Drinking Around the World at Epcot has long been a popular activity at Walt Disney World, which in a way is unfortunate, as it overshadows the far superior activity: Snacking Around the World! It is superior for two reasons: the options are better, and the options are cheaper. While boozing around the World Showcase is all sorts of fun, many of the drink choices are lacking, and like many things at Walt Disney World, all of them are overpriced. The situation is a lot better for competitive eaters, as snacks are still somewhat expensive, but significantly cheaper than booze. Plus, all of the snacks are unique whereas some of the alcohol choices are uninspired (Bud Light served at the American Adventure is the beer equivalent of a Little Debbie cupcake). Not to mention that you can use your Disney Dining Plan credits on snacks!
We started out our wildly popular (to date one of our most popular posts all time) “Drinking Around the World” post with a bunch of warnings about not over-drinking. The same is definitely not appropriate here. Not only is eating as many snacks as possible in a single day a commendable endeavor, but snacks are universally healthy and will probably definitely prolong your life. Or at least your quality of life. I’m no medical doctor and I know very little about science, but I’m almost positive that eating a lot of snacks is good for you when you’re on vacation. So eat as many of these as you can!
In that “Drinking Around the World” post, we promised a future article on snacks. That was almost two years ago and we’re just finally getting to this article. It’s not because we forgot, but because we keep adding snacks to our “list” of things to try. Just when it seems like we’re ready to write this post, there’s another excuse to try more on a future trip so the post can be more thorough. Rather than put it off indefinitely, we’ve decided to write the post and supplement it as time goes on. Otherwise, with the constant new delicious additions, we’d never write it!
Some of the “rules” in that “Drinking Around the World” blog post still apply to this. Especially if you compete in what we’re dubbing the “LeFou Challenge” (sort of like the “Goofy Challenge” for the runDisney crowd, except this is more awesome), which involves consuming both snacks and booze.
Namely, you should start early for this challenge, too (there’s no better breakfast than a cupcake), you should make it an all day affair, you should split snacks, you should do attractions along the way, you should “bite the bullet in France,” and you should finish the night with Illuminations. With these general tips in mind, here are our recommendations for things to grab in each country.
We recommended starting in Mexico for “Drinking Around the World,” so we’ll remain consistent and start here for snacking, too. Despite our snarky comments about eating as many snacks as possible, it’s probably unrealistic to expect to eat a snack in every country unless you really put some effort into it. If you don’t anticipate being able to eat a snack in every country, skip Mexico.
If you elect not to skip Mexico, go with the Churritos or the nachos for something more substantial. A lot of people like churros, but there are so many options that are far better elsewhere, so if you don’t plan on doing every country, this might be one to skip.
Norway is one of the all-stars of the Epcot “snack crawl.” The snacks in Norway’s Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe are so good that you might just want to double up (perhaps to make up for skipping Mexico). School Bread is the obvious choice. It’s a cult favorite, and it’s cheap. I think School Bread absolutely lives up to the hype, and it’s one of my favorite snacks in all of Walt Disney World. I rarely go a trip without having it at least once. It’s pretty simple: sweet and soft cardamom breading filled with vanilla creme custard and topped with shredded coconut. If you’re using the Disney Dining Plan, School Bread is not a good use of a snack credit because it’s so cheap, so save those credits until later in the “snack crawl” to maximize your snack credit value on the Disney Dining Plan!
Another great choice here is the Cloudberry Horn, which is crispier than the School Bread, but still good. We also really enjoy the Berry Cream Puff, which is quite large and has some delicious whipped cream (and berries) in it. Any of these three options are excellent choices for the “snack crawl.” Kringla is also a great unheralded lunch spot, as a few of the sandwiches are excellent options for adventurous eaters.
There are only two snack options here: the Strawberry Red Bean Ice Cream and another ice cream. We’ve tried the strawberry one, and it didn’t impress us too much. We’ve heard the other ice cream actually has a bit of bite to it. I can’t imagine that would be any good, but if you’re adventurous with your ice cream, give that a try.
