Magic Kingdom is the flagship theme park at Walt Disney World, home to such icons as Cinderella Castle, Dole Whips, Nutella waffle sandwiches, churros, ice cream sundaes, corn dog nuggets, and more. Okay, several of those are food, but they’re arguably as iconic as Space Mountain. Accordingly, this list ranks our favorite decadent desserts and savory snacks at Magic Kingdom.
While Magic Kingdom is often derided as having Walt Disney World’s weakest counter service restaurant lineup, the good news is that it makes up for that with great and inventive treats. In fact, some of the best Walt Disney World snacks and desserts can be found in the resort’s flagship castle park.
In large part, this can be attributed to social media and the desire to share photogenic food photos. Walt Disney World’s motivation for adding these snacks to Magic Kingdom menus may seem immaterial–a good snack is a good snack–but in too many cases we’ve found that the result is products less concerned with taste and more so with how cute, cool, or weird they look in photos.
With all of that said, we are ecstatic to see Magic Kingdom finally getting serious about snacking. Irrespective of whether the decision was motivated by chasing trends or for Instagram photoshoots in front of walls, we’re pleased with many of the results. We’re also optimistic that over time, choices will be tweaked and improved, cultivating (or “curating” as the cool kids say) a solid lineup of savory snacks and decadent desserts that are both fun looking and delicious.
As of Spring 2023, the snack scene in Magic Kingdom continues to change. There are two big new developments that have resulted in major changes. The first is the launch of TRON Light cycle Run, the newest attraction in Magic Kingdom. While this is a non-edible roller coaster, it has positively impacted menus in Tomorrowland.
Second and more significantly is the end of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary; this 18-month event is finally over as of April 2023. While we were underwhelmed by the anniversary as a whole, it definitely did not disappoint in one regard: food. Unfortunately, many of the snacks that debuted for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary have now been removed from menus and, for the most part, have not been replaced. We expect that to change, and are anxiously awaiting the next Magic Kingdom all-star snack additions.
With that update out of the way, let’s turn to our favorite snacks in Magic Kingdom as of Spring 2023. We’ll start at the very front of the park, in the Main Street Confectionary. Without a doubt, this is the most popular sweet treats spot in the entire park, and it has become streamlined and efficient in the last couple of years, now even offering Mobile Order.
I’ll be honest with you: I’m not a huge fan of the Main Street Confectionary. The cookies and cupcakes are often dry or otherwise uninspired, “cereal treats” and candy apples are not my speed, and as a native Michigander, I’m biased against any fudge that isn’t from Mackinac Island (if you know, you know).
However, after years of taste-testing new options and giving the benefit of the doubt only to be disappointed, we finally found two favorites at the Main Street Confectionary, both of a similar nature: Brownie Pie (pictured above) and Peanut Butter Cookie Pie. I prefer the Brownie Pie by a pretty wide margin, which is like a cross between a cookie and a brownie (or an unlayered “Brookie”) and threads the needle perfectly with its flavors, texture, and gooey goodness. It features M&Ms inside, which actually help with the flavor and texture.
Honestly, both of these “pies” remind me a bit of Gideon’s Bakehouse at Disney Springs. To be sure, these are not as good nor are they quite the same…but they’re also conveniently located in Magic Kingdom and don’t require jumping through any hopes. Anyway, I think of these pies as poor man’s Gideon’s and recommend them as a great snack while waiting for the parade or fireworks. Heck, they’re even a nice morning pick-me-up for those who don’t drink coffee and instead prefer a sugar rush!
Continuing from Main Street, we arrive at Cheshire Cafe. This small snack spot is located across from Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe at the edge of Tomorrowland and Fantasyland–not too far from Cinderella Castle.
Our luck with Cheshire Cafe over the years has been very spotty. Several years ago, they had “gourmet” cake cups, or deconstructed cupcakes. The problem was that these tasted like they had been ‘deconstructed’ because they were stale.
The last couple of years, we’ve had much better luck, and the Cheshire Cat Tail becoming a tried and true Magic Kingdom snack option. This is basically a Danish Chocolate Twist with icing to up the photogenic ante and make it resemble Cheshire Cat.
