Do you also you wooden dowels throughout the whole cake? Or were the bubble straws enough support?
I think you'll really like the bubble tea straws.
They don't displace cake like wooden dowels do because the cake goes up into the cavity of the straw, acting like a sticky "plug". They're also so easy to cut with just a good pair of large scissors.
I've also found some in bright colors (easy to see in the cake) at Bed, Bath, & Beyond.