Disney Snack Favorite – Citrus Swirl

Sunshine-Tree-TerraceEver since my ill-fated attempt to enjoy my one and only Dole Whip (yes, I know I’m weird), I’ve been looking for an acceptable new Disney sweet snack to try.  Enter the Citrus Swirl!

Last month on a warm and sunny December afternoon in Magic Kingdom, I found myself in Adventureland with some free time on my hands.  It was our last day of vacation and Raymond and I had decided to take things easy and savor every single moment.  We’d had breakfast at the Grand Floridian Café before heading to Magic Kingdom with no bigger plans than our three FastPasses – which were broken up by our lunch reservation at Whispering Canyon Café at the Wilderness Lodge.  (Begin flash-back sequence now….)Main-Street-USA-Crowds

Another great Disney day!  We started with Under the Sea: Voyage of the Little Mermaid which had a short stand-by wait.  Then we stopped in Fantasyland near Gaston’s Tavern to watch Gaston himself entertain a few guests with his hilarious ego-fuelled antics.  Then it was on to Mickey’s PhilharMagic before using our first FastPass for Pirates and our second for Jingle Cruise (gotta love that holiday overlay!).  Time for lunch, so we caught the boat to Wilderness Lodge.Magic-Kingdom-Boat-Dock-Selfie

I remember thinking over and over what perfect weather we were having and trying to stay in the moment.  The wind on the water was soft as our nearly empty boat took us to lunch.  Our experience at Whispering Canyon was great, but we skipped dessert.  By the time we returned to Magic Kingdom, it was just in time for our third FastPass and we flew right on to Space Mountain.Tomorrowland-Crowds

At this point, the crowds were definitely approaching an extreme level, but we weren’t ready to leave.  We waited longer than we ever had before to cruise Tomorrowland on the PeopleMover (worth the wait!) before slowly making our way to see those amazing Country Bears (you love them too, right?).  We could barely move for all the people crowding the walkways, but we still didn’t want to go.  That’s when Raymond said, “Wasn’t there something you wanted to eat in Adventureland?”Sunshine-Tree-Terrace-Menu

See?  This is why I married this man!  Citrus Swirl!  Yes, I wanted to taste a Citrus Swirl!  The line at Sunshine Tree Terrace was amazingly short.  In a few minutes I was madly trying to scarf down my snack as it rapidly melted in the sun.  Citrus-Swirl-MeltingThat’s when I got the idea that we could find some shade by seeing the Tiki Birds.  Bear in mind that it had been decades since we’d been in the Tiki Room.  I honestly didn’t realize that snacks are prohibited until it was too late – I am not advocating rule-breaking at all.  Please do not do this (no matter how happy you think it will make you)…Tiki-Room-Tiki

We waited in a very short line, caught the pre-show, made our way into the Tiki Room, and found our seats.  All the while I was calmly and openly snacking away on that Citrus Swirl – oh, the deliciousness!  Right about the time the show started and the announcer asked guests to refrain from eating and drinking…my paper cup was empty and I set it and my spoon aside to take with me and discard after the “concert”.  Tiki-Room-BirdsI enjoyed the birds, but I liked that Citrus Swirl more!  Me, born without a sweet tooth, hater of Dole Whip, in love with the perfect combination of creamy soft serve and tangy orange slush – worth every penny of its $3.79 price.

My first Citrus Swirl made me a fan – and I’ve got the memories of an amazing day to go with it.  In 30 days, I’ll be back at Disney World and I’ll be heading for Sunshine Tree Terrace.

How about you?  Have you tried a Citrus Swirl?  Are you a fan?

Disney World Snacks, Sweet and Savory

RM-Joe-With-Mickey-PretzelI’m not sure there’s a more hotly debated food topic among Disney fans than which Disney World snacks are the best.  For many years, I was not a big Disney vacation snacker.  I chose instead to save room for the all important table-service meals.  Then I started blogging.  It’s pretty hard to blog about Disney and have no game where snacks are concerned.  So I, as is my nature, embraced my new endeavor whole-heartedly.  Needless to say, once I “researched” Disney snacking, there was no going back.  Sadly, no matter how many miles you walk in a day at Walt Disney World, you cannot burn off all the calories you consume snacking with abandon.  Trust me on this.  I know.

What did I learn?  That there seem to be many more sweet snack choices than savory ones.  I must confess, I’ve never purchased or even tasted Disney World popcorn or a Citrus Swirl (Adventureland, Magic Kingdom).  If you are a huge fan of either of those, I’m sorry I cannot include them in this post.  RM-Dole-WhipMy dislike of the wildly popular Dole Whip is unfortunate, but nevertheless factual and I cannot, with a clear conscience, bring myself to tell you to rush out to get one with a guarantee that you’ll love it.  I will, as a gesture of good will, offer you this article on the Dole Whip versus the Citrus Swirl for your review.

