Resort-based bar-hopping was not on Walt’s must-have list back in the day, but times have changed. A lot.
“Drinking Around the World” at Epcot is totally a thing. Adult beverages beckon from every corner of the Orlando empire. Even the teetotaling Magic Kingdom finally added some options in 2012.
In fact, locals deal with an acute babysitter shortage come Epcot Food & Wine Festival Season, as parents keen on a sans-kids visit make their date-night plans. (Okay, we made that one up, but it sounds entirely plausible.)
So, which Disney dens of the drink are best? That’s subjective, of course, but those listed below will add a bit of figurative sparkle to any magical day or night.
And for literal sparkle, we suggest a Kir Royale by the fountain at Epcot’s France Pavilion. Or anyplace that serves Glow Cubes.
Margaritas may star, but craft beer fans can sample some great Florida locals here, as well — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
Dockside Margaritas, Downtown Disney Marketplace
We dig this airy new outdoor oasis! And not just for the boozy bevs.
There’s loads of comfortable, pergola-shaded seating; grouped sections and a long lineup of water-view rail seats take full advantage of the location.
Live music makes it sweeter, so try a habanero lime margarita to spice it back up. Listen and lounge, or watch the people parade go by.
On the water side, you can take in the Characters in Flight balloon ride and marvel at the changing landscape, as Downtown Disney continues its morph into Disney Springs. You may even see those towering cranes in action.
Got kids who are less than enthused about sitting down for a rest? Grab yours to go and keep walking. Top-shelf tequila may help quiet out your barking dogs.
Blanco and reposado and añejo, oh my! La Cava's "library" is extensive. — Photo courtesy of Disney
La Cava del Tequila, Epcot
This could be called the Disney World of tequila bars, but that’s a lame idea that only seems clever after sampling a few of its more than 70 varieties.
Flights allow for savoring, for recognizing notes of citrus, caramel or oak.
Got a Mission: SPACE FastPass coming up quick? Pad that flight with something from La Cava’s limited but “does the job” bites menu.
Creative margaritas are among the stars here. Avocado, coffee and cucumber are just a few; there are plenty of traditional and fruity options, as well.
No time for a Dawa pit stop? You'll find beer, wine and African rum cocktails to go at Wanjohi Refreshments inside the all new Harambe Market. — Photo courtesy of Matt Stroshane / Disney
Dawa Bar, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
When it’s Africa-hot at Disney, which is often the case, it’s time to hit the shady, open-air Dawa Bar, a perfect precursor to the Festival of the Lion King or post-Kilimanjaro Safari whistle-wetter.
Our call: the refreshing Harambe Cooler. But a frosty African lager will serve just as well.
Dawa is relaxing and breezy. It often comes paired with the happy, rhythmic energy of the African musicians who play in the marketplace throughout the day.
"Immersive" is the word at Trader Sam's. Literally, if you order the aquarium-sized Uh Oa. — Photo courtesy of David Roark / Disney
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Know that South Pacific trip you’ve been dreaming of? Enjoy a virtual version at the Poly, where strong, multiple-liquor libations make the illusion ever so believable.
The lights are low; the Disney magic is animatronic; and the tiki mugs are for taking home. small uptick on the cocktail price required. (They’ll give you a clean, boxed one when you cash out.)
No-booze brews and souvenir cups give the kids something to enjoy with Pacific-influenced appetizers as they wait for Goddess Uh-Oa to make an appearance.
Dig the rum, but less enthused by theatrics? The whole menu’s available out back on the lovely Tiki Terrace, without the wrathful deities.
Tart, sweet, hand-crafted in house: Raglan Road's Raspy Old Fashioned — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
Raglan Road, Downtown Disney
A relatively recent menu refresher has created a craft cocktail-lover's haven amid this hallowed hall of draught-drawn Irish staples like Guinness and Smithwicks.
We’ve tried them. They’re good. Particularly in succession. But we recommend a softer approach to your sampling.
The Irish Honey Cup stars Bushmills and Pimms alongside cucumber, honey and lemon, while the Raspy Old Fashioned takes Tennessee whiskey and Irishes it up with house-made Guinness glaze and raspberry puree.
Too crafty? Go trad with a whiskey flight and always – always – folksy Irish music and dance.