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Is it time for Disneyland to begin selling alcohol to guests?

When will Disney start selling alcohol at Disneyland?
For years, the answer to that question seemed a firm “never.” Outside of the Club 33 – hidden above New Orleans Square and open only to members and their guests – Disney’s original theme park never has sold beer, wine or liquor to the public. That policy extended for decades to other “Magic Kingdom” parks in Orlando and Tokyo before Disney caved and started selling wine when it opened Disneyland Paris in 1992.
Public alcohol sales came to a Disneyland Resort theme park when Disney California Adventure opened in 2001, so it’s not like you can’t find a drink at Disneyland these days, if you really want one. But the original park remains as dry as an Anaheim summer. Yet changes at Walt Disney World in Florida are leading some Disney fans to wonder if the booze might one day start flowing at Disneyland.

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The Magic Kingdom, which opened in 1971, first started selling alcohol when it opened the “Beauty and the Beast”-themed Be Our Guest restaurant in 2012. Over the years, the park has added beer and wine to more table-service menus, and this week it announced the addition of beer and wine at the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon, which, somewhat ironically given its name, was the final table-service restaurant in the park that did not serve alcohol.
Disney still is not selling alcohol at quick-service restaurants or from carts in the Magic Kingdom, as it does at its three other parks in central Florida. But with every table service restaurant in the park now selling alcohol, one wonders how long Disney will keep Disneyland as the lone U.S. holdout against in-park public alcohol sales.
Tradition and nostalgia make a lot of money for Disney. But alcohol sales generate profit like little else in the food and beverage business. Ultimately, Disney isn’t running a museum here. It’s running a business, and Disney management demands that its business keeps making more and more money. Well-managed alcohol sales are helping Walt Disney World to do that. Restricting alcohol sales to table service restaurants allows the company to “tap” into a lucrative business without changing the walk-around culture in the park.
Guests enjoy wine at Disney California Adventure’s Food & Wine Festival. Disney California Adventure has served alcohol since it opened in 2001, but Disneyland remains booze-free in public areas of the park. (File photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG) Taken in Anaheim at Disney California Adventure on Friday, March 10, 2017. 
The argument against alcohol long has been that it isn’t family-friendly. But the families visiting Disneyland these days are more likely to include multiple generations above age 21 than families with little kids. An ongoing national baby bust is reducing the percentage of visitors with small children to the nation’s theme parks, so Disney simply would be reacting to a changing market by expanding alcohol sales in its parks.
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So when might Disneyland start selling alcohol? Well, it’s already promised a Cantina restaurant in the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land that opens at the park next year. Slip some Galactic Grog on the menu there, and I’ll bet that the cheers from Star Wars fans will drown out any complaints from Disneyland traditionalists.
Once that precedent is set, it would become easier for Disneyland to add drinks to the menus at the Carnation Cafe, the Blue Bayou and other table-service eateries in the park, just as it did in the Magic Kingdom in Florida.
Notice that I did not ask if Disney would start selling alcohol at Disneyland. Thanks to a changing market, I think the real question about alcohol at Disneyland is not if, but when, it will happen.

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