Starbucks to Replace the Main Street Bakery at Magic Kingdom

| November 9, 2012

That’s right, folks, you read the headline correctly. Tonight Disney Parks announced that the first ever Starbucks inside Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom will replace the iconic Main Street Bakery. As an avid lover of both Disney and Starbucks, I’m both conflicted and shocked at this news. It’s time that I weigh in.

 

Image: The Main Street Bakery in Walt Disney World will shut its doors this January and be remodeled into a Starbucks.

The Main Street Bakery is a charming eatery that fills Main Street USA with the scents of brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. With wrought iron chairs, brass light fixtures, dark oak cabinets, and walls covered in mirrors and tile, the bakery fits right in with Main Street’s turn-of-the-century atmosphere. Guests line up immediately after park opening to splurge on an early morning treat such as a warm, gooey cinnamon roll or freshly baked croissant. In the afternoons and evenings, those looking to satisfy their sweet tooths frequently stop by for a homemade ice cream cookie sandwich, cupcake, danish, or piece of cake. Sandwiches are also available and make for a relaxing break from the busyness of the Magic Kingdom.

 

Image: The charm of Main Street Bakery brings us back to days of the past.

 

However, Disney Parks has decided to shut the doors of our beloved bakery this January so that it may be transformed into the first Starbucks location inside a Walt Disney World theme park. When the company first announced the addition of Starbucks last year, I was thrilled. We all have our own opinions about the coffee served at Disney Parks. If you have listened to one of many episodes of the DIS Unplugged podcast, you’ll know that it’s been given a few not-so-nice, but deserving nicknames. By adding the option of the Seattle-based coffee chain, guests can avoid choking back watered down coffee grounds and select a beverage from the largest java company in the world.

With this being said, I never would have imagined that such a permanent part of Main Street like the bakery would be removed to provide space for an eatery that can be found in nearly every town in the U.S. and several areas around the world. Why would Disney take away the nostaligic surroundings of a bakery from the past? Why would the company do this to replace it with such a commercial chain? I’m completely baffled and can imagine that you are too.

 

 

Image: Starbucks is a Seattle-based coffee chain known throughout the world for its caffeine-filled concoctions like this iced green tea latte.

 

Many of the changes Disney fans have seen in the parks over the past few years have been deemed questionable. Still, most agree that such “improvements” were related to Disney’s bottom line. Could that be the case with Starbucks? Some might believe so. However, I find it very difficult to believe that the Main Street Bakery did not hold its weight in coin. Every time I walk by the line is long and guests are snatching every goodie imaginable. So if the eatery was successful, why would Disney jeopardize it by falling for the commercialized logic of today?

This summer, Disney California Adventure opened the first Starbucks location inside a Disney theme park. I had the chance to frequent it on several occasions. I thought that Disney Imagineers did a fantastic job blending the eatery in with the theming of the newly remodeled Buena Vista Street. Everything from the signage to the chairs to the decorations fit the atmosphere. As a result, one might guess that this could very well be done on Main Street. Yet, I’m finding myself to be less confident. How could one combine the charm of old time USA with such a modern coffee shop – one that prides itself in frappes, lattes, and liquid gold? I just don’t think it can be done.

 

Image: The first Starbucks inside a Disney park at Disney California Adventure.

 

In terms of food options, Disney has said that baked goods will be offered at the new Starbucks location. The types of offerings have not been expanded upon much though; Disney stated today that:

The Starbucks locations at Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot will both offer the full complement of Starbucks® signature beverages, artisan breakfast sandwiches and a wide selection of baked goods, including muffins, scones and specialty treats.

All of the above can be found at Starbucks shops around the country including the artisan breakfast sandwiches and scones. This doesn’t give me much hope for finding the treats we have come to love at Main Street Bakery once the remodel is complete.