After stuffing yourself in Norway, this might be a country to skip. Or you might try something of greater substance at the Lotus Blossom Cafe, like the pot stickers, which are pretty good.
Karamell-Küche is the new hit here, and has instantly become a popular choice for Walt Disney World guests. We are fans of Karamell-Küche, but definitely not to the extent of many others. We recommend getting something unique here, as contrary to what many people claim, the standard caramel corn is nothing special. That is, unless you really like caramel corn and having some moderately fresh caramel corn is really important to you.
The menu usually has at least one cupcake on it, and this is a good option if the cupcake is fresh. You don’t want to get stuck with something that’s overly hardened. Luckily, this place is usually busy enough that you should have no problem with that.
If caramel doesn’t appeal to you, another option in Germany is the soft pretzel. We’ve never had one of these, mostly because they don’t look like anything special.
Note: these pickle ornaments are not an edible snack option from Germany… 😉
There are several different options in Italy, with the most popular option being the gelato stand. It’s debatable whether the gelato is authentic, but it’s undeniably tasty. You can even get it as a homemade ice cream sandwich! As with the ice cream sandwiches at Sleepy Hollow Inn, these sandwiches can be hit or miss. Make sure you ask for cookies that are soft, as it seems like these cookies are hard or burnt around 50% of the time. That, or we have really bad luck.
Another option here, and our sleeper pick, is the Tiramisu or Cannoli served at Tutto Italia cart. We’ve found that this cart is often closed or absent, so your luck with it might be hit or miss, but if it is there and open, make sure to stop. The Tiramisu and Cannoli are each fairly reasonably priced (especially compared to the table service Tutto Italia, which charge over twice the price for the desserts), and are excellent.
The American Adventure has a funnel cake stand with a variety of ways to customize a funnel cake. This stand has become a cult favorite with Walt Disney World guests, and some of the options (like ice cream or chocolate sauce on top of the funnel cake) are quite popular. I’ve only tried the Disney funnel cake once, and I was unimpressed. I’ll probably give the pumpkin funnel cake a try at some point, since I love all things pumpkin, but for now, I put this in the “overrated” column.
If you really like funnel cakes, give this a try. Alternatively, we highly recommend going into the Liberty Inn and ordering a S’mores Mousse Brownie. The name is a bit deceiving, as this is basically a cupcake. This cupcake takes the best elements of the S’mores cupcake at Roaring Fork at expands upon that, with a moist brownie serving as the base. This is an infinitely better option than the funnel cake!
The popular snack here is the Kaki-Gori, but we’ve never tried this snack. Well, we’ve never had it at Epcot, actually. We had plenty of Sno-Cones when we were kids, and while we enjoyed them growing up, they aren’t something we continue to eat. Although there might be some minor difference, the Kaki-Gori appears to be a Sno-Cone by a different name.
For a better option, head to Kabuki Cafe and order the Green Tea Ice Cream. Yes, it sounds weird, but it’s not bad. Tastes like a cross between vanilla and green tea.
For a better option still, try something that isn’t a sweet–try sushi instead. It’s not the best sushi on property (that distinction goes to California Grill in our experience), but it’s the best snack option in Japan.
Tangierine Cafe is your option in Morocco, and while this is a great counter service restaurant for regular food, we’ve been consistently underwhelmed by its desserts. So underwhelmed, in fact, that this is on our “do not revisit” list. However, plenty of others disagree with us, and we’ve been told by fans of baklava that Tangierine Cafe’s is delicious. So your mileage may vary on that.
In addition to baklava, there are a few other desserts at Tangierine Cafe, one of which is pictured above. I don’t know what this dessert is called, nor was there a name for it in the case, but this mystery dessert wasn’t good, either. With France right around the bend, it’s difficult to stop for a lackluster dessert in Morocco, especially when the options in France are amazing.
