College Hangouts

From what I hear, every college kid has their hangout, as hipster or un-hipster as it might be. Dark, brooding coffee shops, maybe? Clamoring sports bars? A designated dorm room? No matter the case or place, there’s always a spot to convene and unwind. It’s a necessity.

I have just found mine.

I’ve been hunting for a while. I have a few go -to locations to chill at,  like the cute pink maccaroon shop on Park Avenue in downtown Orlando, or lakeside in Celebration. But today I came across the new Starbucks on the West Side of Downtown Disney, and I think it’s love.

You know how in the movies the main character stops, looks up and you can physically see their heart stop a beat as they experience love at first sight?

That was me. As I rounded the corner (enthralled by the enormity of the hot air balloon when tethered to the ground) I glanced upwards and… there it was. Like Prince Charming in a suit in tie, there was a tall, dark, mysterious flair to the facade in front of me. Better than Prince Charming, actually. This had air conditioning and caffeine and had saved me a spot by the window with a pillow.

This Starbucks is huge. Grand. Refreshingly cool after the 90 degree Florida weather. And, if anyone knows me at all, I’m helplessly addicted to Starbucks. I know there are people who find fault with Starbucks, be it their ethics, prices or corporate coffee omnipotence. But I am unashamed to say it is my one vice and I have come to terms with that.

(There is something to be said for its consistency. No matter where in the world — or Orlando — I might be, a Starbucks always waits with open arms and a latte to listen to my problems. It’s cheaper than therapy.)

And, of course, combining Disney and Starbucks is like kryptonite to me. I just can’t resist.

Anyway, I think I’m off topic. Where was I?

This store is vast and well equipped to handle hundreds of Guests. It seems like it popped up out of nowhere. I recall thinking, “Wow, I can’t wait to see that!” when I saw the designs for it, but expected months — maybe years — before it became a reality. I was forgetting that this is Disney and dreams come true here. It sprouted overnight. Boom! Instant caffeine magic.

It has wide glass windows, a great view of guests and the hot air balloon, a Starbucks Reserve counter (specialty coffee, still a Starbucks rarity) and a lot of tables to accommodate all sizes of parties.

Compared to the stores in Magic Kingdom and Epcot, this has actual seating room, although a second Starbucks at Downtown Disney is merely counter service. I guess when you think about it, how crazy is it that Starbucks has infiltrated Disney? It’s like a synergy of large, dominant companies ready to caffeinate you and send you down Splash Mountain.

The register gal dotted the I in my name with a Mickey Mouse head. Extra magical.

I guess now the challenge is how to get me to leave. (You may have to lure me out with a Fastpass to meet Ana and Elsa, or perhaps a night stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite. Anything less will not do.)

I mean, I’ve got a window seat and a pillow. There’s an iced coffee in front of me and a hardback copy of Peter Pan in my satchel. 

What else does a girl need?


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