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Magic Kingdom Beer

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.

As a kid, my trips to Southern California always included quality time with family and almost always a trip to Disneyland. But I also looked forward to our visits to Universal Studios Hollywood. Something about the earnest way in which they presented their cheesy product attracted me. But there was also a tremendous collection of film and entertainment history there.

This year Universal is celebrating their 100th Anniversary. That’s a lot of history. Here’s how they plan to observe the centennial at their parks.

Universal’s Parks and Resorts will help highlight Universal’s 100th Anniversary campaign with centennial specific content and merchandise throughout both the Orlando and Hollywood locations. The Orlando resort will soon announce a specially themed entertainment experience that will celebrate Universal’s heritage. In Hollywood, the world-famous Studio Tour features expert guides that will take guests on a tour through 100 years of moviemaking history on the Universal Studios production backlot. Tours are conducted daily, visiting TV and movie sets ranging from the early Universal Studios monster film classics to current productions.

The full press release detailing all the celebrations across Universal, is below the jump:

If you were born in the last 50 years, the only Indianapolis 500 broadcast you’ve ever known has been on ABC. A new deal between IZOD IndyCar series and Disney will ensure that this Memorial Day weekend television tradition will continue. A new six-year rights agreement will keep the Indianapolis 500 on ABC through 2018, extending one of the longest-running relationships between a sporting event and a television network past the half-century mark.

ESPN on ABC will broadcast the 500 Mile Race for the 48th consecutive year on May 27, 2012, and, with the new agreement taking effect in 2013, also will televise the 100th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 2016.

“The Indianapolis 500 and ABC have been together since 1965 and we are very proud to extend the relationship with this new agreement,” said George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports. “The 500 is a uniquely American event and a Memorial Day tradition, and we especially look forward to televising the 100th edition of the race in 2016.”

As part of the new agreement, ABC will be the exclusive broadcast network partner for the IZOD IndyCar Series from 2013-2018 and will continue to televise four races each year in addition to the Indianapolis 500. The worldwide presence of the Indianapolis 500 and the series on television will continue as ESPN also has international syndication rights for all IZOD IndyCar Series races.

“IndyCar is very excited about our continued relationship with ABC,” said Randy Bernard, CEO, IndyCar. “This allows the series long-term growth on the network. This new contract also helps us expand our presence around the world with ESPN representing our international rights. I want to thank ABC for their strong confidence and commitment in our brand and series. This deal will help our series, team owners, sponsors and fans for the long term with a much more solid foundation.”