Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger recently gave a wide-ranging interview to Hollywood Reporter. There were plenty of subjects to cover — Roseanne Barr, ESPN, the upcoming streaming service — but the article saves the theme-park element for the final paragraphs. Specifically, he addressed the addition of alcohol at Disneyland’s under-construction Star Wars land.
He took a lighthearted approach when Hollywood Reporter’s editorial director Matthew Belloni pointed out that Disneyland purists were unhappy with the move.
“We have to be careful we don’t let people drink and then go on Autopia. [Laughs]” the story reads and then notes that Walt Disney himself had said no booze at the park.
“Yeah, except I think Walt had a nip or two in his apartment at night. [Laughs],” Iger responds. “I am a big believer on tradition. This just seemed like one of those traditions that if we changed it the empire wasn’t going to crumble.”
The area — officially known as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — will open in California next year, months ahead of its clone at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park.
At Walt Disney World, the Magic Kingdom — basically the Florida equivalent of Disneyland Park — was alcohol-free for decades. That changed with the arrival of Be Our Guest Restaurant in the new part of Fantasyland. Beer and wine with dinner was introduced there. Since then, the options have expanded but are restricted to the theme park’s sit-down restaurants during regular operating hours.
Liquor is sold at Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot, which is currently hosting a popular food and wine festival.
Other highlights from Iger’s Hollywood Reporter interview: He’s impressed with the content from Netflix and Amazon (“But none of them is either Disney or Marvel. Or Pixar. Or Star Wars or National Geographic or FX or Searchlight or Avatar.”), he likes Rupert Murdoch’s “guts and his vision,” and the company is going to be careful about the timing of more “Star Wars” flicks.
And this on the #MeToo front:
“”It’s critical for us as leaders in this industry to create safe environments for people who have been victims of abuse to speak up and feel safe about speaking up and for others who have witnessed abuse to do the same,” he said. “It’s critical.”
The interview can be read at hollywoodreporter.com.