If you thought you were going to Walt Disney World just for the rides, think again. If you thought the food at Walt Disney World was just hot dogs and popcorn, think again. There is a whole world of sweets, treats, snacks, dishes and desserts spread out across the four theme parks, two water parks and 26 hotels just waiting to be discovered.
For many avid park goers, what you eat is just as much a part of the experience. Here are the top nine foods everyone should try at least once in the most magical place on Earth:
1. The Mickey Mouse Pretzel
Not all pretzels are created equal. The jumbo-sized Mickey Mouse pretzels are sold in carts all over Walt Disney World and have a cult-like following. You can even buy t-shirts covered in pretzels. They’re the perfect grab and go carb hit to keep you going – the resort is the size of greater San Francisco so you’ll need all the energy you can get. Shaped liked Mickey’s head, the pretzels are served hot and doughy, similar to something you’d find in a German beer hall, but with a bit of American flavour. They come with their own ‘cheese dip’ pot, an orange-coloured gooey cheese. Die-hard Disney fans have a sweet hack – buy your pretzel from a cart that sells churros too, and grab a pot of the chocolate dipping sauce instead. Now we’re talking!
2. Mickey rice krispie treats
Chocolate coated, M&M covered, rainbow, sprinkles – Mickey Mouse krispie treats have taken on a life of their own. Head over to ye olde Main Street Confectionery store in Magic Kingdom to watch the krispie treats being made. Pick one up for a super sugar kick.
There are more than seven different spots to find sushi in Walt Disney World. By far the most famous, is the Tokyo pavilion inside Epcot Theme Park’s World Showcase. Each year during Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, you will find frushi for sale. Pineapple, strawberry, melon, rolled in coconut cream rice and wrapped in pink-dyed soy wrappers, it’s certainly something you won’t find at your sushi train back home.
4. Dole Whip
You can find this frozen treat all over the parks, but the original needs to come from Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. The Dole Food Company, a Hawaiian pineapple plantation, originally served pineapple juice outside the Tiki show, but the pineapple flavoured soft serve ice cream is what really took off in the 80s. The ‘Dole Whip’ is served straight up or as a Dole Whip Float – Dole Whip soft serve, pineapple juice and a maraschino cherry. Head over to Animal Kingdom’s Tamu Tamu Refreshments to try the Dole Whip with coconut rum, for an extra kick.
5. Mickey Mouse waffles
Reservations at Walt Disney World’s most popular character dining experiences book out fast! Kids will love eating breakfast with Tigger, Winnie the Pooh and Piglet inside Magic Kingdom’s The Crystal Palace, but the big kids will love the breakfast buffet even more. Fresh from the waffle iron, Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles are a must-try. If you don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast, pop into one of the Walt Disney World resorts, where the Quick Serve cafes have grab and go waffles.
6. LeFou’s Brew
It’s hot in Orlando almost year-round, so it’s essential to keep cool. Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland is short on shade, so Gaston’s Tavern is a welcome pit stop between rides. Inspired by the stars of Beauty and the Beast, this food stop’s famous beverage consists of frozen apple juice topped with marshmallow and passionfruit foam. It sounds odd, but it’s a serious thirst quencher. Grab a brew and seat inside the faux-French chalet for a well-deserved refuel.
7. Grey Stuff
The strangest named sweet at Walt Disney World is actually an ode to an iconic moment in Disney classic Beauty and the Beast movie. ‘Grey Stuff’ is a line from the iconic Be Our Guest song, so it’s no surprise you’ll find the special ingredient inside the Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom. This is the hardest dinner reservation to get on a trip to Walt Disney World, and it’s not complete without dessert. ‘Grey Stuff’ actually appears as a cookies and cream mousse, these days served in a miniature ‘Chip’ cup.
8. Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwiches
Officially called ‘Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Sandwich’, this is a Maxibon on steroids. Soft chocolate cookie (Mickey Mouse shaped of course) sandwiching a big chunk of cookies and cream ice cream. No need to say more.
9. Anything from the California Grill
There are sit down, fine dining restaurants all over Walt Disney World. Try South African cooking and Indian Flavours at Sanaa inside Animal Kingdom Lodge, tuck into a top-notch steak at the Yacht Club’s Yachtsman Steakhouse or get stuck into poutine served three ways at Epcot’s Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canadian pavilion. For something extra special, try to get a dinner reservation at the California Grill. Located at the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Not only do you get to tuck into award-winning, produce-driven dishes like Sonoma goat cheese ravioli, but they’re served with a side of stunning views out to Magic Kingdom. Better yet, guests who dine at night are allowed back up to the restaurant’s terrace to watch the fireworks.
Whether you want to wine and dine or run on a sugar high all day, Walt Disney World has your appetite covered.
Fly United Airlines to Los Angeles on the 787 Dreamliner, and then on to Orlando. – www.united.com/en/us
Where to stay:
Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a sprawling New England style hotel with great views out to the Disney Boardwalk and shares an enormous outdoor pool with Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. Stormalong Bay has a life-size shipwreck waterslide, lazy river and hot tubs. – disneyworld.disney.go.com/en-eu/
Walt Disney World. – disneyworld.disney.go.com/en-eu/