Plenty of people come to Disneyland Resort just for the classic rides, the Main Street parades and to snap selfies in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Serious fans though, know to centre their activities around one vital feature: snack time. Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park have both launched a variety of only-in-Disneyland culinary experiences, many of which have developed their own cult followings. While some legendary Disneyland snacks are seasonal, such as the hand-pulled candy canes, available in limited quantities during the Christmas season, here are 10 snacks that you can enjoy year-round.
The New Orleans Square area of Disneyland offers two options for the Crescent City-inspired, mouse-shaped pastries. If you want to sit down for your snack, go to Cafe Orleans, where your order will include vanilla crème anglaise and fruit-coulis dipping sauces. Fans also rave about the non-mouse-shaped doughnuts in Downtown Disney at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen.
For more portable versions, go to the Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square, where an order of three comes in a paper bag and is dusted with plenty of icing sugar. (Note: The lime-and-mint beverages in question are non-alcoholic.) With the return of the Fantasmic evening pyrotechnics show in Frontierland, the Mint Julep Bar now also serves purple-sprinkles-covered Blackberry Doughnuts.
This non-dairy frozen treat debuted at Disneyland in 1976, created exclusively for Adventureland by the folks at Dole Pineapple. It has developed a passionate cult following and has been called 'a work of art' and even has a podcast named after it, and is now offered at other Disney parks, as well as at a few other selected locations. The original though, is available at the Tiki Juice Bar stand outside the Enchanted Tiki Room. Order yours as a soft-serve, a float with pineapple juice, or be a rebel and ask for the lone pineapple spear. A pleasant surprise: the classic Dole Whip soft serve only contains about 100 calories.
These mountain-shaped coconut treats covered with white-chocolate icing and sugary 'snow' are a rarity among Disney-themed goodies in that they’re based not on a character, but a ride. The classic Matterhorn rollercoaster is even within view of the macaroons’ Main Street home, the Mary Poppins-themed Jolly Holiday Bakery Café (look for the tell-tale weather vane on top).
For anyone who gets confused about the difference between chewy macaroons and the airy sandwich-biscuit macaron, try one of the bakery’s Raspberry Rose Mickey Macarons to settle the matter for good. A bonus: The Jolly Holiday has been applauded for having the best coffee in the parks.
Premium Mickey Ice-Cream Bars
The much-beloved Mickey choc ices found at kiosks around the two parks are like the little black dresses of frozen treats: Mickey-shaped vanilla ice cream dipped in Nestlé chocolate. To broaden your horizons try the Premium Ice Cream Sandwich version, whose wafers get rave reviews for having a little more crispiness than typical ice-cream sandwiches, and whose ice-cream centre is cookies ‘n’ cream flavoured.
Little Red Wagon Corn Dogs
While corn dogs (deep-fried maize-coated sausages on sticks) may seem like basic fare for a theme park, Disney superfans and foodies alike swear by the Disneyland version, found at an old-school-style food truck, the Little Red Wagon, near the Plaza Inn on Main Street. The secret: these chicken-and-beef dogs are hand-dipped in a house batter, helping them achieve that crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside perfection. You can also get the same dogs at the Stagedoor Café in Frontierland and Award Wieners in California Adventure's Hollywood Land.
The jumbo drumsticks offered at hot-food stands around the two parks such as Edelweiss Snacks in Fantasyland and the hot-foods cart in Hollywood Land—have inspired so much awe that an urban legend once circulated that they actually came from ostriches (they don’t). Granted, the hickory-smoked legs look large, even for a turkey (they come from males) and the salt curing gives them an almost ham-like flavour. They are certainly a commitment: each one weighs 750 g.
There are more than a dozen churro carts dotting the parks, from outside The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland to A Bug’s Land in California Adventure and the fried-dough treats have even inspired their own souvenir shirts over the years. Keep an eye out for limited-edition variations, such as golden sugar-dusted churros in honour of Pirates of the Caribbean, or the Jedi-worthy, red and blue-sugared 'light-sabre' churros in Tomorrowland.
They’re almost too pretty to eat. Disneyland Resort’s toffee apples offer a canvas for edible artistry, like the Mickey and Minnie apples at Trolley Treats in California Adventure, Winnie the Pooh apples in Disneyland’s Pooh Corner or the Gourmet Apple of the Month (like a dark chocolate raspberry apple) at the Candy Palace & Candy Kitchen on Main Street (watch staff making the apples through the confectioner's window).
In its cultural and culinary rendering of the Golden State, Disney California Adventure Park has embraced one key representative of San Francisco: Ghirardelli Chocolate. The Disney branch of the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop, located in the Pacific Wharf section, offers up scoops and chocolate-doused sundaes, as well as the clearly meant-for-sharing Earthquake, with eight scoops of ice cream, eight toppings, bananas, whipped cream and more. Don’t miss the mural of San Francisco in the shop, which reacts to your order: buildings shake when you order an Earthquake, and a prospector pans for gold if you get the hot-fudge-and-peanut-butter Gold Rush.
In the Cars Land area of California Adventure, 'refuelling' takes on new meaning at the Cozy Cone Motel, a snack stand with five different cone-based treat options, from the chilli-filled Chili Cone Queso to the flavoured-popcorn Pop Cones. Reviewers especially love the stand’s Chicken Verde Cone and Red’s Apple Freeze, a slushy made with apple juice, passion fruit, toasted marshmallow syrup and mango foam.