Part of my dream for the Mouse Magic blog is to be able to tell the story of Disney. Every single thing that Disney implements is driven by a story. So my newest series will be my Backstory 101 series, showcasing the stories that may or not be obvious. Hopefully it’ll help appreciate the locations around Disney and Walt Disney World Resort.
For my inaugural Backstory 101, I want to tell the story of D-Luxe Burger. At first glance, one would think this is just another restaurant at Disney Springs, but there is so much more. Disney Springs has it’s own backstory (but that’s another post for another day), but I was intrigued by D-Luxe Burger when we went and I wanted to be able to tell this story.
D-Luxe Burger is an original concept created and operated by Disney Parks. It was by far the best hamburger I’ve ever had. They do a custom blend of beef (and chicken and black bean if you prefer) and the portions were great. But it’s the backstory I want to share with you. The story is as follows:
Martin Sinclair and his wife Clara were originally from South Carolina when Martin went to explore the “wilds” of central Florida. He arrives near a spring after a particularly hard rain and builds a campfire. He notices the campfire reflected in the droplets of water in the oak tree overhead. He decides that this is the place he and his beloved Clara should be and calls the place “Glowing Oak.” He returns to Clara and they move to area and call the new community Springs, Florida and establish the Glowing Oak Ranch. Common to a lot of ranches, the ranch house was a place to feed the ranch hands and becomes known for the delicious foods. They start opening the ranch house to the tourists and towns people around the increasingly popular town. Martin, in an effort to expand his business (both cattle and restaurant) decides to venture to St. Louis in 1904 for the World’s Fair to see the latest in innovation. While at the world’s fair, he tries a new creation called a “hamburger.” He thinks he’ll be able to discern the recipe and returns to Florida. After months of experimenting with the recipe, he thinks he finally got it right and on February 26, 1905, Glowing Oak Ranch has their first ever Burger Day. For the next decade or so, the business continues to grow due to the popularity of the hamburger. Deciding to focus on the more on the restaurant business and less on the cattle business, Glowing Oak Ranch became Glowing Oak Restaurant on July 24, 1921. The town around them continues to prosper due to a town expo in the 1950s (possibly inspired by Martin’s trip to St. Louis years before) and grows even more when the Walt Disney Company buys the land around them and starts investing in theme parks and resorts, bringing even more business to the now Disney Springs area and the original Springs. To keep the business relevant, the current owner, Martin Sinclair VI re-brands the Glowing Oak Ranch to D-Luxe Burger with a formal grand re-opening on May 15, 2016. While most of the land around the orignal ranch house now developed, the oak tree that inspired the original still stands outside the restaurant.
Not bad for a quick service dining area, eh? This. This is why I love Disney. Everything has a story. Most won’t even notice or even care about the story, they just want a delicious meal. So how does the story get told? With Disney, they tell the story with details. Here are pictures of some of the backstory items (most are in the line to get to the register to order):
The Disney Springs Welcome Center is a neat place. Yes, it’s the guest services for the area, but look up. You’ll see paintings along the top part of the walls. Those paintings tell the stories, too. This is a painting of Glowing Oak Ranch hanging in the welcome center:
The story really is in the details!