1. Dole Whip. Come on. Did you really think any list on the foods one craves would not list the one that is the equivalent of illegal drugs for many Disney fans? You can hardly beat the cool, sweet, mouthwatering pineapple frozen treat. Strolling through Adventureland with one of these babies completes a trip to the Magic Kingdom. Dole Whip...you complete me.
2. Nothing says summer like strawberries. There are two must tries for folks traveling to Epcot. The first is a limited time offering that was introduced last year at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival. I was able to attend last year and purchased the Beijing-style candied strawberries. These are delectable. You get three to four on a kabob which are perfect for sharing. I am thrilled to see these returning to this year's festival. The other must have strawberry from Epcot is from Karmell-Kuche, in the German Pavilion. Chocolate caramel covered strawberries...oh my. These are huge and wonderful. Plus, the smell that hits you when entering in is tantalizing. Epcot...you tempt me.
3. Ice Cream. While many would immediately think of a Mickey Mouse ice cream treat, I don't. I think of the ice cream sandwiches you can have made with homemade cookies. My boys love the ones made with chocolate chip cookies, while I am an oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwich girl. The guys also love ice cream in a waffle cone to enjoy while walking through Animal Kingdom. Something about this particular park just cries out for a frozen treat. The other ice cream treat I crave is the raspberry sorbet from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. If purchasing to go, you get two chocolate "Mickey Ears" on your scoop. Yum.
4. Cupcakes!!! Yes, that deserves multiple exclamation points. Many of the cupcakes I crave are only available during certain times of the year. This makes them all the more special. First off, Disney cupcakes are so big that it doesn't make one feel cheated if asked to share. The one cupcake I am craving right now, that I can not wait to get on my trip in November, is the pumpkin cupcake with maple frosting. I found this beauty at Contempo Café at the Contemporary Resort. It is incredibly moist, not too sweet, and just...perfect.
5. Frozen Lemonade and Frozen Raspberry Lemonade drinks. It never fails. Every visit to Disney Hollywood Studios finds me going to all the kiosks and purchasing a frozen lemonade drink. I love lemons. I love frozen slushy drinks. Combine the two and I am one happy theme park visitor. I have also found that these seem to help settle a stomach that has been jostled about after four times in a row of riding Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. The frozen raspberry lemonade can also be found at Cheshire Café. I love purchasing this while taking a break and just people watch. This is close by the Spinning Teacups, thus allowing me to observe the resigned looks on parents being pulled mercilessly by their children and forced to endure a swirling vortex of torture. I feel your pain, especially while experiencing a brain freeze from drinking these too fast.
6. Pretzels. Disney parks have a variety of pretzels to meet your palate's needs. I personally have fallen head over heels in love with the sweet cream cheese pretzels. Pretzels filled with warm cream cheese and hints of sweetness are without a doubt a marvelous treat to walk and munch. It definitely hits the spot when in between meals.
7. Now this next one is more like a quick little meal. Toasted ham and cheese croissant from Boulangerie Patisserie, located in Epcot's French Pavilion, is a very satisfying change from the typical hamburger. To finish off this meal, one needs a tart. A lemon tart. Crispy crust with lemon cream, topped with toasted meringue... this has Vive La France written all over it. Epcot...you tempt me yet again...
8. House-made chips from the resorts. Sometimes, you just don't want French fries. You want something salty, yet something different and new. These kettle cooked chips offered at many of the resorts are a must have either with your meal or by themselves. They are crispy, slightly salty, and just appetizing. While the dole whip is my drug of choice, these chips are my husband's. He orders them each chance he gets.
9. Salads. When it is hot, the last thing I want is something heavy and greasy. Disney offers many different types of salads, but one that has won me over the most is the Smoked Chicken Salad from Flame-Tree BBQ in Disney's Animal Kingdom. The chicken is cold, the salad is huge filled with leafy greens, tomatoes, beans, and drizzled lightly with chipotle ranch dressing. Granted, this is more of a meal, especially when you see the size of the bowl. Yet this is still a very crave worthy item. It is a filling treat and easy on the stomach when you are on your way to see the disco yeti.
10. Baked Potato. I know, I know. I've been talking summer time treats. But when it is cold outside (even in Florida), there is no greater comfort food than a hot baked potato with butter. I love getting these at the Liberty Square Market in the Magic Kingdom. Sitting there with the patriotic music, with views of the Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain, is so...comforting and peaceful. Yes, I could easily make this here at home, yet I wouldn't have the ambiance that accompanies this particular treat. Setting is everything.
11. Strawberry Tarts. These homemade goodies are some I grab every trip. I usually consume these pastries when eating breakfast at Tusker House in Disney's Animal Kingdom. While my boys are bouncing around visiting the characters, I am in my happy place, enjoying the buttery crust and sweet strawberry filling. Pop-tarts can't hold a candle to these. It is like dessert for breakfast without all the guilt.
12. Gigantic Cinnamon Rolls. No one is like Gaston. His tavern in Fantasyland proves this point even more so with their huge, easily able to feed a multitude of people, warm, gooey, cinnamon rolls. I can only say, bless you Gaston! If he had these cinnamon rolls in the movie, there is a very good chance that Belle might have agreed to marry him. Ah. Cinnamon Rolls.
13. Chocolate Shake. Wait! You mean this gets it own place away from ice cream treats? Yes, but only if it is from Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop in Downtown Disney. While the kids drool over the toys in the World of Disney Store, you can drool over your shake... if you can get your lips away from the straw.
These last two come from my husband and sons. They decided that there were two items I was leaving out.
14. Cookies. My boys both agree that there is not a bad cookie to be found in Disney World. They love them all, especially the size of them. Having them Mickey Mouse shaped also causes delight for these two.
15. Pork Shank and Turkey Leg. Along with the house made chips, the pork shank from Gaston's Tavern and the infamous turkey leg cause my husband to just about do a happy dance. He loves how tender these are and how they are smoked to mouthwatering goodness.
So theme park fans, what are the foods you crave while away from Disney World? What do you think one needs to try to get that special experience in the parks and then leaves you in need of a rehabilitation to get over the withdrawal symptoms?
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