About the Column

Admit it. You do it a lot. You ask yourself: Why Did Disney DO That?!? Maybe you ask others, too. Maybe you gather in groups, gnaw on turkey legs, and ponder what Disney does. But any such gab sessions inevitably lead to confusion and perhaps frustration. Because none of us have the answers. Disney has the answers, but it's not telling. The Mouse justifies its actions either with "it's part of our business plan" or the even more nebulous "it's part of Walt's vision". You deserve better. In his column, Lee Beatens will uncover the truth. Or at least deliver some entertaining rants.

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FROM: Why Did Disney DO That?!? Published As Necessary

Death by Disney Coffee

Coffee is high on the list of the things Lee Beatens loves. Disney is even higher. He hoped for a threesome: him, Disney, and coffee. Disney didn't disappoint, but his coffee was a vile brew that he forced himself to choke down. Now it's the day after...

There are few things in life that I can truly say I love. On the short list are my wife, as the main one. Disney is another. And somewhere high on the list is... coffee.

So imagine my disappointment when I tried to combine all three of these things at Walt Disney World.

When Karen and I visited WDW in 2005, our first time there together, I was 2 for 3. All I needed was a good cup of coffee to round out my bliss. So I visited the Resort cafeteria, bought my refillable mug (so that I could drink myself into caffeine oblivion), and stepped up to the beverage-dispensing kiosk.

I was about to pour my first cup of black gold on day one of my fifteen-day stay. My first cup of many was about to touch my lips. The 'nectar of the gods' was about to make it 3 for 3!

It was terrible.

The Nescafe Plunge (in Quality)

Disney had apparently made an exclusive deal with Nescafe to supply all of the coffee on WDW property. Oh, the horror! The taste made me spit it out all over a passing CM. Then I sunk to the ground, and on my knees, I screamed:

Why did Disney DO that?!?

OK, it didn't quite go exactly like that. And I did manage to choke down quite a few mugs of the vile brew over the term of my stay. But I didn't enjoy it!

Here's the thing...

The Evils of Corporate Sponsorship

I know why Disney does the corporate partnership thing. By buying coffee from one company, they get an amazing bulk discount. Then, they probably get a significant kickback by allowing that company to advertise on WDW property. And this money-saving tactic doesn't stop at the food department.

Corporations have long sponsored pavilions. GM has paid heavily into Test Track. Siemens has paid heavily into Spaceship Earth. And on and on it goes. In the case of pavilions, such corporate infiltration usually does more good than bad. Although, I do hate having to walk through a GM showroom after certain ride experiences!

But with a food product, does Disney always have to go with the absolute cheapest corporate bid, with no consideration as to whether the end product is consumable?

In the case of Nescafe's coffee, the answer is obviously 'Yes'.

Lee Seeks a Good Cup of Joe

So I leave my refillable mug at the Resort and hunt down the few places on WDW property that are willing to sell a good cup of Joe. Like the Kona Cafe at the Polynesian. Or the Trail's End at Fort Wilderness. The Writer's Stop at Disney's Hollywood Studios. And Ghirardelli's at Downtown Disney.

If you know of other places, I beg you to leave them in the comments section, for the good of humanity and coffee lovers everywhere!

And to Disney I say: "Give me GOOD coffee, or give me death!" Or a refund.


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