Full Review: West Side Starbucks in Disney World’s Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney (currently transitioning to Disney Springs, with the official renaming set for 2015) has opened its second of two Starbucks locations.

West Side Starbucks in Downtown Disney

West Side Starbucks in Downtown Disney

You may want to grab your own cuppa joe before settling in to take this tour – the West Side location is HUGE, so there is lots to see!

Starbucks Location in Downtown Disney's West Side

Starbucks Location in Downtown Disney’s West Side

Before we step inside, one of the unique outdoor features is the grass roof, aided in its growth by recycled coffee grounds.

Grass roof as seen from the side

Grass roof as seen from the side

Grass roof

Grass roof

As you approach the door to enter, you’ll notice that this is a Starbucks Reserve location. More on that to come…

Starbucks Reserve door handles

Starbucks Reserve door handles

While the Marketplace location that opened a couple of weeks ago is a walk-up counter for grab-and-go coffee, the West Side location is large enough that there is a dedicated room just for ordering and picking up your coffee. The queue is waiting for you!

Queue for the ordering counter

Queue for the ordering counter

Welcome to Starbucks!

Welcome to Starbucks!

Ordering room

Ordering room

If you are a Starbucks regular, you may not even need to glance at the menu, but it’s there, just in case ;) .

Menu board

Menu board

You can grab a bite from the bakery case as well. While there are no location-specific treats, I learned that this location carries just about every item from the La Boulange pastry line including coffee cake, cheese danish, cookies, muffins, croissants, scones, and breakfast sandwiches.

Bakery case

Bakery case

Bakery case

Bakery case

Packaged sandwiches, salads, and cheese and fruit boxes are also available.

Once you pick up your coffee, you can proceed to the next room and grab a spot to relax.

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Since it is anticipated that this will be a very busy spot, the name of the game is seating, and lots of it.

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Seating at the Reserve Coffee Counter

Seating at the Reserve Coffee Counter

I liked this group table – a smart addition for a family vacation destination (there are a couple of group tables in the outdoor seating area, too, which we’ll see a bit later).

Large table

Large table

You can even gain some coffee knowledge if you take a look around. Chalk-style murals depict regions where coffee beans are harvested, as well as a little history of the French Press brewing system.

Mural

Mural

Mural

Mural

French Press mural

French Press mural

A few cool antique coffee grinders and measuring scales are tucked into wall shelves.

Coffee antiques

Coffee antiques

Antique scale

Antique scale

Everywhere you look, you’ll find more coffee-inspired details.

"Coffee sack" Pillow

“Coffee sack” Pillow

Beans at the Reserve Counter

Beans at the Reserve Counter

Changing screen showing progess of the coffee bean

Changing screen showing progess of the coffee bean

With lots of wood and black walls, this spot might be rather dark, but large windows provide plenty of natural light as well as a great view of Downtown Disney and the lake.

Window wall

Window wall

There are two really unique features in this room to share. One is the interactive screen. The screen is interactive in that you can “draw” on it (think etch-a-sketch, without the little pen).

Interactive Screen

Interactive Screen

I stole this little greeting idea from Heather, our Disneyland reporter, from her trip to the Starbucks location in Downtown Disney Anaheim :) .

DFB Greeting!

DFB Greeting!

I also mention the Anaheim Starbucks because you can use this screen to check out what’s happening out there from your spot at Disney World!

"Live from Anaheim"

“Live from Anaheim”

Of course, Anaheim is three hours behind the east coast, so there wasn’t much action to be seen during my morning visit, since they weren’t open yet. But there was still fun to be had — occasionally you can catch a glimpse of the chalk version of yourself, and see what they would be seeing in Anaheim.

Interactive screen

Interactive screen

I kind of felt like I was in the “Take On Me” video (by A-ha!) from WAAAAAY back in the day. If you remember that, then I salute you, fellow child of the eighties! (AJ’s Editor Note: “I TOTALLY had that cassette single!!!!!!! This is why Wendy and I are friends.”)

Obviously, part of what’s involved in this technology are cameras, so a disclaimer is present letting you know where to go if you prefer not to be filmed during your visit.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

The other special thing in this room is the Reserve Coffee Counter. If you are looking specifically for Reserve Coffee, save yourself some time and bypass the main ordering section, since you’ll find the Reserve Coffee in the seating room. It has it’s own register, so you can make your purchase without waiting in the main line.

Reserve Coffee Counter on the left

Reserve Coffee Counter on the left

Reserve Coffee Counter

Reserve Coffee Counter

Reserve Coffee is offered at select Starbucks locations, featuring very small batches of “rare and exotic” beans. These upscale brews are [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland First Look: Starbucks Opens in Downtown Disney!

The walls are down and the doors are open! Disneyland’s Downtown Disney has just welcomed one of the most unique Starbucks stores in the nation.

Downtown Disney Welcomes Starbucks

Downtown Disney Welcomes Starbucks!

This LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified store is beyond gorgeous.  First off, you may be wondering what LEED is; I myself had to look it up to get some more information.

LEED certification encourages “green” building, using sustainable products in the construction of the building.  It also requires Energy Star performance ratings on appliances, lighting, machinery, etc.

Welcome to Starbucks Anaheim

Hand Painted “Welcome to Starbucks Anaheim, California” Mural

This Starbucks has all that and more. Let’s take a look inside!

Atmosphere

Both the interior and exterior of the store are lined with upcycled box car wood.  It has been sanded and stained to a beautiful golden brown color. You can actually see the holes where the bolts originally held the box cars together.

Starbucks Panoramic View

Other design elements include hand painted murals and a tree stump that was cut into a bench for seating.  Starbucks wanted to bring in hand crafted elements that compliment their hand crafted beverages.

Up-cycled Box Car Wood with Hand Painted Murals

Up-cycled Box Car Wood with Hand Painted Murals

More Box Car Wood

More Box Car Wood with Mural

The focal centerpiece of the store is a 9 panel LCD screen that features original content from the areas of the world that Starbucks sources their coffee.

9 Panel LCD Screen Featuring "Water Color" Images of Coffee Resources

9 Panel LCD Screen Featuring “Water Color” Images of Coffee Resources Used by Starbucks

The images have been modified to look as though they are watercolors, and change every minute or so.  The only other Starbucks in the nation to features this same screen is in New York’s Times Square location.

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks.

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks

When designing the store, Starbucks knew that its visitors would be in the area expecting some Disney magic.  Looking to impress guests and spread some of their own pixie dust,  elements were added to this new store that have yet to be introduced to any other Starbucks location.

The main feature is the interactive digital chalkboard.  I immediately noticed this when I walked in the doors.  It does two different things. First, it acts as a drawing board allowing guests to use their fingers to write messages, draw pictures or play a fun game of tic tac toe.

about a game of Tic Tac Toe?

How about a game of Tic Tac Toe?

Of course I couldn’t resist trying it out for myself…

Disney Food Blog Was Here!

Disney Food Blog Was Here!

Second, it creates its own pictures using images it “sees” in front of it.

Sure enough, I watched for a few minutes and I noticed that the man sitting near it was all of a sudden featured in a chalk type drawing right there on the board.  Very cool!

Hey Guy! Look, you're on the screen!

Hey Guy! Look, you’re on the screen!

By the way — it has a disclosure right there on the wall stating that they are using scenes and people in that area of the store to create the unique chalkboard drawings, so you’ve been warned that you might be part of the artwork.

Video Disclosure

Video Disclosure

Above the barista work space, Starbucks has added a light up map featuring locations where they source their coffee.

Light Up Coffee Sourcing Map

Light Up Coffee Sourcing Map

Seating

This particular Starbucks has very little indoor seating.  In fact the only seating is really a few small benches and the round stools that can be seen in front of the interactive screen.

Indoor Seating

Indoor Seating

Instead, the seating was designed to be a patio experience; “alfresco” is what I was told specifically. The patio was built around a large pre-existing tree.  Not wanting to uproot this long time resident, Starbucks made it the focal point of the patio.

The seating around it is very inviting.  In fact, if it weren’t for the World of Disney being right next door, you might easily forget that you were just steps away from the Main Gates.  I can definitely see this area being at full capacity most, if not all of the time.  It’s a great spot to take a break.

"Alfresco" Seating

“Alfresco” Seating

Another element unique to this store is the living wall towards the back of the patio.  The wall features 1000 native plants and acts as a backdrop to more patio seating.

Living Wall with Patio Seating

Living Wall with Patio Seating

 Menu

In addition to their regular beverage menu, this particular Starbucks location has a “Starbucks Reserve”  menu.  They have a special reserve coffee bar that serves up some rare and exotic coffee blends that can not be found at most Starbucks locations.  The Reserve menu changes on a regular basis.

The Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar: Serving Up Unique & Exotic Blends

The Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar: Serving Up Unique & Exotic Blends

You can also find the familiar refrigerated cases that serve up prepackaged foods, snacks, bottled water, juice, milk and more.

Starbucks Refrigerator Case

Starbucks Refrigerator Case

Pastries and and treats can be found as well.

Starbucks Pastries

Starbucks Pastries

 Merchandise

This location has the typical Starbucks branded gear available for purchase. You can buy coffee, water bottles, cups, mugs, etc.

Starbucks Branded Merchandise

Starbucks Branded Merchandise

They also have a location-specific Orange County mug.

Starbucks Orange County Mug

Starbucks Orange County Mug

I was hoping to see some Starbucks/Disney colab merchandise, but alas it was no where in sight.  I did ask if it was in the works and the answer was, “We aren’t ruling out the possibility.”  So, basically, don’t hold your breath!

Grinds to Go
Reserve coffees can be purchased to take home.

Starbucks Reserve Coffees Available to Take Home

Starbucks Reserve Coffees Available to Take Home

And…. If you need some additional energy to go, you can grab boxes of VIA, tea or coffee to take with you.

VIA, Teas & Coffee for Purchase

VIA, Teas & Coffee for Purchase

Overall

Overall, I think that Starbucks did a great job designing a location that fits right in at the Happiest Place on Earth. The design elements are modern and playful, a perfect Disney fit.  I also love that it provides a great little spot for fueling up before a long day in the parks.  It’s also the perfect retreat if you need a break…

Just a few hours in and already a super long line.

Customers Gladly Welcoming Starbucks to Downtown Disney Anaheim

Customers Gladly Welcoming Starbucks to Downtown Disney, Anaheim

Welcome to Downtown Disney, Starbucks!

Have you had a chance to visit the new Starbucks in Downtown Disney?  If so, did you have a favorite design element? Did you try the Reserve coffees or play with the digital chalkboard? Let us know in the comments below.

Heather Sievers is the Disney Food Blog’s Dining in Disneyland columnist. See more of her columns here!