Recently I had the pleasure of attending Dole’s Banana Summit at the Disneyland Resort. And while we’ll go bananas a bit later, it’s Disneyland and Dole’s partnership on the pineapple front (Dole Whip anyone?) that I think you guys are going to love hearing about.
After all, Dole is the official sponsor of perhaps the most iconic attraction and snack of the Disneyland (and Disney World!) Resort. What better place to learn about this partnership than the Enchanted Tiki Room with a Dole Whip in hand?
While indulging in pineapple fantasticness, our group was escorted into an empty Tiki Room for a presentation led by Whitney Simmons, Corporate Alliances Manager for Disneyland. Here is where we learned about the amazing 36 year long relationship that Disney and Dole began in 1976.
Tiki Room History and Disneyland’s Original Partnership with Dole
Originally envisioned by Walt Disney as a dinner show, the Enchanted Tiki Room debuted in 1963. With its feathered macaw friends Jose, Michael, Pierre & Fritz running the show, it was the very first attraction to showcase audio animatronics technology.
Deciding that he needed to accommodate more guests, Walt nixed the restaurant idea and made the show a 15 minute “celebration of island romance and wonder in a magical theater-in-the-round.” In other words, there’s not a bad seat in the house!
But more importantly, this is the only place in Disneyland where you can get pretty much the most well known and treasured iconic Disney treat there is: The Dole Whip.
The Disneyland and Dole partnership has been a long-lasting one for the simple fact that both companies pride themselves on being wholesome, family, iconic brands. According to both Dole and Disney representatives, they are a perfect pair. From the beginning, Dole knew that the Tiki Room would be the perfect “tropical” attraction to sponsor and Disney knew that this was the place for them to be as well.
At one point, several years back, rumors surfaced that Dole was removing sponsorship and guests were up in arms about it. Phones were ringing off the hook at both Disney and Dole offices. Thank goodness it was just a rumor! Even today, one of the main inquiries at the Dole headquarters regards Dole Whips.
The soft-serve pineapple sorbet can be purchased alone or as a “float” with pineapple juice. It’s so popular in fact, there’s pretty much always a line — rain or shine. On average, 1.3 million Dole Whips are purchased per year at Disney Parks and Resorts. They can be purchased at Disneyland as well as the Magic Kingdom and the Polynesian Resort in Walt Disney World.
At Disneyland alone, 600,000 Dole Whips are purchased a year! The current partnership between Disney and Dole is strictly pineapple. All pineapples used in the Disneyland Resort are Dole grown. Oh, and P.S. Disney & Dole, us Disneylanders would LOVE to see a swirl option here! Orlando has it, why can’t we???
Dole Banana Details and Banana Ginger Mickey Waffle Recipe
Because Dole is so awesome, I’m thinking it’s time to bring in bananas, too! The Banana Summit I attended was designed to get to know Dole Bananas, and after just one day with the fabulous people from Dole, I pretty much consider myself a banana expert.
Here area a few factoids for you to squirrel away for future Jeopardy appearances: 1.) Bananas are the #1 item sold in markets; 90% of all households purchase bananas. 2.) They are also the earth’s first fruit and have been documented as early as 2000 BC. 3.) You know those little stickers on bananas? Well, Dole puts two stickers on each cluster (fancy lingo for a bunch of 5-6 bananas) and they use 100 million stickers a month! Do the math. That’s a lot of bananas…
At the summit we got to sample some fun recipes created by the Dole team. My favorite were the Gingery Banana Waffles, which I think would be a great addition to Disneyland’s holiday menu items.
You’re on your own getting a Mickey Waffle Iron though!
What’s your go-to Dole product in the Disney Parks? Dole Whip? Dole Whip Float? Straight up Dole Pineapple Juice? Let us know in the comments below!
A big thank you to both Dole and Disney for inviting me to attend this special day. Here’s to an infinite partnership and Dole Whips at Disney! For more information about the Dole company, or to find some fabulous recipes they’ve created in their test kitchen, visit them here.