Oga’s Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Serve Alcohol at Disneyland
New details have been released about Oga’s Cantina, the watering hole coming to Black Spire Outpost at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland. The most notable of these is that this Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge establishment will serve alcohol on both coasts, becoming the first location to sell alcohol to the general public in Disneyland’s 60+ year history.
We’ll offer our thoughts on that last tidbit later in the post (as it’s probably the only detail in this news about which most people care), but first some of the other main pieces of info. This cantina will be run by an alien proprietor, Oga Garra, who operates a “smugglers’ safe haven and a popular stopping point for those seeking to avoid the authorities [with] a story or two to tell.”
Oga’s Cantina will serve famous concoctions for kids and adults created with exotic ingredients using otherworldly methods, served in unique vessels. There will be musical entertainment at Oga’s Cantina, courtesy of RX-24, the former StarSpeeder 3000 pilot droid we first met in Star Tours, who has re-envisioned himself as the cantina’s DJ. A “colorful cast of characters” will also be on hand, which we’d construe to mean roaming atmospheric entertainers will mingle amongst guests.
As for alcohol being served at Oga’s Cantina in Disneyland…is anyone surprised? When the existence of a cantina was first announced for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, my reaction was “how are they going to break the news about booze?” Part of me even wondered if alcohol would first be introduced at Tropical Hideaway, if only so there wasn’t any negative buzz attached to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Then again, the reaction here is not really so much negative buzz as it is outraged fans. If this does make the rounds in the news, the general public reaction is more likely to range between indifference and bewilderment that Disney would potentially open a cantina from the Star Wars universe without alcohol. This is really only a story to longtime fans versed in Walt Disney’s personal beliefs about alcohol in his park.
In a 1956 interview with the Saturday Evening Post, Walt said: “No liquor, no beer, nothing [in Disneyland]. Because that brings in a rowdy element. That brings people that we don’t want and I feel they don’t need it. I feel when I go down to the park I don’t need a drink. I work around that place all day and I don’t have one.”
In context, this interview was about how Disneyland differed from a traditional amusement park, and how it offered an inviting atmosphere for families. The interview also specifically addresses clean toilets and was intended to reset expectations about what Disneyland, an unknown quantity at the time, would be, and how it would differ from amusement parks of the era.
The full interview is an interesting and enlightening and amusing read. In context, we think it’s fair to say that Walt’s interview offers a “sales pitch” for the park, informing guests of this new concept and presenting clear ways it’d differ from other parks of the era.
Over 60 years later, Disneyland is very much a known quantity at this point. Disney PR does not have to mention restroom cleanliness or other signifiers of how Disney theme parks differ from Six Flags or local state fairs. The difference is patently obvious, and Disneyland’s reputation precedes it. Even those who have never been know that Disneyland is in a different league than those parks.
With regard to this topic or any, I don’t know “what Walt would do” and neither do you. My opinions sometimes change from year to year, and it’s fair to say that a visionary mind like his would’ve evolved on a variety of topics over the course of several decades. (To put it mildly.)
From a business perspective, it’s arguable that it now makes sense to sell alcohol in Disneyland. There’s no need to establish a reputation for Disneyland at this point that would differentiate it from lowbrow amusement parks. That was a savvy, calculated business move in Walt Disney’s era, just as pivoting to sell alcohol is a savvy business move in today’s era.
Nevertheless, we think it’s perfectly understandable that fans are angered by the sale of alcohol in Disneyland, as Walt has explicit quotes on this very topic. His position was crystal-clear…albeit it ~60 years ago.
In large part, a lot of the negative reaction to this seems predicated upon the underlying fact that a lot about “Walt Disney’s Original Magic Kingdom” is changing all at once. Over the course of a single decade, so many Walt-era aspects of the park have been replaced or modified, and not always for the better.
As compared to a decade ago, New Orleans Square and the Rivers of America look dramatically different–and less charming–and that trend is only continuing with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It wasn’t that long ago that Disneyland could be described as the “charming” park, the one where Walt’s fingerprints could still be felt. With these changes and an influx of crowds, that feels less and less true.
For many, this is a tangible policy reflecting that partially invisible shift, so of course it’s going to be a flashpoint for outrage. Moreover, it’s hypocritical on Disney’s part. Pretty much any announcement of an attraction closing or a potentially unpopular is usually justified with some Walt Disney quote about progress or moving forward (here’s one of many, many examples). The message is always clear: “what we are doing is okay because this is what Walt would have wanted.”
This cherry-picking of Walt Disney quotes to justify business decisions is disingenuous at best, and emotionally manipulative at worst. The fact is, no one knows what Walt Disney would have wanted or done decades after his death, and to apply a very vague message to very specific decisions is totally inappropriate.
