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Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch: A Practical Cafe Serves a Popular Coffee

by Reuben Gutierrez

16 June 2013

Word on the street is Walt Disney World's Main Street Bakery is reopening VERY soon for soft openings. While it's had refurbishments before, this time, the bakery's return will bring Starbucks brand coffee to the park, creating the first Starbucks for Disney's Florida resort. The first Starbucks location at the Disney Theme Parks and Resorts opened in Disney's California Adventure on the new Buena Vista Street, actually one year ago yesterday.

When plans for Starbucks in Disney World were first announced, social media and internet forums were abuzz with the presence of the major 3rd party company in a Disney theme park. The main concern was how would Starbucks, a very modern, real world, ubiquitous coffee shop fit into theme parks designed to take you away from the real world. Starbucks started in the not so distant past in 1971 Seattle, WA. When announced, the planned locations for the first two Disney Starbucks were main streets set in turn of the century small town America and roaring 20's Hollywood. On June 15, 2012 once the Fiddler, Fifer& Practical Cafe opened its doors at the end of Buena Vista Street, answering the question as to how a Starbucks would fare in a park.

Disney Theme Parks are movies made into real life. For their first Starbucks, the setting is 1920's Hollywood, the scene is a coffee and sandwich shop, the star is YOU. When I took my first steps onto that set on the roundabout anchored by the Carthay Circle Theater, my first thought as I gazed around Hollywood was''where is the Starbucks?' The Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe blends in so well to the rest of the scene that you have to really be looking for the Starbucks' name to know it's there.

Starbucks in Disney
Two signs in theme with the rest of the street bookend the entrance to the Cafe, indicating Starbucks is here

Starbucks in Disney
The vertical sign by the side entrance indicate this is a Cafe and bakery, not a Starbucks coffee shop

While the cafe's name is in reference to the title characters of Walt Disney's 1933 Silly Symphony 'The Three Little Pigs,' its backstory is actually about its founders: a trio of musicians (much like the three little pigs) called the Silver Lake Sisters who are featured all over the d'cor of the Cafe. The three sisters have performed at such venues as the Hollywood Tower Hotel, which is down the street of the Cafe. While the backstory is fictitious, the name 'Silver Lake' is actually in reference to the neighborhood where Walt Disney moved his studio after it outgrew the property on Kingswell Avenue in Los Angeles.

Starbucks in Disney
This community bulletin board is surrounded by black and white photographs of the Silver Lake Sisters. The posts on the board reference other areas of Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land.

The Cafe offers a lot more in both space and menu offerings than what I judged from the outside. The seating capacity is comparable to that of many medium sized quick service locations in Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Starbucks in Disney
Plenty of seating in a spacious dining area

Starbucks in Disney
Counter seating by the windows

The menu is not limited to Starbucks' pastries and baked goods, but also includes sandwiches, salads, soups, Disney pastries, and a breakfast menu. And of course, you'll also find all of your Starbucks favorites: Frappuccino, Smoothies, Espresso, Refreshers, Iced and Regular coffees, Tazo Tea, and more.

Starbucks in Disney
Both Starbucks pastries and Disney pastries and baked goods are sold here

Starbucks in Disney
Some Vanilla beverage specials were featured on the menu.

Starbucks in DisneyStarbucks in Disney
Special Disney-Starbucks paper products were made.

Starbucks in Disney
Condiments stations are similar to those found in Starbucks

The Fiddler, Fifer, & Practical Cafe is simply a Cafe that features Starbucks products with a Disney cast trained with the Starbucks know-how. It fits in perfectly as a 1920s era Cafe in both visuals and functionality. I was pleased to see how seamless the experience was in terms of placing a corporate leader in the coffee industry into the Disney theme parks; nowhere was there an in-your-face Starbucks is here campaign. The signage if anything is informative more so than advertising, and such a quaint Cafe should be pleased to inform guests that they serve a popular and quality brand of coffee and beverages.

Starbucks in Disney
Disney Cast Members fill the roles of baristas. Their costumes are in theme with the land, not Starbucks.

Starbucks in Disney
Signs posted out front indicate the menu inside, featuring Starbucks products

With the first Disney-Starbucks location complete, I have better hopes for the Starbucks coming to Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. Buena Vista Street is a significant improvement to its predecessor, though Main Street is in a sense sacred territory. These past few weeks at MK, an old fashioned version of the Starbucks Logo (the same one seen in the picture below) has appeared on a hanging sign by the bakery doors and etched on the glass windows of the storefront. In comparison to DCA's Starbucks signage, the MK's signs are significantly larger and in your face. Keep in mind though, the brand name advertisement would not be uncommon on a Main Street, Disney or anywhere; just take a look at Disneyland's Coke Corner or your neighborhood delicatessen. The good thing is the Main Street Bakery's name has not changed, so the idea of an establishment serving Starbucks products is still in place here. The not so distant future will tell us how Starbucks will fit into turn of the century America. Hopefully, the experience will be as seamless and enjoyable as the Starbucks in 1920s Hollywood.

Starbucks in Disney


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