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Guest Review: Ten Everyday Eats That Just Taste Better At Disney

Welcome guest author Michelle R.! She’s sharing her thoughts on everyday food that’s just better in Walt Disney World.

food tastes better at disney

Anyone who has ever flown long distances is familiar with jet lag. The time zone adjustment can take a few days or even weeks for mind and body to work out. I’ve discovered a little known vacation malady known as food lag. It’s similar to jet lag but normally occurs upon arrival home after a vacation. Days or weeks can go by before normal home food is appealing again.

Ten Normal Foods That Just Taste Better At Disney

While on vacation, meals are enjoyed in nice restaurants under relaxed or exciting circumstances. Throw Disney in the mix and you can get some serious food lag following your trip. The most ordinary foods taste much better when prepared and served at Disney parks and hotels.

I’ve listed 10 and all of them were so delicious, I couldn’t eat them for weeks after coming home.

Hot Dogs

While waiting for a parade to start, we grabbed a hot dog at Casey’s Corner on Main Street USA and split it. It was the best half hot dog I’ve ever eaten. The cheese, deep orange and flavorful, was in the middle of the meat and the bun soft and fresh. It was hot without burning and frankly, the most delicious hot dog I’ve ever had before or since.

Hot Dog and Fries from Casey’s!

Turkey Legs

If you’ve ever had to fight relatives at Thanksgiving for the turkey leg, go ahead and give it up now. Head to Disney and grab a turkey leg. Serving over 1.6 million drumsticks a year, there is plenty to go around and are they ever delicious!

Turkey Leg at Disney

Waffles

With a plethora of Waffle Houses and IHOPS in every town across America, you’d think eating waffles at Disney wouldn’t be a big deal.

Is it the extra thickness or the fact they’re shaped like Mickey heads? Is it the generous supply of butter and real maple syrup? I’m not sure, but waffles at Disney absolutely spoiled me for home waffles for several months following our last trip.

Mickey Waffle with Butter!

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are good just about anywhere, especially Grandma’s house. But again, Disney mashed potatoes are extraordinary.

Whether you’re at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma, Disney chefs seem to bring a little extra fluff and flavor to this ordinary food.

Mashed Potatoes at Liberty Tree Tavern

Fish and Chips

All kids and many adults like fish sticks; but they love fried fish at Disney. Epcot’s Rose & Crown Pub serves the very best although folks say that Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom is every bit as good.

Again, wherever you are in Disney, the fish and chips are going to be good.

Fish and Chips from Epcot’s Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Pizza

Mama Melrose’s in Disney’s Hollywood Studios serves a wonderful brick oven baked pizza in a homey atmosphere. Followed by Fantasmic’s display of fireworks, water and music, you’ll be convinced no pizza could ever top the one you had just before the show.

Carne d’Italia Flatbread

Lemon Ice

Disney sells a prepackaged lemon ice that can be bought at almost any convenience store in the country, yet for some mysterious reason, this same lemon ice that quenches thirst and refreshes is 10 times more delicious within the confines of Disney.

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

So far I’ve covered six ordinary foods and one refreshing treat, but I’ve saved room for desserts. Dessert at Disney is extra special because at the “Happiest Place on Earth”, there are no calories. At least that is what the cast members told me and you know the cast members couldn’t possibly make something like that up and get away with it if it weren’t true.

Chocolate Cake

I’ve loved chocolate cake my whole life. Who doesn’t? Disney’s chocolate cake, though, is above average. Could it be the large slab you get on a pretty plate with chocolate or raspberry drizzle?

Maybe it’s the moisture level of the cake itself and the ample icing. All I know is chocolate cake is better at Disney.

Chocolate Cake in Disney World

Chocolate Cake in Disney World

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime pie is offered at numerous restaurants. Olivia’s Cafe, located in the main building at Disney’s Old Key West Resort, serves what is touted to be the best key lime pie in the world.

To be frank, I’ve never been a fan of key lime pie, until I tried the one at Olivia’s. It was, like everything else, delicious; so much so, that I ate at least half of my husband’s portion — which was fine because he ate half my chocolate cake.

Key Lime Tart

Candy

Ordinary candy such as taffy, rice krispy treats, and chocolates are simply better at Disney.

As a mom of 5, I’ve made rice krispy treats many times for the kids and as much as they enjoy them, they love Disney’s even more. It’s hard to compete with Mickey shaped treats on a stick covered in sprinkles.

One of our sons always wants the chocolate coins and taffy sold at Disney. The only difference between them and candy we could buy locally is the Disney characters on the wrappers.

Fun Chocolate Boxes!

Overall

I’ve often wondered if the food is actually better or if we just think it is based on being in Disney while eating. Of course the atmosphere adds to the pleasure of eating, but how does atmosphere enhance the actual taste? Whatever it is, I’m glad for it until arriving home and dealing with food lag.

My food lag was so bad once, I began dreaming about Disney foods. We’ve tried recreating Disney recipes and although very good, they somehow don’t quite measure up. Between atmosphere, presentation, and really good taste, I’ve accepted the fact ordinary food at Disney is just better.

Michelle Rise is a homemaker, mother of 5, and travel enthusiast. With many years of experience trekking through Disney parks with her family, Michelle has become an expert on Orlando hotels & navigating families through Disney. She also enjoys travel to most other destinations worldwide and when not writing about her experiences or teaching her children to drive, Michelle can be found chasing the family dog up Rainbow Mountain with her husband (Ben) of over 25 years. You can follow Michelle on Twitter, @Rise7Up, for all of her latest writings.

What ordinary food tastes better to you while one a Disney vacation? Confess in the comments below!

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27 Comments

  1. Joe Grassi says:

    Shortbread cookies with Mickey’s face.

