Tips for Finding Good Beer At Disney World

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Walt Disney World offers a number of craft beers and microbrews in its parks and resort hotels. This post offers tips for finding delicious beer at Walt Disney World, which can be a bit of a challenge. In addition to the normal BMC options you can find just about anywhere (besides the Magic Kingdom), there are some exceptional beers throughout Walt Disney World…you just need to know where to look.

Unlike wine, which (I’m told) Walt Disney World does pretty well–even touting things like their selection of South African wines at Animal Kingdom Lodge–the same effort isn’t put into having high quality beers. Most outdoor vending carts that serve beer at Walt Disney World have Bud Light, plus maybe a token alternative. Nothing against Bud Light–they are great at convincing people their beer is worthwhile with their astronomical marketing budget–but Bud Light is awful. Okay, so everything against Bud Light. BMC are sort of like the fast food of beers: okay options in a pinch, but probably few beer drinkers’ favorites if they had to choose. If Bud Light is your favorite beer, I’d encourage you to try a variety of other beers and give them a chance.

If you haven’t gathered from the remarks towards BMC, I’m sort of a beer snob. Coming from Michigan, I came of drinking age right around the time of the big explosion in craft brewing, with Bell’s opening its brewery ~10 miles from my house about a decade ago. Add to that other great options like Founders (every craft beer aficionado should attend a Kentucky Breakfast Stout release party at some time in their life), Arcadia, New Holland, Dark Horse, and many more, and my opinions of beer have really been shaped by living in one of the greatest beer state. Not really sure how this is relevant to the topic of the post, but I like giving props to my home state when I have the chance. Moving on…

When we first started visiting Walt Disney World as adults, there was a serious dearth of craft beer options, and the selection was laughable. If you wanted a good beer, you pretty much were stuck going to Le Cellier for some Unibroue. While that’s still a great option, Walt Disney World has recognized the growing discontent with BMC, and has incorporated better options into their menus. Things have improved substantially almost every year for the last ~5 years, and continue to get better. So props to Disney for that.

If you’re looking for great beer at Walt Disney World, here are some tips…

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If you’re really serious about finding good beer, or a particular beer, the only piece of advice you really need is that “there’s an app for that.” The fine folks over at Beers and Ears have some great apps for finding beers at Walt Disney World that will further assist with finding good beers while getting your drink on at Walt Disney World.

If you know a lot about beer and know what you’re looking for, just download their apps and skip the rest of this post. Seriously, I can’t even come close to offering the breadth of info they have. 

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Since this post would be sort of pointless if it were just that tip, I’ll provide some other general advice. First and foremost, don’t go to ODVs (outdoor vending carts, or little snack stands) looking for beer. Most of these are just going to serve Bud Light. Generally, counter service restaurants are more likely to have at least one or two other good beer choices besides Bud, but the better bet is table service restaurants, and the best bet is dedicated lounges and sports bars.

Reviewing the menu of every restaurant that serves beer at Walt Disney World is well beyond the scope of this post. There are hundreds of restaurants and they regularly change their menus. Instead, let’s take a look at my top picks for beer options in each park at Walt Disney World, plus the hotels and Downtown Disney.

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Magic Kingdom: The Magic Kingdom had a strict no-alcohol policy from 1971 until a couple of years ago when Be Our Guest Restaurant opened in New Fantasyland. Suffice to say, serving alcohol there (only for dinner and with a supposedly-strict service policy) was a controversial decision. This is the default winner for the Magic Kingdom, because it’s the only place that serves. Setting that aside, it’s no slouch. There are a few solid Belgian beers on the menu. Belgium is arguably the best beer country in the world, so seeing its beers represented at Walt Disney World is a great thing!

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Epcot: Thanks to World Showcase, Epcot is unquestionably the best beer park at Walt Disney World. Not even a close call. It’s tough to say any single location dominates the landscape, as each country typically has a couple of stand-out options, so this is more of a totality of the circumstances type deal. That’s probably why Drinking Around the World at Epcot is so popular. On any given normal operating day at Epcot, you have at least 10 beers that are worthwhile available throughout the park. That number spikes considerably during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival (more on that further down).

Since I have to choose, I’m taking Canada as my top pick here. The aforementioned Unibroue is one of my favorite brewers, and it’s now available at the cart outside Le Cellier. Block & Hans, a somewhat new stand in the American Adventure, gets an honorable mention here, and not just because it serves Bell’s Oberon. It has a solid lineup of beers. Sorry, Germany and Rose & Crown, I think other locations have you both beat (even though these are both good spots, too).

