Just in time to cool off in the summer heat, I’m back to rank the top ten best ice cream offerings in Walt Disney World! This may be my most divisive list yet – everyone’s got their sentimental favorites when it comes to this tasty treat. Check out my rankings to see where your favorites fall!
Best Ice Cream in Disney World
10. Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop (Disney Springs)
A longtime staple of Downtown Disney and now Disney Springs, the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain offers overflowing sundaes, floats, scoops, and cups of several flavors of ice cream, complete with specialty chocolate treats like decadent brownies and cookies, or milk and dark chocolate hot fudge. Lines here are often long, but for a picture-perfect classic sundae, chock-full of chocolate, it’s hard to resist.
World-famous gelato, straight from Italy… What more can you ask for on a hot day in the middle of central Florida? With tons of flavors and serving options (cups, cones, shakes, and even tasty espresso-soaked gelato called affogato), Vivoli il Gelato is the perfect stop in The Landing for a sweet treat.
- Landscape of Flavors (Disney’s Art of Animation Resort)
Hidden in a corner of the Art of Animation food court lies a secret stash of sweetness – a small selection of gelato and toppings is available on a rotating basis in the cold counter just next to the refrigerated grab-and-go food section of Landscape of Flavors. Cast Members will scoop and top your selection for you, and while it’s a smaller flavor selection (usually only four or five a day) than most other ice cream locations around Walt Disney World, the flavor and texture of the gelato here is perfect, plus, bonus: toppings!
A staple for many family vacations and visits to Magic Kingdom, Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant feature standard sundaes packed with nostalgia for many visitors. While nothing here is out of the ordinary (except maybe the new donut breakfast sundae offered at breakfast!), it’s hard to beat enjoying a sundae or scoop while overlooking Cinderella Castle.
Whether it’s tackling a Kitchen Sink with your family (a whole can of whipped cream! 10 scoops of ice cream? Why not?!), or just enjoying a scoop or two after a dip in Stormalong Bay, Beaches and Cream is wildly popular for its ice cream offerings for guests of Disney’s Beach Club resort, and even those who just wander over from Epcot, just steps away. Personally, I always love trying to finish a No Way Jose or classic Banana Split before walking it off around Crescent Lake.
- 50’s Prime Time Café (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
While 50’s Prime Time may not be the first place you think of when you hear “great ice cream”, it does feature one of the more unique and best ice cream treats in all of Walt Disney World – the peanut butter and jelly milkshake. It might sound weird, or even off-putting, but it’s really a treat! Salty peanut butter flavors mix with sweet jelly and vanilla ice cream to create a perfect dessert. Bartenders at Tune-In Lounge will even kick it up a notch for the adults, and add a shot of your favorite cordial (Chambord and Godiva are among the popular favorite add-ins).
- TIE: Aloha Isle Refreshments AND Sunshine Tree Terrace (Magic Kingdom)
Any “best of” list for ice cream at Walt Disney World has to feature Dole Whip, right? (Yes, the Dole Whip is dairy-free, so not technically ice cream, but could you leave it off a list like this?) Who can resist the creamy, slightly tangy pineapple soft serve from Aloha Isle on a hot day? But here’s a secret (and I don’t want to create a ruckus, here!)… I actually prefer the citrus swirl when it comes to fruity-ice cream-desserts-in-theme-parks, available nearby at Sunshine Tree Terrace. The sour orange slush swirled with vanilla soft serve is the perfect pairing, reminiscent of a classic orange creamsicle.
It’s hard to top the original Disney treat, the Mickey premium bar, when it comes to nostalgia. Perfect for nearly all occasions and in most locations, a Mickey-shaped ice cream bar is guaranteed to elicit smiles. Who doesn’t have a memory of beating the Florida heat by chomping off Mickey’s ear (and subsequently becoming covered in melting chocolate and ice cream) as a kid?
- L’Artisan des Glaces (Epcot’s France pavilion)
Made fresh daily, the ice cream and sorbet available at L’Artisan des Glaces are nothing short of phenomenal. Never icy, full of flavor, and perfectly creamy, no matter what flavor you pick (and there are SO MANY amazing ones to choose from), you’ll love it. The salted caramel, coco-white chocolate, classic vanilla, and rich chocolate are among my favorites, but honestly, you could close your eyes and pick a flavor here and still come out ahead of most any ice creams you’ve ever tried in your life. To take it to a whole new level, try a croque glace, where they sandwich a scoop of your choice of ice cream in a warm, buttery brioche bun with chocolate or caramel sauce. Hot and cold, sweet and savory – it’s the pinnacle of desserts.
- Ample Hills Creamery (Disney’s BoardWalk)
It’s almost painful to dethrone Artisan des Glaces from the top of the best ice cream list, but once you’ve tried one scoop at Ample Hills, you know it has to be done (though, in truth, both offer incredible ice cream). Ample Hills is the newest entry into the Walt Disney World ice cream scene with some well-deserved hype surrounding the location. Offering specialty flavors like ooey gooey butter cake, coffee toffee coffee, and malty salty pretzel punch, as well as classics like cookies and cream, butter pecan, and strawberry, Ample Hills serves up huge scoops, cones, and sundaes that are sure to satisfy any tastebuds. Portions are large, and prices are accordingly high, but it’s worth the splurge.
So, that’s my list! I’m sure some of this is controversial, as everyone has their personal favorites. Where do yours stack up? Did I miss any amazing ice cream stops – let me know in the comments below!