The Cheshire Cat Tail works so well because the pastry is flaky on the outside, doughy on the inside, with the right amount of chocolate to add ample gooeyness. It’s relatively straightforward, but it’s delicious.
From here, we’ll continue into Tomorrowland until arriving at Rockettower Plaza under Astro Orbiter and the TTA PeopleMover. Here you’ll find the Lunching Pad, which also serves breakfast. This is significant, because breakfast is the time to visit this spot (although the gourmet hot dogs are good, too.
The must-eat snack here is the Sticky Bubble Bread, which is like the sweet, sweet love child of bread pudding and a cinnamon roll, in the form of an upside-down muffin. This is slathered in cinnamon and caramel sauce, and is a good and gooey treat that’s way better than the supposedly iconic Magic Kingdom cinnamon roll. Seriously: eat this, not that.
Adjacent to Storybook Treats is Friar’s Nook, a one-time favorite of this blog that has fallen from our good graces. I thought I’d never forgive Friar’s Nook for eliminating the gourmet mac & cheese dishes from its menu, but that was before I learned of the equally ridiculous Loaded Buffalo Chicken Tots.
Now, I do find it somewhat “problematic” that these Loaded Buffalo Chicken Tots don’t have beer cheese sauce. Not that cheese sauce would go well with the dish, but the loaded tots feel way too healthy as-is. Compared to the glorious 4,890 calorie (estimate) Pot Roast Mac & Cheese, I’m already sacrificing too much with these diet-friendly loaded tater tots. Health benefits aside, these are really good–better than they have any business being. The tater tots hold up surprisingly well under the heavy layer of toppings, and the ingredients work well together.
Continuing around Fantasyland, we make a stop at Gaston’s Tavern in the Belle’s Village area of Magic Kingdom, which is directly behind the incredibly popular Be Our Guests Restaurant.
At Gaston’s Tavern, you’ll find the Grey Stuff Cupcake, which has returned to the menu following the conclusion of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. This is one of the desserts from that nearby table service restaurant, and we highly recommend it. The Grey Stuff basically tastes like cookies & cream, but that’s an oversimplification. There’s also something to be said for eating an iconic offering from the movie Beauty and the Beast.
Gaston’s Tavern is also home to LeFou’s Brew, if you haven’t already had enough sugar for one day. This was meant to be Disney’s “answer” to Butterbeer in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal, and it’s definitely not as good as that. However, we actually think it’s a worthwhile frozen apple drink. Not one of our top picks, but worth sharing if you’re doing a snack crawl of Magic Kingdom with a few friends or family members.
Finally, Gaston’s Tavern also serves colossally-sized Warm Cinnamon Rolls, which are a Magic Kingdom fan-favorite. We’ve had too many stale cinnamon rolls to recommend this, but you might have better luck first thing in the morning. We don’t recommend the Warm Cinnamon Rolls at all (they’re overrated), and strongly recommend avoiding them in the afternoon when they’re more likely to have been slow-cooked to hardness under the heat lamp for hours.
Leaving Fantasyland, the first stop is in Liberty Square at Columbia Harbour House right across from Haunted Mansion. This is a great spot for a full meal, especially if you go late or early and seek out Magic Kingdom’s relaxing respite from the crowds.
There are several entrees at Columbia Harbour House that are unexpectedly delicious. However, this is about snacks, and one of my bigger guilty pleasures at Walt Disney World is the Hushpuppies at Columbia Harbour House. These little puppies have a crispy and crunchy exterior that gives way to doughy and gooey goodness on the inside. You really can’t go wrong with deep-fried golden cornmeal balls, which are a great sweet-and-savory snack. Oh, and there are pieces of actual corn inside, so this probably counts as a vegetable. Healthy and delicious: win-win! (That’s how that works…right?!)
Continuing in that direction, we arrive at Westward Ho in Frontierland. Given that you’ll likely be spending 75% of your day in this general vicinity as you watch Country Bear Jamboree repeatedly and dance with its bumpkin bears in fur character form, it might make sense to highlight the entire menu here.
That would probably be a fair move, as the Candied Bacon Skewer and Wendell’s Bear Claw are actually surprisingly good. However, I think the Candied Bacon Skewer is way too expensive for what it is (and hit or miss in quality) and, despite its CBJ-inspired name, Wendell’s Bear Claw isn’t that great.
