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Coffeeland: 8 "Starbucks in Disguise" Inside Disney and Universal Parks

3. Epcot

Image: Disney

Disguise: Fountain View
Land:
 Future World / World Celebration
Opened: 
September 4, 2013

When EPCOT Center opened in 1982, the Sunrise Terrance restaurant was prominently featured in the parenthesis-shaped Communicore West building. After shifting menus over three decades selling fried chicken, then Italian food, then espresso, then ice cream, the restaurant – by that time called Fountain View for its prominent location overlooking Epcot's Fountain of Nations – had developed a very '90s style of neon lights, metallic accents, and saturated color tiles. It was a look that pulled Future World into the past.

Image: Disney

That's why Starbucks' arrival in Epcot wasn't fretted over, but celebrated. True to expectactions, Starbucks' touch massively modernized Fountain View. The building's walls were pushed out (more or less eliminating the restaurant's outdoor seating with its eponymous fountain view) but the reward was a sleek, colorful, and – dare we say? – futuristic spot for a morning coffee. The new Starbucks featured a glowing wave ceiling with glass and wood accents throughout. 

While California Adventure and Magic Kingdom's historic, story-based Starbucks use an old-school vintage brass logo, Epcot's went just the opposite direction, adapting a specially-approved transluscent version of Starbucks' fabled siren. It's a cool, smart way of identifying the brand amid Future World's stylized aesthetic.

Image: Disney

At the bi-annual D23 Expo in 2019, Disney announced an ambitious reimagining of the style and substance of Future World. The transformation would include the unfortunate removal of the iconic Fountain of Nations, which would leave Fountain View without a fountain or a view. That's fine, of course, since all of the Innoventions West building would be torn down, too.

On September 7, 2019, the third Disney Parks Starbucks to open became the first to close. Don't worry – Starbucks is being relocated to a temporary spot closer to the park's entrance, and once all is said and done, the new Epcot's "World Celebration" realm will likely feature a permanent Starbucks in a much more prominent location.

4. Disneyland

Image: Disney

Disguise: Market House
Land:
 Main Street, U.S.A.
Opened:
September 25, 2013

Dropping a Starbucks into Disneyland might've been a major frustration for fans... and not just because the Market House was where Walt's famous 10-cent cups of coffee were. Akin to putting a McDonald's in Frontierland, some fans fought back against the idea of the reality-shattering modern coffee brand being shoehorned into a turn-of-the-century American town. Of course, Disney wouldn't have allowed such an embarassing intrusion, and the transformation of the Market House was done thoughtfully and carefully.

Image: Disney

The result is a beautiful dark wood coffee shop that feels immensely more intimate than Magic Kingdom's Main Street Bakery. (Continuing the classic comparison of Disneyland being more cozy than its corporate-designed younger sister in Florida.) Again, that makes sense; Disneyland's Main Street is, altogether, "simpler," with far less ornate architecture lending itself to belonging to a much different town than Magic Kingdom's grander and more elaborate city street.

This coffee shop fits that vibe surprisingly well. It's darker and more compact, with hidden Easter eggs, dark wallpaper, brass railings, and simple light fixtures (versus Magic Kingdom's chandeliers). Disney did allow the Market House to expand into the nearby Disneyana shop to up the coffee shop's capacity, and in so doing, created a comfortable, warm book nook corner of towering bookshelves that's entirely charming, and completely appropriate for this Main Street.

Image: Disney

In fact, despite being in the second-busiest theme park on Earth, this may be one of the most attractive Starbucks on Earth, lit by simple brass lamps and encased in a warm, 1900s atmosphere that continues right to baristas' costumes. Smartly, the Market House is located about halfway down Main Street, making it perfectly placed for guests entering, exiting, and circumnavigating the park. 

5. Universal's Islands of Adventure

Image: Universal Orlando

Disguise: Starbucks Coffee Co.
Land:
 Port of Entry
Opened: 
February 4, 2014

Though Disney didn't open any in-park Starbucks locations in 2014, their competitors did. Just a few miles from Walt Disney World, Universal's Islands of Adventure debuted a Starbucks of its own, in the highly-detailed and beautiful Port of Entry. In keeping with the land's exploratory theme, Starbucks was placed in a beautiful, exotic temple along the park's Great Sea with vines crawling across its northern face and its thick wooden sign.

Image: Universal Orlando

But once through the ornate entry, guests find themselves in... well... any corporate Starbucks. It's especially unfortunate that Universal wouldn't go the extra mile given 1) that every other shop and restaurant in Port of Entry carefully adheres to the land's ancient and adventurous theme and 2) that Disney was opening its own in-park Starbucks at the same time and using their individualized, park-appropriate theming as part of the draw!

The location replaced Arctic Express, an ice cream walk-up window that opened with the park (and, in a bit of a park history Easter egg, retains a map mural of icy blown winds and swimming penguins on its exterior). It's also perfectly positioned within the land's main entry, but also along the path that circumnavigates the park, giving guests plenty of opportunities for refills.

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