If you've ever been to the Writer's Stop in Disney's Hollywood Studios, you may have noticed a lot of random items throughout the store but likely never paid much attention to them. After all, the theme of the Writer's Stop is a trendy coffee shop place that could be just around the corner from anyone. There is, however, a common link among much of what you see at the Writer's Stop that is inedible and that is much of is left over from a previous incarnation of the store known as Ellen's Buy The Book.
Before the Writer's Stop was called the Writer's Stop, the shop was themed to match the Buy the Book shop from the then popular television show "Ellen", starring Ellen DeGeneres (this would be the sitcom on ABC, not the daytime talk show that's on today). Being an ABC show, it made sense to theme the coffee shop after the hit show to help bring guests in who may be fans of the show. By 1996, Ellen's show was cancelled and very quickly Disney turned the shop over to a generic coffee shop, sans Ellen. However, Imagineers did not remove all the references to Ellen from the shop that weren't very obvious.
Along the walls of the store you may notice these random black rectangles along the wall. Upon closer inspection, you may see something hidden underneath the blackness that in the proper light (or with a flash of a camera) can reveal....
...an old sign for Ellen's Buy the Book store. Clearly the changeover from the Ellen theme to a regular coffee shop theme had to be quick following the cancellation of the show so black was simply placed over the signs in the store.
Hiding in a corner of the store are photos from the set of Ellen that were generic enough to be left up without anyone not very familiar with the show to know where it's really from. Near the entrance to the shop are time cards that go back to the theme of the shop, which was the shop was actually the set for use on the Ellen show and so outside of the view of the camera, one could find things that were important to a shoot, in this case being time cards. You will also find near one of the cash registers is a scene direction from a script indicating characters from the show and who would be playing them.
Behind the main cash register is a piece of the set that is frozen in time. For the coffee shop there were postings and snippets from local businesses and people looking to sell or buy something and they would post these items on a bulletin board in the coffee shop with the hopes of snagging the eye of someone passing by. When the Ellen motif was removed in 1996, the board remained up buit has not been altered since 1996 so you can still see ads for cars from 1996 and other notes from the time.
Following the changeover from Ellen's Buy The Book, the store became Disney's Buy the Book before becoming the Writer's Stop. For those wondering what came before Ellen, Ellen's Buy the Book replaced the former Costume Shop next to the Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant. A special thanks to Greg, who helped me find much of the information for this article.