Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Disney Living Character Initiative Beginnings?

Remember when Disney rolled out Lucky the Dinosaur and the Mobile Muppet Labs?

Long before that, Disney was investigating other ways to make the Animatronics more lifelike, portable and in your face! Well, maybe not  the last part.

In a 1977, Eyes and Ears (July 22, 1977), we meet Imagineer Steve Mcintyre who was working on a portable computer that fit into a briefcase in order to control smaller Audio Animatronic figures.

James Bond managed to carry many interesting things in his suitcase, but the one thing he never did manage to fit in was a computer. That has been left to our engineers at MAPO to build. MAPO' s new Micro Animation Control System (MACS), designed primarily by Steve Mcintyre, may soon make it possible to program and operate by portable computer small AudioAnimatronic figures ... from a "suitcase." 
At both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, there are many AA figures located too far from DAC Central to operate off their huge computer systems, so they are currently run by a drum timer or cam machine. The drum is something like a music box cylinder and provides digital function only, whereas MACS would provide analog function as well. Digital function provides one shot of power per command, something like an on/off light switch. Analog function, in comparison, acts something like a light "dimmer" switch, providing gradations of movement. MACS would allow the AA figures a larger number of movements, all much smoother, with fewer mechanical parts to wear out in the control system itself. It's actually two units used together. The portable "suitcase" programmer would be carried out to the animation. A small playback unit would be attached permanently to the animation and the programmer hooked in. Then you just feed in your commands. The current MACS is limited to eight analog commands, which is not sufficient for the larger AA figures, but is certainly an improvement for small animation in remote locations. A prototype MACS is currently working in the lab at MAPO. 
If you want to now a little more about Imagineering and MAPO, then check out my Mice Chat article about Garner Holt Productions.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Geeky Disney Links

Did you ever get lost while shopping at the Emporium on Main Street, USA? Thankfully, Disney provided this handy map in case you lose your way while finding that souvenir.

Don't forget that you can like Imaginerding on Facebook!

Celebrating Epcot's 30th Anniversary!

On with some of the best NERDiest Disney-related links from the past week!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mice Chat Articles and Communicore Weekly

My Book of the Week for the latest episode of Communicore Weekly is Meet Me in the Magic Kingdom by Kathy Jakobsen. This is a charming picture book for kids that any Magic Kingdom fan will want to own for its gorgeous paintings.

In this week's show, Jeff and I look at the history of the Peoplemover, the book Meet Me in the Magic Kingdom, a Disney Debate: Peter Pan vs Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and a Five Legged Goat from the Land Pavilion.

Mice Chat Articles

My latest ImagiNERDing column is an interview with Chris Strodder , the author of the Disneyland Encyclopedia. Chris talks about researching and writing the book. He also shares some great photos and some of his favorite things to do at Disneyland.

The Disney Review
In the latest Disney Review column, I review Dave Smith's new book, Disney Trivia From the Vault: Secrets Revealed and Questions Answered. Is this new book from the Chief Archivist Emeritus of the Walt Disney Archives worth it?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Worst Disney Coffee Ever: Quest Four & Finis

This is the fourth and final post in Foxxfur's series from 2008 about the quest for coffee at Walt Disney World. don't forget to visit Passport2Dreams for some of the most insightful Disney-related content on the web. Things have changed, for the better, over the past few years with the coffee situation at Walt Disney World. It still isn't perfect, but it is getting better.

Quest Four: Animal Kingdom

One of the funny things about coffee is that most of it is produced in third world countries, and in those same third world countries it's nearly impossible to get ahold of the real fresh thing. The funny thing about Animal Kingdom is that while other parks represent places the average American would perhaps want to find themselves, Animal Kingdom is all about you being in a third world country - with no shelter and no air conditioning. You could think that the intersection of a theme park about nations which also produce coffee would result in some exciting coffee experiences, but you'd be depressingly wrong. Of course there's good news and bad news, but I'll be upfront here and tell you that fifty percent of the news at all isn't even inside the turnstiles:

Yeah, that's a Joffrey's coffee and it's actually outside the park turnstiles, in that little village of gift shops and souvenir stands and Rainforest Cafes you have to traverse to even get to the thing. This particular location is very useful if you happen to be entering the park in the morning on a not very hot day and haven't yet had coffee, but for the rest of us who are planning on schlepping around the biggest, hottest, emptiest park in the Disney roster, it's not a very appealing proposition. Still, I'm the one who's been known to leave the Magic Kingdom to walk over-and-back to the Contemporary just to use Contemporary Grounds, their coffee shop, so I shouldn't be making fun. There's option number one, folks.

