How Disney World Is Courting Adults
What do you love most about The Most Magical Place On Earth?
Care for a tipple while touring Disney World? You're not alone.
While other parks in Disney World have served alcohol for decades (hello, Epcot), Magic Kingdom was a booze-free zone up until 2012. That year marked the first Magic Kingdom restaurant, Be Our Guest, began selling alcohol, and in 2018 all sit-down restaurants in Magic Kingdom followed suit. Currently, 110+ Disney World venues sell alcohol, wine, and beer, and the cocktail culture has become an increasingly big draw for the 21+ crowd traveling to Orlando.
"The growing number of adults who visit Disney World without kids has surprised longtime industry watcher Len Testa, founder of Touring Plans, a popular app and website that uses big data and user-generated intel to help theme-park-goers slash wait times," writes Suzanne Rowan Kelleher in a recent piece on drinking at Disney World for Condé Nast Traveler. "An analysis of hundreds of thousands of trips revealed that a whopping 38 percent of app users had visited Disney World without kids in 2018, up from 32 percent five years earlier. "
If you're wondering what's accounting for the influx in alcoholic-centric offerings at Disney World, it may be part of a larger cultural shift. "With millennials having babies at the slowest rate of any generation in American history, along with myriad Disney-loving kids who've grown into Disney-loving adults, the company is simply responding to shifting demographics, says Robert Niles, founder of amusement park intel site Theme Park Insider," writes Rowan Kelleher in the same Condé Nast Traveler piece.
If you're looking to catch a buzz while traversing Disney's Orlando grounds, there's no shortage of options. Perhaps the most iconic boozy Disney World experience is "Drinking Around the World" at Epcot where you sample a drink from each of the 11 countries in the World Showcase. Yesterday, Disney also welcomed José Andrés' Jaleo — the fifth location of the tapas restaurant in the U.S. — at Disney Springs, which is known for its sangria offerings. Craving a sophisticated cocktail? Try Nomad Lounge at Disney's Animal Kingdom or Paddlefish in Disney Springs. Tequila aficionados ought to beeline it to La Cava del Tequila in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot. Tiki enthusiasts should head to Trader Sam's Grog Grotto at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. Beer lovers will likely find their best options at Epcot, where they can tour a wide world of brews. The list goes on and on.
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If you're looking to combine your love for fine wine and drinks with your epicurean tendancies, you can even consider planning your trip during the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
Admittedly, it's not that hard for grown-ups to get a nice glass of Malbec or a stiff drink any ole day of the week at Disney — and after all that spinning on the tea cups with the little ones, you may very well want to treat yourself to two.