In addition, the majority of sweets in Disney California Adventure’s location were also the normal treats found in any Starbucks. A few Mickey Mouse cookies (which a cast member told me were not made in the bakeries on-site, by the way) were available, but that’s it. Again, does this mean we will no longer see what the bakery currently offers? What will happen to the cinnamon rolls? The freshly baked cheesecake? The enormous ice cream sandwiches? Should we have predicted this when the infamous French toast loaf was recently taken off of the bakery’s menu?

 

Image: Food Offerings at Starbucks, Disney California Adventure

 

All in all, Starbucks is a welcome addition to Disney Parks. However, I don’t feel that something as iconic as the Main Street Bakery should be removed for this to happen. Walt Disney World has several acres to build upon; taking out the bakery will definitely impact the overall feel of Main Street. If the intent for the area is to mimic Walt Disney’s beloved Marceline hometown, smacking a modern-day establishment in it might put a dent into the nostalgia bubble if you ask me. I guess time will only tell how this will pan out, but for now, I’m going to make sure to stock up on bakery treats during my next trip.

 

UPDATE: 

It’s barely 24 hours after Disney made the announcement to change Main Street Bakery into a Starbucks and already fans from around the world are up in arms. Petitions have been formed, protests are being discussed, and thousands of Disney park go-ers are sharing their views across the Web. Now that the news is out and I’ve had more time to fully digest it, I still find myself angry about the direction the company is going in with this remodel. Here are my latest thoughts:

  • Disney fans have complained about the coffee options for years. Starbucks is, in fact, a very popular chain serving a variety of options for those needing a caffeine fix. No matter how Disney “themes” the cafe to fit in with Main Street USA, it will never fully complement the turn-of-the-century atmosphere the area is known for. Starbucks is an attribute of modern day America, not one of Walt’s hometown of the early 1900s.
  • Yes, the Starbucks location in Disney California Adventure was well themed with Buena Vista Street. However, I just don’t think that this could ever be the case on Main Street. An old-time bakery serving freshly made goods provides that warm feel fans currently enjoy. No matter how they theme the cafe, this will be the prevalent feature:

Image: The Menu at Starbucks in Disney California Adventure

  • Disney stated that baked goods would be sold at the new Starbucks in Magic Kingdom. Like I said above, even though the offerings were somewhat cryptically described, it’s clear what the intent is: Starbucks baked goods with maybe a mass-produced Mickey cupcake or cookie or two. This is what is available at the California location. For example, Disney said that scones would be available for purchase; Starbucks makes varieties ranging from pumpkin to blueberry. Disney also stated that “artisan breakfast sandwiches” will be sold; Starbucks has a line of such sandwiches including those with Gouda, spinach, Feta, and chicken sausage. Similarly, Disney described that baked treats would be on the menu; Starbucks serves everything from pound cake, cookies, and cheese danishes to apple fritters, cinnamon rolls, and cupcakes. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I like all of the above, but again, is taking away the nostalgic Main Street Bakery worth it? I’d say not.
  • There are many other locations that Disney could place a Starbucks and, in fact, they have already announced that the Fountain View in Epcot will be one of them and more cafes will open in the future. Personally, I can see this happening….

- Starring Rolls or The Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios -> Starbucks

- Kusafiri in Animal Kingdom -> Starbucks

- A location added in Downtown Disney

  • With this being said, I don’t think the addition of Starbucks is a bad thing; the location of the cafes need to be heavily considered   though. I don’t believe one belongs in Magic Kingdom, Epcot, or Animal Kingdom as it would definitely chop away at the theming. However, I agree with adding one to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney. It seems as if Starbucks would naturally fit there.
  • If Disney (and subsequently coffee lovers) want a better option near Magic Kingdom, why not place a Starbucks cafe in The Contemporary Resort? There’s already a small one in the lobby area near the Disney bus waiting area; why not remodel it into a Starbucks and leave Main Street alone?
  • We know that Disney is a business looking to make a profit. With the amount of cinnamon rolls, coffees, sandwiches, and cookies that are sold at the Main Street Bakery, you cannot honestly tell me that this eatery does not bring in enough cash flow.

