2021 has come to a close, and it’s time to take a look back down memory lane (for better or for worse) and some of the food and drink items we tried at Disney World over the past year. We’re in the parks every day trying the latest dining offerings (while also re-visiting restaurants throughout the year!), so we’ve experienced the full range of what the parks and resorts have had to offer.
Today, we’re sharing with you our “hall of fame” when it comes to the best as well as the worst things we tried in Disney World this year! If you’ve followed along with our monthly installments, then you may recognize a few of these selections! Let’s waste no time and dive right into what stood out to our team the most in 2021 (in no particular order!).
Tomato Soup with French Onion & Bacon Grilled Cheese — Pop Eats, Festival of the Arts
One of the first opportunities to try a BUNCH of food and drink offerings in Disney World each year is at EPCOT’s International Festival of the Arts. This year was no exception, and the item our team may have fallen head over heels for first in 2021 was the Tomato Soup with French Onion & Bacon Grilled Cheese over at the Pop Eats booth.
We were immediately impressed with the unique presentation of this dish (something Festival of the Arts is known for), and that was equally matched by how delicious this classic combination of flavors was! It handily earned a top spot on our Best of The Fest list AND a spot on the list of our favorite items from January. Our fingers are crossed that this item returns in 2022’s festival; be sure to grab it if it does!
Spiked Kakamora Float — Barefoot Pool Bar
Our next favorite item was concocted over at Barefoot Pool Bar at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. We’re big, big fans of the Kakamora Float that debuted at Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom in late 2019, so when we had the opportunity to invent a SPIKED version of this frozen treat, we went for it! We still LOVE this drink is a DFB original that made it on the menu full time! The result was a tasty mixture of Parrot Bay coconut rum, pineapple juice, piña colada mix, and blue curaçao.
Since then, it was added to Barefoot Pool Bar’s menu as The Voyager! Be on the lookout next time you hop over to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and enjoy this little sip of paradise.
Everest Base Camp Macaroon — Thirsty River Bar
Our next favorite item was perhaps the most pleasant surprise we came across at Disney’s Animal Kingdom all year! We’re all about finding the most unique and creative snacks out there, and our entire team was instantly obsessed with the Everest Base Camp Macaroon at Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks! This massive treat looks just like the snow-capped mountain peak of the Forbidden Mountain.
This snack was also quite tasty! This treat combines three chocolate and coconut macaroons with a “snowcap” of white chocolate and a flurry of snowflake sprinkles on a base of green tea chocolate crumbs. It was full of flavor while not being too sweet! Oh yeah, it was CHEAP and HUGE. Unfortunately, it was also MEGA limited time. (PLZ bring this one back, Disney!)
Crispy Chicken on a Sriracha-glazed Donut — Donut Box, Food and Wine Festival
We’re back at EPCOT for this next favorite item which we reviewed at the start of 2021’s Food and Wine Festival. The Donut Box quickly turned into one of our favorite booths to visit, and not just because of their rotating selection of menu items! Their Crispy Chicken on a Sriracha-glazed Donut definitely raised more than one eyebrow amongst our team, but we were instantly won over when we tried it!
This item alone was one of our favorites from the Food and Wine Festival. The sweetness from the donut combined with the sriracha spice, not to mention the soft, pillowy donut combined with the crispy chicken are just a couple of the reasons why we hope to see this item return in 2022.
Steakhouse 71 Stack Burger — Steakhouse 71
One of the biggest surprises from 2021 is just how much Steakhouse 71 knocked nearly everything out of the park. This new dining location is at the former location of The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, made over in time for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. We have a few selections from the many new menu items that debuted at the launch of the 18 month-long celebration on our list today, but we wanted to make sure we mentioned the Steakhouse 71 Stack Burger FIRST.
We’ve tried our fair share of hamburgers across Disney World over the years, with some true standouts to contend with. But the Steakhouse 71 Stack Burger the winner winner chicken dinner in our eyes. It’s made with their signature blend of beef, TONS of American cheese, lemon aïoli, red onion, and house-made pickles, all served on a brioche bun. Steakhouse 71 is a great choice for any meal of the day, but if you happen to stop by for lunch, definitely consider adding this to your list of things to try in 2022.
