Sometimes you just get lucky. (Ask any New England Patriots’ fan.) On Sunday afternoon, after a quick stroll around Crescent Lake, I stopped in Disney’s Hollywood Studios to grab a quick drink and check on the hat demolition before heading home. As I walked down Hollywood Boulevard, my husband said “Do you smell….coffee?” Sure enough, there was a small crowd outside The Trolley Car Cafe, the new Starbucks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Outside, a cast member was handing vouchers to anyone passing by for a free pastry or drink for their soft opening. Score!
The Trolley Car Cafe seems to attract less negative attention than the similar facility in the Magic Kingdom, and part of it may be because of how well this location fits with the decor of Hollywood Boulevard. From the neon sign outside to the finishing touches inside, it really feels like what a Starbucks would feel like if it was in the golden age of Hollywood. Truth told, unless you are looking for a Starbucks, you could completely miss this location.
While the voucher we were handed was clearly for a cast member and Imagineer preview (of which I am neither), the soft opening was clearly open to anyone walking by. Although people were being ushered in a few at a time, we had no wait to get inside. The first thing that I noted is that there really isn’t any good stroller parking outside, and we were told to bring our daughter inside, stroller and all.
When you first enter, the store is divided in half by a pastry counter, with each side having several registers. A cast member directed us towards the side with fewer people, and then it was essentially a free-for-all to grab a register. Drink orders placed, we then moved out of the way and had time to take in the scenery.
The decor is designed with somewhat of an industrial feel, with cargo boxes on the catwalks above the registers and trolley car power lines and control panels mounted on the back walls.
Your menu is exactly what you would expect from Starbucks. No surprises there. What did surprise me is that there is no seating inside. Once you get your food or beverage, if you want a place to sit and eat it, you’re probably going to mooch some seating space from Starring Rolls Bakery. This immediately begs the question for me, in the breakfast hour (when this site is likely to get the highest throughput), will Starring Rolls continue to serve breakfast? While I sincerely hope so, I have a feeling that some bean counters (pun intended) are getting paid some money to figure out whether it is desirable to keep both locations open for breakfast.
The cast members were extremely efficient and polite, and while it is clear they are still working out the kinks (my husband’s iced coffee was ready in less than five minutes, but my iced tea ordered at the same time took twice as long), I think that this will be a quick stop for many people in the morning.
No word on when this location will fully open, and no sign of the Starbucks mugs that are quickly becoming hot commodities. But if you are in the Studios and smell the scent of coffee wafting down Hollywood Boulevard, you might be lucky enough to be one of the first people to try out The Trolley Car Cafe.