In part, I think Disney is reaping what it has sowed with the reaction here, as there’s been a concerted effort to paint Walt Disney as this downhome-yet-visionary artist who existed only to make kids happy and build family-friendly parks. This notion that Walt Disney was not a shrewd businessperson who operated his parks in a calculated manner strikes me as naive and odd.
The Walt Disney Company should own all of its business decisions based on whatever current circumstances exist, not use Walt as a convenient PR shield when it so suits the company. Because the flipside to that is fans using him as a sword in situations like this. The reality is that in every situation, TWDC is acting in its own contemporaneous best interests without regard to Walt Disney.
With all of this said, we have nothing against alcohol being sold in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge…or elsewhere in Disneyland, for that matter. It has been for two decades in Disneyland Paris and now at Magic Kingdom for a few years. Despite that, neither of those parks have devolved into amusement parks with roaming gangs and spontaneous ruckuses. We’ve never witnessed any alcohol-fueled incidents in Disney California Adventure, either (the only Disney park in the world that ever seems to have a problem is Epcot, which is driven by ‘competitive’ drinking around the world).
Besides, if someone wants to be wasted at Disneyland, they can order a few drinks at DCA, and be inside Disneyland within 10 minutes. From a practical perspective, it has long been possible to be drunk at Disneyland (even before DCA, there were convenience stores ~10 minutes from the Esplanade), so this shouldn’t really change the vibe of the park.
Ultimately, we don’t have a problem with Disneyland serving alcohol in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and we doubt it will lead to anarchy or a drunkfest in the park. We do have a problem with the continuing use of invoking Walt Disney to justify certain decisions, while totally ignoring him when it comes to others. We certainly don’t expect Disney to be totally honest and admit that all decisions it makes are in pursuit of profit, but don’t insult customers by pretending the decisions are made to honor Walt Disney’s legacy. Because they are not.
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What do you think of alcohol being served in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland? Any questions? We love hearing from readers–even when you disagree with us–so please share any other thoughts or questions you have in the comments below!
Alcohol has been served for years at club 33. Just most people don’t have the money to join it and if you do its a 15yr waiting list. There is a 2 drink maximum at the cantina and a 45 min time limit. It is not going to ruin the magic of Disney, in my opinion. Besides the price for a drink there will have someone thinking twice about binge drinking.
I understand that alcohol is something that adults look forward to while on vacation and even bring it with them to enjoy in their rooms. Also, it is readily available at the WD park restaurants, music venues, Downtown Disney and celebrated in Epcot during Food and Wine Festival. My stop gate comes when it is in the parks around children and nondrinking folks like my entire family young and old. There is nothing more “smelly” than to be standing next to someone who has had a few. Even worse is having to witness someone when they are not their best. Why can’t Disney take a lead from the very popular “NO SMOKING” allowed zones and apply it to the parks. If I or my family has to see what we saw at Food and Wine Festival last year being allowed throughout the parks, we maybe looking for a more wholesome venue. Tresa
Epcot is the most adult friendly park and is also the only one to have an unofficial “drinking game”. It is the only park I’ve ever seen with visibly drunk guests.
Alcohol is already served in every other park besides Disneyland, yet none of those parks have any issues with drunk guests. I think Disneyland will not have an issue with this either.
I haven’t been to EPCOT in about 3 years so I guess things have changed based upon the comments posted here. Last time there, during the Food and Wine Festival, I did not see one inebriated visitor…I am sure that if things get out of hand in the future that either the sale of alcohol will be curtailed or those people becoming “problems” permanently being banned from the parks. Can be easily done by using the system now used to read fingers for admission.
Sometimes I am confused by this. Invoking Walt’s Vision, sometimes explicitly stated, because is silly because nobody knows what he wanted or because times have changed. But when they want to put guardians of the galaxy in Epcot, that’s wrong because it goes against what the imagineers envisioned for he park 30 years ago?
Sometimes I think a ride doesn’t fit in a park. But rides aren’t the only thing that doesn’t belong, other things might not fit. Like those expensive makeshift bungalows, or hover boards. Maybe I am just a prude though, ha ha who knows. Disneyland will still be a great park, and I will still go.
“But when they want to put guardians of the galaxy in Epcot, that’s wrong because it goes against what the imagineers envisioned for he park 30 years ago?”
From my perspective, the difference is that Epcot has an explicit mission statement that’s evergreen. It’d be one thing if Disney came out and said they are taking the park in a new direction, here’s the new aim of the park, but they haven’t done that. Instead, there’s this vague intent to make the park appeal to both longtime fans and the general public–groups that probably want different things.
