Disneyland made waves recently when, buried among some new details about the cantina that will be part of Star Wars Galaxy's Edge, it was revealed that adult beverages will be for sale there, something that hasn't been the case at Disneyland since it opened in 1955. Recently, Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, was asked about this major break with tradition, and while Iger says he believes in tradition, he doesn't think this change will really have a significant impact. According to Iger...
Yeah, except I think Walt had a nip or two in his apartment at night. (Laughs.) I am a big believer in tradition. This just seemed like one of those traditions that if we changed it the empire wasn't going to crumble.
While it's absolutely true that Walt Disney did drink, and as he suggests to THR, probably had a drink now and then in his apartment above the firehouse on Main Street U.S.A., he decided that Disneyland itself should not serve alcohol. It was part of Walt's desire that Disneyland be something separate from the amusement parks and carnivals that had been its antecedent. Those places frequently saw rides designed solely for kids, leaving adults to do little more than drink to enjoy themselves. By not serving booze, nobody would get out of hand, leaving Disneyland to be fun for everybody.
In the grand scheme of things Bob Iger is probably right. The addition of alcohol at Disneyland probably isn't going to be a major problem for the park. The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World was also alcohol-free from its opening in 1971, but in 2012 that changed when the Be Our Guest restaurant opened and began serving beer and wine with meals. Today, every table service restaurant in that park serves alcohol, and it hasn't appeared to have made a dent in attendance. Also, by keeping the booze inside the restaurants, there's less of an issue with guests who overindulge causing a problem for everybody else.
Quite to the contrary, it's almost certainly made a positive impact on the park's bottom line. Alcohol is expensive at Walt Disney World as well as at Disney's California Adventure, and the profit margin is good. There was really no way this change wasn't going to happen, there's too much money in it. The writing was on the wall. Besides, the version of Star Wars Galaxy's Edge at Walt Disney World was always going to have adult beverages, simply by virtue of the fact that it's located at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Now there won't be anything one version of the park has available for guests that won't also be at the other place.
Part of what makes Disneyland special for so many is the way that so much of it has remained the same over the decades. Walking down Main Street today feels the same as walking down it years ago. However, Walt Disney was the first to say that the park would never be finished, as additions and changes would always happen. Bob Iger thinks it's time for this change to take place. What do you think? Should Disneyland serve alcohol? Let us know in the poll below.