New Disney Snack Invention: Citrus Swirl Float!

Welcome guest author and photographer Ben Hendel with a brand new adventure…

Just a few days ago, I made a discovery akin to finding the magnetic North Pole. More patriotic than the actual discovery of America. More revolutionary to the culinary world than bacon. I discovered the Citrus Swirl Float. Or, if you’d rather, call it the Ben Palmer.

Citrus Swirl Float

It’s named after me. Mostly. My last name isn’t Palmer, but I figure this is just as important as when Arnold mixed iced tea and lemonade in equal parts, so it’s a good name to borrow.

Unfortunately, the name hasn’t caught on yet, so when I went to order this delectable treat from the Sunshine Tree Terrace, I had to order a Sprite float with Citrus Swirl. Though the journey was different than just saying “I’d like a Ben Palmer, please” the destination was the same: perfection.

Sunshine Tree Terrace Sign

The Beauty of the Citrus Swirl

Now, some of you may know the beauty of the Citrus Swirl already. Some of you (I’m looking at you, Tabitha from work!) may say, “I know not of this, because I like the Dole Whip and that is good enough for me. I enjoy waiting in too-long lines for a taste of only-okayness that costs 30 cents more than the incredibly awesome Citrus Swirl does.”

To you I say, “Come! Come to the Cult of Citrus and save both money and your taste buds! Come to the Light Side, we have cookies and Citrus Swirls and Fastpasses for Toy Story Midway Mania!” Thirty cents more! That makes a Citrus Swirl, like, “buy 12, get 1 free” compared to a Dole Whip!

The Citrus Swirl can be purchased by itself at the Sunshine Tree Terrace, just behind Aladdin’s Flying Carpets and near the Tiki Room. If you hear Kronk or Jafar in a Sorceror’s of the Magic Kingdom portal, you’re heading in the right direction.

If you are heading from The Hub, beware of the most evil Spitting Camel. He will try to dissuade you from reaching perfection with icy cold water and deadly aim. It is worth the peril, however, I assure you. If you come from Frontierland via the Country Bear Jamboree… cheater. Everybody knows a Citrus Swirl tastes better after peril.

Evil Spitting Camel

You then order yourself a Citrus Swirl, a divine combination of white vanilla-tasting not-quite soft serve and bright orange (both in color and flavor) frozen awesomeness. It is both sweet and tart at the same time, making for a wonderfully refreshing escape from the 95 degree heat with 300% humidity one experiences in the heart of summer here in Orlando.

Regular Citrus Swirl in a cup

Additionally, due to its fruit-like nature, all mothers agree that it makes for an acceptable breakfast or dinner, in addition to a snack (data gathered from a random sampling of my mother [along that thought process, hi Mom! Love you! Could you not be more proud of me right now?]).

Creating a New Disney Invention

For many months, I was content with a Citrus Swirl. I even ate it on an ice cream cone every once in a while for a crunchy change of pace. But just the other day, I had an epiphany, the likes of which we have not experienced on this planet since Copernicus discovered gravity when a coconut fell on his head.

What if I ordered a Float from the Terrace, but instead regular, boring soft-serve, I topped it with a Citrus Swirl? This thought in my head, I headed not to my regular, far right register, but to the unknown realm of the middle-right register. After all, if this was a terrible idea, I could not let the far right register know I had cheated on the perfection of a Citrus Swirl in a cup.

As I got to the counter to order, I realized I must be smart in my choice of soda; a choice of Coca Cola or Barq’s Root Beer would not compliment the delicate Citrus Swirl, with its myriad of favors and complexity of textures. I opted instead for the fizzy delight of Sprite.

I ordered, and soon it arrived: the twisted white-and-orange Swirl, floating in a sea of lemon-lime. Looking at my creation, I first sipped down the soda, then attacked the Citrus Swirl with vigor.

Citrus Swirl Float close-up...

At first, the flavors remained separate, but as I walked to a rocking chain in Adventureland, the bottom of the Swirl started melting and mixing into the Sprite. And as I ate the top of the Swirl off, playful little bubbles of soda starting filling the void in the center of the swirled treat, providing a whimsical experience on my tongue when scooped up with a spoon. Little did I know that perfection was just down the path.

When I dug into the Citrus Swirl with my spoon, submerging it into the Sprite, the first bite was amazing. Refreshing to the core, all the various citrus fruits dazzled as they joined together for the first time.

The Sprite remained carbonated, providing a bubbly foil to the smooth and creamy Citrus Swirl. Then the soda and Swirl mixed until I could not tell one from the other, a melty mix of refreshment and relaxation. I knew then I could return to my far-right register with my head held high; like a great baseball team, the Citrus Swirl Float was a whole far greater than the sum of its parts.

