Coast to Coast Disney Ice Cream Showdown
I am very proud that I’ve successfully snuck the mention of my favorite Disney ice cream treats into over 50 articles. I’ve reviewed, I’ve judged, I’ve scrutinized, I’ve enjoyed, I’ve recommended, and most difficult of all, I’ve tasted my way through more cones and sundaes than I can even begin to tally. I have my preferences, but I don’t discriminate when it comes to ice cream…in fact, I’m SUCH an ice cream fanatic that whenever I’m with my friends, be it on a shopping trip or a night on the town, the running joke is always aimed at me: “she’s up for anything, as long as we get ice cream after”!
I’m lucky in that I get to travel to Walt Disney World on a more than regular basis, and recently I’ve been toying with the idea of heading to the opposite coast to re-visit the original Park that put Disney on the map. It’s been a few years since I last visited Disneyland, and like all good Disney vacationers do, I’ve been researching and planning my upcoming trip for some time now and have found my recent dreams to be filled with fantastical ice cream creations from years ago.
After some very personal and very vigilant dream analysis, I’ve realized the frozen dairy treats that have been on my brain are the ones I enjoyed the last time I visited Disneyland Resort! Does one coast have a more extensive ice cream offering than the other, or are both of the stateside Disney Resorts equal in their ice creamy concoctions? Let’s find out!
Classic Hot Fudge
I’ll start with the sundae that I’ve eaten so, so many times, I’m a little surprised it hasn’t been named in my honor yet. The Fudge Mud Slide from Beaches and Cream is my favorite big-enough-to-share, small-enough-to-finish-yourself sundae on Property. The sundae is built unconventionally, and the hot fudge/brownie base is topped with 3 scoops of your choice of ice cream and finished off with hot fudge and whipped cream!
The Disneyland equivalent that I remember from my last trip came straight from the kitchen of the famed Carnation Café. Technically, I ordered the banana hot fudge sundae, but being that I’m allergic to bananas and wanted to avoid anaphylaxis on my trip, I asked for the bananas to be left off. What I was presented with was a true hot fudge sundae with three scoops of ice cream topped off with thick and drippy hot fudge that ever so perfectly melted the frozen scoops of ice cream that I devoured in (maybe less than) 5 minutes flat.
If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a ‘hand scooped’ ice cream kind of girl. Soft-serve is fine, but why waste your time on a machine-made, already-melty cone when you can order one from your local McDonalds? Case in point, definitely opt for hand-scooped cups and cones when you visit the Disney Parks! Starting in California this time, I love to pop into the quant and memory-evoking Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor on the original Main Street USA. While the architecture will remind Disney World-ers of the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, this original pulls at the heartstrings- and taste buds- in the way that only a true original can. Give me a house-made waffle cone filled with clean and simple vanilla, and I’ll be licking and smiling all the way down Main Street USA!
Back in Florida, my favorite place to grab a scoop is at Hollywood Scoops in Hollywood Studios! I love this spot because not only is it the one place you can get hand-dipped ice cream inside the Park, but its location at the foot of the Hollywood Tower Hotel guarantees one of the best ice cream eating views I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. The last time- ok, the last four times- I’ve visited, I ordered a plain and simple chocolate scoop. Classic, creamy, refreshing, and delicious.
Mini Kitchen Sink
I always laugh when I see a guest walking through the parks awkwardly carrying a licked-clean, sink-shaped bowl in the likeness of Mickey Mouse’s pants- but not because I think it’s silly…because I’ve been there! Next time you visit Magic Kingdom, head to Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and order a mini Mickey sink. You’re in charge here and can choose chocolate, peanut butter, or caramel sauce to top off two hand-scooped ice cream flavors of your choice. Creativity is what its all about here, though recently I’ve fallen into a pattern of ordering cookies and cream ice cream topped with chocolate sauce…so good!
The Disneyland equivalent of the Mickey sinks comes from Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream at Disney’s California Adventure. Clarabelle’s might have the upper hand on the sinks, because there are five decadently delicious options for you to choose from! Chocolate chip cookie, mocha hot fudge, strawberry…I’m drooling on my keyboard just thinking about all of the options! I’m still undecided on which of these massive desserts I’m going to order when I go to Clarabelle’s; do you have a favorite?
Two memories of my last trip out west are very vivid: the amazing Nightmare Before Christmas overlay on the Haunted Mansion, and the house-made chocolate chunk cookie sundae from the Golden Horseshoe. I don’t know how else to describe this other than HEAVEN.
When I ordered mine, the cookie came served warm, and the ice cream melted just enough to seep through the cracks of the soft-baked cookie. The chunks of rich dark chocolate swirled with that creamy ice cream was mind-blowing enough to stick out in my mind as though I had just eaten it yesterday, so do yourself a favor and order it!
In my opinion, there is one and only cookie/ice cream combination worth the indulgence in Florida, and it comes from Liberty Tree Tavern. A freshly-baked warm, hugely thick, warm, chocolate chip-studded, warm, toffee flavored, warm cookie is what garners this dish all of the high praise and is definitely what has earned it its deserved Disney snack fame.
The scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauces and topped with crushed bits of toffee and shaved dark chocolate definitely help. You can only get this dessert after dining at Liberty Tree Tavern…but the all-you-care-to-enjoy meal is certainly not a hard sacrifice to have to make! With all this talk of ice cream, I think I have to go to my local scoop shop and order the biggest sundae on the menu, so only a few questions remain…have you tried any of these ice cream treats? Do you think Disneyland or Walt Disney World has a better selection of ice creams? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
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