When Disney announced that the clubs in Pleasure Island would be closing years ago, I remember seeing this type of public outcry. Unfortunately, the company ignored what was the real “guest demand.” Subsequently, the pessimist in me sees the same  scenario playing out with this recent announcement. Fans will write. Petitions will be signed. Complaints will be made. Disney will ignore the true fan base who frequents its parks. Still, I encourage anyone who is unhappy with this announcement to voice your concerns to Disney directly either in person or through mail. Perhaps there is a chance we could make a difference.

 

 

Image Credits: N. Mancini & wdwinfo.com


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Category: Disney World, Editorials, News

About the Author ()

Born and raised in New Jersey, Nicole is an avid Disney fan and frequents both Walt Disney World and Disneyland several times each year. Interests include Walt Disney Imagineering, merchandise, backstage tours, and more. Be sure to check out her other articles here on the DIS Blog!
  • mommyceratops

    I am all for Starbucks but I LOVE LOVE the bakery!!!

  • jmkjr72

    sorry i feel this is a sad sad day for disney. i am not a fan of starbucks at all.

  • Marcia

    This is a terrible idea. Add a coffee stand – I like the coffee, but their food is terrible!!!. Keep Main Street like Walt intended it to be. I love the bakery. Rather have that than Starbucks ANY day

  • cherokeemamma

    I hate this. I feel like crying. How in the world could they even consider changing the bakery? This is horrible!!!! I would have thought Starbucks would have been added as the beverage portion only and even then you would want other options…juice, cola, etc… This Is A HUGE Mistake!

  • MeRSiamese

    This is VERY sad news. While there is a Starbucks almost everywhere, the Main Street Bakery was unique to Disney and their baked goods are MUCH better!! Starbucks is dried out and tasteless in my opinion. :-(

  • docpinko

    I feel that this is yet another example of a short sighted commercial decision that completely misses the fundamental creative ideas of Walt Disney. Main Street was created to be a turn of the century Main Street . On what planet was there a Starbucks on a 1900′s Main Street? The iconic image of Main Street is a key part of the transformation of the Disney guests into the world of Disney in which everyday reality is suspended and we all journey into a happier and carefree place (that only ever existed in the movies and our imaginations). What next? A Subway in place of Casey’s Corner or a Cell Phone outlet in the Emporium?

  • mdisney31

    I can’t believe that they are taking away the Bakery to put in a Starbucks. I think we can all agree that the coffee sucks at Disney. Nescafe is just disgusting. That being said, there is no reason to get rid of our beloved Bakery. They should just serve Starbucks everywhere. They are going to create horrible lines on Main Street for people trying to get a “decent cup of coffee.”

    With the entire expansion in Fantasyland, there is no reason they could not have incorporated a Starbucks in that part of the park if they wanted to have a coffee shop. There are also several areas in Tomorrowland and Frontierland where they could have incorporated a Starbucks.

    On top of that, the food at Starbucks is horrible. Why they would get rid of all the good food: Ham, Egg, and Cheese on the croissants, cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissants, ect is beyond me.

    As someone who goes to Disney a couple times a year, I am very saddened by this change. I think there are so many things they could have done to bring better coffee to the parks. This is just not one of them.

  • https://www.facebook.com/orensnanna orensnanna

    I love the charm of the old Disney. It seems they are stripping that away little by little. I’m afraid that this would break Walt Disney’s heart. I’m glad he’s not around to see changes like this because this is not what he wanted when he created Disney World. :(

  • rogerpopcorn

    Very disappointing. Main Street is like the alter of the Church. It is supposed to reflect a time and a place of yesteryear and is the pinnacle of Walt Disney World. Hanging a Starbucks sign on main street is an instant leap in time to a coffee shop located in everybody’s hometown. That makes it not special. It clashes with the theme. Disney bakery items are special and unique. As an avid photographer, I am deeply sadden that pictures will be soiled with a Starbuck in the picture. I find it hard to believe Walt would have allowed this. He focused on keeping the outside world distractions out. That’s why there were never pay telephones or newspaper stands.

