Beaver Tails are returning to EPCOT (…or not, see the update). This post covers what we know about this comeback tail, plus an answer to the question many confused readers will undoubtedly have: what the heck is a BeaverTail, anyway, and what does it have to do with Walt Disney World?! (Updated July 20, 2023.)
Let’s start with the basics. Per the official website, BeaverTails® are truly one of a kind–an irresistibly delicious, artisanal Canadian pastry, always there to share special moments that make lifelong memories. Wow.
BeaverTails has been an iconic indulgence in Canada since 1978, and today combine the original recipe with premium quality ingredients. Served piping-hot, the hand-stretched whole-wheat pastries are both crispy and chewy at the same time. BeaverTails truly are iconic in Canada, having been eaten by Matt Damon, Ron MacLean, Ed Sheeran, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, and U.S. President Barack Obama. BeaverTails were even featured in an episode of South Park. Double wow.
A few days after we published this post, which came after Walt Disney World quietly published EPCOT Food & Wine Festival menus online, Disney released its Foodie Guide to the event. That once again indicated that the “Cinnamon-Sugar Beaver Tail” was a new item coming to Refreshment Port, and included the following photo:
That photo has now been removed from the Foodie Guide, replaced with a poutine-only image, and the Cinnamon-Sugar Beaver Tail item has vanished.
We indicated above that this is only a somewhat surprising twist. That’s because the return of BeaverTails has felt a bit off from the get-go. As discussed in our original commentary, it was odd that Walt Disney World didn’t use proper branding and trademark symbols (e.g. Beaver Tail instead of the proper BeaverTails®).
I was then even more surprised when the Foodie Guide came out and Walt Disney World didn’t draw any attention to the partnership. This is certainly more exciting than CORKCICLE (no offense to that company or its fans), and that brand appears a dozen times in the post, including the title. But again, maybe a standalone announcement with more fanfare was still to come for BeaverTails.
Probably not. While we’ll never know what, exactly, transpired behind the scenes, my bet is that the culinary team was going to make their own version of the pastry and didn’t realize the name was protected by trademark. When it came to BeaverTails’ attention, they reached out or sent a cease and desist. It wouldn’t be the first time.
It’s also possible that the partnership between BeaverTails and Disney Corporate Alliances had yet to be finalized, and the parties couldn’t come to terms, so the deal fell through and the product was dropped from menus. More optimistically, maybe the deal is still in the process of being negotiated, menus were posted prematurely, and Disney Legal intervened until a contract is executed. This seems pretty unlikely to me, but who knows.
Again, we’ll probably never know for sure–unless the menu item reappears as BeaverTails®. I truly hope that’s the case, as I was over the moon about this surprise comeback and am now a bit bummed out (that’s a colossal understatement, but I don’t want to come across as melodramatic about a pastry).
The disappearance of BeaverTails before ever returning is very insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but it feels a little like Walt Disney World snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It would’ve been such an easy little win with fans. Instead…this.
In any case, below is the original post, preserved for posterity…
BeaverTails were previously available in EPCOT Center at Trapper Bob’s Authentic Canadian Pastry Stand in the Canada pavilion. The menu advertised “a flat cooked whole wheat pastry, shaped like the tail of Canada’s favorite animal!”
At Trapper Bob’s, BeaverTails were priced between $3 and $3.50 (that’s U.S. dollars) as of the early 2000s. Trapper Bob’s served up BeaverTails with chocolate hazelnut and sugar, maple and chocolate, strawberries and whipped cream, apples and cinnamon, cinnamon and sugar, and Killaloe sunrise…whatever that is.
On one fateful night in 2005, a Canadian cold front descended upon Walt Disney World, and the legendary BeaverTails mysteriously vanished without a trace. All signs BeaverTails had ever been served at Trapper Bob’s disappeared without explanation. Had it all been a delicious dream? Was there a beaver shortage in the Great White North? Had Canadian Parliament placed tougher tariffs on this treasured national resource?
Picking up the cold case, Agent Cooper solved the mystery: Disney’s contract with BeaverTails was not renewed. This was followed by mass hysteria among the Walt Disney World faithful, including a petition to bring back the beloved BeaverTails. (In typical WDW fan fashion!) A cult following ensued, with BeaverTails being a common topic of conversation in the mid-aughts.
Unfortunately, unlike other snacks that Walt Disney World has brought back over the years, the BeaverTail has not had its own comeback story. This is despite some classics, like the Handwiches (or a version of it), returning to the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival for the park’s 35th Anniversary.
There were also many deep cuts on the special menus for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, but alas, no BeaverTails. It seemed like the window of opportunity for this venerable Canadian pastry to return had closed, with a nearly two-decade long absence being the kiss of death for fan interest and internal awareness.
We’ve also implored Disney’s culinary team to bring back BeaverTails in every single iteration of our Canada Booth Menu & Review for the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival over the course of the last decade. Other than those posts, it’s rare to find current mention of BeaverTails these days; Walt Disney World fans are no longer really clamoring for its comeback, sadly.