  2. Corrie says:

    I couldn’t agree more. My sister and I will often joke about the pop corn in Disney, I don’t know why even at the movies I can take it or leave it but I just got to have it in Disney! Oh and the mashed potatoes thing 100 percent agree!

  3. OK, I confessed last year that as a Brit located partly in the UK and Orlando, I have never had PB&J. Now I venture further, and own up to having never tried a Disney Turkey Leg.
    I just don’t know whether I am just quite ready to abandon concentrating on the attractions by investing so much effort into eating what admittedly looks very tasty. Then there’s the potential mess! I promise to try soon though, and I may have to adopt a feline instinct and scurry away into a dark corner to guard it in perfect privacy!

    I’d definitely agree with the Hot Dogs though. Casey’s Corner needs to re-open quickly!!!

    Totally agree with Corrie, the popcorn is just something different at Disney.
    Maybe it’s all to do with our magical memories of the fair? The sweet smell of popcorn and smoky hot dogs are after all, synonymous with good times, none better than Disney.

    One thing that’s not on the list is are those beautiful glazed almonds, the aroma is something else and always grabs your attention. Are we falling away from those a little in favor of waffles, funnel cakes and Mickey Premiums? We seem to notice fewer people wandering around with them these days.

  4. Georgeanne says:

    And of course, Popcorn! Definitely better at Disney!

  5. Kelly M says:

    Chicken nuggets! I flat out refuse to eat them, but put me in the Backlot Express in DHS and I will devour them…. why are they so good? I think they pump something into the air that heightens your taste buds!

    Kev/totalorlando – I’m a Brit and have been visiting orlando since ’89, I too have never had PB&J or a turkey leg! I’ve had about 30 opportunities but never taken them. :-)

  6. Jane G says:

    Rice Krispie Cookies!

  7. Kaz says:

    I also think it is partly the Disney influence, but some of these items mentioned on the list I truly believe are better than their “everyday” equivalent elsewhere.

    That being said, being from the New Haven, CT area, I respectfully disagree that the pizza at Disney is better than what I can get at home :)

  8. Katie says:

    Giant, soft pretzels. There’s something about the Mickey shape and eating it in a park that makes no soft pretzel back home compare.

  9. Alan says:

    If you like fish and chips, don’t forget Cooke’s of Dublin next to Raglan Road. The fish, shrimp and scallops taste so much better while sitting at the Hole in the Wall bar, sipping a Guiness and watching the (Disney) World walk by. Heaven!

  10. Jenny says:

    Everything does taste better at WDW, it must be the little bit of magic that they seem to add.
    :)

    I love the candy boxes and have been saving them. Of course after I have finished my candy. :)

  11. Sean says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but up until a few years ago, wasn’t a lot of Disney take-out type pizza almost exactly the same as the old McDonald’s pizza? Man, that pizza always tastes better at Disney.

  12. Joni says:

    Did I read that correctly??
    Casey’s has a hot dog with yellow cheese in the middle of the meat???? :)
    What is it called on the menu, cuz if that’s right, Lord willing I’m getting me one next trip. Yummy

  13. AJ says:

    Joni — No; I don’t think they have a hot dog with cheese in the middle. I think the guest poster was just referring to how the cheese coats the hot dog. I love the idea of a cheesy-middle dog, though!

  14. Dan Heaton says:

    I’m with you on the fish and chips. Something about sitting in the upstairs of Columbia Harbour House makes everything there taste better. We have lunch there every day we go to the Magic Kingdom.

  15. Brenda H says:

    I could not agree more! I would add…of course, lol, rice krispie treats, pretzels, potato chips (house made….), soup – portobello soup mmm. Ok, honestly, everything tastes better in Disney :) Thank you for this, counting down – 4 months!

  16. Leslie says:

    Okay, I just ate lunch but am now somehow hungry. Totally agree with this post! I’ve often thought of making that delicious nutella and fruit waffle sandwich from Sleepy Hollow at home. It would be simple enough, but I just know it would not be the same somehow. Same goes for that killer tonga toast. Yum!

  17. Ashley says:

    The soft pretzels shaped like Mickey’s head were my big treat. They were wonderful, fresh & hot. I had 4 of them on our last trip.

    Also, that chocolate cake looks divine! Where’s it from?

  18. Julie says:

    Where is the chocolate from looks yummy

  19. AJ says:

    Julie — The chocolate cake is from Beaches and Cream; the boxed chocolates can be found at most Disney candy shops.

  20. Angelina says:

    I agree with the comment above that those soft chewing mickey pretzels are so much better than anything I can get at home…i want one now!!!

  21. Erin says:

    Churros! Although I’m partial to the ones at Disneyland, the ones at Downtown Disney will also do quite nicely!

  22. Mark says:

    Tie Dyed Cheesecake @ POP Century Hotel is great.

  23. Jenna says:

    Mmmmm, Disney French fries. I could go for a bunch over at Cosmic Ray’s. YUM!

  24. Amy says:

    Definitely the soft pretzels, but also the regular bagged pretzels. We bought some for my daughter to take to school for snack after we returned, but we sent too many and got one bag back. Usually I can take or leave pretzels, but I tried them and they were delicious!

  25. Meghan says:

    You left out POPCORN!!! I never eat it at home, but when I am at Disney I have to have it every day. My sister and I usually split a hot dog and a bucket of popcorn for our afternoon “snack”!

  26. Eddie says:

    Pork every which way. For some reason Disney pork is far superior to any you can get anywhere else. Whether it’s the pork breakfast sandwich at EPCOT’s “The Land”, a pulled pork flat bread at Jiko, or pork chops at California Grill, the pork at Disney enchants, or better said, is magical.

  27. AJ says:

    Eddie — I like the way you think!

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