Tortuga Tavern x Westward Ho Peanut Butter & Bacon Sandwich Food Hack
We have ANOTHER DFB-concocted food hack on our “best” list of 2021! In addition to inventing specialty spiked Kakamora Floats, we combined two menu items from Tortuga Tavern and Westward Ho over in Magic Kingdom this year that blew. our. minds. We picked up the Peanut Butter, Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread, and Banana Sandwich from Tortuga Tavern and combined it with the Candied Bacon Skewer from Westward Ho to create the ultimate Chocolate-Bacon-Banana-Peanut-Butter-Amazingness Sandwich.
The bacon added the perfect crunch to the sandwich, along with a perfect combo of sweet and savory! While this combo winds up being a bit on the pricey side ($20 when you buy both menu items), we were pretty proud of ourselves for this invention. (And any reason to eat that crazy thick slab of bacon is one we’re up for trying!)
Peanut Butter Cookie Pie — Main Street Confectionery
Main Street Confectionery over in Magic Kingdom went through a big transformation in 2021, reopening to guests with a whole new look (not to mention a not-so-subtle sponsorship by Mars)! In addition to the new decor, a few new menu items debuted as well, including one of our favorite new sweet treats from this year, the Peanut Butter Cookie Pie.
We’ll be honest, it can be hard sometimes to TRULY impress us with those display case sweets. They’re tasty, don’t get us wrong, but more often than not, these snacks land in the “okay” pile. This was NOT the case with the Peanut Butter Cookie Pie, which we would gladly repurchase every time we visited Magic Kingdom if our dentist allowed. This Peanut Butter Cookie with Chocolate Frosting, and Peanut Butter M&M’s is a must-try next time you’re walking right down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A..
‘Ohana Noodles — ‘Ohana
It took ‘Ohana a MINUTE to reopen following the 2020 closures in Disney World. When it finally did reopen in the summer of 2021, we were at long last reunited with one of our favorite side dishes of all time, the ‘Ohana Noodles. We had been looking forward to this reunion since Disney announced the Noodles would be back on the menu!
The Noodles ALMOST didn’t make the cut — the menu initially announced was noticeably lacking our favorite noods! But the internet got REAL loud REAL fast and Disney quickly corrected its oversight. The noodle fans have spoken!
Handmade Half-Pound Cookies — Gideon’s Bakehouse
Our next pick as the “best” thing we tried at Disney World in 2021 is actually more of a “category” of treats: the half-pound cookies from Gideon’s Bakehouse in Disney Springs! Gideon’s Bakehouse opened right around the start of 2021, and each month we’ve been sampling a wide variety of hand-made sweets. The entire menu at Gideon’s is worth checking out, with tasty cakes and cold brews. But their cookies are the real star and the reason we will GLADLY keep coming back and joining their virtual wait list!
Some of our favorite cookies from 2021 include the Frankenstein and the Lemon Poppyseed. There are classic cookie flavors that are always available, but you’ll have to keep visiting each month to try these specialty flavors! If you want to take your cookie experience to the next level, be sure to stop by for Gideon’s Hot Cookie Hour! That’s when they serve up WARM gooey chocolate chip cookies with a scoop of homemade ice cream on top! YUM.
Crêpes — La Crêperie de Paris
We have another “category” of treats to share on our “best” list from 2021: the crêpes from La Crêperie de Paris! This hybrid table service/counter service dining location opened in the France Pavilion at EPCOT in September of 2021 and quickly became a new favorite of ours! Their counter-service window is called Crêpes à Emporter.
As the name implies, crêpes are the star of the menu here, with flavors for nearly every preference! There’s a wide variety of both sweet and savory crêpes to try; some of our favorites include the Red Berries Crêpe, the Gourmande Crêpe (made with house-made hazelnut chocolate spread, and whipped cream), and the Cream of Brie Cheese Galette.
