Disney bans kids from restaurant
Published: Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 2:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 2:24 p.m.
ORLANDO, Fla. - Walt Disney World, home of Mickey Mouse, Tigger and Tinkerbell, has banned young children from its fanciest restaurant.
Beginning this week, children under 10 are no longer welcome at Victoria & Albert's in the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the theme park's only restaurant with an AAA five-diamond rating.
"We want to be the restaurant that's available for that adult experience," said general manager Israel Perez.
Disney says it is responding to its guests' desires after surveys showed many diners wanted a more-adult restaurant atmosphere, said Rosemary Rose, Disney's vice president for food, beverage and merchandise operations.
"Combined with the research we've done with five-diamond restaurants outside Central Florida and the guest feedback we've gotten ... we stepped back and said it's time to take a look at this practice," Rose said.
Still, Rose said there are plenty of other dining options for families. Disney World has 97 other full-service restaurants. She also said that only about three families a month ever brought young children to Victoria & Albert's, which has the highest prices and the most intimate and elegant atmosphere at Disney World.
Men are required to wear jackets, and women must wear dresses or pantsuits. The hushed atmosphere features live harp music, and the menu, which changes daily, offers seven-course dinners that can last as long as three hours. Prices start at $125 a person.
"I get it. I'm a parent myself," Rose said.
David Koenig, author of "Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World," said the ban on children could be a master marketing stroke for the theme park.
"Word will get out, and people will go, 'Oh, wow, I didn't realize it (the restaurant) was that special of a place,'" Koenig said.
It isn't the first time Disney banned children from establishments. Disney has periodically barred children who are not with adults from its Pleasure Island entertainment district and from individual nightclubs.
Disney also has an adults-only restaurant on its two cruise ships.
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