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Carl the Croc-Wrestling Bartender and the Magical Pint of Guinness

If you’re lucky, you’ve found yourself once or twice squeezed into the fun little Rose and Crown pub in Epcot’s UK pavilion. If you’re really lucky, you’ve found yourself there with wonderful friends and a nourishing pint of Guinness. And if you’re REALLY, really lucky, you’ve found yourself a guest of Carl the Bartender — the most dynamic entertainer this side of the pond!

So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, let’s talk about Carl the bartender and his famous balancing pint of Guinness.

Rose and Crown Carl the Bartender

I wandered into the pub one day, snapping pics as I’m wont to do in Disney World dining establishments, and Carl, who was filling a pint glass with Guinness for a guest, struck up a conversation. I quickly noticed his handiwork on the head of the pint (a lovely and ever-so-appropriate shamrock) and asked the guest if I could take a photo of his beer. He obliged, and I soon found out that Carl happens to be well known for his “Glass-Balanced-On-A-Dime” trick, which of course I needed to see!

Shamrock Design on Top of Guinness

Shamrock Design on Top of Guinness

First, Carl did his impressive trick of balancing an empty glass on a dime…

One glass...

One glass...

…then he decided to top himself by balancing two glasses on dimes…

Two Glass...

Two Glass...

…but he then grabbed the nearly full pint of Guinness and proceeded to do the following:

Guinness Glass...

Guinness Glass...

Balanced Glass!

Balanced Glass!

Ta-DA!!! I promise you, folks, this glass is not touching anything but the bar and the dime. That thing is completely balanced on a coin! I have no idea how he did it, and if you do, you’re welcome to share! I was duly impressed and astonished, as I’m sure most people are, by Carl’s magic trick.

But, I have to admit, I was more impressed by Carl himself. Carl is a point of pride for the Rose and Crown Pub. He’s been there for decades, and his employment has resulted in many, many “regulars” at the pub. But even if you aren’t one of his “regulars,” he’ll never treat you any differently than he does them. It seems to me that Carl pretty much considers everyone he meets to be a part of his tight-knit circle of friends…which is an amazing trait to have, and especially useful for a cast member at a place as transitional as Walt Disney World. Those of us who only get to visit once a year, or even less, love to be made to feel “at home” in our very favorite place, and Carl is a true expert at doing that.

This is surely part of why he was inducted into the tiny group of cast members who have received the coveted “Partners in Excellence Award,” an honor for which less than 2% of Disney cast members are nominated and even fewer actually win. This isn’t just any award; awardees are nominated by their colleagues and undergo a long review process. Only the most deserving get the prize — a Partners in Excellence pin depicting the Walt and Mickey statue, “Partners,” to wear on their cast member badges — and the knowledge that their colleagues have voted to recognize their exceptional work.

Carl's Partners in Excellence Award Pin

Carl's Partners in Excellence Award Pin

After the magic trick, we soon started chatting about Carl’s tenure at Disney, and he quickly pulled out a packet of photos from behind the bar. Carl and I started walking down memory lane, which, for him, included both alligator wrestling and decades working for Disney, where he’s no doubt delighted hundreds of thousands of guests just as he did me.

One of Carl's First Jobs in Florida

One of Carl's First Jobs in Florida

Carl's Early Days at Rose and Crown...He's the One in the Middle

Carl's Early Days at Rose and Crown...He's the One in the Middle

Can you believe that Crocodile Dundee shot?!? Anyway, it was truly my pleasure to meet and speak with Carl, and if you find yourself in the pub sometime soon, I hope you’ll take the chance to shake his hand and thank him for being the embodiment of the “Disney Difference.” He, and other CMs like him, are the reason you and I keep spending our hard-earned cash to go back to “this happy place.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Carl, I hope you get to read this, and that a copy of this little post goes into your magical file of memories. Don’t worry about printing it; I’ll bring you one the next time I’m in town. ;-) Also, I’m really sorry if a bunch of people start to come into the pub and ask to see your alligator wrestling photo. It’s just cool, that’s all.

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35 Comments

  1. TraciLeigh says:

    What a great post! I love when I read things that just leave me smiling…and this did!

    Those ‘crocodile dundee’ pics are great…and wow — I would never get that close to an alligator!

    I’ll be stopping at the Rose & Crown on my next trip (whenever that is!) just to see Carl. :)

  2. AJ says:

    Traci — Thank you so much! What great feedback! I know I’m going to make the pub a stop on my trips from now on!

  3. Gerard Walen says:

    I may be mistaken, but I’ve heard that bartenders who can do the “shamrock pour” are trained at the Guinness brewery in Ireland. Did he mention if he made that trip?

  4. AJ says:

    Gerard — Thanks for your comment. Carl didn’t mention a trip to Dublin (and I wasn’t in-the-know enough to ask), but I wouldn’t be surprised! The Shamrock on that pour is better than any I’ve seen before! I’ll ask the next time I see him. Thank you for the interesting info!

  5. Chip says:

    Nom Nom Nom Guinness :)
    I will be drinking Crown Floats tonight to celebrate St Patty’s Day!!!

    Great Post AJ you can tell a good story yourself ;)

    Wish we could have visited the R&C on our last trip but opted for another place instead when the greeters were kinda rude to us..

  6. Gray says:

    Great article! It’s cast members like Carl that make WDW so special. What a life he has led.

  7. AJ says:

    Thanks, Gray!! He really is exemplary.

