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Disney Whirl: Goodbye "MGM" . . . and Kids

John Deiner

Disney news. There's always Disney news.

First up, if you didn't hear, there is no longer a Disney-MGM Studios. This week, the park officially became Disney's Hollywood Studios. It's evidently going to take a while to totally change all the signage, but from now on, that's the name of the place.

Never been a fan of Epcot, but the movie-themed park has always been my favorite of the Disney behemoths -- though it's not as large as the others. I totally dig the Tower of Terror, and that faux indoor drive-in movie theater where you eat in fake cars. Plus, I'm a movie buff. There's a nice blog report on the place on the Web site.

Maybe a little more interesting to those of you who hate to spend lots of money on a meal only to be, uh, disturbed by wee ones, is the report earlier this week that Disney has given the heave-ho to kids 10 and under at Victoria & Albert's, a AAA five-diamond eatery in the Grand Floridian resort.

According to the Associated Press story, Rosemary Rose, Disney's vice president for food, beverage and merchandise operations., said only about three families a month brought small children into the place.

The story continues: "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."

Hmmm. Why would anyone bring a small child into that sort of situation? Especially at Disney, which the story says has 97 other full-service restaurants. I know kids just devour live harp music, but come on . . . !!


By John Deiner |  January 9, 2008; 7:35 AM ET  | Category:  Family Travel , John Deiner
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I was shocked at some of the places that parents brought their kids to while I was in Maui. Several places were prix fixe and didn't have a children's menu for the kids to choose from. I don't have any problems with dining around well behaved children, and I certainly commend parents for trying to raise their children on something other than chicken tenders and mac and cheese, but I couldn't believe that the parents were willing to shell out $125+ on meals that the kids seemed to only push around their plates.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | January 9, 2008 11:03 AM

Man - from the headline, I thought they were going to close the park....

I, too, dig the Tower of Terror and the Drive-In restaurant on our occasional family jaunts (we go en masse about every 5 years). If you go for dinner in the evening, you can get their milkshakes blended with a shot of something more adult - great after a long day of shepherding kids around the parks ;)

As for kids in fancy restaurants? My parents raised us to go out to fancy restaurants with them from time to time when we were younger than 10, both to expand our palette and to teach us how to behave appropriately in that kind of situation. But those were days where we played early, napped/rested heavily so we wouldn't get cranky in the middle of dinner, were spit-shined and put into our best clothes, and were told in no uncertain circumstances that we MUST behave.

All that is pretty much counter to time at DisneyWorld. No surprise they had to ban adults from bringing their kids - after all the character meals and fun restaurants, V&A's was probably tantrum-inducing.

Odd, when you consider that Disney offers bonded baby-sitting services for little ones, and plenty of kid-friendly spaces for the slightly older ones. Book yourself either one of these and enjoy your adult dinner, and let the other diners enjoy theirs.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | January 9, 2008 11:49 AM

duh..that would be "expand our palate"...who needs a bigger platform for paints....

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | January 9, 2008 11:50 AM

Believe me - there are people will bring their kid anywhere and everywhere. Kudos to Disney for making a small corner of their massive park adults only.

Posted by: Washington | January 9, 2008 1:14 PM

Disagree completely about MGM studios, or Hollywood Studios as it is now called. Outside of the Tower of Terror, there were very little atractions worth seeing. The movie rides were lame (at one point our tram stopped and we got to see an area flooded - wow). The rest was just more ways to shake money out of you with gift shops and restaurants. When I go again, I won't waste my time there.

Posted by: Bob | January 9, 2008 1:30 PM

I also loved MGM Studios- and as long as they don't change the park, I'm sure it will still be fabulous- my favorite rides included the Rockin' Roller Coaster, and even though it was slow, the movie/studio/boat ride thing (on a hot July day, it was wonderful!). My husband and I ate at the V&A a few years ago when we visited Disney World, and the food and service was fantastic. A really romantic dinner than was worth every penny we paid. It would NOT have been worth it if someone's child had been acting the way children act in a restaurant. This is a LONG dinner- like in the neighborhood of 2 hours- even the best behaved children don't do that very well. Disney is entirely right in banning children from such a place. This is not a character breakfast- it's an adults-only romantic dinner. And no, I don't hate children- I have a 2 year old. And I would never expect him to sit through a 2 hour dinner, even though he is extremely well-behaved when we eat out at family-friendly restaurants such as Panera (with fast service!). Disney probably did it because some folks asked for refunds on their 125$ dinner when someone else's kid ruined a special, romantic evening!

Posted by: Tiffany | January 10, 2008 3:06 PM

I'm glad that Disney had the guts to make one of their restaurants adults-only. The company has these facilities on their cruise ships, so they have some experience in adult-only establishments. Frankly, though, there are some places in WDW that should be placed off-limits to the under 10 group, such as Downtown Disney, Grand Floridian Resort, and the Disney Yacht Club.

Posted by: ShepCWillner | January 14, 2008 1:30 PM

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