Tropical Serenade — Aloha Isle Refreshments
Remember when we mentioned that there were a few selections from Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration treats we would include in our “best” list? Our next one is the admittedly simple but simply amazing Tropical Serenade at Aloha Isle. This frozen treat is made with Disney World’s famous POG juice (passion fruit, orange, and guava juice) with coconut soft serve, topped with a pineapple upside-down cake pop.
This refreshing and flavorful treat is one of the few items we not-so-secretly hope sticks around long after the 50th Anniversary Celebration comes to a close. POG juice and coconut soft-serve are readily available around Disney World, but we would gladly have ours with that yummy pineapple upside-down cake pop any day of the year!
Monte Cristo Sandwich — Plaza Restaurant
It’s well-known amongst Disney foodies that Cafe Orleans at Disneyland has been the reigning Monte Cristo Sandwich champion for decades. It’s the original Disney home of this deep-fried delicacy, and Disney World has tried (and mostly failed) at besting this O.G. west-coast menu staple. That was until Plaza Restaurant added a Monte Cristo Sandwich to its menu for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.
Their Deep-fried Funnel Cake Batter with Bacon, Roasted Turkey, and Provolone sprinkled with EARidescent and Powdered Sugar was one of our top choices amongst ALL of the 50th Anniversary treats at Magic Kingdom — you just can’t beat a cheesy and greasy Monte Cristo Sandwich!
50th Celebration Spring Rolls — Spring Roll Cart
Another stellar addition to Magic Kingdom for the 50th Anniversary Celebration can be found at our beloved Spring Roll Cart in Magic Kingdom. The special variety that joined the menu in October of 2021 comes with Pastrami and Pepper Jack Cheese inside, and they’re served with a Mustard Dipping Sauce.
Normally dipping sauces help to enhance the flavor of whatever you’re dipping, but we almost didn’t need the mustard dipping sauce here — the pastrami was plenty flavorful as-is! Still, we couldn’t get enough of these bite-size menu items, and we’re thrilled Disney thought to include the Spring Roll Cart in its list of locations with specialty 50th Anniversary menu items!
Beignets — Scat Cat’s Club Cafe
Last but CERTAINLY not least on our “best” list from 2021 are the iconic RETURNING Mickey Beignets (and frankly ALL of the delicious beignets) over at Scat Cat’s Club Cafe in Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter. We’ve waited quite a long while for this location to reopen, and it was well worth the wait!
Guests of all ages can enjoy 3 or 6 packs of Mickey beignets, and adults can snack on boozy beignets, AKA Baton Rouge Beignets (served with your choice of Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua, or RumChata). In our opinion, these are totally worth the trip over to Port Orleans to snack on during your next Disney World vacation.
King Dog — Hot Diggity Dog Food Truck
Unfortunately, not everything we tried this year was going to be a winner, and boy were there some food items from 2021 that we would rather FORGET! At the top of our list of the “worst” things we tried around Disney World was the King Dog from the Hot Diggity Dog Food Truck in Disney Springs.
This was one of the first items we tried in 2021 and we STILL talk about it when reminiscing on the food items that we regretted tasting the most. This item practically broke laws of nature by combining an All-Beef Hot Dog in a French Toast Batter Dipped and Cereal-Crusted Bun, topped with a Spicy Peanut Butter Spread, Banana Honey Mustard, Chipotle-Berry Preserves, and pieces of Billionaires Bacon. The spicy peanut butter sauce wasn’t appetizing, and it was by far the predominant flavor. No thanks, Disney.
Squid’s Revenge Drink — Be Our Guest Restaurant
Our eyes practically popped out of our heads when we saw a preview of the Squid’s Revenge Drink ahead of the 50th Anniversary Celebration. Be Our Guest Restaurant is where you’ll find several items inspired by Disney World’s retired 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction. Fun fact: the old location of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is where you’ll now find Be Our Guest!
The drink itself is a Michelada with a Salted Rim, garnished with Charred Octopus and Cucumber. Even if you’re a fan of Micheladas, you may have an impossible time getting past the cold and chewy octopus garnish. It’s RARE for our amazing reporters to hit a wall and not be able to finish something. This did it. Between laughing and (likely) crying though, she drank it. For you. This drink could go down in the history books as one of our least favorite items of all time.
