No alcohol at the MK...is Disney leaving $$ on the table?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 3:33 PM

Just interested in hearing some spirited opinions on this matter.

We all know that other than BOG, you can't purchase alcohol at the MK. Is Disney leaving money on the table?

I'm only posing the question because Disney answers to Wall Street and their shareholders every quarter. And Wall Street rewards revenue growth.

Not looking to debate the morality of the topic. The purists will always argue that alcohol and kids don't mix. But it is 2015.

At any other WDW park, you can get a beer almost anywhere. Go to Universal, it feels like there is a drink cart every 5 feet.

Personally, I would enjoy being able to have a $6 beer or two in the MK.

Is this just a missed revenue opportunity?

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 3:44 PM

Hanging n' Banging said:

...some spirited opinions...

I get jokes. :-)

If there's one thing you can't accuse Disney of, it's leaving money on the table. Disney Parks are masters of the art of separating guests from their money.

Putting on my speculation hat (which is a lovely hat with a purple feather) -- I'd guess that the company has sufficient data on guest preferences that it has decided not to serve alcohol at Disneyland or Magic Kingdom (aside from Be Our Guest) in accordance with those guest preferences.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 3:47 PM

I'm sure they more than make up for it in the world's most profitable Starbucks.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 4:15 PM

Funny, I don't mind stopping for a couple at a place like EPCOT, (wait, how many countries are there?), but for some reason I don't give it a thought when I'm at Magic Kingdom. It just seems like the thing not to do there, or something.

Besides, the stroller situation at MK is bad enough. Can you imagine if there were a buncha drunk drivers?

Last edited by RCMAC, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 4:16 PM
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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 4:33 PM

It's weird how people complain about the strollers at MK. I've never found it to be an issue. It's the people in the electric scooters that I generally find intolerable.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 4:37 PM

Yep. I suspect guests come in with some preconceived notions about Disneyland/Magic Kingdom, one of which is it's not a place to find alcohol.

I've happily drunk my way around the world at Epcot (thank you, Food & Wine Festival), but can't remember ever wishing I could find a beer at Magic Kingdom.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 5:03 PM

The No Alcohol piece is allegedly from Walt himself, who didn't want Alcohol sold at Disneyland. Since then, the company has largely followed his wishes and kept alcohol out of the various Magic Kingdoms, although they did give in to popular demand and have had alcohol freely available at Disneyland Paris for a long time.

I don't expect that to change anytime soon. The people on the Disney boards were in an uproar about it being available just at BoG for dinner. I can't imagine how they'd handle it if the company just started serving it everywhere there.

Last edited by ThemeParkFan1990, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 5:04 PM
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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 5:33 PM

ThemeParkFan1990 said:

The people on the Disney boards

...who are even less important to Disney than you average coaster enthusiast is to their local Six Flags.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 6:08 PM

ThemeParkFan1990 said:

The No Alcohol piece is allegedly from Walt himself, who didn't want Alcohol sold at Disneyland. Since then, the company has largely followed his wishes and kept alcohol out of the various Magic Kingdoms, although they did give in to popular demand and have had alcohol freely available at Disneyland Paris for a long time.

I tend to think alcohol in Europe is more a situation of "local custom" than popular demand.

I also do think Disney is leaving some (relatively easy) money on the table...but the Mouse is the undisputed champ of recognizing the hidden value in things - Freakonomics' genius level. So, the thought is there might be some quick cash, but the more nebulous numbers show that the downsides must outweigh the short-term profits.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 8:34 PM

They aren't leaving money on the table. If you could drink around the Kingdom, why are you gonna stay extra days and drink around the world. They're making you spend more money.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 11:25 PM

I certainly would have enjoyed a nice beer at Gaston's. In fact, when we went in March I had no idea that they did not have alcohol (aside from Be our Guest) in the park. I wouldn't say we were disappointed (it wasn't a big deal to us), but I was certainly surprised. I actually asked someone (a fellow guest, not a cast member) walking out of there where one could find a beer, and he smiled and shrugged and said "well, crazy as it sounds, there's no beer here...weird huh?". Yes. It is weird.

How is walking around MK with a beer different than walking around, say, Cedar Point with a beer?

It seems a little silly not to, but if that's what Walt wanted, well...I guess that's it.

