Spending Christmas on the Disney Dream was a lot sweeter due to the recent addition of Vanellope’s Sweet Shop. During the late 2015 dry dock, the Dream lost its gaming arcade (Deck 11, near Cabanas) and gained an ice cream store.
Before anyone gets upset, I’ll say up front that while there are charges for purchasing the items at Vanellope’s, you can still get free ice cream in many places. The soft serve dispensers on deck pour out a constant stream of sweet treats, ice creams are part of many buffet and dining room desserts, and you can still get Mickey bars as your restaurant dessert or from room service (though neither of these are advertised). Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way … here’s what you can expect to find at Vanellope’s.
The main offering here is gelato, ice cream, and sorbet, in many flavors, changed daily and seasonally. The gelato is made on the ship, not outsourced. The cast members on board the Dream were uniformly enthusiastic about Vanellope’s, all raved about the fresh taste and fun flavors.
They seemed genuinely excited about having something new and special. During my sailing, a four-nighter, the following flavors were available on various days: Candy Explosion, Egg Nog, Oreo Cookies & Cream, Amarena Cherry, Hazelnut, Red Velvet and Cookies, Cherry Chocolate Chip, Pistachio, Ginger, White Chocolate & Roasted Almond, Mixed Berry, Blueberry Lemon Zest, Cappuccino, Chocolate Orange, Mascarpone Cheese & Raspberry, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter Cup, French Vanilla, Cookie Dough, Strawberry Cheesecake Chunk, Raspberry Sorbet, Dulce de Leche, and Butterscotch Waffle Crunch, and I’m sure there were several others that I missed. No promises, but my impression was that you could ask for your favorite flavor and they might be able to make it for you in the next day or two.
Adding to the variety, are many topping options. Of course there are chocolate and butterscotch sauces, whipped cream, and maraschino cherries. Other toppers may include: chopped Snickers, chopped Kit Kat, Toffee Crunch, chocolate rocks, sprinkles, chocolate curls, Skittles, rainbow non-pareils, brownie chunks, Oreo chunks, fudge cookie chunks, pistachios, fresh strawberries, strawberry compote, cherry compote, raspberry compote, caramel popcorn, candy corn, candy canes, gummy bears, M&Ms, mini peanut butter cups, popping Boba pearls, crispy pearls, and more. Seriously, it would take even me quite a while to work through all the combinations.
You can have your selection served in a regular cup or cone, a housemade waffle cone (which smelled delish!), or in a variety of Wreck-It-Ralph themed special dishes.
For the amount and quality of gelato you’re getting, I found the prices to be fairly reasonable.
Because research, I had to give the offerings a try. Because Christmas, I opted for a special holiday sundae of egg nog and ginger gelatos, gingerbread cookies, whipped cream, and cherries. My cast member server said it was even better with butterscotch sauce on the bottom. Of course I trusted her judgment.
This $5.95 concoction could easily have served two. It was absolutely perfect, and I ended up throwing at least a third of it out because it was just too big. And if you know me, that’s really saying something.
My 16-year old daughter tried the “King Candy” sundae with strawberry cheesecake gelato and vanilla ice cream with strawberry compote, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, cherries, and crushed candy cane sprinkles. Needless to say, she was a happy camper.
Vanellope’s also offers a modest selection of bulk candy ($9.95) and packaged snacks and candies, the same stuff that’s sold in the theme parks.
The least successful part of Vanellope’s for me was the refrigerator case of baked goods and specialty candies. The treats themselves were fine (though a few were over-priced), but the humidity level in the case was such that many items were damp, covered with condensation. I found the wet look to be unappealing. After I mentioned this to my husband, he went to Vanellope’s and bought a peanut covered caramel apple to test whether the condensation impacted the taste. Since he did this while I was at a movie and DID NOT SAVE ME ANY, I cannot provide personal verification, but he said it was all good.
Currently Vanellope’s is only on the Dream, not the other ships in the Disney fleet. That’s good for me because I don’t know if I could handle the ongoing temptation on a sailing of more than four days. If you want to steer your kids away from siren song of gelato, try entering Cabanas on the port side of the ship as often as possible. The visual and olfactory appeal is strong, avoid that area if you are weak willed. I’m kidding, but only a little — it’s not like I needed to have more dessert offerings, and more upcharges, in my cruising life, but this is a pleasant and not too taxing enhancement if you indulge just once in a while.
If you’re traveling with little ones, anticipate setting a few rules about the number of desserts/treats they can have per day and remind them that Vanellope’s factors into their choices.