Friday, October 19, 2012

Before Starbucks

Many have rejoiced that Starbucks has entered the Disneyland Resort with a Buena Vista Street location. Good coffee is nothing new to Disneyland, though. Although the current watered down sludge on Main Street has been complained about for years, "back in the day" it was a different story. Once you entered Town Square, you could enjoy a delicious cup of Maxwell House Coffee (from 1955-1957) or Hills Brothers Coffee (1958-1976). After that, you were pretty much screwed if you had a real java fix that needed to be tended to.

This June 1959 photo shows three guests getting their caffeine at the Hills Brothers Coffee House Restaurant. They look as if they are ready for Dapper Day. From a vintage 1960 Vacationland Magazine comes this tantalizing ad copy:

HOORAY FOR DISNEYLAND. And for Hills Bros. Coffee Garden—where Disneyland vacationers pause to enjoy freshly-made sandwiches and a variety of delectable desserts and beverages. Here's where you relax with richer, stronger Hills Bros. Coffee. Piping hot or icy cold. And youngsters recharge with nourishing cool drinks.

So when in Disneyland, visit Hills Bros. Coffee House and new Coffee Garden on Town Square at the head of Main Street. Ah, good fun—and good refreshments.

Today, this location sells Disney souvenirs. With the Emporium right across the street, it seems like a poor choice to have this beautiful location being wasted as yet another bland retail shop.

Can you imagine the great people-watching you could do here while eating breakfast and sipping coffee? You could see practically every person that entered the park.

Through the miracle of The Major's Wigglevison©, you can get a You-Were-There feeling from this August 29, 1965 image. You can almost smell the beans!:

See more vintage & current Disneyland Town Square photos on my Town Square web page.


Thufer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thufer said...

With exception for the 100 acres of 'perfect use', probably my most favorite location inside the park during any period is right here. Be it as a full service sit down location for breakfast or simply a spot to get a cup of java and watch the excitement pass by; there just was never a better spot. It must be me as the 'suits' have for all intents and purpose abandoned this location lately. The coffee garden no matter its incarnation was always a location to not only start the day but to engage the imagination in preparation of a day of 'happiness'.

Thanks Dave, any excuse to sit, close my eyes and remember the joy and comfort and the smells associated with this magical little corner of the park are most welcomed.

Those first two photo's cry out....'stay thirsty my friends.'

K. Martinez said...

I definitely miss this dining establishment in Town Square, whether it was Maxwell House, Hills Bros., American Egg or Town Square Cafe.

I never understood why they abandoned this location for dining.

Anonymous said...

What Thufer Said.

I've told this story before, but here goes again.

Mom and Dad used to stop here for coffee while I raced on to the Matterhorn to beat the line. I would come back to find them at the Coffee garden. Once, they were holding hands and smooching. I realized then that my parents had a life and a love for one another that was older than my little life.

I always think of them when I see pictures like this.

The first color photo is so great.

Thank you Dave.


Rich T. said...

Yay, Wigglevision! :)

Anonymous said...

I believe the competition it gave the other eateries (aunt Jemima especially) was the political reason the spot was killed.


Anonymous said...

As a former CM of Hills, I can relate to Thufer's comments of this being a vibrant corner of the park to enjoy and savor Town Square. To see pictures as the patio sits unused and forgotten today makes the memories so bittersweet. Most of my team members also shared that 'special" feeling of this location as much as the guests. (BTW, I have a couple pictures of the evening staff after closing under that Hills' patio sign..circa 1969.)

...But It Wasn't Always That Way! said...

Dave, this reminds me of when we visited Hills Bros. back in 1969!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nice gams on the lady in the first pic! Nice nice wigglevision exaple too... the slower frame rate makes it less seizure-inducing.

Anonymous said...

To BIWATW: I may have made the sandwich..or the breakfast you ate in 1969! It's possible. Oscar Martinez worked with me there at that time too. Nice work Dave!

Daveland said...

To both Anonymous posters - if you have any stories you'd like to share about working at Hills Brothers, I'd love to hear 'em! Feel free to email me at:

Anonymous said...


I'll check my scrapbook over the weekend. Perhaps a pic or two will scan well.

Snow White Archive said...

That first pic is quite nice. Maxwell House or Hills Brothers, life is good at DL.

Anonymous said...

I *so* want to be that guy in the first photo. He clearly has the kavorka.

Great stuff as always Dave!