For an extra $35, Disney World guests get to snack on “cultural fare” and toss back a shot of tequila inside EPCOT—after the park has officially closed.
Walt Disney World in Orlando just introduced a new program called the “After Hours Wind Down” at its EPCOT theme park. Admission to what’s being billed as an “exclusive after-hours lounge” experience costs $35 plus tax and tip, on top of the regular park admission—which earlier this year was hiked to $99 plus tax at Magic Kingdom, and to $95 at EPCOT and the other parks, for a single-day’s entrance.
The extra $35 grants guests a single beverage and a selection of snacks in a choice of four restaurant-lounges, each in a different country-themed EPCOT location: La Cava del Tequila (in “Mexico”), Spice Road Table (Morocco), Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar (Italy), and Rose & Crown Pub (UK). While $35 may seem like a lot for a drink and some appetizers, the real draw here seems to be the “after hours” exclusivity. The late-night lounge sessions begin after the evening’s fireworks show has ended, and guests can stay as late as 11 p.m. The masses, meanwhile, must leave by 9 p.m., which is usually the time EPCOT closes its gates.
The new program, available through September 15 with reservations available up to 180 days in advance, is the latest example of Disney’s relentless strategizing of ways to siphon more money out of guests, during more hours of the day and night. It’s also part of a smaller but noticeable trend, in which alcohol is more readily available at Disney theme parks. Only on Disney’s family-friendly terms, of course. The new EPCOT experience only includes one alcoholic beverage per person, which simultaneously increases the chances of making profits and decreases the likelihood of guests getting tipsy.
“It’s more of an educational experience than it is a party-bar atmosphere,” an EPCOT representative said to the Orlando Sentinel of the new “After Hours” program.
What’s on the after-hours menu at each of these spots? Disney hasn’t released all of the details yet. But the (unofficial) Disney Food Blog managed to wrangle up a few examples of what’s to be served. La Cava del Tequila, for instance, will offer paying guests samplers of dishes such as “Tlacoyo de Puerco (Marinated Pork served over a grilled corn dough, garnished with mixed greens and crema),” along with a choice of booze, including a “Shot of Tequila Partida Reposado” or a “Shot of Tequila Ambhar Blanco.”