Welcome to your newest cold snack stop in The Landing at Downtown Disney… Vivoli Gelateria (also known as Vivoli Il Gelato)!
Of course, calling it a “cold snack stop” hardly does it justice. For a brand new place on the Disney dining scene, it’s rich with a history that began in Florence, Italy, in 1932, when Raphael Vivoli became one of the founders of the business.
Plus, that little “cold snack” we’re referring to is gelato crafted using many ingredients such as cocoa powder, pistachio, and hazelnut directly from Italy.
I can’t wait anymore! Let’s step inside…
Within these next few photos, you’ll see pretty much the whole of the place!
Even though it’s small, the pictures hanging high behind the counters give you a sense of the longevity of Vivoli Gelateria in Italy, as you take in charming black and white photographs of the Vivoli family and the original location.
In fact, Silvana Vivoli, the granddaughter of Raphael, played a huge role in the opening of the Gelateria’s first ever storefront outside of Florence in Downtown Disney (to clarify: there is a Vivoli Gelateria counter inside a New York City Macy’s, but no other fully operating storefront).
As you can tell, there’s no indoor seating to speak of, or much other than the ordering area and bakery and gelato cases, which allow for the star of the show — the 24 flavors of gelato — to have their moment in the spotlight.
It’s a good idea to take a peek at the flavor sign outside before you step in to get some idea of what you might want, since the sight of all this gelato can become overwhelming when you consider you have some choices to make. (Just a note: available flavors may vary on your visit).
In addition to the gelato, sweet and savory baked goods are nestled in the bakery case. A small assortment of panini sandwiches featuring Italian meat and cheeses line the top, while the bottom holds a larger assortment of traditional Italian cookies (Biscotti) and tarts (Tortine).
We’ll explore all that a little more in depth as we dive into our selections!
Clearly, gelato is the main attraction here. From classic flavors such as chocolate and a simple “Cream” to more unique options like Brandied Cherry and Melone (cantaloupe), you can enjoy your flavor of choice in cups of any of the following sizes: Piccola ($5), Media ($6), or Grande ($7). Cones are also available for $6.75.
(And, yes, asking for samples is allowed. Whew!)
We enjoyed our choices simply in cups to get a real feel for the flavors, but Waffle Boat Sundaes (Sicilian Creamsicle, anyone?) and a variety of specialty creations are available as well (to the tune of $9.75 apiece). From Sorbetti Floats (Fresco) to the Gelateria’s own version of an Affogato, these indulgences offer up to three scoops of gelato and accompaniments, depending on which you choose.
Speaking of the gelato, let’s dig in at last!
I tried several different flavors, but wanted to share a couple of favorites. First: the Rice Pudding Gelato! Silvana, the granddaughter of one of the founding brothers, was asked what gelato flavor was her favorite. Her reply? She “couldn’t do without the Rice Pudding Gelato?” So, of course I wanted to try it out for myself.
The Rice Pudding gelato is an interesting mix of flavors and textures. With each bite you get quite a few pieces of rice, though it isn’t hard or chewy, it’s hard to explain how it feels but it just sort of adds an extra bite as it mixes with the creamy texture. The taste itself is surprisingly sweet but still manages to be light. I would highly recommend trying this yourself and see how you like the texture!
Next up — the Pistacchio Gelato. This one has a very interesting flavor. The expected pistachio definitely comes through, but there is a secondary taste that is harder to place — almost like peanut butter with just a hint of a sweet spice akin to ginger. It’s definitely unique, and while it may not be for everyone, I enjoyed it.
And you must consider the Bacio (Chocolate Hazelnut). Complete with actual chunks of yummy hazelnuts lending a nice little bit of texture, it’s altogether rich, but strikes just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy that tooth.
Of course, we also mentioned the bakery case, and couldn’t leave without sampling an item or two from there as well. The Panini selections feature two vegetarian options: Carciofi e Fontina (roasted artichokes and Fontina Valdostana cheese) and Mozzarella e Pomodoro Arrostiti (mozzarella with oven-roasted tomatoes). We chose the third option: the Panino Prosciutto e Mascarpone (Prosciutto and Mascarpone Cheese Panini).
The bread was soft, packed with a good amount of fresh meat and just a perfect dollop of creamy, mild cheese to balance the saltiness. Simple and delicious. At $4.00 (the same price as the other paninis), this sandwich is small, but is decently filling thanks to the rich ingredients.
With a Cast Member’s recommendation, we couldn’t resist one more sweet choice: a Tortina Marmellata. How pretty is this?
The nearly shortbread-like crust surrounds a sweet cherry filling. The first bites were nicely balanced due to the crust, but with each bite came a stronger presence of the cherry filling, and I found this one to be a bit too sweet for my liking (although, perhaps that had a little something to do with the fact that I’d also sampled five different flavors of gelato beforehand? Hmmm… it’s a mystery 😉 ).
Either way, at $4.00 (the same price as the other Tortine selections), I’d recommend putting that money towards a scoop of gelato over a Tortine if a sweet treat is what you came for, even though they are indeed beautifully made.
Before we wrap, here are some deets! Again, you’ll find Vivoli Gelateria at The Landing, but since we’re all still adjusting to the language of what will eventually be Disney Springs, just a reminder that it’s the area formerly known as Pleasure Island.
Another good thing to know: unlike many Disney locations (and ice cream or gelato places in general), free cups of water are unavailable, so you’re grabbing one of the featured beverages (including Italian Sodas, soft drinks, and espresso drinks) or going without.
At this time, Vivoli Gelateria does not accept snack credits on the Disney Dining Plan. However, it’s not unusual for restaurants in Downtown Disney (primarily outside vendors) to be unable to accept the Dining Plan in their earliest phase of operation due to contract negotiations, so this may change in the future.
It’s no secret that the months of construction (and, yes, they’re still very much ongoing) leading up to what will eventually become Disney Springs have not been without their growing pains for guests visiting Downtown Disney over the past year. However, Vivoli Gelateria stands to prove that some impressive things are on their way, and indeed have already started to arrive. While much of the focus has been on several of the major dining destinations that will ultimately make up Disney Springs such as The Boathouse and upcoming venues like The Edison, Morimoto Asia, and STK, Vivoli Gelateria is a reminder that some of the best things really do come in small packages.
What flavor would you try at Vivoli Gelateria? Let us know in the comments below!