Of course scarcity creates demand; we live in an on-demand world where nearly any piece of obscure information is obtainable, and so the gaps in that record loom ever larger. Perspective plays a role in all of this too: as a Disney historian, I saw little worth saving in the Main Street Bakery, which closed six months ago to howls of protest and reopened this month as the first of four Starbucks Coffee locations in Walt Disney World. Since the interior had already been gutted and reworked in the 90s following the end of the Sara Lee era, I saw little reason to document what was there. It turns out that maybe I should've, even if the Internet in general stepped up and did an admirable job anyway. The fact remains that the average minor event at Walt Disney World is better documented than the whole of the first twenty years put together.
I did, however, feel the need to make sure that FountainView Bakery, at Epcot but not really part of 2013, had a good send-off, and spent a few hours there in March recording what I could.
FountainView began life in 1982 as the evocatively named Sunrise Terrace restaurant, so named because its windows faced east, presumably in the off chance that diners would indeed catch sight of the sun peeking over the low beige roof of Communicore at some point in the future. Birnbaum's 1982 Walt Disney World guidebook describes it thusly:
"Fried fish and shrimp, cornbread muffins, and chef's salads are the order of the day at this good-sized fast-food eatery."Sunrise Terrace seems to have stuck to this menu fairly consistently throughout the 80s, until it closed in 1993 as part of the Innoventions refurbishment to reopen as the a cutting-edge espresso shop, back in the days before espresso was available on every street corner in America. This is the form I remember it best as, until its Nestle sponsorship lapsed in the mid-2000s and FountainView went through several phases of on-again, off-again operation. By the late 2000s it was back open again as an Edy's ice cream parlor, before closing in 2013 for Starbucks conversion.
FountainView was never a very interesting space: a circular room with an al fresco patio overlooking the Fountain of Nations, it was nevertheless one of the few spaces at Epcot still open to the public but left unmolested by the prevailing winds of cultural change; from its suspicious stepped rows of silk potted plants to its stone grey tile, Sunrise Terrace/FountainView seemed better suited as a stage for an early-1990s RadioShack Christmas commercial or perhaps a Nintendo Entertainment System demonstration than it had any business serving suspect coffee and pastries; and since nothing lasts forever at Walt Disney World, a mostly-untouched original interior and unchanged 1989 Jack Wagner loop featuring the immortal "Behind the Waterfall" seemed absolutely essential to document.
After waiting several months, when it came time to edit my footage I was convinced I had been too clever in choosing my angles - the space was, on the main, narrow enough to feasibly spit across, forcing lots of detail work - and couldn't hope to capture the feeling of the place in any cumulative sense. After some careful attention to visual structure, composition and editing, I'm happy to report that this piece turned out vastly better than expected, and captures much of the flavor of FountainView as it exists in my memory.
On the main Starbucks is a ready made fit for the old Sunrise Terrace - their brand identity mix of earth tones, new technology and old-fashioned idealism is just a stone's throw away from EPCOT Center, anyway. But of course Starbucks is expected to host vastly higher numbers of guests than FountainView could ever hope to pull in, and so the fate of that original interior remains uncertain. After all, much of the interior's charm can be chalked up to its intimate scale. Will the silk potted plants remain? The inexplicable corner areas filled with tiny patches of grass? Who will care for the ugly neon?
Suspect taste, reboot, or not, FountainView will live on online - a neat little donut of a room hopelessly behind the times where Yanni and David Lanz play on. Join me now for one last ice cream in the best little fried food counter/coffee shop/ice cream parlor on the West side of Future World.