I could not believe my eyes and about fell out of my seat. I immediately took to social media where, I assumed, I’d see my fellow fans jumping for joy. Nothing. I checked out other sites. Nada. Searched for vlogs on the major news. Zilch. Checked out all of the official BeaverTails social media channels for an announcement. Crickets.
I’ve started to think that maybe I’m crazy. Is this version of the menu only loading for me? (It isn’t.) Where have all the cowboys BeaverTail fans gone? This should be an exciting announcement, on par with the Muppet Labs coming to Brew-Wing booth!
My best guess is that most fans these days are too young to remember the heyday of the BeaverTails at Walt Disney World. Not to date myself too much, but even though the BeaverTails disappeared in the mid-aughts, they were on life support by that time. Trapper Bob’s had already long ago gone seasonal and reportedly cut corners in the BeaverTail prep process when it was open, one of many post-9/11 cuts at Walt Disney World.
The true golden age of the BeaverTail at Walt Disney World was the late 1990s and into the Millennium Celebration at EPCOT. Many of us who were fans back then were kids, and perhaps the pastry didn’t leave as lasting of an impression as Horizons or Figment. Fair enough. The fandom has also had a lot of churn since then, with one to two diabolical Bobs doing their best to alienate the longtime lovers of Walt Disney World.
Before I get carried away with excitement and hype, it is worth mentioning that the official menu lists this as a “Beaver Tail” instead of “BeaverTails®” and that is noteworthy. Normally, Disney is a stickler for vernacular and IP protection, careful to use proper branding and trademark symbols, even for third party marks. (Hence it being a DOLE® Whip instead of a Dole Whip on menus.)
In theory, it’s possible that this item is not a real BeaverTail and is instead a knock-off or a totally different item that’s coincidentally named. But that would be a pretty big coincidence. My guess is that this was posted prematurely and hadn’t gone through the proper layers of approval before appearing online. (In the Muppet Lab announcement, Disney said menus were coming soon. In actuality, they were quietly posted to the official site simultaneously.)
If this feels far-fetched, you’ve clearly never seen an “EPOCT” sign in the wild. Typos happen all the time at Walt Disney World. It’s almost inexplicable how common they are given the bloated bureaucracy of Disney.
Whenever Walt Disney World does “announce” the 2023 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival menus, I’d expect to see attention drawn to the comeback of the BeaverTails and the typo corrected.
Taking that a step further, my hope is that the current refurbishment of Refreshment Port (scheduled to last until July 27, when it reopens on the same day that the festival starts) is to expand and equip its kitchen to serve up these classic Canadian pastries. Here’s hoping that BeaverTails become a permanent thing at Walt Disney World again, and develop an all-new fan following.
We’ve had BeaverTails on a few occasions since they left Walt Disney World. The first time I spotted BeaverTails in the wild was about a decade ago, in Banff while prepping for an overnight hike in Yoho National Park along the Odaray Highline Trail.
Certain experts say that BeaverTails are the perfect fuel for hiking the Canadian Rockies. (For the purposes of this post, I’m going to consider myself a hiking expert, and I just said that.) Upon entering, I discovered it wasn’t simply a matter of approaching the cash register and requesting “one of your finest beaver tails.” The BeaverTails menu offered an embarrassment of riches for toppings choices.
I still fondly recall my first time. That’s in part because it was so memorable and in part because I oddly documented the entire experience in a trip report about hiking in the Canadian Rockies. (I don’t remember portions of major hikes that I did, but do vividly recollect this. Checks out.)
I asked the BeaverTailrista what she recommended for a BeaverTail virgin, and she responded without hesitation that you have to do the “classic” No. 1 your first time, but that they could do half and half so I could try another flavor as well. Perfect.
Since approximately 63% of Canada’s economy is supported by Maple syrup exports, I figured the “Maple Flavoured Spread” would be the best option. Plus, the BeaverTailrista recommended it as the second most popular choice. (For those who don’t speak Canadian, “Flavoured” roughly translates to “Flavored.”)
Sarcasm aside, this dessert was glorious. The pastry was soft and with a slight sponginess and elasticity that made it far superior to an elephant ear, but still somewhat similar in style.
While the cinnamon and sugar variety of the BeaverTail is excellent, the version with toppings is even better.
I’m far from a BeaverTails expert, but of the toppings I’ve tried, the Maple spread is the one that’s truly out of this world. Rich, decadent, and extremely sugary (as would be expected), it was a real treat. We’ve since eaten more BeaverTails in Vancouver, and the delicious pastries held up there.
My hope is that the classic cinnamon and sugar BeaverTail is such a hit at Walt Disney World that they expand and add toppings in the future. It’s not a huge win or something that’ll win back former Walt Disney World diehards who are disillusioned with the trajectory of the company, but it’s a step in the right direction and a sweet story showing that there are still old-timers around who care.
Have you tried a BeaverTail? If so, was it a life-changing experience? Where else have you spotted the elusive BeaverTails? How many miles would you trek through the snow, barefoot, to savor the sweet taste of a BeaverTail? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!