Instead, our pick here is the breaded Jalapeño Poppers stuffed with nacho cheese and served with ranch dressing. These are a shockingly good version of this straightforward snack, with the right spiciness and creaminess and an ample portion size for the price.
Our next stop is Golden Oak Outpost. Located in “International Walkways” between Frontierland and Adventureland, Golden Oak Outpost doesn’t have to play by the same rules as other restaurants in Magic Kingdom. Historically, this has led to a variety of half-baked menu concepts only about half of which are fit for human consumption.
However, the Chili-Cheese Fries at Golden Oak Outpost are delicious. A hearty dish with good flavor and generous portion of toppings (even if it doesn’t look that way from the photos). I enjoyed this on a humid fall day–I can only imagine how much more satisfying the fries will taste on a chilly day in December…assuming this menu is still offered then.
Continuing into Adventureland, there are the two obvious places to stop, each of which serve up their own iconic ice cream (adjacent) offerings. First up is Aloha Isle, located between Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and Country Bear Jamboree on the other side of the divider in Frontierland.
Here, the obvious option is the Dole Whip or Pineapple Float, both of which offer that creamy, sweet, and tart soft serve. If you’re looking for the most popular snack in Magic Kingdom, look no further–the Pineapple Dole Whip is it. This is the type of thing you should order just to say you’ve had it, as this is truly a Magic Kingdom rite-of-passage treat. Another good pick is the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, which is topped with Dole Whip (the cake itself is only okay).
Aloha Isle serves up a Tropical Serenade, Raspberry Swirl Cup, and Coconut Cup in addition to the iconic Pineapple Dole Whip. While these might sound tempting (and flavors do switch out seasonally, so you might encounter different flavor options entirely), we’d strongly recommend sticking with the classic Pineapple Dole Whip.
Then there’s nearby Sunshine Tree Terrace, which has its own distinct dessert: the Citrus Swirl.
This is not available via Mobile Order nor is it listed on the online menu. Sometimes it’s not offered at all, as the machine that makes this delicious dessert is problem-prone. Nevertheless, we recommend waiting in line at this location and seeing if the Citrus Swirl is available. It’s right up there with the Dole Whip in terms of iconic Magic Kingdom ice cream treats.
If forced to choose between the two, I’m choosing the Citrus Swirl every time. This is a uniquely Magic Kingdom creation, and has a fun history with Orange Bird and a triumphant return.
By contrast, Dole Whips can be found in a variety of places outside of Walt Disney World. That doesn’t diminish the taste of the Dole Whip at all, but it does make it less novel–and “special,” at least for me.
Sunshine Tree Terrace also offers a variety of different Dole Whips and ice cream cups. Note that the Orange Cream Soft-serve Cup sounds similar to the Citrus Swirl, but is most definitely different. It’s still a good dessert, but not in the same league as the Citrus Swirl.
Personally, my favorite of the “other” items is the “I Lava You Float” at Sunshine Tree Terrace. This consists of Fanta Strawberry Soda and Passion Fruit served with DOLE Whip Orange and topped with Popping Candy. The flavor ends up being a strawberry-skewed fruit punch, with fizz balanced against the creaminess of the concoction. There’s something about it…I’m not quite sure what…but it just works. It’s not on par with the Pineapple Dole Whip or Citrus Swirl, but it’s a good third place pick.
Also in Adventureland, you’ve got the Adventureland Egg Roll Cart. I had been hearing hype for the Cheeseburger Spring Roll for a while, but was a bit apprehensive. Walt Disney World can barely manage to do cheeseburgers right, how could this be that good?
Well, it is. The meat is juicy and delicious, and the rolls are cooked to perfection. The flavor here is probably helped by the fact that the roll itself is pretty greasy and there’s a liberal amount of cheese inside, but what’s the point of going to a theme park if you’re not going to indulge in some unhealthy foods?
I could see some people not being huge fans of the Cheeseburger Spring Roll due to the greasiness (Sarah was “meh” on it), but I loved it and would highly recommend it.
The only downside is the portion size and price. These spring rolls are not exactly cheap, and if you’re paying out of pocket, they’re not a good value…but the cheeseburger one is so delicious that I’m willing to overlook that.
