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?


Walt Disney World Food Surprises

RM-California-Grill-Dessert2Thanksgiving is upon us and Christmas is right around the corner.  The end of the year will be here before we know it.  I always like to take time to reflect on the impressions the waning year has made on me even while I’m making plans and resolutions for the one to come.

I’ve been thinking about this year as “The Year of Disney Foods” – I made a point to try as many new snacks and restaurants as possible (with gusto!) during our May visit to Walt Disney World.  Then in October, we experienced our first Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.  I even cooked a few Disney restaurant recipes at home.  Overwhelmingly my experiences were positive ones, but as usual, I wouldn’t be offering balanced feedback if I didn’t also include the disappointments.  In some cases, my taste-testing netted surprising results – I liked a few things way more than I thought I would.  And I was let down by some foods unexpectedly.  Which finally brings me to today’s topic…

Walt Disney World Food Surprises

IMG_3812Croissant Donut – What I was expecting:  Fluffy plain donut with cinnamon-sugar coating.  What I got:  Warm, flaky, delectable pastry with a delightful texture.  Surprisingly delicious!  Don’t take my word for it – head on over to the Refreshment Port in Epcot (on the Canada side as you enter the World Showcase).

IMG_3355Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel – What I expected:  Plain, giant pretzel with a hint of jalapeno and cheese in the background behind the pretzel taste.  What I got:  A very tasty blend of pretzel bread and jalapeno cheesiness – much more front and center pepper/cheese flavors than pretzel.  Tastes as good as it looks.  This is now going to be a must-have Animal Kingdom snack!

RM-Gaston's-Tavern-Roasted-Pork-ShankRoasted Pork Shank – What I expected:  Somewhat greasy, gristly smoked meat akin to the infamous turkey leg. What I got:  Nothing short of one of the best hunks of meat available for purchase anywhere at Walt Disney World!  Seasoned well, fall-off-the-bone tender with very little to discard except the bone.  These will save the legs of millions of turkeys!  Best thing in Gaston’s Tavern!  In fact, make a special trip TO the Tavern just to feast on a shank of your own.  They’re really filling, too.

RM-Gaston's-Tavern-Cinnamon-RollCinnamon Roll (Also from Gaston’s Tavern) – What I expected:  Big, warm, soft, well-blended cinnamon/sugar/glaze/roll flavors.  What I got:  Enormous disappointment!  It was cold, dry and offered very little to love.  I can’t believe I would say this, but the taste of cinnamon was much too strong.  The whole roll seemed like a day-old bakery reject.  And it was HUGE, so I felt like I was wasting a lot of food when I threw most of it away.

Pineapple Dole WhipDole Whip – Yes, I know!  Everyone’s favorite Disney snack – thousands upon thousands of guests wait patiently in line, sweating under the Florida sun to partake of this famous frozen treat in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland.  What I expected:  Refreshing pineapple flavor in a creamy soft-serve form.  What I got:  Overly sweet, overly pineapple-flavored ice-cream-ish blob.  It melted all over me.  I wanted to like it and I tried my best, but no…which means one lest person in line with the rest of you.  I’m going to try a Citrus Swirl next time and see if that suits me better.

Flying Fish Cafe Artisanal CheesesFlying Fish’s Artisanal Cheeses – What I expected:  Good selection of cheeses and a good choice for an appetizer to share.  What we got:  Best cheese “starter” for any meal I’ve had at a restaurant anywhere.  Interesting flavors and textures – the perfect way to kick of a great meal.

RM-Sweet-&-Spicy-Chicken-Waffle-SandwichSweet & Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich (Sleepy Hollow, Liberty Square) – What I expected:  Crispy waffle wrapped around a mildly spicy chicken tender with a lettuce garnish.  What I got:  A completely mixed reaction!  I loved the chicken.  Raymond loved the chicken – we were both surprised a Magic Kingdom eatery would serve something with such a spicy kick!  The chicken was amazing!  The rest of the waffle’s contents were perfect with the chicken – arugula and coleslaw complimented the heat of the chicken in both flavor and texture.  There was one, glaring downside to this sandwich – the regrettable sogginess of the waffle!  I wanted it to be crispy on the outside, soft on the inside – the way a well-cooked waffle should be.  Instead it was a limp, soggy mess.  I’d probably order it again, though, just to have that chicken.

RM-Be-Our-Guest-Grey-Stuff-Master's-CupcakeThe Grey Stuff – When Lumiere said, “Try the Grey Stuff, it’s delicious” I believed him.  I wanted to love it.  So much so, I tried two different desserts containing the mysterious substance to be certain I was 100% sure about my feelings.  What I wanted:  Something with texture and flavor befitting such a touted edible blob.  I guess I was imagining something like cream cheese icing’s texture.  In fact, cream cheese icing infused with pulverized Oreos would probably taste really good.  What I got:  Room-temperature, grey Reddi-Whip.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I just hoped it would be more substantial.  It’s clever, don’t get me wrong.  Everyone who dines at Be Our Guest should indulge in some Gray Stuff.  Just don’t expect to be blown away.

RM-Pecos-Bill's-Taco-SaladTaco Salad at Pecos Bill’s – It was just announced this week that Disney is discontinuing the taco salad at Pecos Bill’s in Frontierland.  This was the best thing on the menu and the only reason I would darken the door of Bill’s establishment.  Taco shell and a warm scoop of seasoned ground beef is what you got – the famous fixin’s bar was what made it worth the trip.  Your shell and beef could be transformed into the salad of your dreams!  Ah, well.  The surprise here is that Disney would remove what had to have been a popular menu item (also quick and easy to serve).  Columbia Harbor House here we come!

You know I love discussion!  Weigh in now!!!  What were your biggest Disney dining surprises this year?