Anyone who ever aspired to drink with intergalactic droids will soon be in luck: Disney Parks is set to debut a new bar, Oga’s Cantina, a “hotly anticipated” Star Wars attraction, in Florida’s Disney World and California’s Disneyland later this year.
Oga’s Cantina marks the first Disneyland bar serving alcohol to the general public (provided they are over 21, of course). Disney World, on the other hand, actually has a number of places to have a pint, cocktail, or glass of vino.
This may come as a surprise to those who envision both Walt Disney and his eponymous theme parks as wholesomely teetotaling affairs. But Walt was not a prohibitionist. Despite what countless people on the internet claim, Walt Disney was a man who boozed it up quite a bit — usually starting with a Scotch cocktail at 5 o’clock sharp. He simply wanted his theme parks and public persona to be a little more, ahem, dry than he actually was.
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“Walt Disney doesn’t drink,” he once told a friend. “I drink.”
Well, we drink, too.
Luckily, it’s become easier and easier over the years to drink pretty well in Disney World — if you know where to look. The entire property is a massive 40 square miles divided into four unique theme parks (plus resort accommodations). Consider this your guide to finding the top beer, wine, booze, and cocktails throughout Disney World.
Magic Kingdom Park
The main theme park was dry until Be Our Guest, a Beauty & the Beast-themed restaurant, opened in 2012. In 2015 four more restaurants with alcohol opened. Today it’s up to eight, meaning every single sit-down restaurant in the park serves booze. All require advanced reservations, so plan your dipsomania accordingly. We have loosely ranked them in order of quality:
Cinderella’s Royal Table
Your children can dine with princesses while you get blotto on $320 bottles of Dom. Bottle service has never felt so… baller.
Be Our Guest Restaurant
Look for an adequate selection of wine and Champagne like Veuve Clicquot at this faux-opulent spot. Beers lean toward Belgian classics, like Saison Dupont and Chimay Blue. (There is also an app, Beers and Ears, that helps you locate specific ales and lagers in the park.)
Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen
This fairly problematic “jungle-themed” restaurant serves a mishmash of Asian, South American, and African beverages. You’ll find everything from Kenyan lagers to Argentinian Malbec to Sangria to, uh, Michelob Ultra.
The Diamond Horseshoe
The Crystal Palace
Blue Moon, J.Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon, some solid Columbia Valley sparkling wine, and Cigar City Jai Alai IPA are available at this Winnie the Pooh-themed restaurant. There are also costumed characters roaming about. (Come on, Eeyore, my drinking buddies back home are depressing enough!)
Liberty Tree Tavern
Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
There are no red-checkered tablecloths at this spot modeled after the place where Lady and the Tramp had their first kiss, but there is a sizable selection of “vino” and “birra.” Both lists only play the hits, pouring Peroni and Stella Artois plus Banfi Chianti. Surprisingly, the restaurant is not dog-friendly.
The Plaza Restaurant
This heavily mirrored restaurant has some of the most bland booze options in the entire park. Think Bellinis and Mich Ultra.
There are 11 pavilions styled after different countries at this “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.” All offer alcoholic beverages with varying degrees of authenticity, cultural sensitivity, and drinkability. Here are the most interesting options in each “country.”
United States of America
Look for craft beers like Founders Rubaeus at the Block & Hans kiosk.
There’s sake, obvi, plus frozen Ichiban beer, available at the Kabuki Cafe.
Although the actual Morocco is home to winelands that some American somms feel have international potential, Epcot’s Morocco focuses on cocktails like the Casablanca Sunset (a gross combination of apricot brandy and peach schnapps) and the frozen Sultan’s Colada.
Les Vins des Chefs de France, a counter-service wine bar, has a decent selection of wines by the glass, including Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône and Nicolas Feuillate Champagne. If that sounds too rich for your blood, there’s also a silly frozen drink, the Grand Marnier-based Orange Slush.
The pub Rose & Crown serves pints of Boddingtons and Guinness, flights of single malts, and one extremely curious cocktail. The Leaping Leprechaun features Jameson (sure), rum (O.K.), vodka (wha?), as well as melon liqueur, sour mix, and Sprite.
Our neighbors to the north might actually offer Epcot’s best beers at Le Cellier, which serves a full menu of boozy Unibroue options. There’s also Molsons, Labatts, and one of the world’s premier drunk foods, poutine!
Bypass the sugar-bomb Margs at stands throughout the pavilion, and head to La Cava de Tequila. It offers a quality selection of sipping tequilas and legitimately interesting Margaritas, included a frozen avocado one.
Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe’s shot of Linie Aquavit is surely one of the most esoteric and, quite frankly, quality offerings in the entire Epcot complex.
Nine Dragons restaurant serves Chinese-American fare like General Tso’s Chicken with an array of aggressively sweet cocktails like frozen mango Daiquiris and the South Sea Breeze, a blend of pineapple and orange juices spiked with coconut rum and grenadine. However, there’s also a lengthy wine list with some surprisingly solid options, like Mumm Brut Prestige sparkling wine and Valkenberg Gewürtzraminer.
Expect to see knuckleheads aplenty hoisting steins of, unfortunately, humdrum Deutschland beer like Beck’s. Where’s the Weihenstephaner?! Your better bet is to opt for a spate of adequate, easy-drinking Riesling, like Valckenberg Madonna. Or maybe just get $9 shots of Jager.