My list is in no way all-inclusive – I simply wish to offer choices and recommendations based on my own personal experiences.  In other words, I ate a heck of a lot more snacks than I’m talking about here.  Bear in mind that I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and can literally go for weeks or months at a time with no cake, cookies, candy, ice cream or pie.  I did, for you, kind readers, consume an unprecedented number of sweet treats at Walt Disney World in the past 12 months, just so I could tell you what snacks I found worth trying.  With all disclosures made, I give to you…

Disney World Snacks, Sweet and Savory

Sweet Treats!

RM-CronutCroissant Doughnut (Refreshment Port, Epcot):  Is it a croissant?  Is it a doughnut?  Who cares!?!  It’s covered in cinnamon sugar and served warm.  What’s not to like?IMG_5064

Chocolate Croissant (Sunshine Seasons, Epcot):  I love the not-too-sweet attitude of this treat.  Best as a second breakfast or mid-morning snack, in my opinion.  Flaky, buttery goodness.RM-Epcot-Italy-Gelato-Affogato

Espresso Gelato “Affogato” (Italy Pavilion, Epcot):  It has to be the strong coffee flavor with the sweet, smooth gelato and the crunch of the cookies and coffee beans in this Italian delicacy that make it indescribably wonderful.  Raymond and I shared one and thought it was perfect.  Next time, I’m not sharing.RM-Cinnamon-Glazed-Almonds

Cinnamon Glazed Almonds (Animal Kingdom):  I love these!  Crunchy, sweet, but not too sweet and served in a cute paper cone.  Great for sharing and convenient for eating while strolling along and soaking up Animal Kingdom’s amazing atmosphere.RM-Churro

Churro (Various Locations):  This is going to sound weird (you should be used to that about me by now) but I think churros that have been under the heat lamp in the snack cart for a while taste better than when they’re freshly made.  I like them super crunchy and I think that extended heat lamp thing makes them extra crispy.  Anyway they’re served, though, these are about as perfect a sweet snack as you’ll find.  Easy to eat on the go, not too messy, not overly sugary.

Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar (Various Locations):  It’s vanilla ice cream covered in a chocolate shell, shaped like Mickey’s head.  There’s nothing not to love about that.  On a warm day, you’ve got to eat fast or you’ll drip all over your shirt, but this does not detract from this snack’s simple goodness.RM-Disney-Olaf-Cupcake

Cupcake (Starring Rolls Café, Disney’s Hollywood Studios):  Butterfinger, red velvet, character-themed – doesn’t matter.  These are good, if you like cake and icing.  Big enough for sharing…or not.

Savory Snacks!

RM-Mickey-PretzelClassic Mickey Pretzel (Various Locations) – I like mine in Tomorrowland for a Magic Kingdom day snack break.  I also like to enjoy one in the Studios with a beer.  Salty, chewy, filling when your hungry, AND shaped like Mickey.RM-Jalapeno-Cheese-Pretzel

Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel (Animal Kingdom) – NOT shaped like Mickey, but these pretzels are excellent.  They’re not too spicy, but there’s enough jalapeno flavor to not disappoint.  A very nice choice when looking for something satisfying on the go.  Also good with beer!RM-Gaston's-Pork-Shank-and-Lefou's-Brew

Roasted Pork Shank (Gaston’s Tavern, Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom):  If you know the nutritional facts about this snack, please, PLEASE do not tell me.  It’s slow roasted pork, simply seasoned with salt and pepper.  Fall-off-the-bone tender, our whole family loved it.  I daydream about this snack.  I must have it again.

Smoked Turkey Leg (Various Locations) – Even though I’m not a fan, I felt I needed to mention the Turkey Leg.  While I may not understand the draw, Joseph loves them and this hunk o’ poultry has a huge and very loyal following.  This bad boy’s nutritional info is enough to make me swoon – at about 1000 calories and 50 grams of fat, I just can’t justify its consumption.  The pork shank probably has as many calories, but I don’t care (or want to know for sure).

A Little Bit of Everything!

RM-Sweet-&-Spicy-Chicken-Waffle-SandwichSweet & Spicy Chicken Waffle (Sleepy Hollow, Liberty Square, Magic Kingdom) – While I wished the waffle itself would have been be a little less soggy and a lot more crispy, this was an excellent snack!  The chicken is surprisingly very spicy, which I found terrific with the coleslaw and the sweet syrup topping.  It’s an amazing combination!

Which snacks are your favorites?  Which ones have you tried?  Are there any you don’t like?  Which ones are on your to-try list?