Option number two is significantly more appealing, and it's a humdinger, actually one of my biggest motivations to visit Animal Kingdom to begin with: the tea stand across from what is now the Yak & Yeti, as you approach the Everest area. I'm not much of a fan of Everest's design principles, but if the barely-there story about the train being run by a tea company can justify the existence of this shop, then I say all's the better. Yes, you can get coffees of all stripes here also, but why do that when you can get a fine tea for the save amount of money?

Now I know that Americans in general don't drink much tea, and those who know enough about tea to recognize Dragonwell, Sencha and Silver Needle when they see it won't need much coaxing here, but these are some great teas and deserve your time while you're in the park. If you're looking for something like what we think of as being "just regular" tea try the Keemun or Assam - the first two options on the tea menu - and as for the rest - be brave and try something new, I assure you nothing on that menu is going to hurt you.

Yeah, so neither of these options are 100% covienent, but that's the price of going to Animal Kingdom - it's so big you don't want to go anywhere remotely out of the way. And there is a third option right across from the tea stand, served from the exterior of the Yak & Yeti inside that establishment's outdoor seating area. I took a close look at the coffee served there and it looked about par for McDonald's - which is actually not bad coffee, you know, but the location of two sensible coffee options within stone's throw of each other still leaves the rest of the park high and dry. I was surprised to see that even the coffee shop window outside Tusker House, when it was operational, sold Nes'Cafe, so these two kiosks of recent advent have removed another embarassing spot of bad coffee karma from the Disney Parks. Now Disney just needs to get on getting something good in Magic Kingdom.

My Advice & Summation

A recent item of interest which has been percolating for some time now is that Nestle may be pulling out of Walt Disney World as a sponsor presence, which has been known by Disney for long enough now that they're refurbished most of the signs mentioning the company by name so that Nestle's name can literally be removed overnight by taking down a single panel. That this news coincides with another rumor that Disney may open a Starbucks-type coffee shop branded by their own silly coffee line currently sold in gift shops around the resort adds a further wrinkle to the situation, one even further compounded by the fact that Walt Disney World is currently populated with a fleet of coffee makers not in use but not yet removed. Was Nes'Cafe a quick fix for Walt Disney World?


If Nestle pulls out then WDW has a number of intriguing possibilities open to them. Here's a handful with commentary by myself.

Joffrey's Coffee - is the "cheap" option since the company is already an operating participant of Walt Disney World. Of course their business model isn't exactly suited to the Disney food courts - having a full scale coffee bar operating in, say, Pecos Bill would be disaster itself - but just buying their coffee and turning on all those dormant coffee makers haunting kitchens around Walt Disney World is a fairly appealing notion. I recently spoke to a Joffrey's salesperson at the Contemporary and was told that the company would be greatly expanding their representation throughout Walt Disney World in the next few years - could this be what was spoken of? The problem with Joffrey's is that what makes them special in the WDW equation is the grinding of fresh coffee on the premises, and pre-ground freeze dried coffee from them would likely be neither here nor there. It could also create a strain on the supply chain of the still fairly small company if Disney were to need coffee in the quantity required for just one park, never mind four, plus the food courts for nineteen resorts.

Starbucks - is a popular choice, especially since their coffee has somehow gotten the reputation of being very good. Starbucks buys fairly cheap beans and proceeds to roast the living daylights out of them, which results in grounds which yields the bitter, smokey flavor we associate with a green mermaid today. While the quality of the beverage is questionable the company has a sparkling public image at the moment and the union of Disney and Starbucks would likely move much more coffee at Walt Disney World than any number of prominently-placed Nes'Cafe machines do now.

Green Mountain Coffee - is the most unexpected choice here, but is my preferred one. To begin with, some of Disney's operating participants - namely McDonald's - already use Green Mountain coffee at their locations, and the company provides coffee to some surprising places - like Ben & Jerry's mall locations. The coffee found in these locations is best described as "what you want", which is to say, good. Green Mountain also provides the beans for Newman's Own Organics line of coffees, and those beans are great, by far the best corporate bean available in a variety of stores.

