My Disney Top 5 - Walt Disney World Snacksby Chris Barry, contributing writer
I tend to write my Top 5 and Disney Stuff articles late at night. It's really the only time that things ever actually quiet down around here. I put the TV on for some mindless background noise, push the comfy chair up to the desk and bang away at the keyboard spilling my thoughts onto the screen. It works for me. What I should be doing is writing. What I shouldn't be doing, however, is snacking.
Sometimes though, even though I know it's not good for me to eat so late, I will partake in some late night snacking to keep the creative juices flowing. Lately my poison has been a couple of Oreo Thins—kept deliciously cool in the fridge, of course—or some popcorn flavored Jelly Bellys and probably a cold glass of lime-flavored sparkling water. Those are my go-to-snacks-of-the-moment. Everybody's got his or her snack weaknesses. You know which treats I'm talking about. They're the ones that you spot on your supermarket run. You know exactly where they are in the aisle and after you buy them, you just can't wait for the opportune moment to crack the package and indulge. After all, you worked hard... you deserve that treat.
Of course, one of my favorite places to snack is, you guessed it, Walt Disney World. The great thing about going to Disney is that the food surpasses traditional theme park fare and truly becomes part of the experience. You can absolutely find amusement park stalwarts like popcorn, pretzels, and the omnipresent churros, but there's also a lot more to be found throughout the resort. So what do I look forward to snacking on when I'm in the most magical place on Earth? Let's take a look with my Top 5 Walt Disney World Snacks.
5 – Whole Pickles
This may sound like a strange entrant on this list but who cares? It's my list and I'm starting with the pickles. I absolutely love the whole pickles that are sold at Liberty Square Market in the Magic Kingdom. It may sound strange but on a sweltering hot Orlando day in the parks an ice-cold pickle and a cold bottle of water just hits the spot. It's refreshing, crunchy, and salty—it hits all the right spots on my crave-o-meter. You can also find them right outside Kilimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom and on Sunset Boulevard in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Trust me on this one. They're awesome.
4 – Beignets – Port Orleans French Quarter
These beignets are so good we found the recipe online and made them ourselves at home. Ours were delicious, but not quite as good as getting fresh ones from the Sassagoula Floatworks food court at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. Beignets are essentially fried dough, but don't for a minute confuse them with that other theme park staple, funnel cakes. The beignets are light and airy and so delicious. Best of all is they're made fresh to order, never sitting under a heat lamp staying "warm" like their distant cousins the funnel cake. It's worth a trip to the resort to stop in and have these.
3 – Crepes – France Pavilion, Epcot's World Showcase.
There's so much deliciousness going on at the France pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, it's hard to know where to begin. Actually, no it's not. You should begin outside the pavilion itself at the crepe stand along World Showcase Lagoon. Once again, it's a freshly made snack. The crepes are made to order right there in front of you. The chocolate is my particular favorite, but the strawberry ones and the sugar ones are just as tasty. For a real decadent snack, go for the ice cream crepes and while you're at it, go next door and have the greatest drink in all of Walt Disney World, the Grand Marnier Slush.
2 – Mickey Chocolate Chip Muffins – The BoardWalk Bakery
The kids are still asleep. My wife, Diane, has just returned from her morning run through The World. She sips her coffee and I sip my OJ with a fresh, delicious Mickey-shaped muffin as we sit out on the balcony of our Yacht Club room and watch as the resort wakes up. Not much can be better than that. These muffins are addicting. So much so, that you're just as likely to find me later on in the day sitting with the kids on the Boardwalk overlooking the water enjoying another one for an afternoon pick-me-up.
1 – Mickey Premium Bars
What is it about these things that make them so awesome? Basically, it's a Klondike bar shaped like Mickey. But... it's better than that. Maybe it's the soupy Orlando heat that makes them hit the spot. Maybe everything tastes better shaped like Mickey Mouse. I don't know what it is, but I have to have one on every trip. I love ice cream. I've had plenty of other vanilla ice cream bars dipped in chocolate, but there's just something about the Mickey Premium Bar that stands out above all the rest. They're an institution.
I probably left many fan favorites off of this list. Notice the lack of churros, Dole Whips, and turkey legs. Are giant honking smoked turkey legs even really a snack? They seem more like a meal than a snack. I didn't even include anything from Karamel-Küche in Germany or the Lefse from Kringla Bakeri in Norway. I could do a Top 5 in World Showcase alone.
When I think of Walt Disney World, so many wonderful images and memories pop into my head. The hotels, the attractions, the characters, and the food are all forever imprinted in my psyche. When I think of riding Peter Pan's Flight in Fantasyland, I get happy. When I think of my kids covered in melting Mickey bar and laughing, I have to tell you—I get just as happy.