Last Friday I went to the Met’s home opener. It’s my first season as a half season ticket holder and excited is an understatement. I decided to celebrate my first game with some ballpark food. After all, Citi Field packs a punch when it comes to food – Shake Shack, Blue Smoke and most recently, a new place called Fuku. Fuku is cranking out delicious chicken sandwiches and I decided to give it a try. While it wasn’t traditional ballpark food, this fried chicken thigh on a potato bun was amazing and really hit the spot.
Anyway, it got me thinking, what are some of the best ballpark-style spots in Disney. Of course, Disney has some outstanding restaurants, but sometimes you want some typical ballpark (or theme park) fare.
How can we not start with the most popular ballpark fare, from the most popular ballpark-themed spot? Casey’s Corner, located on the furthest corner of Main Street in Magic Kingdom. The quick service spot has an old-time baseball feel to it. The original restaurant featured wooden bleachers, but the indoor area has since been updated. The outdoor area presents an outstanding view of the castle. While the theming has an old baseball feel it it, the food is anything but dated. In fact, it’s inspired and modern, featuring an array of specialty hot dogs and my favorite: the corn dog nuggets.
I’ll be honest, the only thing I’ve ever had from Casey’s was the corn dog nuggets. I use up my one or two hot dog quota on July 4th. Yes, I realize the error in stating that I’ve had the corn dog nuggets but not the hot dogs. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t salivating at the hot dogs people are toting out of this spot! The specialty dogs feature a Chili-Cheese Dog, a Barbecue-Slaw Dog and a Polish Sausage.
The corn dog nuggets are probably my favorite. It was a snack we decided to grab on a whim and we really enjoyed them. The outside is fried, yet it has a cakey texture and almost tastes like a corn muffin. The salty and sweet element is definitely there, and there’s enough to serve the entire family! While it’s not a snack on the meal plan, at $5.49, it’s definitely a solid value.
While Casey’s Corner has some pretty tasty nachos, we’re heading elsewhere for this ballpark staple. For nachos we’re heading to La Cantina de San Angel, located in the Mexican Pavilion if EPCOT’s World Showcase. While I normally let me sweet tooth take over at EPCOT (and most of Walt Disney World, for that matter) La Cantina is a must-stop for my family. We normally save one day to eat around the World Showcase. This is typically a day in which we don’t have any set dining reservations, allowing us to eat what we want, when we want. We normally share with one another when possible, or decide on a consensus pick. This is one of them.
The quick service spot has both indoor and outdoor seating. The indoor area is a “secret spot” when it comes to viewing Illuminations, and presents a solid opportunity to cool down when it’s hot outside. But let’s get to the nachos! This is certainly as “ballpark-y” as it gets. The corn tortilla chips are topped with plastic cheese, ground beef and chopped jalapeños. You can also add guacamole at an additional cost. While it’s topped with your typical plastic cheese, the ground beef is well seasoned and the jalapeños certainly add a spice and crunch. The avocado is fresh and adds a nice creaminess that combats the spiciness of the jalapeños.
Of course Disney World is packed with soft pretzels. There’s the Mickey-shaped soft pretzels, there was the now-defunct stuffed pretzels and then there’s my favorite: the soft pretzel in the Germany pavilion of EPCOT’s World Showcase. There’s a bit of a strategy to getting the perfect pretzel. If you head to Germany and see the pretzel case nearly empty, wait. Pretzels in a less-than-half full case will more than likely be old and a little stale tasting. Instead, wait for new, freshly baked pretzels to be brought out.
These babies are like Auntie Anne’s on steroids. They’re soft, slightly buttery and topped with the perfect amount of salt. They’re big, which makes them perfect for sharing. At $4.29, these large pretzels can easily feed two; and it makes a great value as a snack on the meal plan.
Pick up a pretzel and wash it down with a grapefruit beer, found at a nearby beer cart. It’s the perfect salty and sweet snack that’s ballpark ready!
“Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks…” – we all know the song. Does anything beat the smell of candied nuts throughout the Walt Disney World parks? The smell of cinnamon and brown sugar may be my favorite smell at Walt Disney World (outside of the water in Pirates and Small World.) Most carts sell both the glazed almonds and pecans. I’m partial to the pecans, because I love pecans. I believe they cost $4.75 and count as a snack on the dining plan, making them a great value.
Sure, you can get some awesome ice cream at Ghiradelli or Beaches and Cream, but not the kind you’d find at a ballpark. I’m talking novelty or a cup or cone. While it’s a cult favorite, I can’t bring myself to buy the Mickey Ears ice cream. Sure, it’s adorable and unique to Disney, but at the end of the day it’s simply an eskimo pie. The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor cranks out some delicious sundaes, but it’s made with Edy’s ice cream. Sorry if that kills the magic.
My favorite spot for ice cream, if you can call it that, is the gelato shop in the France Pavilion of EPCOT’s World Showcase. L’Artisan des Glaces is churning some of the most decadent, creamy gelato in all of Walt Disney World. The shop features both cups or cones, or even a pressed panini ice cream sandwich. The shop is home to over a dozen flavors, including sorbet and seasonal flavors. I’m a huge fan of the coconut white chocolate flavor in a fresh waffle cone. It’s perfect on a warm summer night, right before Illuminations.
So there you have it, my favorite ballpark-style snacks. What’s your go-to ballpark fare at Walt Disney World?