So that's it, folks. Thanks for sticking with me on this nonsense and I'll see you next week back at my usual blog. And now, the printer-friendly cheat sheet:


Where To Get OK Coffee -
A Cheat Sheet for Frazzled Guests, Annoyed Snobs & Theme Park Bingo Players
Magic Kingdom
Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, Liberty Square (espresso only!!)
Kiosk in front of Universe of Energy, Future World East
Kiosk near Mexico on the Future World side, World Showcase Plaza
Kringla Bakery, Norway Pavilion World Showcase
Kiosk near American Adventure, Italy Side World Showcase
Tangierine Cafe Desert Counter, Morocco Pavilion World Showcase
Boulangerie Patisserie, France Pavilion World Showcase
Kiosk between UK and Canada, World Showcase
Disney Hollywood Studios
Kiosk to the immediate right of Main Entrance, inside park
Writer's Stop, Commissary Lane
Animal Kingdom
Kiosk to the right of Main Entrance, back towards tram stop & outside park turnstiles
Royal Andapur Tea Company, Asia
Far Right Side of Yak & Yeti, Asia

Monday, July 23, 2012

Geeky Links to Start Your Week

An older photo from the Magic Kingdom. Do you know where this one is found?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Animatronic News and Communicore Weekly

Don't forget to check out my Mice Chat column for this week. I write about Garner Holt Productions and a big changeover in MAPO, WED and Imagineering.
I was briefly mentioned on the Stuff You Missed in History Podcast.

It is a short episode about book collections, so I had to email them about my Disney book collection.
In this episode, we discuss the World of Motion, the Let The Memories Begin Impressions of the Walt Disney World Resort Souvenir Book, Bob Gurr's Window on Main St and a Five Legged Goat in Peter Pan.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Worst Disney Coffee Ever: Quest Three

This is the third entry in a series posted by Foxxfur from Passport2Dreams on the sad state of coffee at Walt Disney World. Although the series is over four years old, her writing still holds merit.

"...and the bean death held sway over all!"

OK, so now we start getting into more alien territory for our intrepid authorette: the Studios and Animal Kingdom, places I don't generally care for and don't often visit. But sacrifices must be made after all, and since this is for the public record, I went and crawled all around those parks this week so I would at least appear to know what I'm talking about. I feared MGM (Sorry... The STUDIOS) would be yet another Magic Kingdom, and while it's true that the coffees they have are more basic, there's nearly as many places to get the good stuff and, best of all, the park's relatively small size means that getting to them is pretty simple. So here we go on
Quest Three: That Park Thingie That Used to be MGM-Studios With the Star Wars and the Hat

The good news is very good here, which is that there's at least one very good place to get 100% real coffee and two pretty good places. The best place is a bit out of a way, but the most important coffee addicts no that no distance is too great if real coffee is on the line. It's The Writer's Stop and while it may be over by the New York Street it's also just a hop, skip, and a jump from that godawful but at least fairly central hat, if that helps the situation at all. The location has a nice cafe atmosphere and is hardly busy, since it appears to be a store from the outside. There's a bean grinder, an espresso machine and a nice selection of coffee-shop type sweets, and it's your best choice at WDW we've covered so far if you want a good coffee shop type experience.

There's two other coffee places that bear mentioning. Funnily enough, of the three I'm talking about here only one is actually on the Studios guidemap... it's Starring Rolls Cafe, which is kind of a situation similar to Kringla Bakery at EPCOT, only it closes so early every day it's totally useless for coffee crazed insomniacs like me. It may be hosted by Nestle, creator of the abomination NesCafe, but don't be fooled - inside they have real coffee machines with real brew baskets and everything. The stuff is I'm sure NesCafe or some similar Nestle variant, but it is telling that in the cafes that Nestle sponsors even they won't stoop to selling that NesCafe concentrate sludge stuff Disney has no problem using to make their coffee. Will crimes against humanity never cease??!!

Finally, on the most positive note yet, is the most handy coffee spot in the park if you happen to be in the right area: once you enter the MGM turnstiles make an immediate right and you'll see a little stand next to Oscar's Gas Station and, yes, it's serving real coffee with real ground beans and stuff. Funnily enough you can also buy NesCafe here - in the form of an iced slush drink.

One funny thing about the Disney parks is that it's easier to get a decent espresso - heck, even Magic Kingdom has it at Sleepy Hollow - than light brewed North American style coffee. If you find yourself at an espresso machine and want US type coffee, do what the rest of the world does: add hot water to espresso. It's called Cafe Americano and it's quite good!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Geek-End Update: Disney Links and Mice Chat Articles

I've got some Geeky links for the start of your week!

