WARNING: DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE HUNGRY
Disney theme parks are quite famous for reasons I can't count on one hand. One of these reasons is the scrumptious food that you can get there. Many skeptics would go into a Disney park expecting low-quality snack shack eats, but Disney's commitment to quality will immediately win them over. Being a massive foodie myself, I thought it would be fun to share 15 foods that really stick out at the Disney theme parks.
1. Disney Candy Apples
The candy apple is definitely one of the most classic theme park treats you can eat. When it comes to indulgence, what's better than coating a nice, crisp apple with a good coating of caramel or sugar? Yes, you could get one at your local carnival, but Disney ups it up a notch by decorating them like your favorite Disney characters.
There's Mickey and Minnie (with marshmallows for ears)
Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc.
Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
and even Olaf from Frozen.
So why not bite into one of these beauties? These apples are spread out all over the Disney parks. Here are a few locations:
- Magic Kingdom: Main Street Confectionery & Big Top Treats
- Downtown Disney: Candy Cauldron
- Epcot: Karamell-Küche (In the Germany Pavilion)
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Beverly Sunset
- Disneyland: Candy Palace on Main Street, U.S.A., Hunny Spot in Critter Country and Marceline’s Confectionery in Downtown Disney.
- Disney's California Adventure: Trolley Treats.
2. Turkey Legs
Disney World isn't the only place you could get a turkey leg, but many would argue that this leg is one of the biggest reasons to take the trip. According to a special Unwrapped episode titled Disney Delights, Disney Parks serve up 1.5 million Turkey legs every year. They come from upper-Midwestern turkeys weighing between 40-50 pounds. On that same special, Walt Disney World College Program professor Carrie Harbilas admitted that the legs are so massive in size, that many guests mistake them for being fake:
“Some people think they’re fake and some people think they’re emu legs or ostrich legs…but they’re very real turkey legs.”
The signature scrumptious taste is achieved by injecting a salt water cure into the leg’s muscle tissue to help the meat absorb the juice while cooking. They are then slow-cooked in a smoker for six hours to help the flavor sink in. These preparation methods give the turkey legs a salty and juicy taste that park guests can’t get enough of.
3. The Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar
The Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar is perhaps the most popular Disney treat of all time. According to Disney, over 3 million bars are sold every year. Once you take a bite, it is pretty clear to see why. The Nestlé company really outdoes themselves with this product. As if the silky, creamy vanilla ice cream wasn't enough to satisfy a hot Florida or California summer day, the chocolate makes it even better. Nestlé gives this bar a just-thick-enough coating of dark chocolate that completely coats the ice cream and slowly softens in the sun as you eat it. I can tell you from personal experience that this is a taste sensation that is just as scrumptiously magical as you’d expect from a Disney park. You can get these at Disneyland, Disney World and on Disney Cruises.
4. Mickey Premium Ice Cream Sandwich
While not as popular as the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar, the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Sandwich is just as worth munching on. This concoction, also made by Nestlé, consists of a thick layer of cookies n’ cream ice cream smack dab between two nice, soft chocolate cookies. Just like the ice cream bar, it is the perfect thing to have on a hot day. Luckily, these sandwiches are just as common as the ice cream bars.
5. Mickey Waffles
While Mickey waffles are quite common in Disney resorts, their charm alone makes them a beloved classic. If you ever had a Mickey waffle maker, you would remember putting syrup in the ear holes before eating them. Yes, there are plenty of deep nooks and crannies for the syrup to pool into, which makes these waffles so amazing. They can pretty much be found wherever breakfast is served in Disney World, or you could buy a Mickey waffle maker online and make them at home.
6. Lumiére's "Grey Stuff"
Remember the mysterious “Grey Stuff” from Beauty and the Beast? According to Lumiére, it’s “delicious.” Therefore, it’s only natural that one of the best restaurants in Disney World would serve it.
At Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest Restaurant, you can try the famous Grey Stuff for yourself. Essentially, it is a cookies n’ cream mousse that is just as lovely as you’d imagine it would be.
At lunchtime, you can get the grey stuff on the Master’s Cupcake. At dinner, you can get the Grey Stuff in a bigger serving in and on a brownie (seen below). It is then topped with sugar pearls for extra glamor. According to several guest reviews on TripAdvisor, the Grey Stuff is indeed delicious. Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes.
7. Mickey Meatloaf
Another dish at the Be Our Guest Restaurant is the Mickey meatloaf. This dish, featured exclusively on the kids menu, may finally get your kids to start eating meatloaf. Served with zucchini, broccoli and "orange stuff" (carrot ketchup), the Mickey meatloaf pretty much proves that everything looks better when shaped like the world's favorite mouse. Nevertheless, a high-quality establishment like the Be Our Guest restaurant is sure to have put a lot of effort into crafting such a hit-or-miss recipe like meatloaf. It's made with turkey too, so parents who want their kids to eat healthy can rest easy ordering this one.
