April 24, 2012

Starbucks in the Disney Parks - starting June 2012

Yes. That's Mickey Ears on Mrs. Starbucks or whatever her name is.  Starting in June 2012 the first of six themed Starbucks locations will open in Disney's California Adventure. Starbucks coffee will be served INSIDE the Disney Parks. 

According to Disney Parks Blog, "The café will serve Starbucks items, including coffee and espresso beverages, Frappuccino® blended beverages, and signature breakfast sandwiches and pastries. Guests also will have their choice of Disney favorites, including signature sandwiches and other items, as well as delicious desserts and sweet treats."

OK, that sounds lovely, but I have mixed feelings about this.

Disney knows food. It knows themed dining. It certainly knows customer service.  Why do they need Starbucks to step in for the assist with this?  I’m no coffee aficionado, but seriously, the coffee selections in Disney parks are um, sub-par, to put it lightly. So I guess the quality will improve, that’s one good thing.

Which brings me to my devils-advocate point I’m trying to make here. As I said, Disney knows how to do food, they know how to do themed dining, but for some dumb reason they don’t know how to do coffee. The Nescafe insta-crud they offer for their coffee selections in the parks is barely drinkable. So… if their coffee is bad, which it is, and they have the money to hire the know-how, which they can…why don’t they just make the coffee better?! Doesn’t that sound a tad more reasonable than bringing a chain restaurant inside the parks? 

Outside the parks, anything goes as far as I’m concerned. Outside the parks is the “real world”.  For example, I live in Manhattan, so what does Starbucks remind me of…morning commutes, crowded subways, long lines, and cubicles.  Not exactly a fantasy world.  Starbucks serves its purpose in the real world, providing caffeine fixes for millions of people day in and day out.  But I don't want it in my fantasy world.

Inside the parks is not the real world, it’s fantasy world, a happy place where cubicles, deadlines, commutes, and emails don’t exist.   I don’t want to be reminded of the real world when I’m at a Disney park.  I go to Disney specifically to escape that very drudgery.   But now we’ll be surrounded by cups plastered with that smiling green Mrs. Starbucks, to remind me that the real world is still out there…waiting for me to return.

The Disney Starbucks locations will no doubt be themed and lovely in every way. They’ll be aesthetically beautiful, service will be excellent, the drinks will be varied and palatable (Not to mention ridiculously overpriced). You’ll be able to get your ‘Venti, Non-Fat, No Foam, No water, 6 pump, extra hot, chai tea latte’ (wtf? I never know how to order at Starbucks).  Just how you like it...every day on your commute to work. It will be familiar and that will make us happy. To get the same stuff we enjoy in the day to day "real world".  When "worlds" collide, eh?

Americans like Wal-Mart, too. I don't see that being plunked into Animal Kingdom anytime soon (I shudder at the thought).


  1. I've surfed the net more than three hours today, and your blog was the coolest of all. Thanks a lot, it is really useful to me

  2. Starbucks is already in Universal Studios, so perhaps Disney are trying to do the same. I honestly don't mind it. Sure it's another brand in the pot but Starbucks has become more than just a service I think. I really enjoy an iced vanilla latte in the sun ;)