Downtown Disney (currently transitioning to Disney Springs, with the official renaming set for 2015) has opened its second of two Starbucks locations.
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!
Before we step inside, one of the unique outdoor features is the grass roof, aided in its growth by recycled coffee grounds.
As you approach the door to enter, you’ll notice that this is a Starbucks Reserve location. More on that to come…
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!
If you are a Starbucks regular, you may not even need to glance at the menu, but it’s there, just in case 😉 .
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.
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.
Since it is anticipated that this will be a very busy spot, the name of the game is seating, and lots of it.
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).
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.
A few cool antique coffee grinders and measuring scales are tucked into wall shelves.
Everywhere you look, you’ll find more coffee-inspired details.
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.
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).
I stole this little greeting idea from Heather, our Disneyland reporter, from her trip to the Starbucks location in Downtown Disney Anaheim 🙂 .
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!
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.
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.
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 is offered at select Starbucks locations, featuring very small batches of “rare and exotic” beans. These upscale brews are prepared one cup at a time with the Clover brewing system.
The Clover machines offer a more efficient way than the French Press to brew a single cup utilizing “Vacuum-Press” technology (the term “Vacuum-Press” is trademarked).
These machines allow you the opportunity to select your preferred brew, and offer the added benefit that your cup will be incredibly fresh.
During my visit, the Reserve Coffee choices (designated in the picture below with stars among the regular Starbucks blends) were Brazil Bourbon from Rio Verde and Zambia Peaberry. Choices will vary on any given day based on availability. The friendly barista working the Reserve Counter helped me make my selection by walking me through strength, flavor, and acidity (or “brightness”) of each.
Ultimately, he brewed a cup of the Brazil coffee for me. I can’t speak to the ins-and-outs of the various notes in the coffee, but I can tell you this: I typically doctor my coffee with cream and sugar to the high heavens, but since this was finer coffee than I typically make at home, I wanted to at least taste one sip of it black. I ended up drinking the entire cup that way, because it was smooth, rich, and not at all bitter.
While Starbucks Reserve locations are relatively rare, they can be found around the country if you’re interested in trying this experience near your home. It’s good to know that Starbucks Reserve Coffee is higher priced than the regular brews. For instance, my 12 ounce cup – a Starbucks Tall – was $2.75 ($2.93 with tax), where a standard Tall cup in Downtown Disney runs at $2.25. Prices will vary based on location and available beans.
I’m glad I gave it a try. My cup was so good that I didn’t even regret passing up my chance to order up some Oprah Chai! Next time, for sure…
As you may have guessed from the photo of my cup, I took my coffee to the outdoor seating area. I can picture spending more time out here with a hot drink when the weather gets cooler.
It’s a terrific spot for conversation, and the glassed-in fire beyond the group tables is a terrific feature, topped by a moss mural of the Starbucks siren.
This picture is my attempt at being artsy, but my friend made the great point that it just looks like I had a VERY hot cup of coffee 😉 .
A few deets! The Downtown Disney locations are corporate Starbucks locations, which means that they can take Starbucks cards and redeem Starbucks rewards (including birthday drinks, if you are part of the rewards program!). At this time, the West Side Starbucks location doesn’t take snack credits on the Disney Dining Plan (unlike the in-park Starbucks locations, Main Street Bakery and Fountain View). The location is open from 10 am to midnight.
I think the new location is really nice. It’s visually appealing, with plenty of options for seating and great views, and it provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Disney… which is sure to become all the more hustle-y and bustle-y as it continues to change into Disney Springs. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s next, and hope you are, too!
Will you be making a stop at the West Side Starbucks? Please let us know with a comment!