8. Dole Whip
Though not as common as the Mickey Ice Cream Bar or Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich, Dole Whip is nonetheless popular among Disney park enthusiasts. This soft-served delight comes in three flavors: pineapple, vanilla and pineapple-vanilla twist, with the most popular flavor being pineapple. There was also an orange flavor, but it has been discontinued at Disney parks. In addition to Disneyland’s Tiki Juice Bar, it is available in three locations at Disney World: the Aloha Isle snack bar in the Magic Kingdom, the Pineapple Lanai juice bar at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and at Tamu Tamu Refreshments at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
You can get dole whip in a dish, but if you REALLY want to titillate your pineapple senses, you can get a Dole Whip float. This premium refreshment is a chilly serving of Dole Whip on top of some sweet Dole pineapple juice. The float isn't available at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but unlike the other locations, you can get the Dole Whip served with dark or coconut rum there (seen below).
9. 'Ohana Meat Skewers
'Ohana means family, so how about taking your family to the 'Ohana restaurant at Disney's Polynesian resort for this meal? The restaurant famously offers unlimited meat skewers, seared and seasoned to perfection and ready to bring to the table. I still remember being in awe at how massive these skewers were when I was three years old. You can get chicken, shrimp, and/or steak skewers brought right to your table where a Disney cast member will serve them up Hawaiian style. Maybe after dinner you can head down to Pineapple Lanai for a Dole float to wash it down.
10. The Claw
Any Toy Story fanatic would be thrilled enough to go to a real life Pizza Planet restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As if the arcade games, prize machines, and (of course) pizza weren't enough, one specialty beverage makes the restaurant even more exciting for older fans. “The Claw” is an alcoholic beverage that appropriately looks like it’s from another planet. According to the official Disney World website, this twelve-dollar drink includes Sauza Gold Tequila, Bols Amaretto, Triple Sec and Sweet-and-Sour. It is topped with a special Lemon-Lime Foam and comes with a souvenir Glow Cube (a plastic LED cube that illuminates the drink). It's certainly a fine way to get a buzz at Walt Disney World (pun intended).
11. Grapefruit Cake
This dessert doesn't sound very Disney-oriented, but it actually carries an interesting history with it. During Hollywood’s golden age in the 1950s, the Brown Derby restaurants were all over Los Angeles. As of today, the Disney recreation is the only one left standing. The Hollywood location was particularly a popular spot for Hollywood’s stars and insiders to hang out. One such insider was gossip columnist Louella Parsons.
During the 1950s, the Grapefruit Diet was as popular as Weight Watchers is today. Parsons, having been on the diet, was disappointed that the desserts served at the Brown Derby were too fattening. This lead to Brown Derby owner Robert H. Cobb (inventor of the Cobb salad) creating a specialty dessert for her. The dessert was a standard cake with cream cheese frosting, but the incorporation of grapefruit into the recipe was enough to suit Parsons’ diet. Nevertheless, this cake is anything but diet food, and would make an excellent dessert to finish off a star-studded dinner.
There's something extremely appealing about a churro. Perhaps it's the fact that it's a long stick of cinnamon-sugar goodness that you have the freedom to chomp up. These churros in particular have the right amount of crunch on the outside without being too hard with softness on the inside without being doughy. These joyful treats are found at every park, and the California Churros cart in Downtown Disney specializes in them. In Tokyo Disneyland, they are even Mickey-shaped!
13. Mickey Beignets
In keeping with the theme of Disneyland's New Orleans Square, Cafe Orleans serves up a classic French dessert with a mousey flair. These beignets have been universally praised by park guests as one of the best Disney desserts. You can never go wrong with a nice, fluffy, cream-filled pastry...especially when it's deep fried. These puppies come with two dipping sauces: raspberry coulis and vanilla bean creme anglaise. My suggestion is to dip the ears first; isn't that the best way to eat a Mickey snack?
14. Mickey Pretzels
I remember having one of these the last time I went to Disney World. It was so good-looking that I almost hesitated to pull it apart and dip it in mustard. However, with the perfect amount of salt and a gorgeous golden-brown color, expect to eat this one faster than you expected. These can be found in Disneyland and in Disney World at Magic Kingdoms's Lunching Pad and Cool Ship snack bars (Tomorrowland).
15. Matterhorn Macaroon
Ever since 1959, the Matterhorn has captivated (and terrified) guests as a charming and memorable thrill ride. What better way to honor it than with a charming and memorable treat? Served only at Disneyland's Jolly Holiday Bakery, the Matterhorn Macaroon takes the famous coconut cookie to new heights. This tall, scrumptious cookie is packed with coconut and topped with a white chocolate and powdered sugar snowcap. If you ask me, the resemblance is uncanny. Watch out though; Harold may try to take it from you.