Of all the snacks and tasty treats available at Walt Disney World Resort, there’s just something about ice cream that says “vacation.” And Disney certainly knows how to serve up a scoop or two (or three) around its theme parks and resorts.
Now, guests can always enjoy the classic Mickey ice-cream bar and other frozen treats at the parks’ food carts. There are also a few spots around Walt Disney World Resort (WDW) worth a special visit for your ice-cream fix.
So here are five spots where you can enjoy Disney ice cream, in alphabetical order. Yes, the options are worth screaming about.
Visit AllEars.net to see menus for the dining spots mentioned in this article.
L’Artisan des Glaces: This newly-opened ice cream and gelato shop serves up yet another sweet option at Epcot’s France pavilion. L’Artisan specializes in French-style ice cream, made with a custard base, and makes sophisticated flavors in addition to vanilla and chocolate. Look for the caramel fleur de sel, profiterole, hazelnut or coconut white chocolate. In addition to ice cream, there are six sorbet flavors to choose from.
L’Artisan also sells an ice-cream martini for adults. It adds a shot of Grand Marnier, Epic Vodka (whipped cream flavor), or Clément rhum [rum] to a scoop or two of ice cream or sorbet.
Beaches & Cream Ice Cream Parlor: Located at Disney’s Beach Club, a short appetite-building walk from Epcot, this old-fashioned ice-cream parlor is a great spot for families and friends to gather for an afternoon break. Beaches & Cream has sit-down dining (where no Advance Dining Reservations – ADRs – are taken) and counter seating for its casual meals and ice-cream delights and a walk-up area for ice cream.
Ice-cream lovers may choose to dip their spoons into such classics as a banana split or single-topping sundae (two or three scoops, topping, nuts, whipped cream, and a cherry). Or they may indulge in Beaches & Cream’s infamous concoctions, like the Fudge Mud Slide (a brownie, hot fudge and Oreo cookie sundae) or the No Way Jose (a peanut butter and hot-fudge sundae). Plus, if you’re of a mind to do so, the desserts are big enough to share.
Then there’s the Kitchen Sink, definitely an ice-cream sharing experience. The over-sized sundae is served with eight scoops of ice cream and every topping Beaches & Cream offers…plus an entire can of whipped cream.
Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction: Guests who like to eat their ice cream against a nostalgic, Americana backdrop should try this Disney ice cream stand because it nods to two historical moments. The giant dinosaur is named after “Gertie the Dinosaur,” Winsor McCay’s 1914 groundbreaking animated film, and to the “California Crazy” style of themed architecture. While Gertie’s ice cream is pretty standard fare, the overall experience evokes summer road trips and childhood. For me, it’s the spot to enjoy a Mickey ice-cream bar or ice-cream cookie sandwich.
Guests planning on making a special trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to try Gertie’s should be aware that the spot isn’t always open. If that happens, head on over to the park’s Hollywood Scoops, on Sunset Boulevard, for a simple scoop or the apple crisp à la mode sundae.
Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop: This shop is located at Disney Downtown Marketplace (the to-be re-branded Disney Springs), but guests don’t really need specific directions. Just follow the heady smell of chocolate.
For many Disney guests, the definitive Ghirardelli experience are the decadent sundaes heavy on the toppings, a visual statement that matches the store’s tempting smells. Ghirardelli’s menu has several topping options and compbination, all with tasty names like The World Famous (hot-fudge sundae), Gold Rush (peanut butter and hot fudge toppings), Mint Bliss and Espresso Escape: (espresso chip ice cream with dark chocolate hot fudge sauce).
Main Street Ice Cream Parlor and the Plaza Restaurant: For the picture-postcard image of a vacation at WDW, order some ice cream at Magic Kingdom. Main Street, U.S.A. offers two spots right next door to one another. For a quick-service treat, try the Main Street Ice Cream Parlor, where double scoops, old-fashioned sundaes and ice-cream sandwiches are served with smile in this store themed to a turn-of-the-century small town.
For a more leisurely experience, make an ADR at the Plaza Restaurant. The small eatery is almost hidden away at the end of Main Street on the way to Tomorrowland. Disney guests can enjoy its cozy atmosphere and Art Nouveau touches while eating casual American fare. What would be the ice-cream option to accompany such an experience? Try slurping on a thick, hand-dipped milkshake. Or do what I do – eat dessert first, such as the highly-recommended banana split.
And lest WDW fans think this list is woefully incomplete, here are two places for frozen desserts also worth trying – but which aren’t technically ice cream.
- Interested in enjoying one of WDW’s cult foods? Try Dole Whip, the pineapple-flavored soft serve, available at Magic Kingdom’s Aloha Isle and Sunshine Tree Terrace or at Captain Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
- Would you like to compare gelato with ice cream or sorbet? Visit Italy’s Gelato Stand, which is located in Epcot World Showcase.
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