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom: A lot of beer drinkers seem to consider Animal Kingdom a hidden gem for beer. I don’t. I’ll admit that it has several fairly rare and somewhat unique options, but I just don’t like most of what I’ve tried here. People go crazy for Safari Amber, which is brewed exclusively for Animal Kingdom (by AB-InBev), but I don’t think it’s anything special. I think its draw is exclusivity, but who cares about that if the exclusive product is substandard? Dawa Bar is the best option for beer here, and even it only serves like 2-3 African beers. The thing about that is…have you heard of that one renowned African brewery? Me neither.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: This park is a huge disappointment on the beer front, and not because being mildly intoxicated would make it better. Rather, it has two excellent lounges, Tune In Lounge and the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, neither of which serve good beer. In fairness, these lounges are more geared towards cocktails (Tune In having some great novelty cocktails and Brown Derby serving high end ones), so you can’t really fault them for that too much. Still, would it kill them to add a few good beers to the menus? Given this, I actually think Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater has the best beer menu. Its menu is most expansive, and offers several good choices. Both Brown Derby and Tune In have a couple of better, unique options, but their menus are too limited to give them the nod here.

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Resort Hotels: This one is tough, because I admittedly have not drank my way around the Walt Disney World resort hotels (new life goal?). However, as a general rule, the bars and lounges in the resort hotels–especially the Deluxes and Moderates–are far superior to the theme parks. You can find a good beer or three at virtually any of these lounges. Based on the ones I have experienced, the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin hotels are king. I know, I know, these are technically not Disney hotels (despite the name) and this site shies away from comparing them to Disney-owned hotels, but in this case, it seems appropriate due to its proximity to the BoardWalk. We’ve stumbled from Jellyrolls to the Swan & Dolphin for Kimonos a few times in search of karaoke, sushi, and some sweet, sweet brews. Beer and karaoke…what could possibly go wrong?!

Downtown Disney: This is an easy one–Raglan Road. We have already expressed our love for Raglan Road’s food and atmosphere, but there’s another reason to love it: its beers on draught, overall selection, and reasonable prices (relative to other options at Walt Disney World).

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So Epcot is our top pick by a long-shot, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise thanks to World Showcase. Now, you’d think that during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, there would just be a crazy amount of excellent craft beers. I mean, there are dedicated stands (plural!) for beer. Plus, there’s Belgium. Well, you’d be wrong. Granted, there are some better options here than normal, but there are a ton of duds. Beers & Ears has a good analysis of Food & Wine Festival’s beers, too.

Based on that listing, the best kiosk is Craft Beers. They laud this one for Dogfish Head Punkin, which is a highly regarded beer, but I’m not a big fan (I’m more of a Pumking guy, myself). Still, Craft Beers does have Sierra Nevada Kellerweis, which is basically the bomb. If you are heading to Food & Wine Festival, make sure to check out our Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival Tips & Guide.

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That covers it for our tips for finding great beers at Walt Disney World. Although we think a good brew or two can be a fun component of a visit to Walt Disney World, remember to drink in moderation and be courteous to fellow guests during your trip. First, because binge drinking at Walt Disney World would be crazy expensive, and spending that kind of money is just insane. Second, and much more importantly, Walt Disney World is a family vacation destination, not a frat house. Behave appropriately.

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If you going to a Walt Disney World table service restaurant for their better beer options, make sure that they also serve good food (that’s sorta important!). Consult our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews to pick the one that’s right for you!

Looking for Disney trip planning tips? Make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide.

For updates on Walt Disney World, the latest news, discount information, and tips, sign up for our free monthly newsletter!

Your Thoughts…

Are you a craft beer connoisseur? Do you have any favorite spots at Walt Disney World for good beers? Any hidden gems? What are your favorite beers that are served at Walt Disney World! If you have any other tips or questions, please share them in the comments!

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39 Responses to “Tips for Finding Good Beer At Disney World”

  1. Justin says:

    You can get safari amber at Epcot as well.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’m assuming over at the Outpost in World Showcase? I guess it’s exclusive to WDW, not DAK, then. Thanks for the heads up!

      • Justin says:

        Yes at the Outpost I believe. I thought it was exclusive to ak as well until my girlfriend and I happened to see it there too. Great article!

      • mike w says:

        Just the name “safari amber” is exclusive to WDW. they brew this generic beer outside of WDW but just call if different names.

  2. Mike says:

    ESPN club has Jai Alai, a great IPA from Cigar City.. Probably the best bet for an IPA at WDW.. Also some of the food courts have Maduro Brown from Cigar City, also a good choice.

    • rb says:

      When I was at Epcot recently there was a double IPA at the American Experience kiosk off to the right (with your back to the lagoon). I think it was Napa Smith Hopageddon, but I was halfway through drinking around the world, so…

  3. Laura says:

    I almost had to stop reading when you listed Michigan as a top beer state. After living in Wisconsin for many years, we have learned not to drink much beer outside of the state. There are some we do drink.

    It just isn’t a trip to Epcot without a stop in the Rose and Crown for their pub mixes. We love them. This isn’t beer, but we love the cider and black and the snake bite. I even stopped there when I was pregnant and they made me a non-alcoholic black shandy. We love that place and love the beer mixes there so much more than just straight up beer other places.

  4. Kristi Woody says:

    I just discovered Kellerweis this past year, so I’ll definitely be seeking that out at Epcot! I enjoy having Kona brews at the Polynesian. I know for sure I had Pipeline there, but I’m not sure if they had Big Wave or any of the others. I also actually enjoyed the sampler at Biergarten! The fun atmosphere might have contributed though :) Thanks for the tips! I’ll definitely be checking out the app when we go again.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’m not a huge Kona fan, but that’s just personal preference. A lot of people love it, and it’s definitely a quality beer!

  5. Christy says:

    I was going to skip this one in my feed, but as soon as I saw the Oberon picture I was sucked in! Is it a seasonal pick in WDW? Having an Oberon in January/February at WDW sounds divine…

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’m guessing you’re from Michigan or very close to Michigan? Outside of ‘the region,’ Oberon is actually available year round in many/most places nowadays. I’m not sure if it will continue being sold at Walt Disney World in the winter since it is technically a summer beer, but I know I can buy it here any time of the year.

  6. KendraLeigh says:

    I am a bit surprised that there is no mention of Yuengling in this post. I know you’re very patriotic, and what’s more patriotic than drinking Americas oldest beer? Probably nothinng. Thanks to a change in the rules it will also be considered a “craft” beer starting in 2015, too. I’m not sure of all the places you can find a Yuengling at WDW, but I know it’s served all over the property. It’s an excellent beer, well worth the occasional trip to stock up from the STL area where I live to TN, the closest state that sells it. I don’t think anyone should drink their way around the world on yuengling alone, but if it’s an option while you’re on your trip, definitely drink it!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I just didn’t think to mention it. I’m actually not a huge Yuengling fan (I do think it’s good, just not my favorite). Thanks for the tip, though!

  7. Don Livingston says:

    Ok let me first say that I recently was in Grand Rapids for a business trip. The craft beer up there is amazing. Suffice to say that I drank my fair share of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. Second, thanks for the tip on Canada. I like Unibroue but don’t like spending Le Cellier prices to get it. i will try the cart when I go in October. I will add one beer to the list that I really like and that is Boddington Ale at the Rose & Crown. We also like the beer mixes at R&C. In fact, we just like Rose & Crown especially when Carl is working!

  8. Kylie says:

    I’m a huge beer snob but more often than not, tend to just drink cocktails in Disney (and Rosa Regale in Italy) because I, too, don’t think the beer selection is anything amazing. I have really enjoyed getting a Newcastle in the UK and the beer flight at Biergarten in Germany. I also really enjoyed my “League of Nations” flight at Raglan Road at DTD– Newcastle (my fav beer of all time), Warsteiner, Yuengling, and Magners.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Cocktails are generally better at Walt Disney World, but even with those (especially in World Showcase), you need to be careful that you’re not just getting premixed sugar-substance. Thanks for the tips on those beers!

  9. Kevin Schneider says:

    I’m from Philly, but I gotta give you props on the Bell’s!! I work at a bar/restaurant just outside the city. The best seller by far is “Two Hearted Ale”, and we just added Oberon. Pretty good representation for a Michigan brewery to have 2 (out of only 6) beers on tap at a Philly Restaurant/Bar.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Two Hearted is probably Bell’s most popular beers, and for good reason! You might have difficulty finding it in Philly, but if you like a good stout, check out Bell’s Expedition Stout. So thick you’ll practically chew it, but an excellent beer.

  10. Katie says:

    As another Michigan native, hurray for the shout out! Sadly, I had to go gluten free a few years back, I miss my Oberon.

    Just a comment: My family tried out club level at the Boardwalk for a couple nights this past spring. My husband and father thought the beer selection in the lounge was pretty dismal (they were able to find my dad one Yeungling and acted as though this was a rare special request). If people are hoping for better than average WDW offerings, this isn’t the answer. It’s one of several reasons we ranked club level a poor value.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’ve heard similar complaints about Club Level (not specifically with regard to beer) at Walt Disney World. Having stayed at that tier (albeit by different names) at various Hyatt properties around the world and receiving incredible service and perks, I can’t say I’d ever spend the extra money for it at Walt Disney World, knowing what the extra money *doesn’t* get you (but should).

