The opening of Cars Land presented Disney's food and beverage team with the opportunity to create new menus for the Cozy Cones and Flo's V8 Cafe, and both venues offer new and unique non-alcoholic beverage options. I sat down with Jeannie Villarreal, Beverage Manager for the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, during the Cars Land media preview to sample some of the new offerings.
The majority of the new non-alcoholic drinks are found at the Cozy Cone Motel, a complex of five cone-shaped counter-service stands along Route 66. Each cone has a unique "cone-coction," but many consider Red's Apple Freeze ($4.99 for a 16-ounce cup) from cone 4 to be the signature drink of Cars Land.
This drink is a blend of frozen 100 percent apple juice and toasted marshmallow flavoring, topped with passion fruit-mango foam. Despite the seemingly odd combination of flavors, this drink is delicious, with a sweet/tart play and icy texture that is especially refreshing on a hot summer day.
Several tasters favorably compared Red's Apple Freezy to the frozen Butterbeer product served at Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter. While Red's Apple Freeze does not benefit from the same instant brand recognition as the iconic drink of the boy wizard and friends, the drink has already developed a following all its own among passholders and cast members.
Cone 1 serves my personal favorite of the Cars Land drinks, Ramone's "Pear of Dice" Soda. This Sprite-based drink is flavored with non-alcoholic mojito and desert pear syrups and served over ice. The soda perfectly captures that juicy pear taste—just be sure to stir it well to mix all the flavors together ($3.29 for 16 ounces).
Cone 2 offers a "Route" Beer Float made with Barq's Rootbeer topped with soft serve ice cream. The drink is served in a souvenir cup for $9.59. I've never tried this, but a cast member at the location suggested ordering the drink made with chocolate soft serve instead of vanilla, or a combination of the two. I'll leave that to someone a bit more adventurous.
Cone 3 serves two fruit-based drinks, an all-natural lemonade topped with wild berry foam, or pomegranate limeade topped with lemon-lime foam. Both are $3.79 for 16 ounces. The lemonade drink debuted earlier this year in Walt Disney World, which is also the first time I noticed a foam-topped drink. Since then, flavored foam has crowned a variety of new drinks across the Disneyland Resort.
I asked Villarreal about this unusual ingredient, and she said that the foam is a new product that has just four calories and no fat per two-tablespoon serving, and contains no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. Though some people use their straw to mix the foam into the drink, I personally prefer to drink straight from the cup—you may wind up with a foam mustache, but I think you can better enjoy the foam flavor that way.
Cone 5 serves Doc's Wild Grape Tonic, another Sprite-based drink, this time flavored with wild grape syrup and topped with wild berry foam. I found this to be far too sweet for me when I first sampled it, but the second time around I asked for "light syrup," and the result was much more to my liking ($3.79 for 16 ounces).
A note for those planning a Cozy Cone bar crawl: Since every cone offers a unique drink, you'll need to stand in line at each one to order their signature item. If the lines are long (as they have been throughout the previews and opening days), be prepared to split up and have each member of your party order from a different cone to speed the process.
Flo's V8 Cafe features Mater’s Tulsa Tea, Gold Peak sweet green iced tea topped with tropical fruit (passion fruit-mango) foam ($3.29 for 16 ounces). This drink actually resembles a beer, which amused my friends and caused me to include a disclaimer when I posted the photo of it on Twitter. Incidentally, you can also find the sweet green tea sans the fancy foam from the fountain drink section of Flo's menu, possibly the only place to find fountain green tea at the Resort.
Flo's is also the place to find classic ice cream shakes in vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry. Each is topped with edible "Road Gravel” and served in a Souvenir Glass for $9.59, or you can order the shake without the keepsake for $3.99.
Though several of these new drinks are clearly aimed at the younger members of the family, some of them feature flavors (desert pear, mojito) and ingredients (green tea, pomegranate) that will appeal to a more mature palate. With seven new non-alcoholic beverages to try, non-drinkers have plenty of reason to return again and again to Route 66.