Starbucks opens on Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A. as Club 33 gets ready for expansion

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Dateline Disneyland, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Features

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Published on September 30, 2013 at 5:05 am with 72 Comments

About Andy Castro

Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy writes the weekly Dateline Disneyland column, which can be found every Monday on MiceChat.

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  • peoplemover1

    Great update Andy!!!

  • ScottOlsen

    Great update.

    Too bad the Starbucks wasn’t put in the old underused Hills Bros. location though.

  • JCSkipr79

    I have not been this worried about DL in a long time. This has been a bad year. Baxter’s “retirement”, Starbucks, CoA closing, OSHA drama. Crofton and Colglazier are really making sure they make DL as depressing to visit as MK. I really hope this is not the start of a trend…

    And to the “fans” who are making fun of the DL purists. Those ppl are NOT true fans. They view DL as just a fancy more themed Knotts, SixFlags, If all the ancillary buildings were gone and the attractions were right next to each other they would not care. These “fans” have NO comprehension of the history of DL or Walt or WED or anything else of that sort. They are only “Disney fans” cause they like the cartoons and characters………..

    • Aviator621

      You know, it kinda undercuts your point to chastise others for mocking the ‘purists’, and then proceed to degrade their point of view in return.

    • Golden

      I don’t see anything that has happened in the past year which is different from Baxter’s strategy and the way Disneyland has been going. The consumerism bent it has to its merchandise and branding is sad, but I was worried about that ten years ago. I have to say – and I am a Disneyland ‘purist’ – that I think the fears and cries are well overblown.

      The OSHA stuff really sucks – its going to cost us the Court of Angels as well as te more obvious annoyances. However, thats nothing to do with being a Disney purist, or any direction Disney are taking. Thats just the direction the law is taking, sucky as it is. Disney don’t want to be sued for millions, fair enough.

  • tcsnwhite

    The Market House Starbucks location and Book Rest look beautiful. WDI looks to have done a wonderful job. A large queue and a bit bigger scale seems like a necessary thing in this case, as I’m sure most will be glad there is an adequate queue space at peak times, which is most of the time at DL now anyway. DL’s small charming spaces are part of what makes it unique, but in some places, it can be a crowd/space nightmare. I think it was a necessary thing in this case. That place will be packed on most days. People don’t play when it comes to their coffee, especially Starbucks. Not to mention, not all shops/spaces on Main Street USA are small in scale. Overall, I don’t see anything sub-par or off-scale at all.
    And kudos to Disney for finally bringing in some outside product that is of quality. Long time coming.
    Now…when are they going to address their horrible quality burgers and fries?

    As for “Cashier” signs in the stores, I think it’s a nice touch that doesn’t need to have anything to do with sales. Often I’m in a store looking for the nearest cash register, and it can sometimes be a pain to find the nearest one on a packed day.

    • poohmeg

      I agree – I think it looks great, and any space designed for crowds looks strange and oversized when it’s empty – I will look forward to seeing pictures taken at a busier time. And overhead signs in stores are also very helpful in a crowd as you try to figure out where you’re going – again, it doesn’t make much sense if you only see the store when it’s empty, but stop back at the end of a busy day and it will be more apparent why they are there.

    • stevek

      Agree on the cashier signs, they look nice and placement makes sense. Now if they want to increase sales, drop the price on a t-shirt or sweatshirt by a couple bucks.

    • Golden

      Completely agree.

      Usually I agree with criticism in Dateline Disney but this criticism seems, well, picky and actually just negative for he sake of it. I think it is nostalgia talking not objectivity.

      I think the place looks fantastic, not subpar at all. If they continue to make improvements, great. Surprised and pleased that they managed to find a way to keep the game of checkers (although I have to say, keeping it by the stove would have been even better. I have fond memories of checkers by the stove).

  • whamo

    The coffee is better, but the atmosphere isn’t as good in the new coffee shoppe. Club 33′s expansion may be good for the rich and elite patrons, but what about the long faithful fans? It was bad enough they turned the art gallery into the Dream Suite. Who gets to stay there anyway? Do they auction off the nights to the highest bidder? That wouldn’t surprise me.

    • Westsider

      Dream Suite stays still happen, although less frequently. The Lasseter family uses the apartment on occasion, or it’s used as a “green room” when Iger or Staggs visit the park. Otherwise it’s given out as a free perk to various families or organizations through Disneyland’s Community Affairs department, for people associated with local charities and non-profit organizations that become affiliated with Disney. The Community Affairs team has the reigns on the Dream Suite for the most part, and corporate governance laws maintain that it is not a commodity that can be sold or exchanged for a dollar value. It’s free.