A surprisingly cozy place to drink, The Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar touts over 200 bottles of wine — and some aren’t bad! Look for Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo, Guado al Tasso Vermentino, and Mastroberardino Fiano Avellino.
Animal Kingdom Park
The drinking options at this zoologically themed park skirt a fine line between esoteric and nonsensical. Beers and wines are mostly sourced directly from across Africa — Bellingham Chenin Blanc from South Africa, for instance — but the cocktails lean that direction in name only. Additionally, far too many primate puns abound.
The Rainforest Cafe
Part of the same 1990s tide that brought Planet Hollywoods to tourist destinations worldwide, this theme restaurant is located near the entrance to Animal Kingdom. The beer and wine are fairly pedestrian, featuring Bud Light and Rodney Strong Chardonnay, but the sugary and “tropical” cocktails, like the Mongoose Mai Tai, come in souvenir glasses worth take a walk with.
One of Disney World’s more intriguing international beer selections is at this so-called “bamboo bar” in Harambe village. Most of the beers, such as Tusker Lager, are industrial beers not as available in the U.S., and thus more interesting than a Bud Light in name only. Opt for a Hakim Stout from Ethiopia, or Dawa’s takes on classic cocktails, like a Margarita made with Van der Hum, South Africa’s tangerine-flavored liqueur.
Numerous craft cocktails are available at this lounge on Discovery Island and, though many have African-inspired names, few use any sort of ingredients sourced on the continent.
When was the last time you saw Buzz Lightyear getting buzzed? Probably the last time you came here. Disney World’s least-visited theme park doesn’t have many drinking destinations, but there are a few solid options.
The lobby to the Prime Time Café acts as a retro ’50s bar showing TV from the era and, thankfully, offering drinks from this era. Craft beers include mainstream bottles like New Belgium Fat Tire, while cocktails are kicked up a notch for the distressed parent, like in the Ultimate Long Island Iced Tea. Hopefully your kids knows what hotel you’re staying in.
The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge
A wannabe facsimile of the see-and-be-seen Hollywood haunt of yore, Golden Age-era cocktails are the name of the game here — opt for a Manhattan or Martini.
Top Picks in Resort Areas Outside the Parks
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Bar (Magic Kingdom Resort Area / Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort)
The best drinking destination in all of Disney World is this surprisingly legit tiki bar. Of course the traditionally kitschy, high-seas aesthetic is a perfect fit for the pirate-friendly theme park — but the drinks, in highly-collectable mugs, will please tikiphiles too.
Located outside the park and opened in 2015 after the immense success of a Disneyland version, it becomes adult-only after 8 p.m., though the wait to get in often stretches into hours. Drinks like the Polynesian Pearl and the Tahitian Torch are well made if a tad sweet; there’s also tiki-ish “no-booze brews” for the kiddos. Drinks are prepared by actors, not bartenders (no jokes here), and animatronic effects (such as an exploding volcano) are triggered when certain drinks are ordered. That’s admittedly a little Chuck E. Cheese-esque, but, you know, you’re drinking in a theme park bar that’s technically classified as a “ride,” not Smuggler’s Cove.
Jiko – The Cooking Place
This upscale restaurant offers over 100 South African wines, with solid staples from Raats and DeMorgenzon and higher-end bottlings from Philip Jonker and Sadie Family. On Wednesdays there are $30 tasting flights, which sounds more fun than riding the Teacups.
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar (Disney Springs)
This 1940s dive bar claims to be where Indiana Jones’ sidekick used to hang his pilot’s hat. Turns out he was drinking pretty well then! There’s a decent single malt selection and massive cocktail list, including long drinks like Singapore Slings and Mojitos.
Raglan Road Irish Pub (Disney Springs)
This Emerald Isle pub is pretty plain Jane. Guinness abounds in this Emerald Isle-inspired pub, with a few other Irish and American draughts. There are, of course, Bailey’s and Jameson in many of the mixed drinks.
AbracadaBar (Disney World’s Boardwalk)
This so-called “speakeasy” (with a gigantic marquee loudly announcing its location) is meant to resemble a 1940s magicians’ hangout. Alrighty. More like an airport Ruby Tuesday, the bar offers $12.50 “handcrafted” cocktails, which are more of a rarity in this area of the park than you’d think. Many of the drinks are vodka and Bacardi heavy, and though the ice is not the kind of crystal clear stuff a pretentious cocktailian expects, you will find some pretty solid offerings. Try the Coney Negroni, which is made with Eagle Rare Bourbon instead of gin, and resembles a Boulevardier. The Collins Double is a Tom Collins variant actually made with freshly squeezed juices.
Jellyrolls (Disney World’s Boardwalk)
This 21-and-over dueling piano bar is perhaps the most fun bar in the entire park. The alcohol selection is purely straightforward, though good for aiding your heartfelt rendition of “A Whole New World.”
Ample Hills Creamery (Disney World’s Boardwalk)
One of the park’s best boozing secrets is this Brooklyn-based ice cream shop with an outpost in Orlando. While the kiddos grab a cone, adults can snag alcoholic floats made with Coney Island Hard Root Beer.
Club 33 (Four locations in Disney World Resort)
If you have a spare $25,000, you can become a member of these newly opened, invite-only private clubs. There’s one in each of the four parks. With yearly dues of $15,000, they’ll surely have something better than light beer.