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Why Walt Disney banned alcohol from Disneyland

Walt Disney didn’t think families needed alcohol for fun

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland.
A train zips through Big Thunder Mountain and past the historic Rainbow Ridge Mining Town on the “wildest ride in the wilderness.” Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a popular roller coaster attraction, is located in Frontierland at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif.
Joshua Sudock, Disneyland Resort

A new article from SFGate.com recently looked into how Disneyland stayed dry for about 65 years. In 2019, the park added alcohol at the “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” theme park, adding hard drinks for the first time in 64 years.

  • Walt Disney didn’t want there to be alcohol at Disneyland because he was afraid it would bring in the wrong crowd.
  • Why did it stay dry for so long? Walt Disney was firmly against adding alcohol to the park.

“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.” — Walt Disney to the Saturday Evening Post.

Disney said alcohol wasn’t needed for families to enjoy themselves at the park.

  • He felt the same way about gum, ice cream and cotton candy since all of those items can be sticky. Ice cream and candy are now available at the park.

So why did Disneyland add alcohol?

  • Bobby Palta, who studies the industry for the real estate brokerage CBRE Group Inc, told Bloomberg back in 2019 that Disney needed to expand its demographic it wanted to keep bringing people back in.
  • Jay Burress, head of Anaheim’s tourism office, told Bloomberg that Disney looked to reach out to a wider California audience with the move as well.