The Crescent Lake Ice Cream Crawl
Ask me which Walt Disney World Resort hotel is my favorite and my answer is simple: I don’t have a favorite! Each resort offers something unique that makes it impossible for me to choose a favorite. How can I even begin to compare the African themed Animal Kingdom Lodge to the Art of Animation? With over 20 resort hotels to choose from, Walt Disney World is fully equipped with an enormous selection in the ‘accommodations’ category which is pretty daunting if you’re trying to choose which hotel is right for you and your family.
Ask me which Walt Disney World Resort hotel is my favorite to stay at, and my answer is much more definitive: any of the 3 situated around Crescent Lake. Pop quiz: name the 3 resort hotels located along the shores of Crescent Lake. Got your answers? The correct answer is Disney’s Boardwalk, Yacht, and Beach Club Resorts! I love to stay at these resorts for their proximity to Epcot and Hollywood Studios (you can literally walk to both park entrances) but I also have a selfish hidden agenda that keeps me coming back to these resorts time and time again…ice cream!
I Scream for Ice Cream!
Ice cream is my favorite dessert hands down. I’m from the Northeast where most people choose warm desserts and pastries over ice cream, but friends and family are never surprised to find me holding a cone in the middle of winter! I will agree with the majority that ice cream does indeed taste better on a hot Florida day, and when my ice cream cravings hit at Disney World, I head straight for Crescent Lake! Come with me as we take a grand circle tour of the lake and discover all of the ice cream wonders in store for you!
A Frozen Flight
Starting off with a New York classic, Ample Hills is located at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort right between ESPN and the Boardwalk Bakery. The homemade ice cream company started in Brooklyn, and its shop at Disney’s Boardwalk marked the first out-of-NY-state spot for this creamery. If you’re in the mood for a classic or want to venture off the beaten path and try something a little bit more wild, Ample Hills has all of that and more waiting for you.
With so many flavors on this menu its really tough to choose just one. A great solution I’ve found cures all indecisive minds is the ice cream flight. Choose any 6 flavors you wish. The scoops are about the size of a ping pong ball, and you can mix and match as many or as few flavors as you like! I recommend reserving at least one mini scoop for the Disney’s Boardwalk exclusive flavor Sally Sells Seashells. Orange marshmallow ice cream plays the starring role in this creation in a not so subtle nod to the longtime beach favorite cream sickle ice cream pops. The ice cream here is very rich even for me, so smaller portions are a good way to go.
A Nontraditional Ice Cream Sandwich
Next up on our tour, we head to the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort. While not officially Walt Disney Resort hotels, the Swan and Dolphin are Disney-affiliated, heck, their location is one of the best for easy park access. Inside, The Fountain is a go-to spot for sandwiches, salads, burgers, and classic theme park fare you’d expect to find when you’re on vacation. If you’re looking for a grab and go lunch on your way to the parks, this is a good option.
Main courses aside, the real draw of this place is the ice cream! If you’re longing for a two scoop cone, a classic hot fudge sundae, or any other traditional ice cream treat you can find it here, but head to Ample Hills for richer, better-tasting ‘plain’ scoops. The real draw of The Fountain is their play on a Panini, in ice cream form! Snugly pressed in the center of a sweet bun, you get your choice of flavor, hazelnut or chocolate crunch, and grilled cherries!
Everything but the…
I of course saved the best for last on this ice cream tour of Crescent Lake, and our final stop takes us to the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. Directly behind the sand-bottom pool is where we’re headed, to Beaches and Cream Soda Shop! This traditional, 1960’s Jersey shore boardwalk era eatery is a hidden gem passed over by all too many resort guests. Its understated entrance and tiny, tiny dining area- think 6 tables- make it easy to overlook, and hard to book a reservation.
If you’re lucky enough to have snagged a reservation here, you’d better come hungry because you must order the Kitchen Sink! Featuring endless scoops of ice cream, wacky toppings, and finished with an entire can of whipped cream, this sundae is certainly meant to share. You can only order the Kitchen Sink if you’re sitting inside the restaurant- you can’t order it from the take away window.
If you don’t have a reservation though, don’t worry too much about the Kitchen Sink, you’re probably going to end up with better tasting ice cream! My favorite of all the desserts from Beaches and Cream is the fudge mudslide. Even if I’m sitting inside for a meal, I’ll order this over the Kitchen Sink any day! It’s exactly what it sounds like: warm brownies, three scoops (!) of your choice of ice cream flavors, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, a cherry, and Oreo cookies. The brownies are almost like a dense chocolate cake, the ice cream is always nice and hard, and the rivers of hot fudge that pool at the bottom of the cup ensure your last bites to be the best!
You can get a soft serve cup or cone seemingly anywhere you turn at WDW, but the hand scooped stuff (aka real ice cream) is much more elusive than it should be. It all becomes clear why I prefer the Crescent Lake Resorts. I can get real scoops of ice cream at three different locations, all within walking distance of each other! Prepare your taste buds and try the Crescent Lake ice cream crawl the next time you’re staying at Walt Disney World Resort, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed! Which ice cream stop at WDW is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!