And I certainly don't agree that they are not leaving money on the table. I didn't buy anything in place of those beers that we wanted. We wanted a beer. How is that not leaving money on the table?

They're leaving money on the table, just 1) not enough to care, or 2) adhering to Walt's wishes are more important. Not selling something that people want is leaving money on the table, and can you honestly say a profit-earning percentage of park guests would not buy a beer?

Last edited by OhioStater, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 11:39 PM
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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 11:36 PM

Because Disneyland or Magic Kingdom come packaged with the legacy of Walt Disney, I suppose.

I'm not privy to the numbers, of course, but Disney has indeed made a fine art of separating guests from their money (Magical Express, ensuring you never leave WDW; the dining plan, ensuring you never leave WDW...). If Disney is not serving alcohol at Disneyland or Magic Kingdom, I feel safe in assuming it's because the numbers back them up.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 11:45 PM

I don't know. It feels more like a "some rules are meant to not ever be broken" kind of thing to me. And I say that as unscientifically as possible. :) I'm not privy to anything, but I have a really hard time wrapping my mind around how any theme park does not leave money on the table by choosing not to serve alcohol.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015 12:19 AM

Well, if Disney has you signed up for Magical Express and the dining plan, for example, they know you're not going anywhere and will be spending your booze dollars on property -- whether that's at Mizner's, drinking your way around Epcot or having a drink or nine at Prime Time Cafe. Where, exactly, on property you're spending the money doesn't matter.

You're looking at WDW's Magic Kingdom as a distinct entity; it's not. It's part of a larger resort.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015 1:24 AM

I have booze dollars?

What you're saying may apply to some, and perhaps my wife and I are anomalies. That said, when I was not able to buy a couple beers at MK, I didn't spend more money on something else, nor did we buy "more booze" somewhere else later, we simply kept that money in our pockets. That would have been $$ spent above and beyond our dining plan.

So, at least for us, Disney (as a whole monstrosity) lost say around 28 bucks. That's assuming 2 beers each at around 7 bucks each.

Not getting a couple beers that day had no impact on the future purchase of anything.

With two kids in tow we're not drinking our way around Epcot anytime soon, as wonderful as that sounds. :)

Last edited by OhioStater, Wednesday, July 15, 2015 2:23 AM
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Wednesday, July 15, 2015 9:24 AM

WDW is a mixed bag of culture. There is definitely a spirit of innovation that seems to always be at odds with people who insist "we always did it this way." I'm not suggesting that applies here necessarily, but it would explain the thinking at least. It's probably reasonable to suggest the "purity" of a child-like experience at Magic Kingdom compared to something like Epcot, which may still be high-end and fun, but it's definitely a more adult experience (especially during Food & Wind or Flower & Garden).

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015 9:59 AM

I have said this before. Sick of the politically correct crap. Chuck E. Cheese sells beer and wine in alot of locations and that is as kid friendly as it gets. I believe Legoland Florida sells beer now but not sure. I know they were pushing for it.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015 10:12 AM

rollergator said:
[I tend to think alcohol in Europe is more a situation of "local custom" than popular demand.

It is both a custom and popular demand in Europe. Most McDonald's I've been to in Germany sell beer, because a large number of Germans like drinking beer with their meals. The U.S. is still a very Puritan society compared to most countries in Europe. What we tend to hide from children, the Europeans are much more open about it and consider it part of growing up and learning how to be an adult. It is common to see children having a glass of wine with dinner with their parents, or the entire family getting in a naked co-ed sauna in a hotel with strangers.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015 10:46 AM

Yes. Yes it is.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015 11:04 AM

Tekwardo said:

They aren't leaving money on the table. If you could drink around the Kingdom, why are you gonna stay extra days and drink around the world. They're making you spend more money.

Yes. This. I think you are exactly right.

My suspicion is that Disney will never admit it but internally they must know alcohol at Epcot is a significant part of the experience for many guests and an attendance driver for the park, almost an attraction in its own right (another example of the experience economy). Perhaps Disney has data that shows people go to Magic Kingdom for the rides and Epcot for the booze/experience. And perhaps someday they will alter this balance and change the strategy but until then it might be smart to keep MK dry and let the word of mouth make alcohol a cutaway for Epcot which isn't the easiest place to market.

Just pure speculation but interesting to think about.

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