Peppermint Patti — YeSake
Our next not-so-favorite item from 2021 happened when Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day collided over at YeSake in Disney Springs. On paper, the Peppermint Patti doesn’t sound all that offensive: this was a mixture of green lemonade, whipped cream, and pieces of peppermint bark.
Ultimately what happened here was the sweet lemonade and the sharp peppermint flavor combined to make a…not-so-pleasant experience. We found the flavors to be quite jarring, so much so that we remembered it all these months later as we round out our bottom picks of things we tried in Disney World in 2021. Just imagine drinking a lemonade immediately after brushing your teeth — that’s essentially what this drink was like.
Sea Turtle Cupcake — Restaurantosaurus
If you were to ask us to rank the cutest treats we tried in Disney World this year, then the Sea Turtle Cupcake from Restaurantosaurus would be close to the very top. But once you take a bite, you’ll feel nothing but betrayal from this cute, gummy reptile. This Earth Day specialty dessert was a Graham Cracker Cupcake with Key Lime Pie Filling and Guava Gelée with Vanilla Buttercream, topped with a Fruit Snack Sea Turtle. Seems innocent enough, right?
The flavors of the gummies were spearmint and peach — why does Disney insist on combining minty flavors with things it just doesn’t belong with? The mint combined with lime, vanilla, and guava did not sit well with us at ALL. In a sea of specialty cupcakes across Disney World, we wished this little sea turtle would just swim away.
Captain Nemo Octopus — Be Our Guest Restaurant
We’re back at Be Our Guest Restaurant for ANOTHER octopus-inspired menu item that we couldn’t bring ourselves to enjoy. The Captain Nemo Octopus was also added to the menu for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, and is a plate of Seaweed Salad with Cucumber, Pickled Beets, Hearts of Palm, Tapioca Crackers, Beets Mousse, Octopus, and Carrot-Ginger Silk.
We will say that a few of the ingredients on this plate were tasty, like the Seaweed Salad component itself. However, when you’re shelling out $62 per adult for their prix-fixe menu, you kind of need the entire dish to work, and this, well…let’s just say the octopus didn’t really stick the landing.
Bear Tracks Slush — Westward Ho
Our final entry from the list of 50th Anniversary Celebration items we thought were memorable for all of the WRONG reasons was the Bear Tracks Slush from Westward Ho. On a hot Florida day, a slushy drink should be a saving grace. This one, however, just felt like a downright punishment.
This beverage is a mixture of Barq’s Root Beer and Vanilla Slush topped with Whipped Cream, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter Pieces. We wanted to like this drink, but the root beer left a very strong aftertaste, and it was almost…fruity? Definitely NOT the taste you want lingering in your mouth when you’re expecting something a little more on the side of vanilla, chocolate, and peanut butter.
Seared Mahi Mahi — Coral Reef Restaurant
For our last “worst” item, we’re taking a little trip over to Coral Reef Restaurant in EPCOT, where you’re much better off looking at the fish than eating them. Its unique atmosphere is worth a visit (especially if you have kids), but frankly you can save the money and check out the aquarium over in the Living Seas Pavilion instead. We’ve had a lot of experiences at this spot and most of them are…not great.
On a recent visit in 2021, we ordered the Seared Mahi Mahi, which comes served with Jasmine Rice, Coconut and Cilantro-Lime Sauce, and Caribbean Shrimp Salsa. This is a classic dish that’s been on the menu a while — we’ve had it and enjoyed it on past visits! BUT…our fish came SO overcooked and had a pretty gnarly dry and chewy texture. We were once again disappointed with our meal here, so much so that it unfortunately landed on our worst list for the entire year.
That’s a wrap on the best and worst things we tried around Disney World in 2021! Needless to say, we tried SO MANY snacks, drinks, sweets, breakfast items, dinners, and everything in between across Disney World, it was truly a difficult task to put together the best of the best (and worst of the worst). We hope these gave you some ideas on what to seek out (and what to avoid) on your next Disney World vacation, because many of these items are still available today! Be sure to follow along and subscribe to our newsletter so you can stay on top of ALL of the latest food and drink items we try in the parks and resorts!