Review: Gelato Bar at Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors

My adoration of Gelato is well documented. I’ve sought it out recently at Cafe Rix at Coronado Springs Resort, and I love stopping by Epcot’s Italy for one of their spectacular gelato treats, like the Coppa Delizia or the Handmade Gelato Cookie Sandwich.

So of course, during my recent stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, I had to check out their Gelato Bar!

The dense, frozen treat — an upscale, Italian cousin to American ice cream — is only one of the yummy desserts featured at this particular Landscape of Flavors station. But we’ve already told you about the Mickey Oreo Cupcake and the Mickey Ganache. :-)

Gelato Menu Board -- Click to Enlarge

On any given day, the flavors might vary somewhat; but I have a feeling you’ll find something you want to dig into!

Gelato Flavors

But what I (*cough* picky eater *cough*) really enjoy about the gelato here is [Read more…]

Snack Series: Frozen Cheesecake On A Stick at Disneyland Resort

OK, you guys. Frozen. Cheesecake.

We first told you about this fantastic little Gelato Bars kiosk in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney last year. And, well…you know I can’t resist some good gelato! So I couldn’t wait to hit it up on my recent trip to Disneyland.

Gelato Bar Kiosk

When it first appeared, there was a pretty extensive menu of Gelato Bars, consisting of fabulous flavors and garnishes. These days, the gelato bar selection has been pared down to five varieties.

But before you become too sad about that — look at what they’ve added: Frozen Cheesecake! On. A. Stick.

There’s also a selection of Hot Chocolates (complete with hot chocolate on a stick) as well as a Gelato Cookie Sandwich (!) and a Frozen Banana dipped in Ghirardelli Chocolate. A selection of bottled beverages rounds out the menu.

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

But that’s not all there is to tell you about this spot. As seems to be the standard in Disneyland, there are little “models” of the food selections! I think the “bedazzled” Birthday Cake one is my favorite.

Examples of Gelato Bars -- Cute!

Here are the examples of the cheesecake bars, which are available plain or with a strawberry garnish. The hot chocolate on a stick is represented, too.

Menu Examples

Visual aids are also there for the chocolate-covered banana and gelato sandwich. :-)

More Menu Examples

But my mind was already made up, and I went for one cheesecake bar. Strawberry, please.

And I know what you’re thinking: “AJ, that’s as hard as a rock and you’re gonna break your teeth.”

Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake and Its Plastic Counterpart

I thought so, too; and I was worried. But that wasn’t [Read more…]

Review: Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe at Magic Kingdom

Today, we head to Tomorrowland for a visit to an “out-of-this-world” dining spot — Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe!

Situated on the corner between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, this spot actually boasts views of Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Main Street USA, and the Castle Hub!

With plenty of standard American fast food offerings, you’ll find lots of options to please pickier eaters here. And while at first glance the atmosphere isn’t all that interesting, it holds a few surprises.

Let’s head in and see what Cosmic Ray’s has to offer these days!

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe

Atmosphere

Cosmic Ray’s takes up a huge chunk of real estate right on the edge of Tomorrowland. The vibe is retro-future, much like the rest of the land. If you are a big fan of The Jetsons, Lost in Space, and the People Mover, this is the place for you!

Inside, you’ll find ample indoor and outdoor seating on a couple of different levels. And here’s a surprise — if you’re a newbie to Cosmic Ray’s: there’s a floor show!

Cosmic Rays -- Sonny View Seating

Throughout the day, animatronic alien lounge singer Sonny Eclipse comes to life and entertains you with his signature disco-blues style that is both futuristic and retro at once. Listen closely to the songs to get a few laughs.

Sonny Eclipse entertains at Cosmic Ray's

The area where Sonny performs does tend to be a little loud, so if you aren’t a fan of talking over music while you eat, there is also inside seating on the upper level that’s a bit set apart from the noise.

Inside Seating -- Away from Sonny's Floorshow

The restaurant also boasts lots of [Read more…]

Photo Tour: Art of Animation Resort Desserts

With the opening of Disney World’s newest resort — Art of Animation — we have all new delicious food to sample. The Landscape of Flavors food court offers some unique desserts that you can’t find anywhere else in Disney World! Let’s take a peek…

First up, I love these one-of-a-kind Rice Krispie Treats that feature the characters you’ll find decorating the Art of Animation resort buildings!

Krispie Treats

Landscape of Flavors offers a variety of gelato flavors for your cold sweet tooth! I love the fun designs the cast members have made on the top! (See any hidden characters?)

Gelato

Pistachio Gelato, when they’ve got it, is a [Read more…]

Snack Series: Gelato Ice Cream Sandwiches in Epcot’s Italy

Happy National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, everyone! And in honor of this important day, it’s time to head back to one of my favorite spots for a frosty treat, the Tutto Italia cart in Epcot’s Italy!

I couldn’t wait to tell you guys about the Coppa Delizia sundae at this very spot a few months ago, so I wondered what other delicious treats they might have to satisfy a craving for cold and creamy on a hot Florida summer day.