As for whether something fits, that’s largely a subjective question, and why there’s often disagreement/debate about these sorts of things.
I hear you. So out of curiousity, do each of the parks have mission statements? If so, where can I see them?
I can’t seem to find them as easily as I thought I might.
The Great Walt Disney’s 3 biggest mistakes:
(1) Smoking himself to death
(2) Ridiculously accusing people of being communists
(3) Keeping alcohol out of Disneyland
I’m glad the third one was finally remedied.
I don’t think that’s a mistake. It’s a family-friendly park, one that was created as a place where parents could take children and they all have fun together. For many families, offering alcohol takes away from that experience. Alcoholism is ridiculously common, and AA boasts it’s the largest club/group in the world (but one no one wants to have to join). When alcohol is offered, some families choose not to go. For other kids, their trip is quickly ruined by the booze. I get that alcohol is fun for many adults, but that isn’t the point of the park. It’s supposed to be a family experience, not one for adults to come enjoy booze.
Extremely sad that’s how I feel about Alcohol being sold in Disneyland. When Walt was setting at Griffith Park with his girls as they went on the ride he was thinking about a place where familes could enjoy together. I Don’t believe he was thinking hey let’s sell alcohol and get the parent drunk. Really sad that the only Park Walt ever walked in has lost it way.
I am not sure about everyone else, but around where I live alcohol is served at our zoo, our performing arts center, sporting events, restaurants, concerts, church festivals, movie theaters, and even our local grocery store chain even has a bar in it. When people complain about not wanting to be around people drinking alcohol it really makes me wonder if they actually know how many places they frequent in their everyday lives actually sell alcohol. To me, if you find it acceptable to live in town where your fellow grocery shoppers can sip on a beer while shopping for produce, you should certainly have no problem with someone who is on vacation (and most likely not driving) have a few drinks.
I think it really depends upon where you live. I’ve resided in a small town that has a much more conservative view of alcohol, and it’s consumption is not nearly this mainstream or socially acceptable.
I feel like Disneyland is the exception to a lot of rules, and that is part of what makes it special.
That’s exactly what’s problematic for many families. It’s wrong that some people can’t even go to work without alcohol being present. For some people, that impacts their sobriety or their ability to feel safe at work. It’s frustrating for some people that they can’t take their kids to the zoo without there being booze. It’s heart-breaking for countless numbers of children, too, who have to watch their parent get drunk again and make an ass of himself again in a public place, hoping others can’t tell how drunk their dad (or mom) is tonight. Alcohol is a huge problem for many families. Disney was supposed to be a place families could have fun and not worry about booze being available there. It was Walt’s vision, and it created a safe space for families. It really, really sucks that’s being taken away for millions of children because of potential profits.
What may be problematic for a certain percentage of America’s more puritan Protestants, is completely normal in most other countries around the world. And if we were talking about a regional Midwestern amusement park, your argument would be understandable. But we’re talking about one of the top for-profit tourist destinations in the world , run by the world’s largest entertainment company, located in the most diverse region of the country. For the vast majority of the world, parents (and teenagers) having a beer or a glass of wine with a family dinner is the norm, not something millions of children need protection from.
If you truly fear Disneyland being overrun with drunken hordes, I would recommend looking at the prices for alcohol at Walt Disney World. There’s a reason why the World Showcase is the only place you see tipsy or drunk people – that’s because the cost of alcohol is insanely expensive everywhere else. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and assume that alcohol will be just as expensive at Disneyland as it is in the Magic Kingdom, which means you’re going see very few people willing to spend /that/ much money to get drunk in the park.
Replying to Lynn, when you say “the vast majority of the world” you are incorrect. The “other countries around the world” you’re specifically referring to are generally in Europe, specifically very alcohol-tolerant countries like France. Outside of certain European nations, most countries/cultures have fairly similar views as the USA regarding how alcohol consumption is intertwined with family life, and some forbid alcohol altogether.
While there is certainly merit to further discussion about normalizing alcohol consumption, per the original post do you really feel that the widespread and life-destroying effects of alcoholism are just problems for certain American protestants? According to most studies, 8-12% of Americans are alcoholics. The OP’s point was that for those afflicted with alcoholism, Disneyland was once a safe respite from the temptation of drinking (and a safe place for families of alcoholics, where they would know their mom/dad/spouse/sibling wouldn’t be able to go overboard). I don’t personally believe Oga’s Cantina is going to singlehandedly change the nature of the park but I don’t think the concerns of those struggling with alcohol abuse/addiction should be swept aside as no more than religious zealotry.