  8. Kelsey says:

    Since we’re on the topic of R&C’s beer…. i’ve read in a couple of places, including a Frommer’s guide, that the pub had a “beer warmer” to bring the ice cold beer down to a “real” British beer temp. While in Epcot a few months ago, we tried to order one and were laughed at (literally, rudely), and then ridiculed by all of the staff behind the counter.

    Anybody else heard of the “beer warmer” or understand why there are some mixed information regarding it? If you laugh at me, I will boycott you. :)

  9. Kelsey says:

    By the way, Carl was not one of the bartenders that rainy day!

  10. AJ says:

    Kelsey — No laughing here! I have no idea about a beer-warmer! I can’t see why they’d pay to refrigerate the beer and then warm it up unless beer has to be refrigerated? Hoping for some smart beer-lovers out there to come give us the scoop. Thanks for the FYI that Carl wasn’t one of the bartenders; I imagine he’d keep things under better control!

  11. Kelsey says:

    Here is my evidence… see the forth sentence of the first paragraph…

    I was really excited for tepid beer! :)

    http://www.frommers.com/destinations/waltdisneyworld/D39336.html

  12. AJ says:

    Ha ha!! I’m so glad you said you were excited for tepid beer — that’s the best line ever. Going to look at the evidence! :-)

  13. [...] Carl the Croc-Wrestling Bartender and the Magical Pint of Guinness | the disney food blog [...]

  14. Disney in December says:

    Congratulations, Carl!!! You rock!

    The write up said everything that my husband & I would say about Carl. We can’t wait to visit Disney/Carl again soon.

  15. AJ says:

    Thanks, Disney in December! It was a true honor to meet Carl!

  16. Laurie says:

    Yes, Carl is truly a treasure…my husband and I met him years ago during one of our “pub crawls” at Disney. He quickly became a close friend of ours and our annual visits together are always filled with great stories and laughs! So glad that others have recognized him with such high accolades! Great article!

  17. AJ says:

    Laurie — Thank you for your comment and kudos. Carl deserves all the accolades he gets, to be sure. :-)

  18. Epcot Fan says:

    Just wanted to let you know that Carl got a copy of this and has been showing it to guests non stop! He loves this article and loves that he is an internet celeb! I am a local regular and Carl is the reason I go to the Rose and Crown Pub. Way to go Carl!

  19. AJ says:

    HOORAY! Epcot Fan, thanks for letting me know that Carl saw the blog! I’m thrilled that he’s enjoying it!

  20. Grahame says:

    Carl has always had a trick or two up his sleeve. Best friend and bar tender a man could ever have. (and woman)

    Cheers Carl

    Grahame

  21. Malcolm Parran says:

    I’m so glad someone gave Carl his due on the internet. He’s the best bartender in WDW.

  22. Stacy says:

    Best Guiness I’ve ever had – and the bar tricks made me feel stupid on my birthday :-)

    Thanks Carl! We had a blast!

    Stacy

  23. Carl the bartender says:

    Thanks AJ for the blog i was told about it by some of the guests that visit
    I have had quite a few guest tell me that they read about the blog and wanted to meet me in person and most of them want to get a photo with me and see the guinness glass trick
    I just wanted to say thanks to you and all that read it. best withes to all.
    Carl the Bartender Rose & Crown Epcot

  24. AJ says:

    Carl! So great to hear from you! Hopefully I’ll get the chance to stop in this weekend and say Hello!

  25. Carl the bartender says:

    AJ. I only work Monday – Friday but would like to meet
    Up with you for a pint or two LOL
    Let me know when you plan on stopping in
    Look forward to meeting you soon Carl the bartender

  26. AJ says:

    Carl! I’ll be there on St. Paddy’s day this year! Looking forward to seeing you!

  27. Christina says:

    Ohmigosh! I need to make it a point to meet Carl on my trip in December! My father-in-law would love to chat him up (as would I)!! Plus, FIL hasn’t been to R&C ever – what a treat!! Thanks for the hint…I always learn something new from DFB! :)

  28. AJ says:

    Christina — Definitely! He’s such a genuinely nice guy.

  29. mike and heather says:

    We have been 25 times in the last 5 years and carl has taken care of us all but one time. had amazing conversation and great times at the rose and crown. epcot is where we hang out and come all the way from maine to enjoy this place. We love carl and our crew of friends all know him also. Thanks carl.

  30. Greg & Shai says:

    What can we say…..the best bartender we have ever met. It is always the high point of our vacation to visit Carl at the R&C. We were honored this year by Carl adding us to his book. That is a real privilege. Thank you for all the great times in the past present and future. Cheers mate!!!

  31. Carla T says:

    My husband, daughter and I are going to EPCOT in March and I hope we get a chance to meet Carl! Thank you for this blog post. I love this!

  32. AJ says:

    Carla — Carl works Mon-Fri during the day! Don’t miss him! :-)

  33. Darren says:

    Just got back from disney, stopped in to get a pint while my family was shopping in The United Kingdom shopping. Never heard of Carl however had the joy to met and be served by him. I sat for a while just listening to him chat it up with a fellow country man. He served me the Carl blend, does anyone know the two beers he uses I know one is not Guiness it was an ambler beer made the two end taps. He is a cool guy cheers Carl

  34. Carl the Bartender thanks says:

    Thanks for stopping in
    It’s called a Carl’s Combo =
    Bass first then the Stella =
    Good in any weather ASK =
    Any Smart Fella cheers Carl

  35. Tasha Lopez says:

    On vacation in Epcot Florida. My friends and I stopped in the pub. Carl was delightful and such a nice and delightful man. Our group (we were 6) ate, drank and just relaxed in the pub for about an hour. Carl is a gem.

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