This week’s SATURDAY SIX introduces the DISNEY FOOD HALL OF SHAME! Last year we inducted the inaugural class of the Disney Signage Hall of Shame to critical acclaim. But there was another section of Disney that needed some attention as well. A part of every guest’s Disney vacation. Maybe… just maybe… the most important part. FOOD. That’s right, we all have our favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World, and we also have our favorite food or snack. The pizza at Via Napoli, the fried chicken at Trails End, School Bread at the Norway Pavilion, or even the iconic Dole Whip Float.
But that’s not what THIS list is about.
This list is about the food at Walt Disney World that – when you see it – you feel compelled to tell someone about it.
That’s right, the Disney Food Hall of Shame is for the food you can’t believe ever existed. Food that doesn’t make your mouth water, but instead dares you to eat it. So without further ado, let’s kick off our countdown with…
# 6 – Chips and Sith
Long before the opening of Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland there was an even more questionable decision with the Star Wars brand, and it happened during the fabled Star Wars Weekends (SWW) at DHS. In fact, the last year in which SWW was an annual event it went out with a bang, as it introduced the Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience, an overlay to Backlot Express. Inside the Hangar there were a whole bunch of neat – even if completely random – Star Wars elements including awesome propaganda-style posters done for The Empire. The backstory to the Rebel Hangar was that it included discarded remnants from over a hundred planets, so it was essentially a Star Wars Outlet Store.
The “highlight” to the Rebel Hangar was the food. The entire menu was themed to Star Wars and ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime, filled with puns (including The Dark Fried, a variation on chicken and waffles) and some nonsensical items (such as Ensalada Naboo). Universal and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter went one way with Butterbeer and Chocolate Frogs, immersing guests into the film world they loved; Rebel Hangar went in a completely different direction with a bonkers looking Chips and Sith and the disgustingly named Dagobah Swamp Juice.
The Chips and Sith was supposed to look like Darth Maul, but instead looked like someone who got a bad tattoo.
# 5 – Picnic Burger (Pop Century Resort)
Ever want to see a HEART ATTACK REPRESENTED IN FOOD FORM? Well, here you go. At the Everything Pop food court at Pop Century was the Picnic Burger. This was a hamburger topped with an actual grilled hot dog, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and sauerkraut. If you are ever around someone who says they are so hungry they could “eat a horse,” make them a picnic burger at home and see if they can walk the walk.
When it comes to Disney burgers, there was some stiff competition for the picnic burger’s slot in the Hall of Shame. For the release of the live action version of The Lion King, D-Luxe Burger at Disney Springs came out with a Grub Burger that features a “signature-blend burger patty, fried mozzarella, fresh tomato salad, lettuce, tomato worms, basil grasshopper, and a balsamic vinegar spider.”
Our review: “WHAAAAAAAAAAT?!”
# 4 – Idaho Dog
Even when seen with your own eyes, there are some things that are hard to believe are true. Case in point: the Idaho hot dog. Part of a line of gourmet hot dogs that was available in – of all places – the Grand Floridian, the Idaho dog was served inside a baked potato (in lieu of a bun) and was topped with shredded cheddar cheese, bacon bits, chives, and sour cream. Ever wonder why you never heard of someone putting sour cream on their hot dog before? One bite of the Idaho dog and you’ll know why.
The Gasparilla Grill at Grand Flo featured a different gourmet hot dog each day. The aforementioned Idaho dog was available on Thursdays. On Mondays, the Seattle Dog was topped with jalapenos, Sriracha, cabbage, and sour cream (also informally known as “the nightmare dog”). Tuesdays had a Kansas City dog with slices of Swiss cheese along with sauerkraut. Wednesdays brought a Memphis dog with bacon, barbecue sauce, scallions, and shredded cheese. Friday and Saturday delivered classic dogs themed to New York (mustard, sauerkraut, and onion sauce) and Chicago (pickle spear, sport peppers, chopped onions, green relish and – of course – mustard).
However, on Sunday there was a dog that might have just been the absolute best of the bunch. The Cleveland Dog, which was topped with coleslaw, hot sauce, and french fries (which seemed like more of a Pittsburgh dog). In theory, the Cleveland dog should have been incredible. However, for us the fries were cold, there wasn’t much hot sauce, and the coleslaw just wasn’t tasty enough. Disney and the Grand Floridian get an A+ for trying though, even if the concept itself seems more like an All-Star Resorts type of thing.
