I had the good fortune to visit the newly refurbished Main Street Bakery on opening day last Tuesday. After a bit of fanfare, it was business as usual with two queues and lots of registers to ring up guests and feed their coffee and pastry addictions. Things went smoothly on this surprisingly slow opening day, but Disney will probably need to rethink the very busy pick-up area once things really get going as guests tend to congregate there making for serious congestion.
Make no bones about it: The Main Street Bakery is now a Starbucks. Disney purists will cringe at this news, but can take heart in the fact that it still essentially looks like the old Main Street Bakery, minus the seating area. The same colors and theming are still present, albeit with the Starbucks logo. Cast members even wear the same uniforms as before.
Perhaps the biggest change can be seen in the food case. Almost none of the former pastries and desserts exist. Instead, you'll get the same treats that are available at Starbucks locations everywhere with a few of the old Main Street Bakery items thrown in for good measure. Coffee drinkers might say this is a fair trade given how bad the coffee in Walt Disney World was prior to the arrival of Starbucks.
The complete lack of seating is a disappointment, but not surprising given how small the space is. In its former incarnation, the Main Street Bakery was a nice cool spot to relax and enjoy a quick snack. There wasn't a lot of seating and it was downright cozy, to put it nicely, but you could usually find a place to sit as turnover (excuse the unintentional bakery reference) was fast. By expanding the actual retail space and adding an additional queue, Disney did away with this seating area leaving nothing more than a small counter where you maybe five people can stand. Everyone else will have to walk and snack or head over to the picnic tables across from Casey's or The Plaza.
Overall, I think the changes to the Main Street Bakery will satisfy most guests. Being able to get a decent cup of coffee in a Disney park has proven very popular in Disney California Adventure, where there's been a Starbucks now since last year. While some Disney diehards will lament the presence of a non-Disney corporate entity in the park (forgetting of course that this isn't the first time this has happened), the branding is subtle and blends in well with the theming. I think this will prove to be a well-loved spot in the Magic Kingdom.