  • MrTour

    Having just flown in from New Orleans last night, I truly believe NOS is much more beautiful than the real French Quarter. Disney did painstaking research to create NOS and they made something wonderful. To take a beautiful part of this away from the general public is a sad thing. I always come back to this: what would Walt say?

  • etoilemini

    I’m so sad to see Minnie’s Fly Girls go! Also, of course, very upset about Court of Angels and somewhat concerned about what parts of Disney Animation will be closed for the refurb…all of my favorite things will be gone or closed (BTMRR, Small World, Animation) when I visit in November :/

    Thanks for the great update and photos :)

  • Algernon

    Disneyland Guest: “You know, half the guests are going to be really upset that the Court of Angels is gone.”

    Disneyland Executive: “Not the better half…”

    • Dinodak

      Really, “half of the guests”??

      This quote from the article sums it up for me:

      Saturday night, about a dozen or so fans gathered in New Orleans Square’s quiet Court of Angels.


      • The Lost Boy

        Saturday, I made the extra effort to look in the Court of the Angels several times (several times more than I did in the prior 50 years) and as usual there was nobody in there. In six months it will be a non-issue.

    • stevek

      It’s a beautiful and quiet spot that has a ton of charm. Do I spend any time there? No. Will I ultimately miss it? No. Quite honestly, I rarely saw more 2 or 3 people there at any one time. Am I concerned that DL will remove alot of these smaller features that make up the charm of the park? Yes. One here and there isn’t a big deal in my book. But if they all start to disappear then it becomes a bigger issue. Unfortunately, this is one of the nicer hidden treasures so the fan community is reacting. While it won’t save the court, it may serve as a reminder to park management that these types of spaces are still needed and valued by many guests and they’ll think twice before removing more.

      • Tinkbelle

        The fact that it was a beautiful and oft times empty place was part of what made it special.

      • Westsider

        Everyone will miss it because it was always so empty.

        Interesting logic that.

  • heysi

    I’m amazed that there is such an uproar over the Court of Angels closing. Seems to me that it may have been originally designed as a private courtyard for the Disney family, adjoining the private Disney family suite that was used as the Disney Gallery after Walt’s death and now blasted by many as the Dream Suite which only a few can enjoy. All of these spaces, had they been finished during Walt’s lifetime, would have been only available to the Disney family and their immediate friends. The fact that they were ever available to the general public should be viewed as a blessing…not a privilege. Another thing I can’t fathom is the sudden hate for Club 33. Nearly everyone on this blog would give their left arm to be a member, but expand into a largely unused area, and the wrath is called down upon all of them. Disneyland is, first and foremost, a business. Its a unique one in that the experience of the customer is part of the product. To have to balance the expectations of the masses….and a very vocal minority who obsesses over some minor changes…is a very fine line to have to walk. It’s important to remember that people like John Lassetter are not sleeping at the wheel and they legitimately care about the park as much as a majority of the readers of this blog. I know change is necessary and it sometimes isn’t as welcome as we would all like, but it isn’t the end of the world.

    • Gregg Condon

      Fantastic post … and sadly one that will likely be ignored by most in favor of carrying over a twitter war promoting ones own opinion into an article that is supposed to be about Disneyland updates.

      • poohmeg

        Yes, very well-said, heysi!

      • Gregg,

        The update is all there, along with the commentary that has also always been a part of this blog and a part of MiceChat in general.

        Thanks for reading.

      • Dateline Disneyland has always included Andy’s opinions, which are always well reasoned. You may not always agree with him, but Andy stands for high standards at Disney and that’s a good thing for all of us. I don’t think any of us want to see Disney strip away all of the little details that make Disneyland special. Keep the pressure up Andy, you are doing a GREAT job. Beautiful photos and commentary!!!

      • Marko50

        How is that a fantastic post? Emphasis mine, of course: “SEEMS to me that it MAY have been originally designed …”. And then to add to this supposition, the author then treats his guesses as fact: “All of these spaces, had they been finished during Walt’s lifetime, would have been only available to the Disney family and their immediate friends. ” Really?

        And it seems to me that you have confused the organization Club 33 with its members. Wrath being called down…I’ll agree with that. But on all of its members? Give me a break.

    • heysi,

      The Royal Courtyard (which has since been converted into overflow Pirates of the Caribbean retail space) was the original private entrance to what would have been Walt Disney’s Royal Suite. The Royal Suite would have had a direct entrance to Club 33. The Court of Angels has always functioned as it does today – as a quiet area that, for the guests, exists solely to be beautiful. On a utilitarian level, for the last nearly 50 years, it has functioned as a backstage entrance for Cast Members.

