Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be arriving at the Disneyland Resort in 2019. With it, comes new experiences, entertainment, and probably things we haven’t even considered yet. This will be the ultimate immersive Disney experience to date when it opens.
Yesterday, it was announced that Oga’s Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will sell alcohol. It should come as no surprise that this was met with controversy. Some are excited about this experience, others are on the other end of this spectrum. For over six decades, the Disneyland park has been an alcohol-free park. Unless visiting Club 33 or attending a special event, alcohol has not been seen at the happiest place on Earth. Now, this reality will be changing next year.
The introduction of alcohol to Disneyland Park won’t be the end of the world or galaxy. I will admit, through the years my opinion on this has changed on this matter. This change in perspective really comes through my observations and experiences in Disney Theme Parks over the last couple of decades.
It’s a Cantina
Watch any Star Wars movie with a Cantina in it and there are a few things that are almost guaranteed to be there. First off, it’ll be a hive of scum and villainy. Second, there is going to be some form of unique music. Lastly, people are always hanging off the bar or seated at dimly lit tables. My assumption has always been that they aren’t just drinking blue milk at these cantinas. For the true Cantina experience, alcohol makes sense. I presume it won’t JUST be alcohol though. It will be themed alcohol and non-alcohol drinks. Much like there are some surprisingly special drinks at Lamplight Lounge in Pixar Pier (see some here), I assume Oga’s Cantina will take it to a whole new level! The drinks offered will add to the story of the Cantina and connect with the narrative of Battu. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some connections in the menu with both connections to Black Spires Outpost but also the greater Star Wars story and its characters.
It’s Controlled & Contained
One of the reasons I find myself being so comfortable with Disney’s decision to serve alcohol in Oga’s Cantina is the fact that it is in a controlled environment. This will be much like Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. People will come, people will enjoy, people will leave. It is quite possible that a guest could spend an entire day at the park, not visit Oga’s Cantina, and leave not realizing alcohol was served at all.
Disney isn’t talking about people walking around Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge with yellow cups. Instead, it is looking like alcohol will be served exclusively in the Cantina. This shouldn’t be changing the atmosphere at the Disneyland Resort because it just shouldn’t be out and about.
It’s Already There
It should be noted that alcohol is already being served at Disneyland. For decades members have been able to visit Club 33 for adult beverages. This has had little to no impact on the guest experience outside the club. The addition of alcohol in the Cantina will be similar (yes, it’s quite different) as it is a controlled and contained environment that will serve alcohol. Personally, I think I might be more excited about the out of this world drinks to be found at Oga’s. My point really is though, I think that if it is ok to serve alcohol at Club 33, it should be ok at Oga’s Cantina.
It Will Be Popular
Let’s face it, this is something that will be ridiculously popular. This doesn’t build my case on if it is ok or not. It does recognize the fact that Disney is recognizing an economic opportunity and seizing it. At the end of the day, The Walt Disney Company is a business that is constantly looking to better itself and its profits. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I think it is something that continues to benefit us as consumers. It leads to new experiences like piloting the Millennium Falcon, visiting Pandora aboard the back of a Banshee, or experiencing Mickey’s imagination! As Disney comes up with new ways to make money, they are also innovating ways to improve the guest experience. Those two types of innovation always need to be interconnected. It ensures that we as consumers feel that we are getting a value on what we are purchasing.
What Would Walt Want?
I often hear the statement about what Walt Disney would want. That’s always a slippery slope of a conversation to go down on. Yes, we know the statements that Walt Disney made about innovation and change. We also know that he was a genius when it came to getting what he wanted. We also know that he wanted to give his guests what they wanted, within the context of the family. I wouldn’t presume to know what Walt Disney would have wanted when it comes to alcohol in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. As I sit here writing this post, I can think of fairly compelling arguments both ways. Heck, Holidayland sold beer from 1957-1961 but it was technically a part of Disneyland. A whole rabbit trail of discussion could start right there! However, I’m not going to go down that route today.
Instead, I’m going to encourage everyone to do something that might be viewed as counter-intuitive. Stop. Make a real effort to see what someone else’s opinion is on this matter. Go a step further. Try to understand where they are coming from and why. Now, embrace that person and their position. I’m not saying you have to agree with it. I am saying that we should spend a lot more time trying to understand each other over attacking each other. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is going to be awesome and I can’t wait for it! I personally would rather focus on the things I’m excited about than to dwell on the things I’m not. This new land is a dream come true for so many. Let’s make a concerted effort to keep the dream alive and not try to turn it into a nightmare.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is still about a year away from opening at the Disneyland Resort and then later Walt Disney World Resort. At this point, there is more unknown about what will be experienced there than known. As we count down the days, weeks, and months to its opening I would love to see a focus on the things we are excited about and not the little things we aren’t. So I ask, what are you most excited about for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Let me know in the comments below!