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The Big Debate: Should theme parks serve alcohol?

Be Our Guest restaurant concept art

Alcohol can be a touchy subject at the best of times, but when it comes to theme parks - should they serve it at all?

This week saw the news that the new Be Our Guest restaurant at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom will be the first at the park to serve alcohol. It may come as quite a surprise to many theme park-goers that this has caused such a stir, given that nearby Epcot already serves beer and wine in many of the bars and restaurants in its World Showcase area.

But what are the potential pros and cons of serving alcohol at a theme park? Many people enjoy a beer or glass of wine with a meal at lunch or dinner time, and for those that drink responsibly having a couple of drinks at a theme park is surely not a problem. At parks that stay open until 10pm or later, offering alcohol alongside dinner could almost be seen as a commercial necessity.

Being at a theme park, though, is obviously not the same as being on a night out at a restaurant or pub. Guests are primarily there to take advantage of the rides and attractions that are on offer.

The big question over alcohol has surely got to be around safety. Theme park visitors need to be able to take responsibility for themselves and, often, for others. Having groups of drunk guests queuing or riding on an attraction could potentially put their safety and that of others in jeopardy.

Given the poor quality of public transport links to many theme parks (though clearly not those at Walt Disney World), drink-driving could also be an issue. As with any drinking venue, though, the responsibility here surely lies with guests not to get behind the wheel if they are not fit to do so.

Vote now!

Does alcohol have a place in theme parks? Let us know what you think by voting in our poll below.

Should theme parks serve alcohol?

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Thanks for voting in Theme Park Tourist's Big Debate. Why not let us know why you voted as you did using the comments section below?


There are 7 comments.

Alcohol is served at Disneyland Paris in every table service restaurant for almost 20 years now and I never saw a single drunk guest in the parc. Specially in France wine is essential at every dinner.

That's true, although in my experience smoking is the biggest problem at Disneyland Paris.

Whilst I am sure that the majority of people will drink sensibly, mixed with warm climates people often do not realise how much they may have drunk.Therefore there is no need for this as they can do this outside the parks. I have no wish to having someone vomitting over me on the rides, or the possibility of arguments breaking out in the queues for the rides if someone unwittingly says or does something out of place and causing friction between guests which could ruin a holiday especially for the children.

Disney is for the kids not drunks leave the alcohol at home.

I do not believe that the decision will be a popular one. Disney is for kids of all ages-granted-but the Magic Kingdom should have remained alcohol free.
Walt is turning over in his grave.

Anyone who has been to a German fair, or Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, will know that you can mix alcohol and rides without a problem. German fairs have vast beer tents, and yet there is very little trouble. Same at Hyde Park. Often at German fairs, you will see rides (Break Dance, Shake etc) with no safety fence whatsoever, right opposite a beer tent.

I think as long as the park ensures it has the right atmosphere, it is perfectly OK to serve alcohol near rides.

If parks want to attract an older audience (ie 30+), they have to realise that people want proper food and drink during their stay. By not providing that, the parks are making themselves less appealing to older visitors.

Alcohol Really..This isn't Germany it's Disney can't people live without alcohol for a day...

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