Pass or Fail? Main Street Bakery Closing for Starbucks!

Chip and Company, Main Street Bakery, Magic Kingdom, Main Street USA

Special thanks to Chip & Company for sharing their photo!

Yesterday I heard something that just really bothered me.  The Main Street Bakery will be closing it’s doors in January, 2013 for refurbishment, at which point it will open up as a Starbucks!

According to Wikipedia, there are 19,972 Starbucks locations in 60 countries, including 12,937 in the United States.  In the Raleigh/Durham, NC area that I live in, there are no less then  50 Starbucks throughout the area.  So why do they need to close one more great Magic Kingdom establishment like the Main Street Bakery just to open one more Starbucks?

I know that the Walt Disney Company has made many changes over the years, and that, in Walt’s eyes, the parks would never be completed because as soon as they were, they would become stagnant and lose some of the charm that they hold.  I also know that the history of Walt Disney World (and also of Disneyland I believe) is one of a corporate sponsorship of various attractions, gift shops, and other landmarks.  However, I feel like Disney has gone too far this time.

I am not a coffee drinker, and I don’t think I will ever be one, but this isn’t about that.  The purpose of a vacation to Walt Disney World is to take yourself out of the here and now, out of the world, out of the daily grind, and to enter into a world of magic, of yesteryear, of a time gone by.  To stroll down a Main Street, catching all the sites and sounds, of imagining yourself at the turn of the century, with horse drawn carriages, Mayors that aren’t afraid to be seen in the street, and of street vendors selling popcorn before the movie at the local Cinema.

By bringing in such a corporate symbol, a Starbucks, a sign of the 21st century, of grabbing a cup of joe before you head into the office, you have effectively changed the whole atmosphere of Main Street, USA, and set it in fast forward to today’s date and time.  I know that the Cast Members will still wear period clothing, that the store will still be decorated to fit the theme that Main Street USA portrays, and that’s all well and good.  But what will change will be the feeling I always have when I walk down Main Street USA — that feeling I had the first time I visited the Magic Kingdom, as an 11 year old in 1979:

As you pass under the railroad tracks, somehow, Walt Disney has magically taken you out of the here and now, and transported you back to a different time, a different place, where small town Americana is alive and well; where Main Street isn’t just the name of a street, but it is a place to hang out with your friends, where you can eat, shop, and even catch a movie.  As you gaze at all of the incredible buildings, you are taken aback at how long Main Street, U.S.A. is.  It seems like it goes on forever!  But you peer at the end of the street, and what do you see?  This magical castle waiting for you, beckoning you to take a look at it, daring you to even go inside of it!  You have heard about that castle, how it is Cinderella Castle, and belongs to her.  You have read about how you can walk all the way through the castle, and come out in Fantasyland.  You have even heard that you can even have a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table — but that memory is for another trip.

Now, part of Main Street will be missing.  Gone will be the Bakery, and in it’s place, Starbucks.  Suddenly, I express the concern that I am afraid many people will have — that going to Walt Disney World is just something to do, but not much more special then a trip to Carowinds, or to Six Flags, or Universal.  Suddenly, you can find and do things at Walt Disney World that you can do half a mile from your home — you can order a double latte with whipped cream, or something like that.

In my opinion, putting a Starbucks in to replace the Main Street Bakery is a big FAIL.  What do you think?  I read about this at the Disney Parks Blog, feel free to check out their article.

Mike Ellis (1473 Posts)

My Dreams of Disney is just that…My Dreams of my absolute favorite place in the World! Stop by and share your Dreams too! Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and , and check out our special pages on the Lands of the Magic Kingdom, the countries of Epcot’s World Showcase, and our Disney Planning Resource pages! I am also a Pixie Vacations Travel Agent, so contact me to help you plan your next Disney Vacation!


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  1. Christa says

    I had heard rumors of this replacing The Plaza, so I’m glad that’s not happening. But, I’m equally unhappy that it’s replacing my beloved Bakery! Starbucks coffee is better than the Nescafe stuff, but barely. I will miss going into the MK and grabbing a snack, or breakfast, at the Bakery. The WDW I love is slowly fading away. :(

  2. Melissa_FillingOurBucket says

    Completely agree. When we heard that Starbucks was coming to WDW, we were excited because we are not only coffee drinkers but iced coffee drinkers. And we had a heck of a time trying to find iced coffee in WDW on our last trip. But this…this is just too far. I figured they would just start integrating Starbucks into the existing locations that sell coffee, getting rid of Nescafe. Not shut down iconic locations and open Starbucks stores! I really don’t care that the theming will be appropriate, the fact is that there were no Starbucks in 1920s America, and even current day “Main Street USAs” try to keep them out. It’s just sad. :(

  3. says

    My hope in writing this is that it will have the affect that my wife Cindy thinks it will – that enough of us will call it a fail, and that public opinion will allow Disney to see the error in their decision and make things different. There is a lot we don’t know — for example, will the food be regular food you find at Starbucks or food you were used to seeing at the Bakery now? Also, I’ve heard that the Cinnamon Rolls are going to be available all over the new Fantasyland areas, but will it still be the same? Things like that. I expect to those that knew that I tried out for the Moms Panel every year that I have just written my ticket to never being on the Moms Panel — but that’s okay! This is more about what it is all supposed to be about — the parks themselves. Thanks everyone for reading!

  4. Mary says

    Please Disney, leave Main Street Bakery and axe Starbucks.They are everywhere, in your Barnes and Noble Stores etc. There is only one Main Street Bakery and that is on Main Street in WDW. My grandsons will be so disappointed if this happens, they are 10 and 12 had we are on a hunt for a fragrance that has the “Disney Smell” which is from the Main Street Bakery I’m sure.. Never once have they entered a Starbucks and said this reminds me of Disney. BOO to Starbucks on Main Street,wake up and smell the coffee Disney World..oops meant Bakery!!! NO STARBUCKS…….. PLEASE

  5. says

    EPIC FAIL! The Bakery is an icon of Main Street! We go there especially for the huge cinnamon rolls, the coffee cakes and all of the sweets, and to feel like we are in another place and time! Stick the Starbucks in a hotel lobby or something, or put it in Tomorrowland with a futuristic theme. Not on Main Street! Main Street has already lost so much of it’s charm, with the loss of the Penny Arcade machines, the theater, etc. Let the Bakery stay! Pretty soon, no one will stick around Main Street unless they are going to the Emporium to buy something. Sad.