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 Splash or Space Mountain. Accordingly, this list ranks our favorite decadent desserts and savory snacks at Magic Kingdom. (Updated July 23, 2021.)
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. I don’t really know how else you explain something like the Ice Cream Churro Sandwich or Mermaid Doughnut, which are “awesome in theory or photos” things where taste comes second (or not at all).
With all of that said, we are ecstatic to see Magic Kingdom 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.
Although Walt Disney World reopened over a year ago, if you’re visiting Walt Disney World in 2021, be advised that menus are still scaled back and some locations remain closed. While these options are all currently available, that could change at any time. We’ll keep this post updated as those menus change. For now, here is a look at the best snacks and desserts in Magic Kingdom as of late July 2021…
We’ll start at Cheshire Cafe, located across from Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe at the edge of Tomorrowland and Frontierland and 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.
Continuing in Fantasyland, Storybook Treats has the trendiest dessert in all of Walt Disney World: the Peter Pan Float. Think of this as the Dole Whip Float: Key Lime Edition. It features Key Lime Ice Cream, Sprite, and a Chocolate Feather.
I was reluctant to buy into the hype, as most of the “praise” I’ve seen on Instagram for this dessert has been of the “OMG IT’S SO CUTE” or “~~~CHEEKY INSPIRATIONAL AND/OR QUOTE ABOUT FLYING, NEVERLAND, ETC~~~” variety, and less about taste.
Suffice to say, the Peter Pan Float is fantastic. Its popularity is deserved, and a good lesson in the appeal of desserts that are cute and delicious. It’s the perfect mix of sweet and tart, toeing the line between the flavor profile of a Dole Whip and Citrus Swirl. It’s refreshing and addictively good.
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 Guest Restaurant.
Here, you’ll temporarily find “Be Our Guest Presents The Grey Stuff Cupcake,” one of the iconic menu items from that restaurant. 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. It’s also home to LeFou’s Brew, if you haven’t already had enough sugar for one day.
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 choices that must make any list of great snacks in Magic Kingdom: Citrus Swirl and Dole Whip.
Both of these are as good as ever. Dole Whip is arguably not deserving of all the praise heaped upon it, but it’s still really good.
Both of these locations have several options beyond the tried and true favorites. For example, Sunshine Tree Terrace currently offers Orange Dole Whips and Strawberry Dole Whips.
Aloha Isle serves up a Kakamora Float, 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 Citrus Swirl or Pineapple Dole Whip.
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.
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.
Continuing our circle tour 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 the Mickey’s Kitchen Sink Sundae from Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. (Note: this is temporarily unavailable as the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor *just* reopened. For now, go with the Brownie Sundae below.)
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.
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!
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What are your favorite savory snacks and decadent desserts in Magic Kingdom? Do you agree or disagree with list of the best options? Any “extinct” Magic Kingdom snacks that you miss? 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!