  • santino

    Very sad they need to offer the baked goods else where!

  • sherryayala

    Are you kidding me, would be better if you put Dunkin’ Donuts there. Starbucks food is horrible & coffee is worse. Sad to see bakery go. Next time I’m in Disney, and Starbucks is there, will pass right by, no matter how hungry or thirsty I am.

  • http://www.facebook.com/disneybeth Indybeth

    As I walk into Magic Kingdom and smell the Main Street Bakery I know I am “home!” Main Street has always been traditional and old fashioned. It is the one constant we can depend on when entering the Kingdom. The line is always out the door and people flock there to relive a little piece of their childhood. I know we go in there every time, heck multiple time, each time we visit Magic Kingdom. I can guarantee if it does not have the offerings it has now, especially the cinnamon rolls, we will not have any reason to go in.
    At the very least why couldn’t they sell Starbucks coffee but keep all of the amazing baked goods? Why couldn’t Starbucks go into a smaller venue in another area of the park? This isn’t just about not liking or wanting change. This is messing with the ambiance and charm of Main Street USA!

  • PARI222

    This is terribly sad news! The Main street bakery is part of the nostalgia that Disney is so loved for! What will be next fast food chains? Disney has stayed true to themselves and kept their integrity through the years which is why they are so successful why we can’t get enough… It is unique unlike every other street corner infact a refuge away from it all…

    When I heard they were going to offer Starbucks I thought they meant coffee perhaps a cart or a small stand that would blend in and certainly not take away… Perhaps even just offering the brand of coffee throughout Walt Disney World. Frankly I have always been perfectly content with the coffee offerred. Each year it seems to taste better as everything tastes better in Disneyworld ! Please reconsider Disney !

  • GoofysGal

    I agree that they should either just have a SB coffee cart, or replace Nescafé with SB around the entire resort. I’m just as baffled as other posters as to how they expect a SB to fit in with Main St. theming. I have only been to WDW three times, but LOVE the feel of stepping into another time and place when strolling down MS. I’m glad I took the opportunity to stop in and have a chocolate croissant for breakfast when I was there on Tuesday. Very disappointing news…but I will try and remain hopeful.

  • JEANYLASER

    I agreed that Starbucks in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot will be awesome! And I love it!

  • dharding

    I agree. To take out a place that has been a staple at Disney World for so long is unexplainable. I understand the need for coffee, but I am sure they could have found other places for it. When people want coffee they will generally look for it. People will eat pastries and deserts the whole day, while most people only drink coffee in the morning. This was a horrible decision by Disney!

  • rogerpopcorn

    Disney has been so special because of the environment, decor and the ability to forget everything at home. We have taking our daughters to the park since they were 3 years old. They are out of college and Kim was even a Cast Member. We have one of the bricks at the very front of Magic Kingdom. There has been comfort knowing this is the one place that our grand kids would visit and see the Magic as we had seen it. Removing this iconic establishment and the historic Bakery sign is so sad and a shift away from Walt’s priceless and keen vision. You can serve the fivebucks coffee but commercializing the decor is just plain unnecessary and sad. Who want a baked thing from fivebucks at the Magic Kindom when you can get the exact same thing down at your local fivebucks in the corner of Target. Where’s the Magic in that? It might taste good but it certainly is NOT Magical. What’s next, convert the Emporium to a Foley’s?

  • helenk

    I think this is one of the worst ideas. Yes the coffee in WDW is not the greatest, but Starbucks coffee is horrible. I baked goods in the MK bakery are so good, why would they want to replace it. You can’t tell me that the bakery as it is now does not make Disney money. I agree with others posters Starbucks is better suited in DTD, even in Epcot but not on Main Street.

  • EKW

    This is horrific news. We’ve only been to WDW twice…as a teacher, a week there costs a month’s take-home pay…but it is one of our very favorite memories. It is wonderful to stop there late at night, enjoy one of those amazing cinnamon rolls, then wander out to sit on the stairs to the train station and watch the Kiss Goodnight. This news makes me sad.