Gelato Selections

I was excited to see that the menu had changed a bit, and the kiosk was now offering Gelato Cookie Sandwiches! I wondered if these would be as good as the Homemade Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches you can find throughout the parks…

You can choose from pre-made sandwiches, or you can request that your cookie treat be custom-made with your choice of gelato flavor.

Pre-made Gelato Cooke Sandwiches

I decided to go for a custom sandwich. While I’m probably not going to [Read more…]

Photo Tour: Cafe Rix at Coronado Springs Resort in Walt Disney World

While Coronado Springs Resort in Walt Disney World has a lot of charm and many fans (myself included!), it’s a little slim on meal options.

See, the resort’s table-service restaurant, Maya Grill, is only open for dinner these days; and the counter-service Pepper Market has gone buffet for breakfast and lunch, and closes from 2 p.m. until dinner. So sometimes it’s hard to find a bite to eat outside of Siesta’s Pool Bar. And while pool bars are charming, that might not be quite the vibe you’re seeking.

Enter Cafe Rix.

This is the only grab and go option for you at Coronado Springs. But does it offer what busy families and convention-goers really need to fuel up for a day at Disney? Let’s take a peek inside!

Rix Cafe Sign

Decorated in a Mediterranean style, the cafe offers a little something for everyone.

Entry to Cafe

Fresh fruit, wine, and newspapers are available, in addition to prepared cold items. I’m also totally digging on those lantern-like, Mexican light fixtures! That’s one of [Read more…]

Food Photo Tour: Art of Animation Resort Landscape of Flavors Food Court

Life is a highway, and my pit stop this past weekend was Walt Disney World’s brand new Art of Animation Resort in Walt Disney World.

AoA is a value level resort, and like other WDW value hotels the main source of on-site nourishment is a food court, here called Landscape of Flavors.

I gathered dozens (hundreds?) of food photos to share, so you’ll be able to take a look at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert as well as pre-packaged goodies in the photo tour below!

Some of the elements of Landscape of Flavors will be familiar to those who have been to other Disney hotel food courts. There are multiple lines to order different types of food. There are self-serve soda and condiment stations past the registers, toasters for guest use, and a mug wash sink for rinsing your refillable mugs.

And the sides of the service area are lined with refrigerator cases of beverages and a limited selection of prepared items.

As for the actual food, Disney has tried to step it up a notch, offering fresher and more customizable options than in the other resorts. But before I get to that, here’s a tour so you can get the lay of the Landscape.

Overview Photos

You get to the restaurant through the Ink & Paint Shop gift store.

Ink and Paint Shop Gift Store

The seating areas are bright with blond wood tables and chairs.

Seating Areas

Overhead lights represent each of the four films highlighted at AoA: [Read more…]

First Look! New Gelato Popsicle Stand in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney

Strolling though Downtown Disney on Easter afternoon I noticed something that was not there just a week before: a new “Gelato Pop” stand! I had just eaten a giant brunch at Steakhouse 55, so a taste test was not an option; but I did get the “scoop” on this fun new treat stop.

Gelato Pop Cart

Thank goodness for a warm Spring Break in So Cal, because after being open for a mere three days, the Gelato Popsicle stand seems to be a hit. The Cast Member I spoke with said that they were doing pretty well on their first three days and they hope to become a permanent fixture in the Downtown Disney district. 

The Gelato Pop stand offers 9 different types of Gelato popsicles (pre-made offsite):

Birthday Cake:

Birthday Cake Gelato Pop

Cookies ‘n’ Cream:

Cookies n' Cream Gelato Pop

Coffee Biscotto:

Coffee Biscotto Gelato Pop

Cherry: [Read more…]

Snack Series: Coppa Delizia from Italy’s Gelato Stand in Epcot

Over the past few years, Italy has become one of my favorite countries in Epcot. They have the best pizza in Disney World, a little tiny canal to remind me of wandering around Venice, a fun mask painter, and, of course, gelato.

View from Italy

The little gelato stand in Italy is easy to walk by without noticing. It looks like several other plain kiosks in Epcot — the ones that sell coffee and those ubiquitous cookies and pastries (which aren’t bad, but they don’t hold a candle to what I’m about to show you).

But when you get a little closer and check out the menu, you’ll notice that you’re in for a little surprise. When I stopped by this kiosk recently, I had no intention of getting any gelato. But as soon as I saw those gelato “creations” in the middle, I knew I had no choice! It was on! You can’t call something a “creation” and think I’m gonna just walk on by! ;-)

Italy's Gelato Menu - click image for larger version

I was stuck between the Amicizia and the Delizia, but ended up going for the latter — I loved the idea of cookies and cream gelato with strawberry sauce!

Gelato Selections

This incredibly rich, shareable treat has three scoops of gelato: cookies and cream — which reminds me of one of my favorite flavors from my Italy backpacking days: stracciatella, Fior di Latte — which is a milk-flavored gelato (thanks for setting me straight on this one, J Hayes!), and strawberry!

This is all topped with a thick strawberry sauce, a pile of whipped cream, and whole strawberries! And it looks a little something like this! [Read more…]