      As for Club 33 hate – I have none. I’ve luckily been to the club a couple of times thanks to very generous friends and it is a fantastic experience. Unfortunately, this expansion project will seemingly strip away a significant amount of what makes the club so unique and appealing – the original “hidden” entrance on Royal Street and Walt’s “Trophy Room.”

      Thanks for reading.

    • The Lost Boy

      Walt Disney went in to business to make money (“…an entertainment ENTERPRISE…”). There is nothing dishonorable about that. As a stockholder, I make money off this entertainment enterprise as well. What amazes me are those who like to use class warfare as a debating tool. This site is a source of much good information but many times I think they don”t feel that the job is done until they stir the pot a little bit. The fact is, Disney is the most successful entertainment enterprise. People from all over the world flock to take advantage of most of their offerings. This site couldn’t exist if they couldn’t sell their “click rate” to their advertisers.

      I don’t belong to Club 33, but I know a lot of people who do and I look forward to the improvements there. I don’t like Starbucks coffee, but it’s success is good for everyone.

      For those who presume to know what Walt Disney intended, look at the original opening day map of the Park, compared to today, there was nothing there. Over the years dozens of rides, restaurants, and entertainment features have come and gone and that will continue into the future.

      Disney does it the best and for that very infinitesimal minority that whines that they perceive they don’t get a premium product for a premium price paid, keep your money, you won’t be missed.

      • Lost Boy,

        I addressed the “Disneyland is a business” argument in the main post. But again, yes, Disneyland is a business – but it is hardly hurting for money without expanding Club 33 and taking away portions of the park that are open to all guests. It’s evident that Club 33 has outgrown its current space and there’s nothing wrong with expanding it to meet the needs of the next generation of Club 33 members – but to do so at the expense of the average guest experience? The simple point is that there has got to be a better way to do it.

        Thanks for reading and for contributing to the discussion,

      • whamo

        Walt Disney made Disneyland to make money? Sure, money was made, but that wasn’t Walt’s motivation. He could have continued to pile up academy awards if he was just interested in money. The banks called Disneyland Walt’s financial folly. No, my friend, it wasn’t about the money. It was about the magic of a park on a Sunday afternoon. It was about the park bench that gave Walt his idea. You people that worship money will take zero of it with you when you die — just like everyone else.

      • Dizzey

        Andy – love your work, and your comments are motivated towards creating the best experience possible. There’s a clear “love of the park” in the undertones of all you do, and you can’t be faulted for that.

        Lost Boy – clearly an aggressive capitalist. Those of us who like the quiet spaces – call us introverts – use those places to get a break from the incessant sensory roar that accompanies a trip to the park. There may be only 5% of the typical guests that use these spaces this way, but that’s probably commensurate with the amount of the park that is actually reserved for “quiet space.” You can try to dismiss us by name calling (whiners), etc., but we spend our cash in the park like everyone else, and add to your shareholder’s dividend. Nevertheless, I guess you are willing to jettison this part of your customer base.

        We speak out because we love the park, need some quiet spaces, and have great, long-term park memories across generations. Like a lot of DL guests, we think of the park as “our park,” whether that’s rational or not. Can’t blame us for wanting to defend the experience…

      • The Lost Boy

        Walt Disney was in business as is every other business to make money. He freely admitted that he wasn’t very good at it and lost a few businesses early on. Later this wasn’t an issue because he had Roy O. to take care of the money side so he could concentrate on the dreaming side. Disneyland was set up as a business, a successful business that’s brought a lot of joy to hundreds of millions of people. It’s still the model that serves as the example to the industry. Trying to knock Disney off of it’s pedestal (although that is not likely to happen any time soon) just forces the competition to become better which also seems to add to Disney’s success. That’s good for everybody interested in success.

        It’s always odd to me when the complaint is made that a company makes too much money. It’s no secret that construction costs 5-10 times as much on the show side as it does on the back side, that kind of quality is not economical, but is not meant to be. The theme specific fall protection is a good example of this. The facilities have to sustain very high impact loads without looking like scaffolding.

        In the long run, the Company’s judgment shows to be sound (although I always vote no for the board of directors as my personal tribute to Roy E.), they do a pretty good job of keeping the lights on and I know that 99.99% of the customers appreciate that.

        Save a couple of bucks, get an e-trade account and buy some Disney stock (or McDonalds, or Ford, or Procter & Gamble, or ETF’s) you won’t regret it and you have a different understanding of things with some skin in the game.

