ES-Style Travel: Drinking with Mickey
I recently reached a milestone in my graduate school career, which I celebrated the best way I know how: with a vacation. Naturally, this means I have not been up to my usual baking tricks, so instead, I would like to share with you my enlightening experiences drinking in Disney World.
Considering I was eleven the last time I visited the land of the mouse, alcoholic beverages were not on my radar. And while not my primary focus (spending the trip intoxicated is not the best plan if you want to ride the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster eight times), sampling the options available did feature quite highly on my must-do list. I will admit I was actually impressed by the variety and quality throughout my trip.
One thing I will always associate with my Disney World vacations is attention to detail. Beverage selection at the park restaurants was no exception. In addition to an assortment of the standard domestic beers of the Budweiser and Miller variety, the menus expanded to include options matching each restaurant theme.
For instance, Animal Kingdom’s pan-Asian Yak and Yeti features a variety of Asian beers, such Kingfisher Lager, Singha, and Harbin. The 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios mimics dining at home in the 1950’s (complete with your waitress reminding you to eat your vegetables, because there are starving kids in China) and lists a selection of cocktails from “Dad’s Liquor Cabinet.” While most of the drinks on this list are overpriced and not the most imaginative, I’d recommend ordering at least a beer, just for the experience of having your waitress scold you for drinking.
But by far my favorite park for drinking would be Epcot, largely because of the World Showcase. Here, I drank tequila in Mexico with lunch, nearly a liter of beer in Germany with dinner, and watched fireworks with a Bass in the United Kingdom. Return trips to Epcot over the week enabled me to sample sangria and purchase wine accessories in Italy.
In addition to drinks in three of the four parks (Magic Kingdom does not serve alcohol, so feel free to cry in anguish “Why is the rum gone?” while riding Pirates of the Caribbean), we also dined at the Wilderness Lodge’s Artist Point, predominantly because its wine list is from the Pacific Northwest. I grew up just outside of Portland, Oregon and don’t find many Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs on New York City restaurant menus, so this was a particular treat.
I loved this vacation and would even say that I enjoyed Disney World more as an adult than as a kid. Did alcohol have anything to do with that? Overall, I would say no, as I think I still would have loved riding Expedition Everest and singing “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” while getting my photo taken with Mulan. That said, I still plan to wear my “Real Frauen Trinken Bier” shirt when I down a Radeberger on my next visit, because there is something to be said for vacations where you drink a beer so large, you need two hands to lift the glass.