Where to eat? Lunch at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments
Published: March 20, 2012 at 8:38 AM
Keep in mind that I come from Southern California - home of Roscoe's, the king of the fried-chicken-and-waffle combo. There's a Roscoe's not too far from my home in Pasadena, and I consider that the best fried chicken in town - never greasy, always crispy, and with just enough pepper in the batter to give it some zing. The waffles have a hint of cinnamon, too.
So the chicken and waffle sandwich at the Magic Kingdom's Sleepy Hollow Refreshments would face a high standard to meet.
The waffle sandwiches are the featured item on Sleepy Hollow's new menu, which debuted earlier this year. In addition to the chicken sandwich, there's a ham and cheese sandwich and a Nutella sandwich on the menu, in addition to plain or topped waffles and funnel cakes, as well as cookies and ice cream cookie sandwiches.
But I didn't consider any of those. My eyes were locked on the chicken sandwich.
No, ain't Roscoe's. And that's fine. Disney's chicken waffle sandwich ($6.99) comes with a fried chicken breast patty, bathed in sweet-and-sour syrup, perched on a folded, made-to-order Belgian waffle like it were a taco. Argula and a bit of a creamy carrot slaw top the sandwich.
I've long thought that Walt Disney World under-spices its food, which simply doesn't have the flavor I find in dishes at either Disneyland or Universal Orlando. A waitress at Boatwright's at Port Orleans Riverside recently warned me, for my most recent example, that the etouffee I was ordering would have a kick - but I never tasted it. Perhaps Disney's trying too hard not to offend anyone's taste buds by playing it overly safe.
So I was very pleasantly surprised to find a warm kick of flavor in the sweet-and-sour syrup on the Sleepy Hollow chicken sandwich. Yeah, this one'll wake you up. The peppery arugula added to the spiciness of the sandwich, too.
The only problem - how to eat this thing? With a Belgian waffle wrapping the chicken, this sandwich is too big eat from the side, like a taco. So I started from the top, eating the chicken, until the syrup softened up the waffle a bit, allowing me to smush it all together for a comprehensive bite.
Watch what you're doing, though, or the syrup will come squirting out the back of the sandwich, all over your lap. Napkins are advised.
Now it's time for dessert. As I said, I skipped the ice cream sandwich at Sleepy Hollow in favor of a more elusive treat.
The Citrus Swirl.
Walt Disney World's one-time signature dessert is back at the Sunshine Tree Terrace, although Disney's sure making it hard to find.
The Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland is under construction tarps while Disney renovates the building's exterior. And the Citrus Swirl appears nowhere on the Terrace's menu boards. There's a small card on the counter advertising the treat, which costs $3.19 and comes either on a cone or in a cup.
The Citrus Swirl is frozen orange juice swirled with vanilla soft-serve ice cream, and was the signature item at the Sunshine Tree Terrace when the park opened in 1971. The dessert was part of the Florida Orange Growers' sponsorship of the Tropical Serenade tiki room show, and Disney created the Orange Bird character as the "host" of the terrace, where you could buy the Citrus Swirl.
After the orange growers dropped their sponsorship deal, the terrace dropped into seasonal operation, not opening for long stretches, and the Citrus Swirl often disappeared from the menu, too.
But Disney's reviving the Orange Bird (I just bought an Orange Bird shirt at a recent D23 event), and the Citrus Swirl is back, too. It's a tasty blend of sharp citrus and smooth ice cream, much like an old Creamsicle pop, but with better orange flavor and less icy consistency. I'd love to see it come back permanently to the Walt Disney World Resort, but the best way to make that happen is for fans to buy them while they're here. Disney might or might not listen to guest requests.
But all theme parks always listen to sales figures.