  • denisef

    This is very bad news–once again Disney has forgotten to pay attention to the fans and the loyal guests. New generations of guests need to know what Main St. was like in the early 1900′s and putting a modern establishment in there would ruin the theme forever. What’s next, tear down Main St. and build condos?

  • dsnyfn98

    This is horrible news. I for one will not give this remote company a dime of my money if and when I visit the Magic Kingdom. Some things are scared and should not be altered no matter how much millions of dollars the current execs what to be paid. It is what makes them unique. Main street has always given you a Welcome Home feeling like the small towns of yester year. What is the board of Disney thinking? This is as bad as finding out Disney is now charging people with disabilities $70.00/day to rent a electric chair to visit the park. This is something I feel Disney should provide at $30-$40/day. $70.00 is too much and has caused most of my elderly and terminally ill family members to not visit the parks. Adding an outside company to Main Street will have me rethinking my next visit as well as my DVC membership after 16+ years!

    Very sad day

  • moira222

    NOOOO! I heard the chatter on the DIS that Starbucks was coming to WDW but had been hoping that their tar-like coffee and dry, bitter baked goods would only be served in Downtown Disney, where Disney seems to allow other chains. We were so happy when Disney got rid of other chains in park (McDonald’s)…why would they get rid of a Disney icon like the Main Street Bakery, and open the doors to other chains again? I cannot believe that we will never be able to get a cinnamon bun freshly baked for our early-morning rope drop treat again. I feel like crying! I hope your projections are done and that Writer’s stop is not next on the chopping block. A sad sad day for my family.

  • mbot29

    Though there is a good chance that it will simply be ignored by those in charge, but there is always that fighting chance that our voices could be heard. Everybody please sign this petition and share it with anyone and everyone.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/walt-disney-world-do-not-replace-the-main-street-bakery-with-a-starbucks?utm_campaign=friend_inviter_modal&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=624798

  • daisyd23

    OMG! Bad move – it is one of the focal points of Main Street. Never missed a visit there for homemade perfect cakes in over 40 visits. Starbucks can be bought anywhere (if you really want to buy horrid cakes and bad coffee) Walt’s vision is being destroyed. What will they do next – get rid of Mickey and Minnie etc. By all means serve Starbucks on the outside carts/stalls or in Downtown Disney but never in the well loved eateries that have stood the test of time and attact so many guests for the unique wonderful cakes that get talked about for weeks after your first visit, and a must have for the returning guest. A really sad day for Disney

  • rabend

    I don’t even have the words to describe how disappointing this news is. We have been going Annually to Disney since 1975. The bakery is a staple of Main St. I don’t drink coffee, but if it is bad, get some better coffee. They don’t need Starbucks to make more profit if that is their motive. They absolutely don’t need this modern company just because it is popular and on every corner no matter how well it might be themed. The main thing we like about Disney is it’s old charm and for the Magic Kingdom who wants brand name stores like we can go to any day at home. We like the Disney Brands. Send the brand names to Downtown Disney and keep them out to the Theme Parks.

  • disqus_x1OZThf1ci

    The bakery is the only breakfast counter place in MK. What are we going to do now? What about those delicious cinnamon buns? I wish I knew – I would have cancelled my vacations this year. :-(

  • http://www.facebook.com/ejay1118 Ed Rhodes

    I used to work at the Walmart snack bar. After a while, they pulled the snack bar and replaced it with a Subway sandwich shop. A lot of people wondered why when it seemed that the snack bar was doing well. My thought was that, with this change, Walmart still gathered the profit in the form of rent to Subway, but avoided the expense of actually running a food based operation. (Which can be considerable.) While I’m sorry about the loss of the bakery, I can see Disney’s viewpoint.

    I might suggest that if you make enough noise, they might expand the baked goods section to more fully reflect the old bakery offerings. But you’ll have to be organized and constant in your comments.

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