Welcome to those of you joining me from A Glass Slipper Vacation and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail
It’s happened to all of us. You’re at a Disney park, bustling from one attraction to the next, and then a breeze picks up, a tiny zephyr of wind that carries the smell of food from the kitchen of one of the park restaurants. You pause, thoughts of your next dining reservation making your mouth water; you check your watch. And you realize something terrible. You’re starving. It’s not time to eat yet, but you don’t want to ruin your next meal. Your stomach rumbles, and you find yourself on one of the Great Disney Adventures – snack quest.
Just as Disney dining offers food for almost every palate, the parks provide a breathtaking variety of options for quick snacks. From cupcakes to turkey legs, Disney property snack options are mind boggling, and every one has their favorites. Search “Dole Whip” on any self respecting discussion forum, and you’ll find pages of results. Some Disney snacks are the stuff of legend – but don’t let the fandom fool you, there are always new wonders waiting to be discovered just a snack cart or restaurant away.
For example, let me take you on a whirlwind tour of some of my favorite snacks at each of the Walt Disney World parks.
Although the indomitable Dole Whip is probably the best loved treat at Magic Kingdom (and they really are that good on a hot summer day), one of my favorite snacks in the park can be found over in Liberty Square. Inside the gates (be sure you read the plaque as you come in from the hub) on your left is Sleepy Hollow refreshments. Housed in a building inspired by the home of Washington Irving, writer of the classic tale of the headless horseman and the first American author to be acknowledged and respected by Europe, the counter service offers drinks, waffle sandwiches…
…and ice cream cookie sandwiches.
Now, before we go any further, you have to exorcise the mental image of grocery store ice cream sandwiches. That’s not what Sleepy Hollow sells. Oh no, a Sleepy Hollow Ice Cream Sandwich starts with two soft chocolate chip cookies, each 4-6 inches across. The cast members then liberally hand scoop ice cream onto one cookie and mash the other into the frozen cream. The available flavors of ice cream change throughout the year (yes, there’s pumpkin ice cream during the holidays), and there’s little chance that you’ll leave hungry after the snack.
Furthermore, Sleepy Hollow offers a good view of the castle stage, and on a warm Florida day, there are few things better than munching on an ice cream sandwich and watching Dream Along with Mickey from shade, far away from the castle-front crowds.
Epcot is the foodie park. It offers culinary delights from around the world and provides just about every type of food and snack you can imagine. It’s also one of the largest parks, with a full loop around its two “worlds” topping out at over 2 miles. While that’s good for your health, or at least good for rationalizing dinner (but we walked it off!), it can be exhausting. At Epcot, when my stomach is growling or my head is aching, I turn to an unusual snack option, but one that has become a reliable favorite choice for me. I head for lentil salad and mint tea in Morocco.
Much as I love the sugary snacks offered by so many locations at Disney, sweets often leave me feeling decidedly cranky, and since I’m too old to take a nap in my stroller while someone else pushes me or threatens to take me home if I don’t behave, I tend to look for something that will provide a little more energy and a little less lag.
Along the main promenade of World Showcase, the Morocco pavilion offers the Tangerine Café, a popular counter service option. But beneath its full meal offerings are a variety of side dishes, and among them is lentil salad. Now, let me give you a brief nutrition lesson – lentils are awesome. Part of the family of beans and legumes, they are low fat, high protein little green thingies that taste great. In the Morocco pavilion, they add diced onion and pepper and toss them with a tangy dressing to create a sort of…well…delicious snack. Add to that a cup of the mint tea available at the dessert counter to the left of the main area (available hot or iced), and you have a snack that will satisfy your cravings and fend off any sugar crash.
In keeping with its theming, Animal Kingdom provides a variety of unique snacks from eggrolls to boneless chicken wings. For me, however, the best snack is actually an appetizer from the Yak and Yeti. Rarely crowded, particularly in the early afternoon, the Yak and Yeti is a breathtakingly themed restaurant bringing the theming of Anandapur to life. Administered by the same company that manages the Rainforest Café and T-Rex Café, the Yak and Yeti skips animatronic animals and instead offers beautiful, detailed interiors and Asian-influenced cuisine.
It does, however, maintain the slightly overinflated pricing tradition of its restaurants, and I rarely want to spend the money on a full meal at Yak and Yeti when there are so many other wonderful dining options moments away…
…but there are 2 things that Yak and Yeti offers that you can’t get anywhere else on property. So if your party is two or more and you want a quick, unique snack, stop in, tell them you’re willing to sit in the bar area, and order the Dim Sum Basket and the wok fried green beans.
The Dim Sum basket is a traditional steamer basket containing pot stickers, dumplings, and the most amazing steamed pork rolls that you’ll find outside a kung fu movie. It’s something you won’t find anywhere else, and it’s good enough that you’ll fight with the other people in your party over who gets the last cha su bao.
And the wok fried green beans are a mystery to me. They’re green beans. Battered. And wok fried. And whatever they do to them involves magic. They may start out as green beans, but they end up as some of the most delectable finger food you’ve ever had. No, really…try them. You’ll thank me. They’re sweet and salty and just crunch enough to satisfy that nagging snack craving.
I know, I know, I should be talking about Hollywood Studios, but I haven’t really found a unique snack there. The closest I come is filling a bag full of Jelly Belly candy and taking it back to where I’m staying to pig out or snagging a cheese filled soft pretzel and a frozen lemonade. But you can get those things in several parks.
What you can’t get anywhere other than Downtown Disney is a pepperoni twist pretzel from Wetzel’s Pretzels. Wetzel’s Pretzels, whose founder started his career as a Jungle Cruise skipper, has venues at both the Marketplace and the West Side, but if you want the pretzels with cheese and pepperoni, you’ll need to head over to the West Side, where Wetzel’s Pretzels shares space with Haagen Dazs (Try their Bailey’s shake while you’re there. You can thank me later.)
Wetzel’s pretzels are unlike any other pretzels on property; rather than the chewy bagel-like dough, which I do love, Wetzel’s have a flakier, butter soaked consistency that melts in your mouth. Top that with baked cheese, pepperoni, and garlic and add dipping sauce? Yeah…that’s a snack. On a hot day, add a frozen lemonade or slushie and go out along the water to find a bench with a cool breeze.
But remember, no matter what your personal taste, when that snack craving hits, Disney has you covered. Enjoy your old familiar flavors, but don’t be afraid to try something different. You never know what appetizer, snack cart or side dish might become your new favorite Disney snack.
Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Focused on the Magic
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Loop should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ Heidi’s Head
2nd Stop ~ Disney on Wheels
3rd Stop ~ A Glass Slipper Vacation
4th Stop ~ Your Highway in the Sky
Final Stop ~ Focused on the Magic