Now, Universal has also tried its hand at using hot dogs in a creative way. You’ve heard the expression “think outside the box”? Well in this case the box was the one Pinhead uses in the movie Hellraiser. During Halloween Horror Nights there was a specialty food available called the Pizza Dog, which had an entire hot dog stuffed into the crust. For context, this particular slice was released (escaped?) during HHN 25. That was the same year in which Pizza Hut introduced a pizza with a crust made up of mini-hotdogs. Served with French’s mustard, this was the first pizza that ever made the SATURDAY SIX staff long for the culinary masterpieces served by the BoardWalk Pizza Window.
Like the movie Jurassic Park, Universal took the inevitable next step and used a whole hot dog inside the crust. This was better than Pizza Hut’s version, but better in the way that the original Transformers film is easier to follow than the Transformers sequels. This is damning it with the faintest of all praise.
Final results: Hot dogs? Good. Pizza? Good. Hot dogs and pizza? Not good.
# 3 – Hurricane Box
For our next entrant, we have to go back to October 2016. The state of Florida had its biggest weather scare in almost a decade with the oncoming Hurricane Matthew. Most of the models used by meteorologists had Matthew slamming into the East Coast, and then continuing straight up through the center of the state hitting Orlando. Seemingly playing a weird game of chicken, Disney and Universal both waited until just about the last possible moment to announce their hard ticket events of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Halloween Horror Nights would be cancelled for Thursday, October 6, and that all of the Orlando theme parks would be closed on Friday, October 7.
With the storm bearing down on Florida, food everywhere was being cleared off the shelves at Walt Disney World. Lines appeared at the hotel food courts that seemed impossible to believe were true (but they absolutely were). The food court at Port Orleans French Quarter was in the process of being refurbished, and it was there that Disney was offering a $12.99 boxed meal that included a sandwich, an apple, a bag of chips, and a cookie. Pictures of the paltry boxed lunch hit social media and news outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel, with most of the reaction being very unfavorable to Disney.
There are some people who believe that guests had several days to prepare themselves for the likelihood of a major storm, and deserve what they got. Others saw this as Disney price gouging, taking advantage of a situation where the guests had pretty much nowhere else to go at the time. I can tell you that on my vacations, both at Disney and Universal, I am pretty much inside “the bubble” with very little interaction with the outside world. So I can understand how many guests would be caught completely unaware of any possible danger, even as soon as the day before. I don’t watch the news in my hotel room, I watch Stacey J and the “Must Dos”. I don’t read the newspaper at Disney, in fact I don’t even know where you would buy one on property.
Thankfully, especially for those of us Floridians – such as Your Humble Author – who live on the coast, Hurricane Matthew veered to the East before striking land. This meant that the effect on central Florida ended up being minimal compared to what people had feared. We’ll always have the infamous Hurricane Box though, so at least something good came out of the ordeal.
# 2 – Pop-Tart Sandwich
No, you are not seeing things. What you are looking at actually existed. Yes, at one time the Everything Pop food court at Disney’s Pop Century Resort offered what was once was thought of as an urban legend. The Pop-Tart Breakfast Sandwich featured egg, bacon, and cheese on a strawberry Pop-Tart. The egg was more of a hockey puck in (possibly) edible form. The cheese and bacon were melted together in a scene straight out of the classic horror film The Fly. We’d like to tell you how this tasted, but we did not dare eat it as the Pop-Tart sandwich
probably should be thrown directly into the fiery pits of Mordor.
Sometimes the Pop-Tart Sandwich was made with the frosting side of the Pop-Tart facing the inside of the sandwich.
# 1 – Animal Kingdom Poop Snacks
The Babe Ruth of bad Disney snacks.
In June, 2015 at Zuri’s Sweet Shop in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, four new snacks debuted that were made to resemble animal droppings. That’s right, poop. The Match The Species snack series featured food designed to look like Elephant, Hippo, Giraffe, and Cotton Top Tamarin poop. You have to give credit where credit is due, that’s a unique presentation.
The snacks became an instant sensation on Disney social media, and quickly made the rounds to mainstream media. The poop snacks were pulled from the shelves in less than two weeks. Disney officially said that they were just a test and were not coming back, but several sources claim that the reason they disappeared so fast was because of the numerous complaints by guests who didn’t find the snacks amusing.
Honorable Mention – The Planet Hollywood Observatory Menu
When Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs was changed over to the Planet Hollywood Observatory, it became a mashup of several different “themes”. The original concept of movie/TV/rock’n’roll memorabilia was still around, and added to it were “steampunk” and an actual observatory looking into space. The menu however was based around a local carnival. The entire restaurant now is the definition of NEXT LEVEL BONKERS.
So there you have it: The Disney Food Hall of Shame! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@deucrekburgan).
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Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, World Travler @FelipeWWoHP, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.