Q: What’s better than going to Disney World?
A: A free trip to Disney World – or at least free housing and park tickets.
Q: What’s better than a free trip to Disney World?
A: A free trip to Disney World where you make it your goal to eat great ice cream!
Well, clearly we know what I set out to do on this trip. First, the quick backstory if you didn’t deduce it above – my husband’s sister and her husband, as our wedding present, paid for our hotel and park tickets for a week-long adventure at Disney World. Ross, my husband, had never been before, and I had only been for a couple of day trips, so we were ridiculously excited.
Being the planner that I am, I handled the reservations and did FAR too much research to know where and when would make the best use of our time and money – and feed our interests (and bodies) in the best way possible. It’s amazing how many Disney boards there are online that one can spend days visiting. But I digress.
Of course, I also started In Search of a Scoop only a week or so prior to leaving, so I knew one of my goals needed to be to take good photos of ice cream. Well, at least photos. 🙂
So, first of all, if you want to get live updates on ice cream occasionally, be sure to follow me on Facebook. I’ve gotten some great recommendations for future visits there (as well as here – thanks to all who commented!) and I shared a couple of photos of ice cream (including a ridiculous sign) while I was at Disney. You can expect me to indulge in an occasional live update there (and eventually Instagram when I get that rolling) in the future.
But now, I need to get into what you’ve all been waiting for…
How was the ice cream?
Pinkberry – Orlando International Airport
I’ll start with Pinkberry at the airport. My prior experience with Pinkberry previously in NYC was absolute raves, for pear and for pumpkin. Unfortunately when they stepped away from these tangier fruit and such flavors, the vanilla and the chocolate hazelnut at the airport were nothing to write home about.
The vanilla had the requisite vanilla bean-esque flavor, and the chocolate hazelnut was also tasty, but they were far too watery and you definitely missed the fat – they didn’t hide their healthy yogurt quality at all. Would we eat it again? Sure, if we really were craving soft serve. Definitely middle of the pack at best, but it’s pleasant. But if you’ve got the choice, stick to fruit flavors at Pinkberry and you’ll be much happier.
L’Artisan Des Glaces – Epcot, Walt Disney World
Oh my goodness. When you’ve only got five (and a half) days to see everything, and you visit the same place three times, you know they’re doing something right.
I had heard absolute raves about this place. It’s in France, of course. No seating, but it’s a gorgeous, old fashioned ice cream counter with whites and pinks. Absolutely lovely. One quirky thing (which I liked) is you decide on the size, pay, and then decide on the flavor. Pretty great.
The chocolate macaron ice cream sandwich came highly recommended. Because Ross and I were planning to eat our way through Epcot, we agreed we would split it. This is insanely delightful. It’s a rich dark chocolate – not bitter, but not too sweet, which was a welcome change in a chocolate ice cream. All of the sinful creaminess you’d wish for, no ice of course, just the perfect consistency. And on either side, the chocolate macaron cookie shell, which was a little chewy and hard – that meant it held up to the ice cream and it wasn’t too cold to bite. It also wasn’t too cold to eat on a cold day. The light chocolate flavor of the macaron was the perfect contrast with the ice cream. I wouldn’t change a thing!
On our second visit, I tried vanilla with pear and chocolate – the best part was the large, juicy chunks of pear. I appreciated the flavor but it wasn’t my favorite – I wished I’d gone with something more simple, like the caramel fleur de sol that Ross chose, which was out of this world and completely smooth and consistent. So on our third and final visit of the trip, I got the caramel option while Ross went for one with nougat and nuts – he enjoyed it a lot, thought it was great, just not as good as the caramel.
So if you’re visiting, definitely get a macaron sandwich. And then the caramel. You won’t regret it!
Aloha Isle, Magic Kingdom
Dole Whip. That famous non-dairy, vegan delight that has an incredible cult following because it’s almost impossible to find outside of Disney. I’d never had it prior to this trip, and I was eager to give it a go. Pineapple dole whip is like soft serve ice yogurt – it doesn’t have any fat, but it isn’t watery at all – it’s a perfect consistency, and it kind of reminded me of something you’d get when you were in the mood for an awesome popsicle. It’s definitely refreshing.
The next day in Animal Kingdom, I visited Tamu Tamu Refreshments on a mission for pineapple dole whip with dark rum. (Coconut rum is also an option.) Dark was the perfect rich contrast with the pineapple of the dairy treat. I absolutely loved this sweet adult treat and recommend it when you can’t decide between dessert and a drink! (Or do what I did, and get both this and a drink! Just not at the same time.)
Intermission Court, All-Star Music Resort
For those not in the know, All-Star Music is at the bottom of the totem pole of Disney hotels. It would be a budget motel anywhere else. No room service (except pizza delivery), and a cafeteria instead of any fancy food options. But it really fit the bill for us! We loved it, and we had very good food the few times we tried it.
As we sought ways to pass the time in our last hour or so at the hotel, I suggested that I should really visit their gelato bar. The nice woman behind the counter read off the flavors to me (there was no sign) but one of them I just couldn’t understand. I kept hearing OO-ta-la, with the emphasis on the first syllable. Finally she just handed me a sample – and it was Nutella! Sold. Tasty hazelnut base with streaks of chocolate syrupy fudgy goodness. Best gelato ever? No. Replaces ice cream? No. But very, very tasty and I’d eat it again in a heartbeat! Probably a 7 out of 10 if we were keeping score.
Well, that’s where my Disney adventures led me. I have many more posts to come – in fact, I went to Friendly’s last night with my mom, so you can look forward to a report on what this local chain is up to – but I’ve far exceeded my word limit for today. Find some good ice cream to enjoy this winter, and I’ll talk to you soon!
p.s. Have suggestions for how you’d like me to score these things or comment about them? Don’t hesitate to reach out. 🙂