Disney recently released details on Oga’s Cantina, a restaurant/bar that will be in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in both coasts. In the process, Disney also confirmed that the cantina will serve alcohol. This will mark the first time in Disneyland’s 60+ years that alcohol will be served anywhere in the park. In this post I’ll discuss a few Oga’s Cantina details and then move on to my thoughts on alcohol coming to Disneyland.
When news of a land based on Star Wars became official it seemed everyone had an opinion of what should be in the land. One of the few places/things everyone could agree on was a Cantina of some kind. For Disney, adding this to Galaxy’s Edge was a no-brainer. Here is the Disney Parks Blog post detailing Oga’s Cantina.
There were a couple bits of information about the Cantina that interested me. First and foremost, it seemed as if Oga’s Cantina will feature characters dropping by every now and then. It goes without saying that a Star Wars character meal would print money for Disney and be loads of fun for guests. A Star Wars Cantina that featured Han Solo, Darth Vader and a few other of our favorite characters would be an organic way to come across the characters there.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if there was a show element to Oga’s instead of it being a straight meet & greet location. I could see anything from a Trader Sam’s type bar to a full-fledged dining show. Time will tell but the release made it seem as if there will be characters at some point.
One item that is suspiciously missing from the blog post is any mention of food. Maybe it’s just not a focus of the location and this will be attached to a bigger restaurant? I’m hoping that any location they add will have ample room as getting into any of these places is going to be a headache for quite a while.
Lastly, the addition of RX-24 being the Cantina’s DJ is a smart one. While I hope there is an element of live music at some point, adding a piece of park history along with the classic connection of music in a Star Wars Cantina makes sense. I look forward to boogieing (people don’t say that anymore, do they?) to some of DJ RX-24’s hot tracks.
The topic of alcohol now being served in Disneyland is a complicated and divisive one. If you came to this blog post looking for a smoking hot take on the subject then I’m afraid I won’t be able to oblige. Frankly, the topic someone bores me and doesn’t affect us. Now that we have that disclaimer out-of-the-way, I’ll dive in a little deeper.
When selling Disneyland as place to visit shortly after the park opened, Walt Disney proclaimed that he wouldn’t sell alcohol in the park because he wanted the park to be family friendly. Obviously, that’s paraphrasing but the gist of it was that Walt wanted to make Disneyland different from a regular amusement park. Disneyland wasn’t a place to be rowdy and Walt was making sure it was a great place to bring kids.
While every other Disney Park in the world started serving alcohol (Magic Kingdom just in the last few years) Disneyland held true to what Walt’s 1956 (the year of the quotes I paraphrased above) vision. With Oga’s Cantina opening in 2019 that is all changing. While alcohol being introduced in the rest of the park remains to be seen, I would guess that it would be slowly introduced to other table-service locations in the park like the Blue Bayou, just like Magic Kingdom has done over the last few years.
There are people on both sides of this issue and justifiably so. Those that despise the decision do so because it goes directly against Walt’s words and brings change to a charming place that is dear to many people’s hearts. This is simply a (smart) business decision and doesn’t show a lot of heart, that doesn’t make fans happy and I certainly understand that.
On the other hand, many people are ready for the change. People go on vacation to have a good time and having an adult beverage certainly doesn’t hurt. Alcohol is certainly seen a different light than it was 60 years ago and having a drink or two in a confined space isn’t going to affect Disneyland’s vibe overall. If anything, it should make it more pleasant for a few people.
While I sympathize with the traditionalists as there have been changes recently that I’m very critical of, I have no problem with alcohol being added to Disneyland. Most of the changes I have a problem with are simply because I don’t think certain attractions, lands, restaurants, etc. fit within a theme park not because they go against Walt’s words. In my opinion, using a man’s words on a very specific topic from 60 years ago sets a scary (bad?) precedent. The Disney company does that very often, usually out of context, so they have opened themselves up to criticism on this issue. I just think that the world has changed too much over 63 years for Walt’s words about alcohol in Disneyland to have any meaning to current day.
Don’t get me wrong, Walt Disney was an incredible man and a visionary who I consider to be one of my heroes. There are many ideas that this legend had that should be considered. This one though needs to be further understood in context. As I said earlier, Walt brought up no alcohol in Disneyland as a way to sell it to families. Now, 60+ years later, Disneyland is a known commodity. It doesn’t need to be sold as family friendly because everyone knows it is. In fact, the parks have become so family friendly that there are places for adults in the U.S. Disney Parks have become few and far between.
More than anything, I just don’t see how this will affect the Disneyland experience outside of adding an outstanding bar. Whether Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge belongs in Disneyland is a fair debate. Since that’s already happening, having a Cantina in said land makes all the sense in the world and therefore I don’t have a problem with it or the alcohol that will be served in there. If Disneyland starts serving alcohol at counter-service locations or at any of the street carts then I think it could take away from Disneyland’s charm and vibe. Instead it will be offered to minimal amounts of people a day and in locations where it won’t be taken into the park’s streets. Magic Kingdom made that same change and I have not noticed a bit of difference in that park. In the end, that’s why I’m okay with the decision to add alcohol to Disneyland in this capacity. There will be no change to Disneyland’s atmosphere with this addition. If selling alcohol all over the park becomes the norm, therefore affecting the park’s atmosphere, that’s when I will have a problem with it.
What are your thoughts on alcohol in Disneyland and Oga’s Cantina? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney, if you enjoy the blog please subscribe and like our social media pages. You can find both of those items on the right side of this page.