Exploring the Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure

by Megan Walker, contributing writer

Summer is fully upon us now, and it's time for another installment of a roundup of the ice cream treats offered at the Disneyland Resort, this time focusing on Disney California Adventure Park and all of its sweet treats. Whether you're spending your day at DCA, or just feel like running on over for a specific treat, you'll have quite a few different options of tasty ice cream treats.

The ice cream options at DCA are some of my favorite resort-wide, and, I often find myself heading over there specifically for ice cream. Aside from the table service restaurants, which, of course, have their own delicious dessert options, the following are the different places (by land)you can grab an ice cream treat.

Buena Vista Street: Clarabelle's Hand Scooped Ice Cream

Clarabelle's Hand Scooped Ice Cream. Photo by Megan Walker.

My favorite ice cream spot in DCA, and potentially resort-wide, is very easily Clarabelle's. Located at the end of Buena Vista Street, sandwiched in between Trolley Treats and Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café, Clarabelle's offers one of the most extensive ice cream menus throughout the resort, including a variety of sundaes, such as my favorite: The Oswald Sundae, complete with chocolate dipped banana "ears." You can also get regular old scoops of ice cream, in dishes or cones (waffle or regular for both); hand-dipped ice cream bars with your choice of toppings; and, seasonal selections, such as their a Mango Bar or a Mangonada. Another fun part of Clarabelle's is that you can get any of the sundaes served in a "Kitchen Sink," which is Mickey-themed of course. If you haven't stopped by Clarabelle's before, make sure you put it at the top of your list.

Buena Vista Street: Carthay Circle Lounge

Located right in the lobby of the main restaurant, the Carthay Circle Lounge is one of my favorite places to hide out from the hustle and bustle of the park on a busy day. The drinks here are fantastic, and they have a good selection of food also. But most importantly, they have ice cream. There's nothing better than sitting down for a minute and having a nice ice cream treat, all while enjoying the sights, sounds, and atmosphere of the Carthay Circle Theatre. There are two ice cream dessert options at the Lounge: a "California Rocky Road" sundae, which is a chocolate brownie sundae with marshmallow ice cream, and a trio of ice cream French macarons in several flavors, including salted caramel, pistachio and raspberry.

Cars Land: Cozy Cone No. 2

Cozy Cone #2. Photo by Megan Walker.

If you find yourself roaming the streets of Radiator Springs and want some ice cream, look no further than the Cozy Cones. Cozy Cone No. 2, to be precise, where you will find delicious soft serve ice cream cones, in vanilla, chocolate, or vanilla-chocolate swirl. Plus, if you're looking for a little extra sweet with your ice cream, you can also get your ice cream cone dipped in tasty chocolate. The ice cream cones also come in two different sizes.

Cozy Cone #2 Menu. Photo by Megan Walker.

Cars Land: Flo's V8 Café

Another unique option to add on the list here, that's not quite an ice cream treat as the others, but close enough, is Flo's V8 Café and their delicious milkshakes. These milkshakes come in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry—or, if you can't decide, then they also come in a flavor option of all three: Neapolitan. he unique thing about Flo's and what sets them apart from other milkshakes at the resort is the addition of "Road Gravel" on the top of their shakes, which is really just tasty little chocolate candies, but they make for a fun topping to an already tasty shake. Plus, there's nothing better than roaming around Radiator Springs with a milkshake in hand.

Pacific Wharf: Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop Menu. Photo by Megan Walker.

Located just past Cars Land in the Pacific Wharf is the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop. Direct from the world-famous Ghirardelli's in the Bay Area, this ice cream shop has a large menu with a lot of different options, so you should definitely not have a problem finding something delicious; your problem will be deciding which one to have. The menu includes ice cream sundaes in every flavor imaginable, some even include the classic Ghirardelli chocolate squares. If you're not in the mood for a sundae, however, don't worry, Ghirardelli also has regular scoops of ice cream, milkshakes, malts, and ice cream floats. Additionally, although I don't know why you would ever not want ice cream, Ghirardelli also boasts a large menu of chocolate candy (get a sample at the door), chocolate-dipped strawberries, hot cocoa, smoothies, cookies, brownies, and coffee and espresso drinks. But if you do happen to order a specialty sundae, keep a watchful eye on the wall behind the ice cream counter, the effects change from different scenes depending on the sundae you ordered.

