In Florida, summer seems to last until October. Unless you have a personal flurry, like Olaf, you will quickly find yourself looking for ways to stay cool. In addition to ducking into some of the air conditioned attractions around Walt Disney World, a sure-fire way to cool off and satisfy your snack cravings is to enjoy a cool, refreshing treat. Let’s explore some of the top ten places to find ice cream in Walt Disney World. (Prices listed are current as of post date.)
Sleepy Hollow (Magic Kingdom): Sleepy Hollow Refreshments is a quaint window at the entrance to Liberty Square, just off the hub. You’ll know it from the aroma of funnel cake wafting through the air, beckoning you to come closer. But don’t be seduced by the funnel cake, there are giant ice cream sandwiches to be had here! The ice cream cookie sandwich is probably one of best bargains if you’re using a Disney Dining Plan Snack Credit. And at $4.19, I’d argue it’s a bargain paying out of pocket, as well. You get two full-sized, giant, homemade chocolate chip cookies (often still warm from the oven), and squished between them is a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s large enough to share, but why would want to?! It’s that darned yummy!
Aloha Isle (Magic Kingdom): Home of the infamous Dole Whip. It’s never too late to join this cult following. You can be a purist, and just get this delicious pineapple ice cream in a cup for only $3.79, or be a bit of deviant, and get the Dole Whip Float (for $4.49) with your choice of flavored ice cream in a sea of pineapple juice. The crisp citrus flavor keeps this tangy treat light and refreshing without being too rich or decadent. And since it’s fruit, it must be healthy, right?
L’Artisan des Glaces (Epcot): Refined palates looking for an international flare will enjoy this charming ice cream shop in the France Pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase. In fact, the ice cream (or gelato, if you prefer) is so good, even the not-so-refined palates will find something they like. This is the spot to try a mature ice cream treat. The Croque Glaceau ($6.10) is a French take on the ice cream sandwich, choose any flavor ice cream in a warm brioche with chocolate or raspberry sauce. Or, if you’re over 21, try the ice cream martini ($11.50). Two scoops of your choice of ice cream topped with Grand Marnier, vodka, or rum; what a delicious adult treat.
Dinosaur Gertie’s (Hollywood Studios): You can’t miss it. It’s that giant dinosaur in Hollywood Studios. Unfortunately, it’s only open seasonally, but that makes getting a treat from there so much more of a treat (see what I did there?). Dinosaur Gertie’s sells standard ice cream fare, but a waffle cone ($3.99) filled with swirl soft serve tastes so much better when you buy it from a dinosaur.
Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop (Downtown Disney): These are meals disguised as ice cream. I always have a hard time choosing which sundae to get, then once I’ve ordered, I have a hard time sharing it (because it’s just so tasty), and then once I eat more any human being should, I always have hard time walking out of there (rolling out of there is more accurate). As a self-proclaimed peanut butter addict, I usually can’t get past the Gold Rush Sundae ($9.49) which just oozes with melted peanut butter, but their shakes are just as decadent. It’s just so hard to pick a favorite here!
Frozen Treat Cart (Various Locations): No Disney World vacation is complete without a Mickey shaped ice cream treat. Some favor the ice cream sandwich variety, I personally prefer the Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream bar ($3.75), but there really is no wrong answer here. You can find these carts at any Disney park, so a Mickey-shaped ice cream is never far away.
Gelato Cart (Epcot): No one does gelato like the Italians, and this cart in the Italy Pavilion of World Showcase proves that point. You can just get a little light treat here, and save your appetite and pennies. Or you can truly indulge yourself. If you chose the latter, then I fully recommend the Coppa Delizia ($9.75). This is an Italian twist on strawberries and cream. You get three flavors of gelato: strawberry, fior di latte, cookies and cream, strawberry sauce, whipped cream, whole strawberries. No better way to tour World Showcase than with an ice cream buzz.
The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor (Magic Kingdom): After you absorb the charm of this turn-of-the-century ice cream shop, you’ll notice how the prices won’t absorb you. This spot is probably one of the more reasonable places to get the sundae you’re craving without depleting your finances. In addition to the traditional sundaes, floats, and scoops, you’ll also find the new Mickey’s Kitchen Sink Sundae (not to be confused with the Beaches & Cream option). You’ll get three scoops of ice cream — chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry — topped with three toppings — hot fudge, strawberry, and caramel. The whole thing is covered in whipped cream, chocolate and peanut butter chips, and cherries. With a hefty price of $23, this is a tall order for one person, but probably one of the better snacking bargains if you share it among a family of three or four.
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop (Beach Club Resort): Home of the legendary Kitchen Sink Sundae ($28.99), this snack is often found on any Disney veteran’s “bucket list”. I confess, I’ve haven’t tried this one yet, I can’t seem to tear myself away from the No Way Jose sundae ($8.49) (melted peanut butter and peanut butter morsels!!). This charming soda shop is a great place to take a break from the crowded parks, have a cool treat, and people watch.
Kabuki Café (Epcot): Ok, not technically “ice cream” Kakigori ($3.75) is a shaved ice frozen treat from Japan and is good enough to make the list. Kabuki Café does offer some ice cream options, like the increasingly popular Green Tea ice cream. It’s refreshing without being overly sweet or rich. But the tangerine kakigori is the show-stopper here. If you can’t decide on a flavor, you can get the “rainbow” option, where the cast members coat the finely shaved ice in cherry, melon and tangerine syrup.
Which spots are your favorite to find a cool ice cream snack? Have you tried all of these? What else should add to the list? Comment below to let us know your favorite ice cream treats!