It’s been just over a year now since the Gardens Kiosk opened in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
The Smiling Crocodile
This kiosk (found not too far from Flame Tree Barbecue) is unique in that its focus is on providing snack options for guests with special dietary needs or restrictions. You might know it by its unofficial name: the “Allergy Kiosk,” earned not only for having treats that are free of the most common food allergens, but also because guests can receive information from the friendly and knowledgeable Cast Members about dining all over Animal Kingdom in light of restrictions.
(Oh, and also because of the “Allergy Dining Tips” sign above the menu ).
Along with various pre-packaged food items, this is the main location at Disney World where you can find Babycakes items since the Babycakes store in Downtown Disney closed in order to accommodate construction for Disney Springs.
I grabbed two Babycakes treats, though you’ll just see them labeled as Gluten-Free Vegan Doughnuts and Gluten-Free Cupcakes on the menu.
The Gluten-Free Cupcakes come in packages of four minis, and they are not unique to Animal Kingdom. You can still find these in several Resort Quick Service locations, including (but not limited to) Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors and Beach Club’s Marketplace.
The full name of “Brownie Cupcakes” is what you’ll find on the underside of the package.
And ultimately, as you can tell, the texture and chocolate flavor (along with the mini chocolate chips) much more closely resemble brownies than cake.
So, that may come as a small surprise to some who see only the item name on the menu. The other surprise is the nice, subtle hint of mint that compliments the chocolate in the brownie.
For the Gluten-Free Vegan Donuts, choices are chocolate-covered and – the one I went with — cinnamon sugar.
This donut was pleasantly flavorful with a great coating of cinnamon sugar that also offered a nice bit of crunch. I was most curious about the texture, since I wasn’t sure how being gluten-free would affect it.
As it turns out, not much at all :). I found it to be a little denser than your typical cake-style doughnut, and that’s the only difference I could note.
But the best indicator might not come from me… My husband is the beneficiary of much of what I can’t finish in the parks. When he tried the doughnut, he didn’t know it was gluten-free, and was really surprised when I told him. He just thought it was a great cake doughnut.
I made a return trip a few days later to give their cold treat a try: “Tofutti” Dairy-Free Ice Cream. When I placed my order, I was expecting one of those mini ice cream cups. You know, like the old school kind that come in packs of ten or so, with a little wooden spoon attached to the peel-off lid?
When the Cast Member placed it in front of me, I just said, “Whoa… it’s a whole PINT?”
Good thing I had a friend with me!
Honestly, this really doesn’t seem realistic for a family visiting the park unless they’re all ready to share the pint right then and there. This obviously isn’t a treat that you’re going to stash away in your bag and carry with you throughout the day; I imagine a lot of partially-eaten Tofutti containers get tossed regularly.
That said, at $4.29 a pint, it’s probably not too far off the cost of an ice cream sundae elsewhere in the parks. So if you DO have a couple of kiddos or family members who are able to share, it’s an option.
Tofutti is its own brand and by no means unique to Disney World, but for those who haven’t tried it (I hadn’t prior to this trip), it’s pretty much what you’d hope it would be: a cool, creamy way to scratch a chocolate itch. From a consistency standpoint, I thought it was just about on par with regular ice cream made with milk.
I must admit that ever since the Gardens Kiosk opened, I’ve been hoping to see other locations like this open in the other parks. But so far, it remains an anomaly.
Still, Disney World continues to make efforts towards providing options and ease for guests with special dietary needs (like those test menus in Hollywood Studios), and we’ll look forward to seeing how these efforts continue to expand in the future.
Looking for the biggest bang for your snack buck while you’re in Animal Kingdom?
Check out the newly updated for 2014/15 DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks e-Book for the low-down on all the treats and snack eats in these two parks!
The hot off the presses Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios guide to everything snacks is full of over 250 reviews and color photos to make sure you make the best use of your dollars in Disney world. Get yours today! Or, opt to get our specially-priced bundle of snack guides for all four parks, along with the 2013 DFB Guide to WDW Dining.
Have you made a stop at the Gardens Kiosk? Please let us know about your experience with a comment!