 

Disney What If – Snacks and Attractions

 

RM-Jalapeno-Cheese-PretzelIt’s been a long time since we’ve had an exciting round of What-if Wednesday!  It’s the game where we use our imagination to answer Disney-specific “What-if” questions.  This installment’s question came about innocently enough.  I was (big surprise!) thinking about food.  Then, as usual, my thoughts strayed to Disney food.  I began craving the Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel I like so much in Animal Kingdom.  Once I started daydreaming about Animal Kingdom, I thought of my favorite ride, Expedition Everest.  In my mind I was in Animal Kingdom, eating the pretzel, riding EE!  BOOM!  WHAT IF, we were actually allowed to enjoy our favorite rides/attractions while enjoying our favorite Disney snacks?!?  I threw the question out to you on Facebook and Twitter and WOW!  Big response – It’s good to know I’m not alone in my Disney food and ride daydreaming.  Lots of you weighed in and some of you were incredibly creative!

Without furter ado, here are your answers!  (Note:  If you’re new to the game, I make up the rules and give the points and pick a winner based on nothing that matters in a completely senseless, random process.  So if you didn’t win this time, be sure to play again soon!)

What if you could enjoy a Disney snack while on your favorite Disney attraction?  name the snack/ride combo you’d choose:

Let’s start with Twitter!

The first answer was from @EpcotAKL who suggested A Dole Whip and Spaceship Earth and then politely inquired about my favorite combo.  I felt pretty pitiful admitting to the pretzel on EE after this creative answer that combined a classic Magic Kingdom snack with an Epcot attraction.

As one would imagine, the Dole Whip was a popular choice!RM-Dole-Whip

@distinctlydis thought a classic Dole Whip in the Tiki Room sounded nice. – For a bunch of people this would be Disney park snack/attraction nirvana.  For me…dang it, I just wish I could like a Dole Whip and fit in with the rest of the kids on the playground!

@Chad_Reno13 piped up with “Carrot Cake Cookie on Splash Mountain” YES!  This was the type of creative answer I was hoping for!  Logistical improbability aside, the famous Carrot Cake Cookie from the Writer’s Stop in the Studios combined with a ride through the briar patch. Zip-a-DeeDooDah!!!

@MSimbaspride wanted “Tasty popcorn on Tower of Terror”  Let’s think about this for a minute – while the elevator is going down and the popcorn rises out of its container, you could make a game of trying to catch a couple of bites before…well….I can tell this needs more consideration, but FUN thinking there, Michele!

@ModernMouseJosh had a simple, but classic wish with, “I’d eat a churro while riding the Jungle Cruise.”  I was down right flabbergasted that this was our only churro-lover to answer!RM-Churro

@theWDWblog voted for a margarita from @cavadeltequila & Tower of Terror, but worried, “I’d better chug it down quickly” – and also added “for a food option I’m going with a carrot cake cookie from the Writer’s Stop too.”

@CT_Mickey_Man wished for “Fish ‘n Chips with a Bass on Ellen’s Energy Adventure” and I could not argue with the brilliance of that plan!!!  After noshing on Yorkshire County’s best dish, I’d need a nap and would conveniently already be in one of my favorite siesta locations in Epcot.

Now, my friend @GeekinOnWDW had to suggest “Kitchen Sink on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster” – which, of course would be a very tragic disaster indeed, but oh, so funny to imagine!

@DLRpodcast would be happy with a “Citrus Swirl on Splash Mountain, just would have to finish it before the drop!”  I say what fun is that?  Live dangerously!

@brandongradelle was another tequila fan and suggested “@cavadeltequila dole whip on the peoplemover” – this was well-played to me.  Double parks, spiked yet refreshing snack choice (if you like a Dole Whip, that is) on a crazy chill ride.  I really liked this idea!

If @RLShack could score a sarsaparilla, he’d be drinkin’ it on the Carousel of Progress!  Points for choosing what I consider to be the most underappreciated attraction in the World!

@whitetimothyd would be going for a BIG snack! “a Maelstrom margarita with chips and queso from @cavadeltequila on Carousel of Progress”.  This kicks @RLShack’s plan up a notch and I love the addition of the new tribute-to-Maelstrom cocktail.RM-Liberty-Belle-Haunted-Mansion-View

@EPCOT_Prime would be going for a meal!  Admittedly taking some liberties with the concept, the plan would be,  “Prime Rib from Le Cellier whilst riding Haunted Mansion”…which begs the question:  Who wouldn’t want to do that?!?

@smurflufe agreed with @brandongradelle, commenting “Pour me one. That sounds relaxing.  Or a Dole Whip in the Tiki Room”.

@NickWayMania actually went for partial-healthiness! “caramel & apples on the Peoplemover”.

PeopleMover

Drying off on the PeopleMover after getting soaked on Splash

@Xaan was the final Twitter contributor with another vote for “Dole Whip + Peoplemover”

Over on Facebook, the comments were just as creative!

