Epcot and Disney’s California Adventure, have sold alcohol since their respective opening days. However, the “Magic Kingdom” parks still didn’t offer any alcohol for sale for a long, long time. YEARS. But now they do. Here’s more about it…

Walt Disney’s World began selling alcoholic beverages at select Magic Kingdom locations to adults aged 21+ in 2012. They added boozy drinks to the menus of the final 3 “dry” restaurants in 2018. The Club 33 installation at WDW’s Magic Kingdom, which opened in 2019, also sells alcoholic drinks.

Disneyland remained alcohol-free until Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened in the Spring of 2019 – they serve beer, wine and cocktails at Oga’s Canteen. The rest of Disneyland remained “dry” until 2021 when the Blue Bayou added select alcoholic drinks to their menu.


Disney’s conceptual drawing of Oga’s Canteen

It would be an understatement to say that those who think Disney parks should have remained alcohol-free and those who welcome the addition of alcohol to the parks are very strong in their respective opinions. Here’s a breakdown of the two camps:

Reasons To Keep Disney Parks Alcohol Free

  • Disney is a family park for adults AND CHILDREN. Because Disney parks are open to children and adults, and alcohol isn’t appropriate around children, there shouldn’t be alcohol at Disney parks.
  • Alcohol causes people to get drunk. If people get drunk at Disney, they’ll do stupid, embarrassing and possibly dangerous things.
  • Walt wouldn’t have wanted that. Walt Disney didn’t want alcohol served in his parks; we should respect that.

Reasons To Serve Alcohol At Disney Parks

  • Disney parks are for children AND ADULTS. Some adults want to be able to have adult beverages while walking around the Happiest or Most Magical Place On Earth, just like they do at Universal, Six Flags, county fairs, and other places that are for customers of all ages.
  • Not everyone gets drunk. True, some people do, maybe on purpose, maybe not. But most people drink responsibly and can have a couple of drinks throughout their day without winding up puking in a fountain or staggering to their car. It just happens that those who do stupid things when they’ve had too much (like the “Disney guy” at the bottom of the article) are the ones who get news and social media coverage.
  • We don’t know what Walt would have wanted nowadays. Walt was almost always willing to make changes, so there’s no saying what the Walt of the 1950s and 1960s would have said about the parks and guests of the 21st century. That being said, I would think he probably wouldn’t have wanted his parks to be so expensive that they’d be out of the reach of such a large percentage of potential guests, but that’s what they’ve done.
  • It makes good business sense. Restaurants and bars make a HUUUUUGE profit from alcohol sales. I’m sure that Disney parks buy in huge quantities, and since they usually tend to have higher-than-average prices, I’d suspect they make a killing on alcoholic beverage sales.

What does the future look like for alcohol at Disney parks?

At this point, it appears that alcohol in Disney parks is here to stay. I suspect if it hadn’t gone well when they sold it in Epcot, California Adventure, Downtown Disney, etc., they wouldn’t have ever considered selling it at the Magic Kingdom.

Which camp are you in? “Keep Disney dry” or “Yay, booze at Disney?”

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SharonKurheg June 24, 2019 - 2:47 pm

Very interesting! FWIW though, Disney does indeed charge insanely high prices for alcohol 😉

Christian June 24, 2019 - 5:38 pm

No BYOB, eh? Well, I suppose it kind of fits with the way their pricing has gone over the last few decades. Disney has eliminated a lot of value, but I still find their prices better than Universal. At least for tickets.

SharonKurheg June 24, 2019 - 5:55 pm

They do bag checks and nope, no BYOB either (which isn’t to say little mini bottles haven’t made it through in a pants pocket). As for prices, nowadays it’s just “charge as much as people are willing to pay.”

Ticket prices for the two are almost equally as bad. WDW starts at $109, Uni at $115. Universal has better deals though (buy 2 days, get 2 days free). And their AP is cheaper…but they’re also 2 parks and the option of a water park (which they call a theme park. But it’s not. It’s a water park) and WDW is 4 parks and the option of 2 water parks.

SharonKurheg April 16, 2022 - 8:53 pm

You’re true in that happened, but the post was really more about the U.S. I don’t think what happened in DLP had much of an effect on what happened stateside, since, aside from Club 33, ETOH in the U.S. didn’t happen until 20 years after DLP opened.

SharonKurheg May 15, 2022 - 8:20 pm

It’s not a matter of not being able to go a few hours without drinking; it’s about adults wanting to (responsibly, although some don’t) do what adults do, and Disney wanting to make more money. Just because there are children there doesn’t matter.

SharonKurheg June 5, 2022 - 9:46 am

OK. But Disney’s already had alcohol in the mix for years. Epcot in particular has been the site of personal/group “drinking around the world” events, and no one is the worse for wear (save for hangovers and occasional arrests).


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