How To Drink at Walt Disney World
From a hidden tequila cave to a cantina Han Solo would frequent
Fifty years ago, Walt Disney World opened in Orlando like a phoenix rising from ashes. Well, in actuality, it was a cartoon mouse rising from some swampland in the middle of Florida, but you get the idea.
If you think a trip to Disney is solely for families with small children, think again. Disney is as much about adult entertainment. A 2018 StreetLight Data survey found that 60 percent of visitors to Disney World had no children in their household.
Disney World has embraced the adult crowd with annual events like the WDW Marathon this weekend and the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. The theme park has also increased the sale of adult beverages on its many properties. Once upon a time, grown-ups were forced to wait until after they left Magic Kingdom to grab even a beer (Who wants to wait 90 minutes to ride Dumbo completely sober?), but times have changed.
Like the “hidden Mickeys” that devout Disney fans seek out, Walt Disney World has some semi-secret gems when you want to get your drink on. Here are the best places at each park to imbibe, plus a bonus bar.
Many people do the drink-around-the-world challenge among 11 different “countries” at Epcot — they include Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada.
The 1.2-mile walk starts in Mexico. Though you’ll see hundreds of people slurping frozen margaritas, bypass the stands and head directly to La Cava del Tequila located inside the giant pyramid. The tiny bar boasts about 150 tequilas, 55 mezcals, and dozens of hand-shaken margaritas. The top seller, according to my bartender, is the avocado margarita. Margaritas range from $16 - $23 and tequila shots start at $8.
In Germany, traverse the candy store and gift shop to find a wine bar in the very back, pouring German ice wines and extremely potent pear brandy. Italy and France both have dedicated wine shops, offering wine flights, aperitifs, and sparkling wines ($8 to $14 for individual pours).
Head to the back of Japan’s mega gift shop and you’ll find a good selection of sake. Technically, you can’t open the sake in the park, but most come in single-serve cans and boxes, so they’re easy to consume on the fly. (Individual sakes range from $7.95 to $21.95.)
The Rose & Crown Pub in the United Kingdom offers Irish whiskey and beer flights ($10 - $18), along with pub blends like the “Half & Half,” a pint of Harp and Guinness ($10 - $15).
It’s Molson time in Canada ($8). If you made it this far, grab a bucket of maple syrup-glazed popcorn ($6.25) and pat yourself on the back: You just drank around the world.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Head to the Star Wars-themed Galaxy’s Edge to drink at Oga’s Cantina. This bar is a recreation of an actual cantina in the Star Wars universe and serves space-themed cocktails like the Jedi Mind Trick, the T-16 Skyhopper, and the Fuzzy Tauntaun, which is topped with a tongue-tingling Sichuan foam ($16 - $18). Star Wars fans might want to try the Yub Nub, a tropical rum-based cocktail that’s served in a souvenir “Endor” tiki mug ($45), or the non-alcoholic Cliff Dweller, offered in a souvenir “Porg” tiki mug ($35).
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Near the Avatar-themed Pandora, you’ll find the Nomad Lounge. Relax with a cold Tusker from Kenya ($9.25) or a South African wine ($10 - $16). The lounge also has a host of cocktails named after animals like the Tempting Tigress, the Night Monkey, and the Leaping Lizard ($12 - $16).
A few years ago, no alcohol was served at Magic Kingdom so as not to “taint the magic” of the park. Still, you’ll only find beer, wine, and low ABV cocktails here — and only at sit-down restaurants like Liberty Tree Tavern, where you can get a mimosa, sangria, or cider shandy ($10 - $12).
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Bar at the Polynesian Resort
Located in the Disney Polynesian Resort, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is actually a fantastic tiki bar that should rightly be located at Magic Kingdom's Adventureland, where the iconic Enchanted Tiki Room resides.
The bar, located on the ground floor of Disney’s Polynesian Resort, offers traditional tiki cocktails like its version of a Mai Tai or a Falernum and cinnamon-laced Tropical Snowstorm ($15, with most offered in ceramic souvenir mugs). The bar gets crowded and waits can sometimes be more than an hour, but the outdoor patio serves the same drinks and, usually, immediate seating.
Trader Sam’s is the most relaxing way to end a frenetic day at one of the theme parks, plus there’s something satisfying about drinking a potent cocktail out of a zombie skull while on Disney property.