  11. Keith says:

    I recently discovered that Artist Point currently offers Barrel Aged Brrrbon from Widmer Brothers…this may be the best beer I have ever enjoyed. It is just fantastic! My other favorites from around The World are Hopageddon, Innis & Gunn Rum Cask,Jai Alai, and several of the Italian craft beers offered at Tutto Gusto and Via Napoli. I agree with you that Bell’s and Founders are two of the best breweries. Nice article

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Thanks for the tip on Artist Point! If they offer it, I’m guessing Territory Lounge (one of the best bars at Walt Disney World, in my opinion) does too!

  12. Sherri says:

    Thanks for giving props to the “greatest beer state”
    Kalamazoo Beer Snob here too!

  13. Beth says:

    Cheers! to Michigan being a great beer state!! I’m from IN but my hubby is from MI and introduced me to great Michigan beers :)

    Another way to get great beer at Disney? Bring your own! We drive from Indiana and pack a cooler full of our own goods from home!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Haha, yep, that’s another way! But then you miss out on the opportunity to pay $7+ for a beer you could buy at the store for ~$1-2! ;)

  14. Kevin P says:

    This might be a dumb question, but what does “BMC” stand for?

    • Kevin Schneider says:

      I’m pretty sure it’s Bud/Miller/Coors

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Correct. While the acronym stands for that, it’s really a term used to refer to any generic/mass produced beer. Corona, Michelob, etc., would all be included.

  15. Monochrome Eye says:

    Tom
    Just out of curiosity, How does WDW compare to the other parks? France, Japan DL ect?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      In terms of beer, Walt Disney World and Disneyland are probably the best. Disneyland Paris serves alcohol, but to my recollection that was mostly wine. DisneySea is the only park in Asia that serves alcohol, and it has some good Japanese beers, but most of what they have is Kirin (a sponsor of the park).

  16. Susan says:

    My husband is a home brewer and a major beer snob! I can’t tell you how happy he is that Disney parks have vastly improved their beer choices in the past few years.

  17. Joe says:

    Hey Tom, love the blog, keep up the awesome work!

    When I was at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekends back in May, I noticed a few other places for good beers. Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner carried a few, including Orange Blossom Pilsner (which I’ve had previously at Flower and Garden and seen at Art of Animation). My impression was that the other beers there were also from Florida. High Octane Refreshments (next to Studio Catering Co.) had craft beers as well. Check ‘em out next time you’re there!

  18. Jenni says:

    I’m a growler collector/hoarder and love to add to my obsession when traveling. Do they sell growlers anywhere at WDW? I’ll be there during the food and wine fest and I’d LOVE to have one with the “drinking around the world” logo on it. Any idea if that exists?
    BTW, I’m from Idaho/Oregon and we are trying our hardest to compete with you “big guys” in Michigan. In my opinion, nothin’s better than a North West beer. ;)

  19. Eric C says:

    I believe you are forgetting the Big River brewery and grille in the Boardwalk at Walt Disney World. They have their standard 5 brews that they always serve plus Two taps that are strictly what the head brewer wants to highlight, usually great seasonal beer.
    I also have to vouch for the BeirGarten restaurant in Germany Epcot. They have 4 distinct German beers to choose from that are prime examples of German brewing.

  20. Laura B. says:

    I’m quickly becoming a craft beer person. Not an aficionado, by any means, but definitely a fan! I made my first attempt at Drinking Around the World last month (only made 4 countries, but I was only there for part of the day, and I also didn’t try very hard) based on your recommendations. They were on the money!

    This post adds to the previous information an impetus to branch out more when I’m down next month. I see some beer drinking in my immediate future!

  21. Laura says:

    I have to agree about the Orange Blossom beer – tried it when we were staying at Art of Animation and made a point of finding the cast member who recommended it the next night to thank him for the recommendation! I was a little suspicious about a Florida beer, but I figured, when in Orlando…

    I live just a few miles down the road from Kalamazoo, and I you are right about the awesome state of craft brews in MI!

  22. Mike B says:

    Curious, but no mention of the Big River Grille & Brewery Works., which actually brews its beer on property in the Boardwalk Resort! The beers I sampled there were great! And, while in the Japan pavilion, I found a wonderful unfiltered beer in the sake tasting area – Ginga Kogen Beer! A nice little find in an area not known for finding beer! My favorites are still the Rose and Crown in England while the Biergarten in Germany has a better selection than the stand outside! The atmosphere in the Biergarten is wonderful, too!

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