The Cutest Place For a Mediocre Sundae

The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is adorable. It fits into Main Street perfectly, reminiscent of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor from the early 20th Century.

But this adorable ice cream parlor doesn’t make ice cream – instead, they serve Edy’s. So I have never worried about covering it for this blog.

But this past Thanksgiving, my husband and I visited the Magic Kingdom. That’s right – I had my turkey dinner (an oversized turkey leg) with homemade, gluten-free stuffing and cranberry sauce. For dessert, I wasn’t thrilled with any of the options (Dole Whip is good, but I wasn’t in a pineapple mood) so I decided I’d try a special sundae at the Plaza.

There are fairly limited options at the Plaza, overall. Limited flavors, and limited toppings, as well as limited sundae types. They don’t even carry sprinkles (perhaps to avoid the mess?) but they were willing to give out extra cherries to customers who thought to ask. Prices here are on the high side compared to a typical ice cream place, but of course that’s to be expected at Disney World.

I settled on the All-American sundae. It had vanilla and chocolate ice creams, hot fudge, whipped cream, a cherry and what’s referred to as “peanut butter drizzle”. It’s a beautiful-looking sundae. People were stopping me in the parlor to ask what it was. Unfortunately, it’s really not designed well. It was a great portion for a sundae too.

Alarm bells began when I realized they pre-scoop the ice cream cups. That’s not necessarily a problem…but why do it? They had too many employees working behind the counter (most were standing around), so couldn’t one or two of them have scooped ice cream? But honestly, it’s a theme park. If that was my only issue, I wouldn’t bother writing this review.

The reason I noticed the pre-made cup (chocolate scoop on top of vanilla scoop) was because the server was bored, flipping it over and over again while he waited for the whipped cream machine to be free. And no, I’m not kidding. I’m sure I made quite a face without intending to. Does Disney hire high school kids?

Next issue – these are peanut butter chips. Fine. Tasty even. But that’s not a drizzle. I was picturing some warm peanut butter mixed in with the hot fudge. Different story altogether – still tasty, but it was false advertising.

Next realization? The hot fudge is never going to reach this ice cream! Basically, each layer is solid, and the shape of the container makes it really difficult to get from one to another. So I ate about 3 inches of whipped cream (I almost felt like I’d be sick by the end) plus a few chips and then moved on to fudge and chocolate, trying desperately to leave a bit of fudge to go with the vanilla. I don’t know for sure the source, but this is very standard whipped cream, like what you’d get out of a can. Nothing like homemade.

A great sundae should have multiple layers of hot fudge. That way you’ve got some all the way down to the bottom. This is the complete opposite of that – the dish shape means the fudge and whipped cream are almost too distinct and impossible to enjoy with anything but the adjoining layers.

Getting two flavors in one bite is really tough here. When you manage it, it’s nice. Chocolate and peanut butter are a classic and an excellent pairing, and when I can get the fudge and chocolate ice cream together, that’s delicious too. Edy’s chocolate ice cream is really pleasant, I enjoyed it.

Ross described my efforts to pair flavors and eat this as a “geological survey in ice cream form”. Unfortunately there’s not much of anything else left by the time I get to the vanilla, despite my best efforts. And wow. This vanilla is…not that great. Ross wonders if I was overstimulated by the fudge and stuff, and that is always a possibility. But it tasted absurdly sweet to me, and without any real vanilla taste to it. It was like someone was given a description of what vanilla was supposed to taste like and they went with that. Also? It was icy. Charming.

If nothing else, this reminded me why I never order a sundae with Edy’s at a restaurant. I’ve never liked their vanilla base. It was so odd to order a sundae based on how awesome the flavors will go together and then to have to eat them almost entirely separately!

So, my recommendation? Skip the Plaza. If you need to visit that much, skip the All-American. If I had to eat here, the chocolate is a great choice, with fudge, and maybe I’d try mint chocolate chip or a caramel topping. But skip the vanilla and the sundaes.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season if you’re celebrating. Happy Eating!

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Ample Hills Creamery – Disney World

Although people make assumptions about food at Disney – that it’s “theme park food” so it won’t be great, that it’s very overpriced, that it’s bland – some of my favorite ice cream can be found at Walt Disney World. In particular, that would be the mint chip (more of a delicate flake) and the chocolate ice creams from L’Artisan Des Glaces in France at Epcot. 

But if you’re craving ice cream outside of the parks, Disney has a few other options worth considering. One of them, Ample Hills Creamery, is a relatively new addition. You actually may have seen it on a visit to Brooklyn, New York, where they’re based.  But if you’re like me and missed checking them out on your NYC trip, be sure to visit The Boardwalk at Disney World for shopping, entertainment and some ice cream.

Getting ice cream in Epcot can seem like a deal compared to regular Disney prices. From my visit, I can’t say the same for Ample Hills necessarily. Even outside of the park, your visit isn’t going to be cheap. But the service is fabulous – try whatever you want! Really! – and there’s not only a wide variety of flavors; there are tons of options, including alcoholic ice cream drinks and a sampler for the undecided like me! 

My husband, Ross, couldn’t resist the pull of one of their fancy drinks. I couldn’t resist an opportunity to try out many flavors in a sampler. We spent about $20 total – not bad considering Disney alcoholic mixed drinks will usually run you about $10 plus tax. Our thoughts are below. Hard Cherry Cider Float – Ross ordered his with dark chocolate ice cream. An excellent flavor combination. This was sweet but not too sweet, and we both loved it! Seriously consider coming here for a drink, either on an Epcot park day or otherwise. (Ross and I have Weekday Select passes, so visiting here on a day when our passes aren’t valid is a great way to get our Disney fix.)Sea Sells Sea Shells – This flavor is exclusive to Disney World. It’s an orange marshmallow base with chocolate seashells. It’s like a sherbet base, with excellent chocolate pieces. If you’re into those things you’ll love it!

Lime and Ginger Sorbet – This combo is an excellent summer flavor. Not only is it a great vegan option, but it’s alcoholic, which is kind of awesome! It reminds me of lemonade. Very refreshing. 

Cotton Candy – This is nice. It reminds me of an almond-flavored birthday cake. Surprisingly, it’s not that sweet and kind of simple. It’s not a bad take, but different from what I was expecting. The more I ate it, the more I wished it was sweeter. I think I’m a bit biased as I LOVE cotton candy and recently discovered a place on the Outer Banks (Scoops) that perfectly recreates the flavor. 

Vanilla – This is a very nice vanilla; hardier and more complex than I usually see. It’s almost buttery!

Peppermint Patty – They use their own homemade patties in this. Wow. The candies are epic. Although this flavor isn’t as refreshing as what you’ll find in Epcot, it perfectly recreates a good mint candy, which is pretty amazing. It’s very tasty and I enjoyed it more the more I ate it. 

Dark Chocolate – This is excellent. Not too sweet, perfectly smooth and rich. 

Strawberries and Cream – Classic strawberry flavor, but it wasn’t as sweet as I expected. It is very good and pairs well with chocolate. It may surprise you if you’re used to the standard strawberry ice creams out there. 

Overall, ice cream here is an excellent consistency. Sometimes I prefer a bit more sweetness, but it’s much easier to taste the flavors without the added sugar, so it’s a balancing act. 

Ross votes to combine strawberry and chocolate at his next visit. The chocolate was my favorite by far, but the sorbet is fantastic too, and the mint chocolate is very good. Although strawberry isn’t usually something I seek out, both it and the vanilla are tasty. I would personally skip the cotton candy. 

In conclusion, Disney World had another excellent ice cream option worth a trip. If you have a favorite place for ice cream in the World, let me know! 

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