Don't forget to check out the three columns that I did this weekend at Mice Chat:
Check out Jeff Kurtti's latest Wonderful World of Walt column at Disney Insider. This time Jeff looks at Walt Behind the Wheel!

On with the links.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Stacy J Aswad Interview on Communicore Weekly

Jeff and I interviewed Stacy J. Aswad of Walt Disney World's Resort TV.

In this special interview segment, George and Jeff put Stacey J. Aswad, host of Top 7 Things To Do At WDW, a resort TV staple, in The Hot Seat to talk about Disney, roller skating, and a lot more!

Thought this is the entire interview, don't forget you can also take it on the go by getting it on iTunes at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/communicore-weekly/id496333443

To find out more about Stacey, check out her website at www.staceyjaswad.com 

Check out her show, VO Buzz Weekly at www.vobuzzweekly.com

Watch, rate, comment, and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Weird Walt Disney World and Communicore Weekly

Head on over to Mice Chat to check out my latest ImagiNERDing article about some pretty strange odds and ends that I ran across while doing some research.
Communicore Weekly!

On this week's show:
  • We interview Teresa from Fairy Godmother Travel about the premier of Carsland, 
  • I review Walt Disney World: The First Decade,
  • We take an Under the Sea bathroom Break, and
  • Belle's Library as the Five Legged Goat!
Don't forget our upcoming live show!

Celebrating Epcot's 30th Anniversary!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Worst Coffee Ever: Quest Two Epcot

This is Part Two of Foxxfur's posts from March 2008 about the terrible state of coffee at Walt Disney World. You can find Part One here

She wrote this series of posts at a now defunct site and I wanted to preserve her writing. Enjoy!

 Quest Two: EPCOT

Okay, so Magic Kingdom is just a total wash. Really, it's depressing, but what can one do? Bring her own coffee? That's what I do. Or of course you could beg some nice cast member to run you a fresh cup using the Coffeepot in their breakroom, but perhaps that would just be silly. Thankfully we have EPCOT, that culture center of Disney, to the rescue, where one can find a remarkably robust selection of coffee... that's not NesCafe! How is this possible?? After all, Disney has a sponsorship deal with Nestle, which means that the coffee they've agreed to produce on property is the Nestle brand NesCafe, right? Right?

Well folks for the first time Mickey's laziness works in your favor because although Disney may be contractually obligated to give you hazelnut sludge synthetic bean juice, that still won't stop them from cutting corners by... outsourcing. Yes, that's right, the same practice which brought you generic valet service at the Pop Century (M)Hotel now brings you... acceptable coffee! Some of this is purely financially motivated on Disney's part. Some of it is related to the fact that they're offering things like espresso which Nescafe can't actually yield. And in a few places it actually seems to be a strange little pocket of the world weathering the Nescafe regime underground, actually brewing actual coffee grounds in actual coffee machines.

Study the following closely. It may one day save your life.

This is a Joffrey's Coffee stand. There are four of them. They are in front of the Universe of Energy, to the left of the American Adventure, between Canada and the United Kingdom pavilions, and near the FriendShip boat launch to Germany from Mexico. And yes, they always say "Espresso, Coffee & Pastries". Joffrey's is purveyor of fine coffees based in Florida. They receive, care for, grind, and brew good beans from good places. All through December they featured a fine Columbian roast, and have recently switched to one of my personal favorite beans - Yirgachaffe, from Ethiopia. Things being as they are the beans are run through a drip-percolator system rather than being seeped and pressed, as really exemplary coffee should be prepared, but their methods always yield a rich and pleasant cup and they grind their beans all day long; I've seen that burr grinder spinning many times, so no, it's not just a prop.

Thankfully Joffrey's is not the only wholly safe choice in EPCOT, as the World Showcase Gods have seen us fit to be blessed with three other places you can get real coffee. Ready for a humdinger? Here's one of them.

Yes that's right, the Norwegian bakery which NesCafe herself sponsors, serves superior coffee! Don't worry, nothing's rotten in the state of Oslo, as this little bakery serves excellent deserts, sandwiches,and even alcoholic specialty coffees. And one day I walked in to buy Rice Cream (the second best confection at Walt Disney World) and found myself looking at a real coffee maker behind the counter. Perhaps because this bakery also offers espresso from the same machine does the coffee not taste like water, but whatever the reasons, It is welcome. In a similar vein is the bakery in France. Much more popular and just as good as Norway's little shop, this little spot features two massive high-end coffee machines which dispense every coffee beverage commonly available. The machines must be in perfect working order because although the staff confirmed that they brew NesCafe and it's fairly evident drinking it, the resulting beverage has the smooth and mellow tones of real coffee. Chalk this one up to high-end equipment, happily.

