Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Disney Food for Parents: Your ?Little Helper? is Only a Gift Shop ...

Normally I write about Disney Food for Families. This means I share tips about dining with children at Walt Disney World.

Sometimes a glass of wine hits the spot after a long day in the park!

But I?m here now to acknowledge that Mom and Dad are also an important part of a Disney family vacation, too. Oh gosh, am I even allowed to say that? :-)

Don?t tell my kiddos, but sometimes, after a long day of hunting for FastPasses, adjudicating squabbles, masterminding wait-time entertainment, and taking the brave one (why is there always a brave one?) on Tower of Terror for the third time in a row, yes sometimes Mommy needs a evening unwind, facilitated by a little drinkie-poo. Yep, sometimes old Mom needs a glass of wine.

Where to Kick Back?

Wine and other friendly alcoholic beverages are, of course, readily available at restaurants and lounges throughout Walt Disney World. Heck, you can now even get yourself a nice Pinot Gris in the Magic Kingdom.

But often the place you most want your relaxing drink is where you can, you know, actually relax. You want your adult beverage in your hotel room, when the pups are asleep. You want to be able to shower off the day, put your feet up, snuggle in front of a non-G-rated movie, and enjoy your vino in your jammies.

Can?t do that in the bar downstairs unless you?re in the mood for some unwanted attention from security.

Chilled wine by the bottle, for sale in the Saratoga Springs gift shop

The obvious solution is to bring a bottle of wine to your room. And, having always thought of everything, Disney is ready to accommodate.

ALL the Walt Disney World hotels sell a selection of bottled beers, wines, and spirits in their gift shops or food courts. Even better, all the Disney hotels now have in-room refrigerators provided free of charge. You can keep your hooch cool without having to make a PJ-clad run to the ice machine down the hall. (Is it super obvious that I?ve done this on more than one occasion?)

What?s Available?

The selection of bottled alcohol varies quite a bit from resort to resort and from week to week. But generally you can find several brands of domestic and imported beer, basic hard liquors, and a handful of red, white, and rose wines. The deluxe resorts also often have chilled champagne in their refrigerator cases.

To give you an idea of what you might expect, here are some photos of the alcohol selection taken at various Disney World resorts over the past 18 months:

Spirits case at the Beach Club gift shop

Red wine at the Beach Club

Wine at the Contemporary gift shop

Beer at the Art of Animation resort food court

Beer and chilled wine at the Caribbean Beach Resort food court

Some of the wines at the Boardwalk gift shop

More Boardwalk options

What?s The Cost?

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so pricing may not be top of mind when you?re purchasing wine from your Disney hotel gift shop. But during a recent stay at Disney?s Saratoga Springs resort, I decided to jot down some of the wine pricing just to get a feel for the economics of the situation.

Here are some of the wine prices at Saratoga Springs in fall 2012, all for standard 750ml bottles:

  • Markham Vinyards Napa Valley Chardonnay, 2010: $21.95
  • Kenwood White Zinfandel, 2011: $13.95
  • Rosemount Chardonnay, 2008: $14.95
  • Sterling Vinyards Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc, 2008: $12.95
  • Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot, 2009: $13.95
  • Mo?t & Chandon Imp?rial Brut Reserve: $42.95

Red wines available by the bottle in the Saratoga Springs gift shop

As a point of comparison, I looked up the pricing of these bottles on, a wine shopping aggregator, which gives prices for online and retail wine vendors throughout the world.

Here?s the same list with the Vinopedia price range in bold next to the Disney gift shop price. Prices are given in a range because they represent the sales prices for several independent vendors:

  • Markham Vinyards Napa Valley Chardonnay, 2010: $21.95; $12.92-$23.36
  • Kenwood White Zinfandel, 2011: $13.95; $8.94-$14.91
  • Rosemount Chardonnay, 2008: $14.95; $8.90-$9.94
  • Sterling Vinyards Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc, 2008: $12.95; $12.92-17.89
  • Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot, 2009: $13.95; $5.96-$17.89
  • Mo?t & Chandon Imp?rial Brut Reserve: $42.95; $33.81-$60.77

The good news is that in gift shop wine, Disney?s pricing is quite reasonable.

If you?re driving to Disney World and can comparison shop at home for your favorite brand, you might as well throw a bottle or two in the car to prepare for your night time tipple. But if you?re traveling by air or find that you need some spur-of-the-moment fortification, you can feel good that you?re not getting swindled on your purchase.

Also remember that if you?re a plan-ahead person and are looking for something a little more fancy-schmancy, there are bottled wines and spirits available for purchase at the Italy, Germany, France, and Japan pavilions at Epcot. Salute!

Germany Wine

I have not done a similar scout for food court beer pricing. Given that supermarket or warehouse club beer is often deeply discounted, my sense is that beer drinkers will find the Disney prices to be more jarring. If you?re a big beer drinker, you may want to shop off campus or look into a delivery from a service like

So fellow over-21s, have you ever purchased bottled alcohol from a Disney resort gift shop? How did you feel about the selection and pricing? Do you have any advice for fellow travelers? Let us know in the comments below.

Erin Foster is the Disney Food for Families columnist and a behind-the-scenes guru here at Disney Food Blog! Check out more of her posts here.

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