Although Norway is the country known for trolls, it’s almost as if there’s a troll guarding the bridge from France to the United Kingdom preventing guests from passing to complete the final leg of the “snack crawl.” In fact, it’s the many delicious options in France that lead to the demise of many snackers (and by many, we mean us…we assume it happens to others, though!).
The top option in France at Boulangerie Patisserie Les Halles is the Napoleon cake. The Napoleon very well might be the greatest counter service dessert at Walt Disney World. It’s filled with custard, but somehow (magically, I assume) the layers of pastry in between are light and airy. I’m no pastry-architect, but it doesn’t seem like the pastry layers are load bearing. Yet, they manage to hold the custard just fine. It’s all topped off with powdered sugar, which is like icing on the cake.
With around 20 other dessert choices at Boulangerie Patisserie Les Halles, there’s a lot to try. Just about everything looks delicious, which doesn’t help! Sarah loves the Citron Tarte, which is a great option if you like lemon. I prefer my sweets to be sweet, so I’d probably recommend the Chocolat Tarte instead. We have yet to try everything on this menu (we will…in the name of research!), but it’s doubtful that you can really go wrong here. Our tip here is to have a couple of snacks before seeing the underrated Impressions de France, and then having a couple more after seeing Impressions de France. Maybe you should just “Snack Around France” instead of around the entire World Showcase!
Unfortunately, it’s all downhill after France. United Kingdom doesn’t have anything in the way of tasty sweets. Basically, your only options are beer or fish and chips. A black and tan makes for a great “snack” for Rose & Crown, or you can grab an order of fish & chips from Yorkshire County Fish Shop. This is a location that a lot of people love, but we think is highly overrated. There is absolutely nothing special about the fish & chips. Nothing. It’s ordinary, battered fish with ordinary, battered fries. Definitely not “so very British.”
More importantly, fish & chips is a meal, not a snack. Perhaps the side of chips is a snack, I guess. This is one to potentially skip.
Here is where you’ll want to bust out your time machine to conclude the “snack crawl” with the best snack of all–the Beaver Tail! I mention this snack from time to time on this blog, and there’s significant buzz about it in the fan community. I’m convinced that if the buzz remains strong, Disney will bring it back like it has brought back other lost favorites like the Citrus Swirl. So if you’d like to see this delicious snack return, mention it on Twitter, Facebook, and in Disney Parks Blog comments. Who knows…maybe it’ll return next year!
For those of you without a time machine, Canada is another good place to skip. It has no counter service restaurant and the snack stand only serves popcorn. I guess the best option here is maple candy from the gift shop? That’s pretty lame, though, so I’m really hoping you have a time machine to end your Snacking Around the World with a bang. Alternatively, you could head to Sunshine Seasons for an excellent Key Lime Pie (another great option for those without a time machine).
BONUS: Refreshment Port
Just past Canada is an innocuous looking refreshment gazebo with a limited menu. There’s really nothing attention-grabbing about the place, as it’s not styled like any of the World Showcase countries, and doesn’t draw huge crowds. However, it recently began selling something amazing: cronuts! Well, technically at this spot they’re called “croissant doughnuts,” but the idea is the same. Here, you can order a regular cronut or a cronut a la mode (as of mid-2014). These treats are spectacularly decadent, and well worth grabbing. This spot may not technically be in a World Showcase country’s pavilion, but it is in the World Showcase, so it counts!
As is evident from some countries on this list, not all countries were created equal from a snacking perspective. While there are clear standouts like France and Norway, there are a couple of duds, making it a bit more challenging to have a snack at each country. Fortunately, most countries have at least a couple unique and delicious options, so “Snacking Around the World” at Epcot can be a lot of fun!
Have you tried “Snacking Around the World”? If so, what did you try? Did you opt for something from each country, or did you skip the lackluster ones? Thinking of giving it a try? Share your thoughts in the comments!