THROWBACK: This week, I’ll be bumping up a few posts of moderate interest from past years before we return to our regularly scheduled programming on Monday. As you may recall, there was quite a bit of hubbub over Starbucks taking over Main Street Bakery at Magic Kingdom back in 2012. This post considers some of the criticism.
I wasn’t going to. But I don’t want to be left out.
Early last month, in this post, I mentioned that Main Street Bakery would be converting over to a Starbucks location early next year. This was not a big secret. Yesterday, Disney Parks Blog ran this story, available in its entirety here.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind. The first is that the “Main Street Bakery” is not going anywhere.
Remember how much work Disney put in to the facade earlier this year?
We’re not talking about a paint job. Disney “literally” removed the entire facade and rebuilt it from the ground up. That’s why it took almost seven months.
It looked like this in January.
Inside, you can probably expect to see some changes. Objectively(?), the seating area is currently small, kind of depressing, and doesn’t effectively take advantage of the space. The tile floor is drab. The lighting is dark. The counter seating around the side, in an attempt to increase capacity, has guests staring blankly at a wall. But Disney isn’t turning this into a Downtown Chicago, sterile, corporate (SOULLESS I TELL YOU!) Starbucks location. Per Disney Parks Blog:
Both locations will be designed to fit the theme of their surroundings. At Magic Kingdom Park, for example, cast members will wear a costume consistent with the early 20th century look and feel of Main Street, U.S.A
Disney is in charge here. Even the cast members working the location will remain on Disney’s payroll. They are not Starbucks employees.
Finally, to quote a followup answer on the Parks Blog, “Yes there will be a selection of Disney favorites that you’ve enjoyed at the bakery over the years,” in addition to the Starbucks coffee, pastries, sandwiches, etc.
Now, Disney Parks Blog did a lousy job of addressing obvious concerns. They should have made what I just told you clearer. They also don’t discuss which “Disney favorites” will remain available. While this is the first Starbucks at Walt Disney World, it isn’t the first Starbucks in a Disney theme park. There’s already one in California, which Disney Food Blog has a nice look at here. I’d take a look at that Starbucks before reserving judgement on what Starbucks at Magic Kingdom will look like.
Point: Starbucks is already so expensive, what’s a latte going to cost at Disney World, $50? LOL!
Counterpoint: No. Take a look at pricing in California.
Now compare it to Disney pricing:
Looks like you have your choice of about four drinks with no sizing considerations as it stands. Starbucks at California Adventure has over 25 choices and you know exactly what you’re going to get size-wise. You also have the option to customize the beverage to your specifications with some easily laid out options.
This is what a $3.99 Disney French Vanilla Iced Coffee looks like. It’s at most 16 ounces. What can I get for four bucks at Starbucks? A 31 ounce Iced Coffee with four flavor choices, including Vanilla. On top of all that, Starbucks also offers seasonal choices like their Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Point: But they’re taking away my favorite items like the Cinnamon Roll and the Ice Cream Sandwich!
Counterpoint: Maybe, but those items are still going to be available, even if they’re not at Main Street Bakery. For example, your Ice Cream Sandwich is available at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments in Liberty Square:
And they have a lot more choices, including seasonal ice cream flavors like Birthday Cake and Pumpkin.
For the Cinnamon Roll, it probably isn’t a coincidence that it’s one of the featured items back at Gaston’s Tavern. I’ve been told the glaze is different or something? Try to keep an open mind. Sometimes adults have to deal with small changes.
Point: Starbucks is an evil corporation that has no business being in any Disney Park, let alone Main Street USA!
Counterpoint: Probably. But they all are.
Nestle, the current sponsor here and elsewhere, uses child slave labor in West Africa in cocoa production. It’s estimated that more than 1.8 million children are exploited in cocoa production along the Ivory Coast. And it’s impossible to keep cocoa produced with slave labor out of the overall supply.
Siemens, which sponsors everyone’s favorite golf ball, built death camps in a subsidiary of Auschwitz, among other locations. Inside these camps, hundreds of thousands of slave laborers built electronic parts used by the Nazis for the German war effort. A slave laborer could “work” for Siemens by day and be murdered in a death camp built by the company that night. BUT!!! They did finally do the right thing(?) by offering 12 million dollars to holocaust survivors. Or I would guess $20 each? And more recently, they’re on the hook for a few billion dollars along with Volkswagen, Audi, and others after settling a lawsuit brought by survivors.
Brawny and Sparkle, both of which sponsor paper towels in the bathrooms, are Georgia Pacific brands. That company has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for polluting the environment and trying to cover it up before and after getting picked up by Koch Inc. Koch may be most famous for a 1996 pipeline explosion that killed two kids, ultimately resulting in a 296 million dollar settlement to the families due to negligence.
Of course I could go on with just about every corporate sponsor at Walt Disney World, which there are a ton of, but you get the idea. Or did you want to talk about the Walt Disney Company itself?
Point: But…but…but…no logos or advertisements for companies other than Disney should be seen on Main Street!
And that’s only the buildings adjacent and across from Main Street Bakery as they stand today. The bottom picture was taken from a Kodak Picture Spot.
Point: Starbucks’ coffee is terrible and their food sucks!
Counterpoint: Okay, that’s objective… I’m not a big coffee drinker myself, but unless you’re just being difficult for the sake of being difficult, I guarantee you can find something you like there. And if you can’t…well…I’m sure Nescafe will be available somewhere. You can always bring a thermos. Or walk to the Contemporary Resort.
Starbucks coffee is coming to Main Street Bakery. It’s going to look the same on the outside and probably look better on the inside. The pricing is pretty reasonable and they have a much better variety of drinks that are across the board higher quality. And if you’ve banded together on the various Disney fan forums with a few like-minded individuals that are Starbucks-adverse, be absolutely clear that you’re in the absolute smallest minority possible and nothing you can do will stop $bux from arriving at the Bakery this summer. 99.9% of people visiting Magic Kingdom come summer 2013 either don’t care, won’t notice, or will be in line for an iced coffee.
Edit: After a little digging, I was able to find a copy of the menu that will be offered after Main Street Bakery reopens in early summer 2013: