Updated for 2016!
I am one of those people who handles change pretty well, but when I heard my beloved Main Street Bakery in the Magic Kingdom was being over-run by Starbucks, I was quite skeptical. We visited during their soft opening in June of 2013, even being lucky enough to score free breakfast for four as they practiced up for their grand opening. As my family enjoyed the complimentary = FREE! breakfast sandwiches and drinks, I then realized all the tables and former seating were removed.
I have never gone back inside.
I don’t have anything against the Starbucks Corporation; I’m certainly not anti-corporate anything. I’m just not a coffee drinker, and even if I was the biggest Starbucks fan on the planet, the magic of Disney World’s original Main Street bakery was gone forever for me. No more park-closing after-hours cinnamon roll. No more carrot cake while watching the glass blowers work their magic next door at Crystal Arts. No more, blah blah, gone forever…
So how ironic is it that the first place I intend to go on our next Disney Springs visit is the Starbucks, located by the Characters in Flight balloon.
There are huge windows along the ordering and seating sections, so the store is light and airy, yet at the same time dark with the woods and metals. The Orlando Sentinel quoted senior designer at Starbucks, David Daniels, as saying “We wanted to create where you can see through the building and to keep highlighting the lake. You can see right through the building.” I believe they met their goal, as the windows are a tremendous asset to this coffee shop, playing up the stunning water view.
Daniels told the Orlando Sentinel that another unusual touch is Lemongrass growing on the roof, “All grown in a nursery here and it was fed by our coffee composts from our local Starbucks the whole time.” You can see the grass in this photo, high above the seating section of the coffee shop, and look closely, because the lake is in the background through the windows.
This Starbucks was a real treat for my eyes. Maybe you big city coffee drinkers are accustomed to huge Starbucks locations with leather seating, but my family lives in a small town. Our hometown Starbucks has seating for about 10 people with no frills and a view of the outlet mall. We also have a Starbucks in Target, with plastic chairs for 20, and this one feels like a mini-school cafeteria.
I was really impressed with the new Disney Springs Starbucks building. We sat at a long bench made of heart pine, which that was 300 to 400 years old. The material was salvaged from an Alabama cotton mill built in the mid-1800s.
They have a children’s section with an interactive electronic chalk board, where you draw designs with your finger. Adults found this fun as well, with many people snapping camera phone photos of their doodles.
Around the specialty coffee bar, there is ample seating. We stood in line the day before at the other new Disney Springs Starbucks by the World of Disney store. You have to stand in line at all Starbucks, but there is no seating at this quick-stop location, so my daughter drank her berry drink as we walked away. It’s a nice store as well, with brown woods and dark metals, just the way I like my walk up coffee shops where I’m not drinking coffee!
But I am totally enamored with all the places to sit here. Check out the dark woods and the natural lighting.
This D. Springs Starbucks is about 3,900 square feet, which is about twice the size of the average Starbucks. There is a fantastic patio outside, with lots more seating and a working glass-rock fireplace.
This is where I want to sit, parked right in front of the fire, summer or winter. This Starbucks location is open from 8 a.m. to midnight daily, so you won’t be crunched for time.
Now I need to find out if they offer this Cheapskate Princess a Buy Five Get One Free Muffin discount card.
It’s always nice to realize people do read these articles, because Hope stopped by to tell us, “I doubt Starbucks will give you a ‘buy five get one free muffin discount card’ BUT if you buy a gift card and register it, you do get free stuff, starting with a reward (any food or drink item) for signing up. You also get a reward on your birthday and a reward for every 12 purchases made with your registered gift cards. Tip: if you’re getting more than one thing, see if they’ll ring the items up separately, since you get a ‘star’ for every purchase, not every item.”
By the way, if you are curious about how much your coffee habit is costing you, don’t miss this article. The numbers made me glad I am not a regular coffee drinker.
The covered patio has a fantastic view of the Characters in Flight balloon loading area, where you can watch without standing in direct sun. There was a nice breeze coming off the lake, which you can see in all directions, with Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort in the distance.
So I completely disliked Starbucks at Walt Disney World, until I walked into the Disney Springs sit-down location.
And suddenly I was a huge non-coffee drinking Starbucks fan.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still have no plans to go back into the Main Street location. I know change is hard, but it is something loyal WDW fans have to accept from the Disney Corporation. Things we know and love change on Disney property in the blink of an eye. Yes, I am referring to you, former Polynesian Resort volcano rock fountain, which I will miss probably for the remainder of my life…How is that for being dramatic?
But this Disney Princess knows when you have to let the past go and move on. So I have, just to a different location with different perks. Starbucks offers me a nice blueberry muffin, and my almost grown daughter loves the Vanilla Bean Cream Frappuccinno. And I love a nice classy place to park myself and prop up my feet.
If you have visited a Starbucks lately, you know their prices will not trash the vacation budget like taking a family of five to a character meal could. Warm earthy tones, seating a plenty, with a lake view, a massive balloon, and an outdoor fireplace – it’s all in the same location with a $2.08 cake pop in case I need some chocolate.
The Disney Springs location is simply everything the Magic Kingdom Main Street Bakery renovation was not. So welcome to the Disney neighborhood, Starbucks; I’m really glad you’re here.
While you are so close, stop By Characters in Flight. Here’s a guide to going 400 feet up in the air.
And here’s how to save money on your flight!
Here’s the address in case you need it for your GPS.
Disney Springs West Side
1501 A East Buena Vista Dr., Downtown Di
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL 32830
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you on the patio overlooking the lake, some sort of iced coffee in hand…
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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess