Gideon’s Bakehouse is a dessert shop famous for the best cookies in Florida…and maybe the US. In this Walt Disney World dining review, we’ll share food photos and how the Disney Springs location from Orlando’s best bakery stacks up to the competition. (Updated January 16, 2021.)
After soft opening at the end of last year, Gideon’s Bakehouse held its grand opening on January 16, 2021. If you’re planning on visiting anytime soon, be warned that the waits are long. On opening day, the virtual queue closed before 11 am, with return times quoted at 12 hours just prior to the line filling. That puts even Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance to shame!
We were at Disney Springs earlier this week to review the new Everglazed Donuts & Cold Brew, and the line for Gideon’s was long–but not nearly that long. Opening day always draws diehard fans, making it something of an anomaly, but we’d still strongly recommend visiting Disney Springs early in the day. Lines will die down eventually, but Gideon’s Bakehouse will be popular for years to come given the quality, as we discuss in this review…
Suffice to say, we’re huge fans of Gideon’s Bakehouse, and have been anxiously awaiting its opening at Disney Springs for a while. Their original East End Market location in Orlando is a serious pilgrimage for us–requiring a 2+ hour round trip commute–but one we nonetheless make to stockpile cookies. We usually spend around $50 per visit, but went all out on our first visit to the new Disney Springs location, dropping $70 on delicious desserts and drinks.
Before we get to the items we bought, we want to briefly address the backstory and practicalities of the Gideon’s location at Disney Springs. The bakery is currently using a virtual queue, which is comparable to those in use at some restaurants and retail locations at Walt Disney World. You sign-in outside the entrance and get a text message when it’s time to return. If you’ve ever been out to eat anywhere, you probably know the drill.
Since the Gideon’s Bakehouse location at Disney Springs is still brand new, it’ll likely have long waits and use a virtual queue for a while. No surprise there, as their regular Orlando spot also can draw big crowds from time to time, too. This will likely be even more pronounced at Walt Disney World, as there will be a steady stream of guests to whom Gideon’s is new every single day of the year. Expect multi-hour waits for a while on evenings, weekends, or during peak season.
Our recommendation would be to go first thing in the morning, and check-in at Gideon’s Bakehouse immediately upon arrival at Disney Springs. Then do your other shopping or grab a meal (saving plenty of room for dessert, obviously) while you’re waiting for your turn to join the queue. At least this virtual queue actually works and doesn’t fill up for the day within seconds! 😉
Something that did catch us by surprise is the art direction, interior design, and backstory at Gideon’s Bakehouse. Having been to virtually every restaurant and retail location that has opened at Disney Springs in the last ~5 years, we had low expectations on this front.
Disney Springs is fairly formulaic–a consistent aesthetic and repurposed style that’s explained via elaborate backstory. Gideon’s Bakehouse continues this pattern but with a fresh perspective and pretty big twist.
Per the Gideon’s Bakehouse website: “There appears to be a deep and complicated history of the building we inhabit at our Disney Springs location. We’ve managed to uncover some interesting information about the original owner of our vintage space…and it feels like he is unveiling more to us as we rebuild what once was. Care to know more? Visit us in our new location and ask us what we’ve learned. More of the story unfolds with each passing week.”
We haven’t yet had a chance to see the backstory unfold or inquire about it, but Gideon’s has shared some tidbits via social media. What we’ve gleaned from that and our visit is that the location was previously Lindwurm Bookseller, which was owned by Jonathan Lindwurm, a purveyor of rare books and antiquities.
If I had to describe the vibe of Gideon’s Bakehouse in a nutshell, it would be Haunted Mansion meets the Wizarding World of Harry Potter meets Pop Gallery and Funko Pops. It feels mysterious and supernatural, drawing inspiration from Victorian and Gothic styles, plus folklore and the occult.
I could do without the portions that feel influenced by Pop Gallery and Funko Pops. The artistic sensibility of those feels at odds with the gothic realism of the Jonathan Lindwurm portrait and interior design. That’s simply my preference–I love the look of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Haunted Mansion, but have less affinity for those other things.