Another tried and true Magic Kingdom snack is the waffle sandwiches found at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments. These are offered in a handful of flavors, but sweet and savory.
Our go-to has long been the Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich with Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (Nutella), which simultaneously manages to taste fresh and refreshing while also feeling like it’s rotting your teeth. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but we love it.
Sleepy Hollow is also home to savory options. While the Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken-Waffle Sandwich is the obvious pick, we’re honestly partial to the corn dog.
This is a hand-dipped corn dog served with house-made chips, and you can tell it’s freshly-made in the flavor and quality of the batter. This rivals the corn dogs at Disneyland, and is a true sleeper pick. Not something we’d order all the time (and it’s debatable whether it’s a snack or entree), but it’s a worthwhile option if you need something to offset all of the sweets.
Continuing our circle tour (and/or corn dog challenge) back to Main Street, we stop at Casey’s Corner for one of our favorite savory snacks in Magic Kingdom: CORN DOG NUGGETS.
Seriously, these are a perfect pre-fireworks snack, or a late night meal to enjoy as Magic Kingdom closes for the night. (Also, it’s not really snack-sized, but the Plant-based Loaded Slaw Dog is way better than it has any right being. It’s a great, shareable option that surpasses the all-beef hot dogs at Casey’s Corner.)
Finishing up on Main Street, we have some controversy and disagreement between the two of us about what belongs on this list. The obvious choice is a sundae from Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. What’s available here changes from time-to-time, and you might find a colossal option (like the Mickey Shorts Sundae above) in addition to what’s on the permanent menu. In my view, when it comes to ice cream, bigger is always better.
This is not nearly as large as the Kitchen Sink at Beaches & Cream, but it’s definitely big enough for 2-3 people to share, and it’s a lot of fun. It makes me cringe a bit to pay for the Mickey shorts container knowing I’ll never do anything with it, but the novelty of the experience is undeniable.
The Brownie Sundae is a thick and moist brownie that has significantly better flavor than the normal phoned-in brownies around Walt Disney World, topped with ice cream. The other toppings only make it even more of an indulgence.
All of the sundaes at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor are delicious and decadent snacks so sugary that you’ll feel you need to brush your teeth immediately after consumption.
Finally, we’re going to end on a “controversial” note by sharing a few snacks to avoid. Beyond the aforementioned cinnamon roll, there are several fan-favorite snacks that are beloved not for their quality, but because they’ve been around for ages and diehard Disney fans have nostalgia for them. These include all of the following:
- Turkey Leg – This can be good, but it also can taste like shoe leather and contains about a week’s worth of sodium and multiple days worth of fat.
- Mickey Pretzel – Ironically, this can also taste like shoe leather. It’s also just a basic pretzel shaped like Mickey Mouse; if you want something unique, go for one of the stuffed pretzels at the Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland.
- Churros – Disneyland churros are amazing; Walt Disney World churros are too often stale and hard, inferior to the ones served at Costco for 99 cents (and much more expensive).
- Premium Mickey Bar – Look, I don’t hate fun–I just want to put that out there. But this is a regular chocolate-coated vanilla ice cream bar, but in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. Anyone who loves this is probably eating it through the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, or associating it with fond memories of Walt Disney World. That’s totally fair, but there’s absolutely nothing special about this ice cream bar itself. There are dozens of better items–and ice cream concoctions–at Magic Kingdom than this.
For what it’s worth, that’s not even an exhaustive list of snacks to avoid at Magic Kingdom (and throughout Walt Disney World). With few exceptions, I wouldn’t order anything from an Outdoor Vending Cart (ODV) or that’s pre-packaged. The freshly-made snacks are always better, and anything that’s prepared in bulk and waiting to be ordered under a heat lamp is generally (but not always) a red flag.
Overall, Magic Kingdom has been stepping up its snack game lately, and we hope that trend only continues. It’s mutually beneficial for Walt Disney World and guests, as we love delicious and photogenic snacks, and they make more money in the process. While I’d love to see more of an emphasis on smaller, less-expensive options more conducive to strolling and snacking around Magic Kingdom, what Disney has done thus far is a great start!
News Source: DisneyTouristBlog.