Wine isn’t the first thing people think about when planning a trip to Disneyland. In fact, Walt Disney deliberately made Disneyland alcohol-free to ensure the experience was family-friendly.
But it wouldn’t be the happiest place on earth without a little bit of booze. Knowing this, Disney has found ways to thoughtfully include alcohol in its parks and resorts. Disney World, completed over fifteen years after Disneyland, serves wine in multiple restaurants and just opened a wine bar. And several Disney Resorts actually have acclaimed wine programs.
So, before you write Disney off as a G-rated place to stay sober, consider these surprising facts:
- Disney has more sommeliers than any other company in the world. Over 1,000 of them have passed the introductory level Court of Master Sommeliers exam (note: this means they are technically not yet “certified” sommeliers. These sommeliers help guests navigate the wine lists on everything from Disney cruises to the completely South African wine list at a restaurant within Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
- There’s a “Disney Family of Wines”. If you’ve ever wondered why certain wine labels appear repeatedly across Disney resorts and events, there’s a reason. Some, such as Fess Parker and MacMurray Ranch, were created by former Disney movie stars. Others, like Chappellet Vineyards and Frank Family Vineyards, were created by former members of Disney management. These wines can be found at Disney California Adventure Park.
The Alfresco Tasting Terrace at Disney California Adventure Park offers wines from the “Disney Family of Wines,” a collection whose vintners have a personal connection to the Disney name. Photo credit: Disney
- Some of the best wine can be found at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, which has four Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning restaurants. In fact, at Victoria & Albert’s, guests can select from a wine list of over 600 wines.
- The elite have been drinking fine wine at Disneyland for decades. Hidden within the park is the secret, members-only Club 33 and the public 21 Royal which costs $15,000-per-group. Once you bypass the rumored Club 33 initiation fee of up to $50,000, or the $15,000 price tag of a 21 Royal dinner, the possibilities are endless. Opulent dishes are paired with everything from the limited-production Moone Tsai Wines to vintage Vega Sicilia. The team will even ensure that the decanter is appropriate to the wine. Check out head sommelier Matt Ellingson’s Instagram feed for a glimpse of 21 Royal’s extravagant food and wine pairings.
- You will be able to drink at Disneyland, starting in fall of 2019. The new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge expansion will offer alcoholic drinks at Oga’s Cantina. While it’s unclear whether wine will be one of the drink offerings, we do know via the Disney blog that there will be “concoctions created with exotic ingredients using ‘otherworldly’ methods, served in unique vessels.”
Star Wars-themed lands coming to Disneyland and Disney World, fall 2019. (Photo credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)
Clearly, wine plays a larger role at Disney Parks and Resorts than meets the eye. We’ll share any new developments as we hear about them.