The last place to get good coffee for those in an adventurous mood is Morocco, tucked away at the rear of the Tangierine Cafe. This, too, offers specialty (read: alcoholic) coffees in cute little plastic cups made to look like North African glasses. NesCafe is also available here in glass pots on warming plates just like at 7-Eleven, but skip that and ask the staff to prepare you Moorish Coffee with Rose Petal Water. It's a Disney variant on North African coffees made with instant coffee (yes, usually NesCafe), cinnamon, cumin, and cloves or black pepper. Disney makes theirs with the more American-friendly nutmeg and espresso, but it's an experience you're unlikely to find commercially available elsewhere.

My Advice:
Sadly there is no good coffee option in World Showcase between China and Italy or in Future World West, but all other locations are within walking distance of each other, so unless you're in China, Germany, Italy or The Land I suggest seeking out a Joffrey's for a basic coffee experience, reasonably priced. If you're eating at one of the two bakeries you'll find their coffee to be quite good, but the long lines these places can attract especially in the evening make going in just for coffee a pointless proposition. Morocco is an exotic alternative which may not be to all tastes. But between these seven options you're likely going to be passing good coffee at some point in your travels, so enjoy this oasis of quality hot beverage at Walt Disney World.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Orville Redenbacher and Walt Disney World

A shot of a young boy at EPCOT enjoying some popcorn. Notice the box and the logos. Image from a late 1980s Souvenir Guidebook.


It is hard to think of a Walt Disney World trip that doesn't involve sharing a box of popcorn on Main Street, USA.

But you know, we didn't always have the Orville Redenbacher that we know, love and can smell the moment you hit Main Street. From the February 4, 1977 Eyes and Ears:
Walt Disney World welcomes Orville Redenbacher and his Gourmet Popping Corn as our new official popcorn. And Orville himself will be "popping" in at the Village this weekend to head up the ceremonies.

Orville will arrive in his popcorn - shaped hot air balloon at 2 pm on Saturday, February 5, staying until 5 pm; then return Sunday from 12 noon to 2 pm. Besides an opportunity to meet Orville, there will be free samples of his Gourmet Popping Corn, entertainment, popcorn recipe books, and of course, the balloon itself!
Walt Disney World sells an average of 90 tons of popcorn to our guests every year! (1977 figure)

That's right. Orville flew into the Village in a popcorn-shaped hot air balloon.

For all of us detail-obsessed theme parkeologists, I included a scan of the photo from the issue because it shows how the boxes debuted.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Worst Disney Coffee Ever Quest One

A few years ago, Foxxfur from Passport 2 Dreams Old & New wrote a series of articles about the coffee at Walt Disney World at another Disney site that is gone and forgotten. An often prescient writer, I felt that her tale needed to be documented and re-published, so to speak. It was a series of four articles that I will repost over the next few weeks.

The Worst Disney Coffee Ever, Quest One (Originally published in March 2008)
by Foxxfur

Walt Disney World coffee is terrible. It's the absolute worst thing about take out at Walt Disney World, worse even than the tasteless, synthetic meat (?) hamburgers you're tormented with. It's instant coffee, or, better put, simulation coffee beverage, and for the $2.09 you pay you'd be better off driving off property and buying a cup of coffee at the local 7-Eleven.

OK, I admit I'm a total coffee snob, but snobbery often arises out of a desire to simply no longer tolerate a sub-par product, which is what instant coffee is. Coffee comes in two varieties: Arabica or Robusta beans. You may remember that coffee brands like Folgers or whoever claim they are made with "100% Arabica Beans!". Arabica (African) beans are generally considered to be superior to Robusta (South American) beans, but in reality the climate and elevation are more decisive factors. Regardless, Robusta beans generally yield a beverage which is more bitter and has more caffeine, and as a result not only do Robustsa beans account for only a minimal portion of the world's output, but are generally reserved in their lowest quality crops for American coffee companies. These establishments use Robusta as "fill" for their "signature blends". Exactly how much of these blends are Robusta is pretty much unknown, but one thing's for sure - instant coffee is almost 100% Robusta beans. Of course, once the beans are freeze-dried, powdered, flavored and vaccum-packed, it really doesn't matter, does it?