Regardless, the appearance of Gideon’s Bakehoue is a breath of fresh air as compared to other recent retail and dining additions to Walt Disney World in the last several years. We’ve repeatedly derided the common Disney Springs style that looks like “rustic hipsters move into an old barn and find some eclectic decor on clearance at Anthropologie.” That’s uninspired and has been played out for some time.
Elements of the style at Gideon’s Bakehouse may not be to my personal tastes, but that’s my problem. The vibe, atmosphere, and look are all undeniably ambitious and culminate in a moody and immersive experience. It’s powerfully evocative, and is praiseworthy for that. (These photos don’t even begin to do it justice–I did a really poor job.) Kudos to the design team on this one. Other Operating Participants and Imagineering should take notes.
Speaking of personal tastes, we’ve found the two of us seldom agree on what’s best at Gideon’s Bakehouse. We also often find ourselves surprised by what we each love, defying the menu descriptions and our normal individual preferences. Prior to first trying the cookies a few years ago, we were both skeptical they’d live up to the hype and apprehensive about the abundance of chocolate chips.
However, Gideon’s Bakehouse does live up to the hype, and often subverts expectations. You really need to try a few random varieties for yourself to see which ones you prefer. The good news is that when it comes to these cookies, there’s only varying degrees of great–nothing is bad or even average. With that important caveat out of the way (and admission that this review is basically pointless), here are some photos, descriptions, and tasting notes…
Let’s get the seasonal ones out of the way first, starting with Santa’s White Christmas Cookie. Here’s the official description: “Santa’s White Christmas Cookie has become a yearly favorite! This White Chocolate Chip Cookie is filled with notes of Coconut, Sweet Caramel, Vanilla, and Nutty Flavors. We take it a step further by adding freshly ground White Christmas coffee beans throughout the Cookie. Cookie Elves then add the crunch of coarse sugar, our signature sea salt, and a pinch of Christmas glitter!”
One of the few cookies we had not previously had from Gideon’s Bakehouse, this is a good way to start because it underscores how difficult it is to describe Gideon’s cookies. It’s basically the Nutcracker in cookie form, a Christmas ballet of sweet and savory flavors. Also, each bite is a little different, with prevailing flavors being vanilla and white chocolate.
Next, the Cookie Vom Krampus. Official description: “All the goodness of our rich and velvety Triple Chocolate Cookie (which is really five kinds of chocolate) with the added bonus of cool and refreshing chopped Andes Mint (which makes it SIX kinds of chocolate)! During the 24 hour process we take to make our Cookies, that mint soaks into every ounce of that almost 1/2 pound ball of chocolate dough creating the perfect chocolate mint experience with every bite! Krampus shows up every December to step on Santa’s fun.”
I’m a huge fan of Christmas folklore (my favorite is Jólakötturinn, the Icelandic Yule Cat that eats kids who don’t finish their chores and get new clothes before Christmas) so the name of this alone scratches me right where I itch. I’m also a total sucker for mint. I absolutely love this, but it usually takes me a couple of days to eat a single cookie because it’s so chocolatey and indulgent. Definitely the richest cookie we’ve had from Gideon’s.
The only other new-to-us cookie is the Coffee Cake Cookie. This is described as “an extra Buttery Vanilla Bean Cookie filled with Cinnamon Strudel and topped with our Homemade Double Baked Butter Crumbs! Buttery. Crunchy. Extraordinary. Built to be paired with an Iced Coffee. A perfect start for your morning. A relaxing part of your evening.”
