Disney B.S. (Before Starbucks)

Believe it or not, this blog post is about coffee. That’s right, my subject today is coffee. This is my view from my corner table at Starbucks and I find that a rough sketch often says a good deal more than a photograph. So, let’s talk about coffee.

Today, Millennials routinely gather at this early morning watering hole and it has become a matter of habit for most. Casually, paying two dollars or more for a cup of coffee, most would be shocked to hear that a hot cup of Joe once cost a nickel. That’s right. Five cents. Let’s go back to the early days of Disney. The time known as, Walt Disney Studios B.S. (before Starbucks) and see what coffee was like back then. If you know the Animation Building you’ll know that each of the wings had a small foyer. My office was in F-wing and ours was the only one with a coffee machine. No matter your position in the company, it meant a trek down to 1-F, where a nickel would buy you a cup of brown gunk from the coffee machine. There were other options, of course. Some hardy souls chose to make the trek across Buena Vista Avenue to Saint Joseph’s Hospital where the coffee was a good deal better. This was before the hospital expanded and built the multi-storied hospital building we see today. Of course, that tall building put an end to the nude sunbathing on the roof of the Animation Building - but that’s a fun story for another day. Should a motion picture or television show be in production on the Walt Disney Studio lot, you might even take a chance at snagging a cup of Joe from Craft Services. However, you’d better not get caught doing so. There were also a few who brought their own coffee makers from home, but the studio fire marshal discouraged having a coffee pot in the office.

For years, the coffee machine was pretty much the only place you could find coffee in Walt Disney’s Animation Building. In-betweeners and movie stars alike could be seen standing in line at the coffee machine in f-wing. Of course, everyone complained about the terrible coffee, but the options were few. Should you want to see your favorite movie or television star, simply stand in the lobby of F-wing. You never knew who might show up on a given day. Sometimes it was Disney voice actor, Sterling Holloway or film star, Dean Jones. Actress, Suzanne Pleschette was a frequent visitor along with Fess Parker and his Davy Crockett pals. The coffee was terrible, but the star power was pretty impressive as you stood in the F-wing coffee line back in fifties Disney.

Today, the dreaded coffee machines are pretty much a thing of the past and nearly every studio worth its salt has a least one Starbucks on the lot. Here at the Walt Disney Studio we have several and I’ve made it a point to visit every one of them. After all, I’m the guy who used to pay a nickel for a bad cup of coffee. Thanks to Starbucks, today I can pay a good deal more.

Young people waiting in line at Starbucks. The view from my corner chair.

Young people waiting in line at Starbucks. The view from my corner chair.