A quick PSA before we get started: The 180-Day ADR window is open for many people vacationing in Disney during the month of December. For my fellow Christmas week guests: our window opens in 10 days!
Walt Disney World brings out the best in people. I’ve always loved how, after arriving at Orlando International Airport, you wave goodbye to the outside world and board the Magical Express. When you step foot off the Magical Express, you’re fully engrossed in a whole different reality. Everyone is smiling and wishing you a good morning or afternoon; people have a little extra pep in their step and it seems as though everything going on in the “real world” is inexistent. Disney, in one way or another, is an altered reality. I mean, where else do you go to a hotel and hope to see a mouse?!
I’m a different person at Disney World. Almost every other day of the year I’m a healthy eater. I workout almost every day; I eat whole, nutrient-dense foods and avoid most sugar and I limit my alcoholic drinks to the weekend. But at Disney, I’m on vacation—in the happiest place on earth!
As a result, I throw my diet to the wind and really enjoy myself. I eat things I’d normally feel “guilty” enjoying, I have a drink or two (or four) throughout the week and I spend the money I wouldn’t normally spend. Here are some of my truly guilty pleasures:
- Tipsy Duck in Love, China Pavilion, EPCOT
I love coffee. I drink around 32 ounces every morning. I’m sipping a big iced coffee as I type this. I believe Joffrey’s coffee was the best thing to happen to Disney resorts and while I resisted Starbucks in the parks at first, I now welcome it with open arms. I normally start my day with a coffee. I fill one of the foam cups provided in the rooms with Joffrey’s coffee in the food court and I’m on my merry way. Not when we go to EPCOT, though. At EPCOT, I make the China pavilion my first stop. I order a Tipsy Duck in Love, a blend of Chinese black tea and coffee, blended with Bourbon Whiskey and chocolate, then topped with whipped cream. Not only am I consuming an alcoholic beverage before noon, but one topped with whipped cream! The taste is out of this world, though and reminds me a bit of a Black Russian drink.
The bourbon only equates to about a shot and it’s certainly not enough to get you drunk in the parks. Rather, it’s a nice little pick-me-up. They also serve a non-alcoholic version of the Tipsy Duck in Love, but where’s the fun in that?
2. Cinnamon Roll, Gaston’s Tavern and Boardwalk Bakery
A few weeks ago I talked about the beloved Main Street Bakery and its gigantic cinnamon roll. After the bakery was closed, we turned to Gaston’s for the towering confection. I’m a firm believer in a nutritious breakfast. I enjoy fruit, eggs and the occasional protein shake as my first meal. At Disney, I devour a big cinnamon roll with extra icing. Gaston’s is pretty good, but it’s a definitely downgrade from the Main Street Bakery version.
As I mentioned in the past, we’ll be staying at the Beach Club resort this year. I plan on swinging by the Boardwalk Bakery at least once for this bad boy, which was beautifully reviewed by our friends at DisneyFoodBlog. I will warn you—I had a cinnamon roll from Gaston’s a few years ago on Christmas morning and I had a pretty rough sugar crash in the afternoon!
3. Fried Chicken, 50’s Prime Time Cafe
Normally, I prefer my chicken grilled. At Disney, I like it fried—and when I’m in the mood for fried chicken, I head to 50’s Prime Time Cafe! This old-school themed spot is cooking up some serious comfort food—just like mom made it (and just like your rule-laden grandmother would serve it.) You’ll need to be on your best behavior as you feast on this towering plate of fried chicken goodness! Finish everything on your plate and end your meal with a PB&J milkshake!
4. Banana Bread Pudding, ‘Ohana
You’ve just spent an entire meal stuffing your face with chicken wings, pot stickers, lo mein, shrimp, chicken and more! You’re stuffed to the gills. Someone needs to come and roll you out of the restaurant. Then something happens. Your server places a brick-sized portion of ooey-gooey, spongy bread pudding next to a large scoop of vanilla ice cream at the center of your table. “I can’t eat another bite” you think to yourself. Then she pours the hot banana caramel sauce over the dish. Immediately, the vanilla ice cream starts to melt, combining with the sauce to create a creamy soup at the bottom of the plate.
“Okay, I can eat a little more” you say.
The serving of the Banana Bread Pudding at ‘Ohana is an experience in and of itself. It’s downright dirty—it’s quite literally food porn. The texture of the bread pudding is spot on. It has a soft, spongy texture that’s rich and creamy like custard, with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. The caramel sauce and bananas add even more sweetness. I’m a huge fan of the almond crusted cheesecake at Narcoossee’s, but this is a close second!
5. No Way Jose, Beaches and Cream
Here’s something you may have not known about me: I once ate an entire kitchen sink at Friendly’s… by myself… in under 15 minutes. It was the point in my life that I realized I needed to embrace a healthier lifestyle. Years later, the No Way Jose is my new “kitchen sink.” Right around 3 scoops of ice cream, this chalice of ice cream is drenched in peanut butter sauce and hot fudge, then liberally topped with chocolate and peanut butter morsels, whipped cream and a cherry. It’s a lot of ice cream and I found myself topping out with around a quarter of the dish left. Calling the ice cream “filling” is an understatement. For an ice cream fanatic like myself, it’s the guiltiest of guilty pleasures!
What’s your guilty pleasure(s) at Walt Disney World?