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop Interior. Photo by Megan Walker.

Paradise Pier: Paradise Pier Ice Cream Co.

Paradise Pier Ice Cream Co. Photo by Megan Walker.

Located in between Treasures in Paradise and California Screamin' is the Paradise Pier Ice Cream Co. A little ice cream stand that is kind of tucked away on the pier, Paradise Pier Ice Cream Co. serves up soft serve ice cream—vanilla, chocolate, and vanilla-chocolate swirl—in a cone or in a dish. They also have seasonal flavors from time to time, and they're never really advertised anywhere, so you just have to stop in and check it out. The ice cream here is pretty simple, but also incredibly tasty and the perfect treat for a hot day. Another fun thing they have here are "Beachfront Floats," where you can get a Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Root Beer, or Sprite ice cream float, if you're looking for something a little more bubbly and refreshing.

Paradise Pier Ice Cream Co. Menu. Photo by Megan Walker.

Grizzly Peak: Smokejumper's Grill

This is kind of an iffy one about whether or not it should be included on the list, but I love their offerings here so I'm adding it in. Smokejumper's Grill, one of the newer dining additions to DCA, located near Soarin', has a pretty good selection of food if you're looking for a quick meal one day, but they also offer some delicious "frosty shakes" that come in two different flavors: Chocolate Peak and Snowy Vanilla. These are great options for a hot day in the parks when you're walking around sightseeing; they're also a great size for sharing if you're feeling generous.

Around the Park: Ice Cream Carts

Disney California Adventure Ice Cream Cart. Photo by Megan Walker.

Much like over at Disneyland, the old-fashioned, classic ice cream carts are also plentiful throughout the park, serving up your favorite treats. Almost every cart found at either park will include: a Frozen Lemonade Strawberry Bar, a Mickey Ice Cream Bar, a Cookie Sandwich, a Strawberry Fruit Bar, a Frozen Banana, and a Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich (ice cream present by Nestle). Ice cream carts are a fantastic option if you find yourself needing something sweet and cool right away, as they are always on hand somewhere nearby.

Ice Cream Cart Menu. Photo by Megan Walker.

No matter which part of the park you're spending your day in, when you feel the need for ice cream, there's a great option right around the corner. What's your favorite?



  1. By DisneyGator

    THIS is the greatest article ever written. It would take more than two hands to count the time my family has turned dinner into ice cream.

    We absolutely love going to Clarabelle's for ice cream. Just a simple waffle cone with two scoops of Cookies&Cream is good for me. But my kids absolutely go crazy for "create your own ice cream bar". And I can't really blame them. And we definitely love the dip cones at the Cozy Cone. But now that I know about the floats in Paradise Pier, I now have another great option.

    The only place we haven't done is Ghiradelli's. And I'm not sure that we will. I just can't spend the same money on a sundae that I do for a chili-burger and fries over at Smokejumpers. I do love malts, so I may try one. But I think they're like $8.50 or something. That's a pretty penny.

  2. By Niwel

    Our tradition is get a mint chocolate chip milkshake (thin, no whip) at Ghiradelli then get in a long line in Cars Land so I can enjoy it.

  3. By xezat

    I'd love to try Ghiradelli's one time, but their line is always horrendously long; I usually end up taking one look and moving on to my next ride instead. Sigh...maybe one of these days I'll get lucky and it'll be a less than hour long line wait lol.

  4. By olegc

    Nice article. I miss the old Swirl flavors you could get at the Paradise Pier Ice Cream Co (it was called Catch a Flave! I think). Swirls of syrup on vanilla ice cream. Tasty.

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