    • whamo

      “Seems to me that it may been …” Who are you kidding? There is no evidence of that. Nobody hates Club 33, but when they take a Disney treasure away from the ordinary guests that have come to love the spot it’s not unreasonable for people to object.

    • Westsider

      Fantastic post and wonderful reminder heysi.

  • marksummer

    Although I live in SF Bay Area, I was born and raised in Southern California. When New Orleans Square opened in 1966, it was a revelation. By 1969, not only were two of the best attractions at Disneyland located there, but the place was the classiest part of the park, boasting gift shops that sold items unavailable anywhere else in the park, and most likely Southern California. The courtyard is one of those magical areas that I treasure, and helped make this experience unique. To tell you the truth, I usually just look in, as it always feels like it’s sort of “off limits” to guests. But that’s the fun of it-I’m sure I’ve stepped in and looked around and felt like I was “backstage”. Now I realize I could have just hung out and enjoyed a few minutes of solitude. I will miss this quiet place, and agree that it is one more loss of Walt’s dream, now one of corporate Disney’s cash cow.

  • LoveStallion

    Re: the Midwestern “art” throughout the new Starbucks. I don’t really love it, but why is it a problem? Main Street is inspired by Walt’s old Missouri hometown. Or is it just too fake for your tastes?

    Colglazier has, so far, not endeared me to him.

  • zugzug15

    am I the only one that got excited for the possibility of something new in the hyperion theater when they read that “a fan-favorite show in Disney California Adventure is getting axed.”??

    Its time for Aladdin to go!

    • Internitty

      But if they replace it with the lame Toy Story musical I will puke! The Lion King stage show would be good though or Aladdin one day Lion King the next and Little Mermaid the week after.

    • Imagineer2B

      I thought the same exact thing! I mean, Aladdin is a great show but it is definitely time to move on. I’d like to see the Hyperion get a refresh and a new show.

    • LoveStallion

      I’d love to see the Hyperion become a venue for actual concerts. It’s right there on Harbor, so outside access isn’t a problem. It’s a beautiful space. Imagine seeing some great acts performing there.

  • Sad times.

  • Internitty

    I think in busy periods the size of Starbucks will make practical sense but if they had have put a little thought into it removable walls to close the space in a little and break it up during quieter times would have been a nice touch.

    The farm theme is a little weird, too much Little House on The Prairie for someone in Imagineering I’m thinking ;)

    Have they changed the party line conversations before? I have never actually heard them and I am curious as to how often, if ever, they change. At least they kept them and the antique stove.

    The books in the window of The Book Rest are nice, Merchadising should be around next week to replace them with plush toys, shirts, pencil boxes and the newspaper, The Daily Grind.

    I don’t think the change is good but it could be made to work better in quieter times with a little thought. I think they looked at the Emporium and said let’s just make it on a similar scale and we’ll have symmetry.

    I actually like the higher battlements on the castle I think it looks really authentic behind the Fantasyland facades but I hope they do something better with that rail that’s running through it.

    Court of Angels is the Disneyland Hotel waterfall all over again, they just don’t care but maybe the expansion to Club 33 will rust out ;)

  • ZedIzDead

    Not everybody is going to agree on everything. I agree that the removal of CoA stinks and I would rather it stay. But I think it’s wrong to publicly put up the twitter posts of the folks who may share a different view. It’s their opinion and they should be able express it to their followers without MiceChat calling them out because MiceChat disagrees. Talk about bad show…

    • Zed,

      The Twitter posts are embedded only from public Twitter accounts using Twitter’s own embed feature. All Twitter users that keep their profile public grant anybody on the internet permission to embed their Tweets anywhere on the Internet. It has become common practice to crowdsource public opinion using this Twitter embed feature on many other blogs and news websites. Furthermore, *anybody* can find these public Tweets themselves by running a simple search for “Court of Angels” on Twitter.

      The Tweets included in today’s blog are meant to illustrate both sides of the debate and show the divide the Court of Angels has caused in the community.

      Thanks for reading,

      • ZedIzDead

        I understand how twitter works. To me it came off as, “And here are the folks who disagree with me.” To call them out for ridicule. And to praise the folks who agreed with you. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how it looked to me. But I get it. Twitter is public and if you are going to put it out there you better be ready to take heat for it. I’m on your side about your views of CoA but something about putting those up bugged me. Thanks for your response.

    • LoveStallion

      Unless it’s set to private, social media is public, buddy. It’s in the ToS or privacy agreement of any service you sign up for.