Disneyland visitors who explore the new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge expansion that opens next year will be invited to belly up to a dimly lit Star Wars-inspired cantina where – for the first time in the park – they can order alcoholic drinks.
New artist renderings released on the Disneyland blog last week show a dark tavern where Stormtroopers, bounty hunters, smugglers and other alien travellers crowd around a bar that serves various concoctions. The post says the tavern, dubbed Oga's Cantina, will serve "libations for adults."
Walt Disney Co. representatives confirmed that the libations will include pre-mixed alcoholic drinks, a significant development at the attraction because Disneyland has never sold booze to park visitors, except to members of the private Club 33, an exclusive dinner club at Disneyland's New Orleans Square.
Park-goers who order drinks in the cantina won't be allowed to take them out into the park.
Walt Disney himself opposed the sale of alcohol in his parks, saying he felt the introduction of booze would ruin the family atmosphere.
The founder of the media giant was quoted in 1956 in the Saturday Evening Post as saying: "No liquor, no beer, nothing. Because that brings in a rowdy element. That brings people that we don't want and I feel they don't need it."
But the decision to introduce alcoholic drinks at the park shouldn't come as a surprise.
"Just as our theme parks have evolved since Disneyland opened, so have our guests' desires," Disneyland spokeswoman Liz Jaeger said. "Providing a memorable guest experience that exceeds our guests' expectation is very much the essence of what Walt Disney set out to achieve, and we feel that Star Wars Galaxy's Edge will offer that kind of experience."
At neighbouring California Adventure Park, which opened in 2001, visitors can order beer, wine and mixed drinks at several restaurants. In 2012, alcoholic drinks were sold for the first time at a sit-down eatery at Walt Disney World in Florida. Several restaurants at the Magic Kingdom now offer alcoholic drinks.
Sales of food, beverages and merchandise generate nearly 30 percent of theme park revenue, with admissions generating about 53 percent of the take, according to a study by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, an industry trade group.
"The No. 1 trend in amusement and theme parks globally is the inclusion of craft beer, signature cocktails and themed beverages in a controlled environment," said Ken Whiting, a board member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions and head of Whiting's Foods, the food and beverage company for the Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk. – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service