Mickey's Pantry: Tea for You?by Gregg Jacobs, contributing writer
I went to Disney Springs recently, and my visit included dinner at Earl of Sandwich—great food that is reasonably priced by Disney standards, so I highly recommend that you check it out.
In the same building is Mickey's Pantry, which I hadn't visited for a very long time. I remembered a smallish shop with some fun and cartoony Disney kitchen stuff, so since I was in the neighborhood, I figured I'd check it out again. Surprise, surprise—what I found was an updated location that bordered being on a gournet food shop (which happily, and of course, still had some fun Disney kitchenware). The store had a cozy fall feel and a focused on hot beverages, so as it's finally getting colder in the northeast where I live, I thought it might be a good time to dive in and share what I found.
They've warmed the shop up with browns, beiges, and oranges, giving it an autumn-like, upscale feel. As you walk through the main entrance, you are greeted with the wonderful smells of teas and spices. The left half of the shop has become a gourmet beverage and food store, with seemingly dozens of different types of teas and seasonings. The other side of the shop features wines and some neat kitchenware with that Disney touch.
Starting with the potable and edible stuff, Mickey's Pantry has a massive selection of different teas for purchase. I saw Earl Grey, darjeeling, black and green teas, each with its own varieties. The teas come in small and large packages, with small packages starting at $5.49. They also have large canisters you can open up, so you can see the leaves up close and have a smell. There are also very knowledgable cast members to give you more information on the teas as well as placards around the room with descriptions.
Disney characters get in on the act here, too, with Disney's own brand of Wonderland Topsy Turvy tea bags featuring Alice in Wonderland characters on the packaging. You can have your own Mad Tea Party for only $7.99, which gets you 20 tea bags. Also from Alice, another nice compliment to your tea are the honey spoons, spoons to stir your tea that are literally made of honey and dissolve in the tea as you stir.
As most Walt Disney World visitors have noticed in recent years, the historic ban on alcohol is becomming more and more a thing of the past. Mickey's pantry features a small wine selection with a fun twist.
The two brands I saw the day of my visit were Fairytale and the appropriately named, Once Upon a Vine, perfect for Disney with its fairy tale cred. Based on my research, neither wines has a direct connection to the house of mouse, but the names and bottles fit the theme well. Once Upon a Vine has varieties called Big Bad Red Blend, A Charming Pinot, and The Fairest Chardonnay. All have woodsy images on the labels. I have had Once wine, and it actually is pretty good. The price point here is actually not so bad either, selling for $14.95. I bought the Big Red Blend from a local wine supermarket recently and paid $11.99, so there's a small markup, but not bad by Disney standards. The Fairytale was priced at $34.99.
Mickey's pantry didn't have a huge selection of actual foods, but there were ample snacks if you'd like a nosh with your tea or wine. There was a display that had multiple varieties of popcorn flavors as well as tins of Mickey Shortbread cookies, perfect for dipping into your tea. If you want something sweeter, Goofy's Candy Company has you covered and is right across the way (as an aside, I just tried the chocolate covered pineapple fo for the first time on a recommendation, and it's now a must-have).
The shop also has a huge variety of spices in combinations I've never seen before. These include Baker's Secret, "a confetti of sweet baking sugars and spices", that's for sprinkling on sweets or into your coffee, Herbal Garden, "a refreshing salt-free combination of colorful herbs, dried vegetables and dash of spice" that you can use in soups, casseroles and rice and Pirates Bite, listed as a "blimey hot blend" to spread on your pizza and other foods.
These come in smaller packages with detailed instructions on recommended use, which is terrific.
Along the same lines as the spices, there is a section devoted to different kinds of salts and peppers, and again, there is a huge variety. Most seem to be of the spicy variety, with names such as ghost and scorpion pepper. The was also a Sriracha variety.
These come in various different-sized packets, or the typical shaker container you'd buy spices in at home. As with the teas, the small packages start at $5.49.
Also in a similar fashion to the teas, the spices and salts are also presented in large canisters, which you're welcome to open and smell. The shop also has a section for "custom blends," so you can mix and match to make your own combo.
In additional to all the wonderful new (or newer) beverage and spice offerings, I'm happy to report the Pantry is still part of the Disney family and sells Disney kitchenware, keeping some of the iconic features from the store's early days.
The first of these features I remember is the giant magnet wall. There's literally an entire magnetized wall full of Disney refrigerator magnets with character images and those of park icons. These make great small souvenirs and gifts and range in price from $6.99 to $12.99.
During my visit, I found magnets with Mickey Mouse heads of various sizes, plush magnets of Disney characters, such as Stitch, and an representation of Cinderella's Castle. They also had my very favorite magnets, those that feature iconic Disney foods. If you want to reminisce about your Disney trip everytime you look at your fridge, buy the Mickey waffle or Mickey ice cream bar magnets. They also sell handy magnets with clips to hold pieces of paper and magnetic notepads for those important shopping lists.
Moving on from the magnets, there are a large number of kitchen items, most featuring familiar imagery.
The are some terrific dishes and serving platters featuring Disney images, some more cartoony with characters and some more adult with abstract images. Of particular note is the various glassware, including tumblers and wine glasses. My favorite in this category are the wine glasses with the subtle three circle image running around the glass up near the rim ($13.99 each).
There are also some great silverware sets. My favorite is the set of 24 (including forks, knives and spoons) that has the three-circle Mickey silhouette image as a cut out on the handle. This set sells for $65. There was also a beautiful set featuring abstract images on the handles from Beauty and the Beast. This was $75.
There were also a few sets of salt and pepper shakers that sold for $19.99 each. The standouts here were Mickey and Minnie, and a cute ivory colored set featuring Mrs. Potts and Chip from Beauty and the Beast.
If you're a cook or a baker, Mickey's Pantry also has you covered. The wares here aren't just for serving food and wine. There are some great Disney kitchen tools available as well.
The shop has cake molds, ice trays, measuring spoon sets, and cooke cutters (the signature three circle image cutter is $7.95). There are also aprons to keep your clothes nice and clean while baking those Mickey Mouse goodies, as well as a variety of dishtowels.
These also sold for $19.99. My favorite set, of course, featured Mickey and Minnie, but there was a also a pretty cool set that had an abstract image of the castle.
Coming back to the subject of tea, arguably the most charming item in the store is a small ceramic teapot that bears the image of Cinderella's Castle. It is available for $34.95 and would be a perfect way for you to make your new tea upon arriving home.
I was very pleasantly surprised by what I found at Mickey's Pantry. It's nice to see Disney branching out in its merchandise offerings, and it was a surprise to walk in and see all those gourmet teas and spices. That said, it's also good to see that if you want to bring a little Disney into your kitchen, you still have that option (though Mickey if you're reading, please bring back the Mickey pizza cutter. My sister's broke and she needs a new one..
If you're a foodie or budding chef at all, Mickey's Pantry is a must visit.