This is why we started leaving EPCOT at dusk. I don’t understand why people “have” to drink to have fun. Go to Las Vegas. The worst is when they have babies and small children in tow.
Extremely well-articulated post. 100% concur with your conclusions.
Epcot is truly the only problem — after just returning from our kids’ first trip to Epcot, I was expecting some inebriated folks but was unprepared by the sheer level of debauchery. Worse than any “amusement park” we’ve ever attended. Beyond the generally “rowdy” large groups of folks everywhere we turned, we cringed while explaining to the kids why there were so many (MANY!) vomiting sounds coming from stalls in both the Men’s and Women’s bathrooms at the UK pavilion.
Now, I’ve been to some of the real countries/cities simulated in World Showcase, and people (including me) do tend to actually drink a lot in those real-life places, so maybe Imagineering can take some credit for that level of authenticity… 😉 But it just felt so *wrong* in the midst of the wholesome, hopeful, and congenial spirit of the park in general.
Epcot is frustrating because there are times when it’s a real problem, but rather than Disney trying to discourage the behavior (which it could easily do), they’ve doubled down on it by releasing drinking around the world merchandise and increasing the prevalence of alcohol at special events.
Even DCA, where alcohol is readily available, doesn’t have any issues. It’s the environment Disney has willfully encouraged at Epcot that has led to the problem there.
I think you make some great points! In college (before DCA), we used to take the monorail to the Disneyland hotel, have a couple drinks, and then return. And don’t even get me started on the substances that were enjoyed on the skyway. I was honestly feeling sad that DHS was going to have a true cantina and DL was going to have some sad virgin version of the same drinks. However, this is a slippery slope. I would expect Blue Bayou to be next. I have to say we like to enjoy a glass of wine with a nice dinner and would not be opposed to this. I think as long as it is kept inside a restaurant or cantina and there are no alcohol kiosks in DL, then it will not change the family-friendly atmosphere of the park I know and love.
“I would expect Blue Bayou to be next.”
Oh, for sure. I think Magic Kingdom is a good example of how this will spread. My prediction is that in less than a decade, there will be alcohol in French Market. I don’t think even that will be a problem. Beer kiosks in Fantasyland is probably a bridge too far, as it should be.
Saving money so I can buy a drink heheh. Can’t wait!!! And it also would be awesome if not even more if Tropical Hideaway sells drinks too. Yas yas yas.
I think they should add alcohol in New Orleans Square too…and possibly Tomorrowland. Might as well since it brings in so much profit.
Also, what are your thoughts on how they’re going to handle the crowds with the Star Wars land? Only allow people in with FastPasses? I feel like it’s going to be an operations nightmare. You could probably write a whole blog post on it.
“I feel like it’s going to be an operations nightmare. You could probably write a whole blog post on it.”
It will be, and I will. It’s going to be a problem well before guests enter the park. Infrastructure around Disneyland Resort is not equipped to handle the number of people this will draw.
It’s going to be insane. Just getting through security will be ridiculous. They should just keep it open 24 hours. I hope it’s worth the hype…even though I’m afraid I’ll be let down.
Let’s be honest, Disneyland has been selling alcohol for years in Club 33, now they’re opening up to the peons.
Hopefully the public is able to control their collective selves and limit boisterous behavior
I agree with you 100% on the alcohol. I hope they sell it more responsibility than EPCOT. But if they do not sell craft beer and the only drinks they sell is Bud Light (or similar) or sugary mixed drinks, then reinstate the prohibition at DL haha.
I’m sure Walt didn’t envision drinks costing $15+. I doubt they’ll be much over-drinking.
Ha, I’m sure he didn’t envision a lot about current pricing!
Those are the prices at Epcot and people are drunk their all the time.
Allowing drinks at the Cantina sounds natural and right, until a Cast Member dressed as Walrus Man* taps a patron on the shoulder and says “I don’t like you and I’ve got the death-sentence on twelve star systems!” in an effort at immersive role-play, and the patron turns around and punches him straight in the tusk.
*Original Kenner Star Wars Figure names today! Original Kenner Star Wars Figure names tomorrah! Original Kenner Star Wars Figure names forevah!
My guess is that they will be churning guests through the Cantina as quickly as possible, effectively preventing people from getting drunk there. Of course, this scenario could play out with people showing up drunk from DCA…but that would’ve been possible regardless.
I am sad and disappointed that alcohol will be served at Disneyworld!!! It takes away from the “magical”, family-centered Park that we loved. Why can’t parents enjoy a fun time with their children without having to have a “drink”? I think this new policy will open up a whole “can of worms”. Please reconsider!!! Susan