Snuck in at the bottom of a blog post on the Disney Parks Blog is a huge piece of news. When the Beauty and the Beast themed Be Out Guest restaurant opens as part of the New Fantasyland expansion it will serve beer and wine as part of its dinner menu. Outside of private parties, this will be the first time alcohol has been served at the Magic Kingdom, breaking a tradition that goes back to an edict from Walt Disney himself.
Walt did not want adult beverages served at Disneyland. He didn’t think it belonged in a family theme park. He did allow beer at the Holidayland corporate party pavilion, but it was outside the berm. Even then, the park had repeated issues with guests leaving for lunch and then re-entering a few sheets to the wind. Before Walt died, he did approve alcohol sales at Club 33, but went pretty far to make it a private club where the day guest would not be able to get served a drink.
We know that Walt was still against general sales of alcohol in his parks because of his attempt to build a second theme park. After Disneyland was a success, Walt looked east for a great place to build another park. After a lot of research, Walt settled on St. Louis, but when city founders insisted that Walt allow Annheuser Busch to sell beer in the park, Walt declined to build there. Instead he headed south for a little crossroads he remembered from an earlier trip to Florida – Orlando.