For some parents, a Fantasyland dream is about to come true. For the first time in the 41-year history of Disney World's Magic Kingdom, exhausted moms and dads will soon have the option of relaxing with a cold beer or a glass of Chardonnay after a long day of running around the vast Florida theme park with their kids. Disney is merely dipping its toe into the world of adult refreshments — alcohol will only be offered in the new Be Our Guest restaurant, which is opening in November and will serve French-inspired entrees. "You cannot walk into a French restaurant and not get a glass of wine or beer," Maribeth Bisienere, vice president of food and beverage for Walt Disney Parks, told the Orlando Sentinel. "It made more sense to do it than not to do it." Still, many Disney fans are upset, saying adding alcohol could tarnish the park's family atmosphere. Is this just an effort to throw weary grown-ups a bone, or is Disney opening the floodgates to a less wholesome experience?
Disney should be more parent friendly: If you ask me, says Kyle Munzenrieder at Miami New Times, "the Magic Kingdom is about to get a little bit more magical." Be Our Guest is sure to instantly become the most popular attraction in Fantasyland for the frazzled over-21 crowd. And, really, what's the harm? They'll only sell beer and wine at one restaurant, and only at dinner time, so it's not like you'll be getting blitzed and seeing "how many times you can ride Space Mountain without ralphin'."
"Disney's Magic Kingdom will sell alcohol for the first time ever"
Walt Disney would not approve: Disney already has some spots that serve beer and wine, including Epcot, Disney expert Deb Wills of AllEars.net tells NBC News' Today, but the Magic Kingdom has always been the park that stuck closest to Walt Disney's personal vision. Purists worry that this restaurant could be "the first step toward serving alcohol throughout the Magic Kingdom. I hope that's not the case." Walt, a teetotaler, never intended for the Magic Kingdom to be a watering hole for adults.
"Cheers! Disney's Magic Kingdom to serve wine and beer at new restaurant"
Relax, this isn't like the end of Prohibition: We're talking about a single restaurant trying to offer an authentic French dining experience, says Meredith Carroll at Babble, and that requires serving wine, and French and Belgian beers. The purists who have gone into "a tizzy" claiming this will leave old Walt "spinning in his grave" have no reason to fear there will be alcohol flowing down the streets of Main Street U.S.A. "No to-go cups will be offered."
"The happiest place on Earth is about to get that much happier (cheers, Disney!)
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