Laura L. jumped right on in with the popular Dole Whip, but was the first person who wanted to enjoy it on It’s a Small World!RM-It's-a-small-world1

Heather B. thought a Mickey ice cream sandwich on Haunted Mansion would provide chills and chills!!!  Heather’s clever like that!

Walt Express’s Amanda wanted “Peter Pan’s Flight and a funnel cake (kind of messy, but oh well)” – Sounds pretty good to me!

Kendra F. wanted a pretzel on It’s a Small World, which would certainly bring two great classics together.  I’d give everyone on It’s a Small World a pretzel if I could – it would keep them from singing along.  Or using flash photography.

AND THE WINNER IS@whitetimothyd!!!  I cannot think of anything I’d enjoy more while watching the years pass in the Carousel or Progress than snacking away on a Maelstrom margarita and chips and queso from @cavadeltequila.  Congratulations, Tim!

Watch Facebook and Twitter for the next chance to play What-if Wednesday!!!

Best Walt Disney World Foods of 2014

Pineapple Dole WhipI did extensive research to come up with this list of food!  See, no sacrifice is too great for you and I’m carrying around a few extra pounds to prove it.  I made the most of the two-weeks-worth of Disney food consumption opportunities I had in 2014 and now organizing my thoughts on my favorite flavors and experiences is more challenging than I thought it would be.  Since we rarely eat out for breakfast (we bring granola bars from home), listing foods by meal is out.  I’m going with four categories:  Quick Service, Table Service, Snacks, and Food & Wine Booth Foods.  This is going to be fun!  Surely I’m not alone in the fact that when I think about Walt Disney World, I think about food first!

Best Walt Disney World Foods of 2014

Quick ServiceRM-Be-Our-Guest-Stained-Glass

Overall Experience:  Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom) – While I was not thrilled with the French Onion Soup or dessert, I was completely happy with the hearty and delicious braised pork (with mashed potatoes and green beans).  Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and the details in Be Our Guest take you right into the movie in a way only Disney magic can create.  This restaurant offers quick service for lunch and table service for dinner.  After trying both, I highly recommend lunch over dinner.IMG_3779

Runner Up: Gaston’s Tavern (Magic Kingdom) – The roasted pork shank is incredibly delicious.  The décor is pure Gaston!

Table Service

Disney's Flying Fish Cafe InteriorOverall Experience:  Flying Fish Café – the food and service stand out above all the other places we enjoyed this year.  And that’s saying a lot!  We certainly enjoyed our dinners at Sanaa, Citricos, and California Grill, but there was something special about the Flying Fish.  We loved the location (on the Boardwalk), the atmosphere in the dining room, and the top shelf service.  The food was delicious.  From the artisanal cheese appetizer to the decadent chocolate dessert (with bacon on top!), everything was perfect.

Raglan Road RisottoRunner Up:  Raglan Road – a perennial favorite for the food, atmosphere, and entertainment.  This year’s visit was especially outstanding.  Not a place for a quiet meal, it’s a little rowdy and a lot of fun.

Snacks – I consumed a LOT of snacks!  Strictly for research purposes.  It had to be done and I was up to the challenge.  Here are the winners!IMG_3812RM-Epcot-Italy-Gelato-Affogato

Sweet Snack (It’s a TIE!):  Croissant Donut (a.k.a. Cronut) from Epcot’s Refreshment Port and Espresso Gelato “Affogato” from the Italy Pavilion.  I couldn’t choose a favorite between these two.  I loved them both the same.  One’s a warm, flaky, cinnamon-sugar-covered morsel from heaven.  The other’s cold and refreshing with a punch of espresso and cookies on top!  I’ll have to try them both again on my next visit to Epcot and see if that’ll break the tie.

IMG_3355Savory SnackJalapeno Cheese Pretzel:  We enjoyed this surprisingly delicious treat in Animal Kingdom.  The blend of flavors was just right to make it a perfect salty snack.

Food & Wine Booths – We tried as much as we could and loved nearly everything we ate.  There were many more winners than losers in our taste-testing and not a single dish went unfinished.  Picking ONE best dish is very difficult, but if I have to…

RM-Epcot-Food&Wine-Crispy-Pork-BellyBrazil’s Crispy Pork Belly – If you read about our experiences at the Food & Wine Festival, you’ll remember how much we loved this treat.  A nice bit of “bacon” served on a bed of black beans.  Simple yet scrumptious.

RM-Epcot-Food&Wine-Pepper-Bacon-HashRunner Up:  Pepper Bacon Hash – are you sensing a theme here?  Maybe I’m pork-deprived in my everyday life.  This dish from the Farm Fresh Booth tasted like something you could make at home.  It combined hearty potato and bacon hash with a rich and creamy hollandaise sauce, then topped it all with a few jalapeno slices.  It was rich, a little spicy, and a lot delicious!

Have you tried any of my favorites?  What foods did you like best in 2014?