While I imagine this would also be wonderful paired with Orange Fanta rather than Sprite, I regrettably did not have time to try this daring duo yet. But I do have Saturday off, and I hear its going to be a scorcher…

Thanks to Ben Hendel for this hilarious essay…and for his incredible find!! I can’t wait to try it!! And, Ben, you’ll have to tell us what happens with the Fanta…I’m on pins and needles!

Are you ready to trade your swirl-in-a-cup for this brand new adventure? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


  1. Courtney says

    This is too funny! Sounds yummy. Just this past June, as I was standing in a long line for Dole Whip, I had an epiphany. I remembered that I could get Dole Whip at the Polynesian where we were staying. So I headed on over to Sunshine Tree Terrace and had the Citrus Swirl instead. Can’t beat the creamsicle-deliciousness of orange and vanilla… and an orange Fanta in a cute retro Orange Bird cup is lots of fun too!

  2. Michele says

    I just laughed out loud about 15 times reading this… great article, Ben! It was not only hilarious, but actually makes me want to try the “Ben Palmer”!

  3. Joni says

    Great article!!
    I think Disney needs to make up some t-shirts Dole Whip & Citrus Swirl which is your favorite ?
    Or by buying a shirt that says Dole Whip LVR or Citrus Swirl LVR we could see how many fans each has.
    Anywho. Glad the original is back!! and hope it is here for good.
    Oh and I must try the new float :) Thanks for the idea Ben.

  4. Essie says

    I had a Citrus Swirl once and……..I didn’t like it. But alas, Ben, your article is not in vain. Your enthusiasm is just so wonderful that you have inspired me. While the sprite didn’t tempt me, the idea of the swirl with orange soda DOES! Yes, you have been an inspiration so you definitely should hold your head very high and head right back to the right hand line, as I, on my next trip will want to try the ‘Fanta Citrus Swirl’ and it’s all due to you. You’ve done Disney World proud. :)

  5. Jeff C says

    Well I’m going to go order me a Ben Palmer! If enough of us do it eventually they will come to know exactly what to make and you will have reached the motherboard of fame!

    And your Mom will be proud of you ever more than she was through this article. Win-win!

  6. Galloping Gourmand says

    Now now. No need to have a war between the two. Just do what I did last trip: have a citrus swirl float after lunch then have your friend stand in line for a Dole whip float at park close.

    Or do the reverse. Either way, it’s ok.

  7. says

    Wonderfully written! Although what it mostly made me want is a Dole Whip in some Sprite… this girl likes her pineapple!

  8. Jenny says

    What a fun read, I will want to try this, just because you made it sound so fun. thank you

  9. JoAnn says

    Great article. I am a member of “team Dole Whip” but I would give this a try.

  10. Leslie says

    I almost didn’t read this article (more WDW soft serve, blah, blah, blah), but I’m SO glad I did! I am totally ordering a Ben Palmer in September just because you gave me such a great laugh. AJ should offer you a job! :)

  11. Kelly D says

    I will have to try this if only as a reward for your terrifically entertaining writing style! I am not usually a soda girl, but I will do just about anything for a good ice cream.

  12. Paula says

    I grew up on orange freezes — orange sherbet blended into Sprite — in New England, so I can well imagine how delicious this is. I’m a Dole Whip float devotee, but we’ll definitely try a Ben Palmer when we go in the fall. ;) Thanks for the fun essay, Ben!

  13. Ben"s Mom says

    Awesome article! Love you too!! I’m writing this while sitting in the cruise terminal in Quebec City, and I was literally laughing out loud reading the review. If you ever get tired if drinking the Apple koolaid, you could be a great comedy writer!! We”ll have to try the various types of this yummy sounding concoction when we visit!

  14. says

    Thanks for all the comments, folks! I cannot figure out how to reply to them each individually, so I’m going to do the best I can.

    To everybody who says I need to write more, I will certainly try. I don’t wanna force the funny, so I’ll do these sorts of things when I can. After all, just tried the float with orange Fanta and I’ll need to write a follow-up about that!

    I don’t know if this is exactly a “secret menu” thing, but it’s certainly something that a select few can enjoy. It is really, really refreshing.

    And for those members of the Dole Whip team, I jest with my tongue squarely in my cheek. I’m not trying to start wars over which is better. I just saw a good opportunity to poke fun and ran with it. I’m glad so many of you plan on trying a Citrus float, though! I think you’ll quite like them!

    And finally, hi again Mom! Enjoy your cruise; we’ll have to get a big round of them when you come down with Dad in September!

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