Well I've too long been in a Disney park and totally unable to get a decent cup of coffee anywhere. Scratch that, been actively terrified of going somewhere and buying a cup of the dreaded Nescafe. Initially I tolerated the Artificial Coffee Beverage as being a distinct flavor of the parks - the hazelnutty, watery taste which at least provided a caffeine charge was essentially inoffensive. But now it's WAR! I'm sick of drinking instant coffee and for totally selfish reasons I'm out to find the best place to get quick service coffee in the parks and now you're invited along!!

Don't pretend you're not enthralled!!!!1!!

Quest One: Magic Kingdom
So here we are at Magic Kingdom, enjoying life, perhaps having just taken in a rousing trip on Pirates of the Caribbean, and if you're like me, if you're feeling content, it's time for that most legal of all drugs, caffeine. Or tired. Or awake. Or annoyed. Let's face it, if you're like me you're gonna drink coffee regardless of where you are or what time of day it is, and if you're like me, you drink it black and strong (cream and sugar is so eighth grade). There's just a problem: you're at Magic Kingdom, also known as an airtight vortex in which no coffee can be created or destroyed, and as such the only solution is that vile liquid known as NESCAFE.

The Mark of Satan!!!

Most places are upfront with this coffee heathenism: they'll put up on the sign "Coffee", followed by the NesCafe logo, so at least the attentive individual (the ones you usually won't find at Magic Kingdom) would know that she's actually buying Artificial Coffee Sludge. Some won't even let you know. They'll tack "Coffee... $1.59" up with no warning. So If You're Like Me, you're suddenly filled with hope that perhaps this little establishment is a holdout of real coffee. And you're going to be disappointed every time until you learn not to look at the signs, but what's behind the counter.

This is a NesCafe machine:
NesCafe, by the way, is historically interesting in that it was the first truly successfully "instantified" coffee, invented by Swiss chemists, in 1938. True instant coffee is powdered, freeze dried, dissolveable granules of stuff that is soluable in water. This is not what Disney sells you in Orlando; after all, who wants to individually make cups of instant coffee at Pecos Bill and on demand? So what exactly are they selling you? Fountain beverages. In the same way that your average quick service cup of Mountain Dew or whatever is actually a thick syrup diluted with carbonated water, Disney Coffee is a thick liquid compound diluted with hot water. It's apparently more of an art than a science, as sometimes the NesCafe tastes better (richer) than other times.

In my Coffee Tour of Magic Kingdom I decided to grab a cup of the stuff and drink it over chicken strips and fries. So on the upper floor of the Columbia Harbor House I pried that stryrofoam cup open and saw.. bubbles. Rich coffees like espresso have a thick heavy froth on the top called crema, generally considered the most delicious part of the beverage. NesCafe has bubbles. Not a few bubbles, like you'd expect from the kind of coffee that comes out of those hand-pump type drip coffee thermoses which remind me of hand soap dispensers, but thick, heavy bubbles that don't disperse after a few minutes, but cling to the inside of the cup. Below is a photo sequence of the bubbles not dispersing for a half hour while you can see my food slowly vanishing behind.

Crema and her friend, not crema.


I literally looked everywhere for good coffee in Magic Kingdom, and my professional coffee junkie opinion is: if you want good coffee and Haunted Mansion at the same time, you're screwed. By far the strangest thing I saw in my tour was not the preponderance of NesCafe machines but Disney's bizzare refusal to actually remove the traditional drip brew machines from the already crowded counter service areas! Below are two in the rarely open Plaza Pavilion / Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station.

Here's one that's been turned into a stand for a big tub of iced tea on the far right. I asked a Cast Member if they were somehow using the drip brewer to prepare the tea, which resulted in the patented "you're crazy" Cast Member face, so obviously this fairly expensive piece of equipment has been relegated to a role better suited to my old textbooks. Even more bizzare, not pictured due to crowds, is a Frankenstein-like machine scrawled across two defunct drip brewers at Pinnochio Village Haus. I don't know what the device was for, but it wasn't for making coffee and the intersection of two apparently rarely used beverage machines in everybody's way was hilarious and disheartening.

My Advice:
Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square offers a "Cappuccino Float". Although the coffee part of the float is just iced, flavored near-milkshake stuff, it was a better and more energizing coffee experience than any I found a Magic Kingdom. At $6 a shot it's a pricey proposition. I've been making my own coffee at home and bringing it into the parks in a Thermos for years. In Magic Kingdom it's a near honest to god necessity.

Disney, please open a good coffee store in Magic Kingdom. Please. License it out if you have to - a Starbucks would be better than what's there now!