This has the exterior consistency of traditional coffee cake, plus the interior of a cinnamon roll blended with cookie batter. The exterior texture is crunchy, which gives away to a perfect gooey center. It’s absolutely fantastic, and a great option for those turned off by the more chip-heavy cookies. All of Gideon’s cookies are buttery, but this one is really buttery. It’s Sarah’s new favorite cookie, dethroning the next one…
For our last cookie, a familiar favorite: the Pistachio Toffee Chocolate Chip. Description: “A long-standing favorite in our community, this flavorful Cookie mixes our favorite chocolate chips with crunchy toffee pieces. Top that off with lightly salted pistachios and perfection is achieved. Sweet and Salty. Soft and Crunchy. Known for being our most sophisticated and addictive flavor, this is the Cookie that the Orlando Weekly suggests you try first.”
We’ll second that endorsement of having this be your first pick at Gideon’s Bakehouse. I never would’ve imagined loving a pistachio-toffee-chocolate chip cookie so much, but the flavors meld together beautifully. It’s ambitious but also approachable. This is now Sarah’s second-favorite cookie. My personal favorite is the Cookies & Cream, which we did not get at Disney Springs. (My other favorite is the Frankenstein, exclusive to October.)
Switching to the cakes, we have the Peanut Butter Cup Cake Slice. While they’re not unique to the Disney Springs location, this was our first time ever having Gideon’s cake. In the past, we’ve never been able to bring ourselves to compromise on getting fewer cookies, so we’ve skipped the cake.
Frankly, that was a colossal mistake and having to order this for the sake of “research” forced us to see the error of our ways. This is gloriously decadent, with moist chocolate cake and ridiculously creamy and smooth peanut butter frosting. Unlike the cookies, this tastes exactly how you’d imagine, and is the best conceivable version of a peanut butter cup anything.
We also ordered the Double Frosted Cake Slice. Official description: “A Gideon’s Exclusive! It’s no secret that we’re a little Buttercream obsessed, so we’ve created a line of Double Frosted Cakes! That’s right! 3 Layer Cakes covered in two complementary layers of Buttercream. Maybe the greatest thing ever in the history of ever.”
Another fantastic cake, with a balanced chocolate mocha flavor. As with the other, the quality here is off the charts and the serving is colossal. A highly recommended, indulgent, and shareable dessert. We preferred the PB Cup Cake, but both were exceptional. While these cake slices are both worth the money, if you’re on a budget, you should stick to the cookies. They’re still the star of the show at Gideon’s.
We also ordered two nitro cold brew coffees on tap: Ginger Snap and the Original Peanut Butter Cold Brew.
It had been a while since Sarah has had any caffeine, and she quickly went from being a bit tired and quiet to being quite animated, hyped, and chatty about her Ginger Snap Cold Brew. In fairness, both of these cold brews were excellent, but she was about ready to RIP THINGS IN HALF in celebration of her coffee. (I also enjoyed my Peanut Butter Cold Brew, but we both preferred the Ginger Snap. As with the cakes, highly recommended, but allocate your budget to the cookies if forced to choose.)
Finally, a quick word on pricing. As noted at the top of the post, we dropped ~$70 during our first visit to the Disney Springs location of Gideon’s Bakehouse. Each cookie is $6 and the cake slices are $9. All of these are shareable–definitely not single servings. We usually eat one-third or half of a cookie in one sitting, and it takes us several weeks to get through our stockpile. (Gideon’s cookies freeze really well.) Suffice to say, everything at Gideon’s Bakehouse is worth the money.
Ultimately, Gideon’s Bakehouse will go down as our #2 new thing of the year at Walt Disney World after this little beauty. These cookies have won countless awards and they’re truly the best we’ve ever had; it’s great to see a local success story be spotlighted at Walt Disney World. Even better that the detail and atmosphere of its location puts almost everywhere else at Disney Springs to shame. Beyond that, these render pretty much every other cookie or cake at Walt Disney World obsolete, as you can have something superior for about the same price. Gideon’s Bakehouse is absolutely worth your time and money–plus your stomach, luggage, and freezer space!
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Have you had Gideon’s Bakehouse? Do you agree that it’s the greatest cookie in the world? What’s your favorite menu item? Excited to see the shop add a location at Disney Springs? Do you agree or disagree with our commentary? 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!