Fairytale castle, magical rides, amazing fireworks, and the yummiest food – that’s what Disney dreams are made of! The nostalgia-inducing Disney World may be the happiest place on earth, but it hides some pretty interesting food secrets. Here are 10 relatively unknown Disney World food facts that will surprise you!
10. Millions of Mickey bars are sold each year!
While Disney World is any child’s dream holiday destination, it can be quite stressful for adults to navigate through the four theme parks, over a dozen resorts, and more than 45 rides where the wait times can sometimes be extremely long. Luckily, there are plenty of snacking options to keep everyone in the family charged up and may we say, even pleasantly occupied! And one of the most popular options at the happiest place on earth is the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar, though most people just call it the ‘Mickey Bar’. This drool-worthy bar is simply a chocolate-coated vanilla ice cream bar in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. So awesome looking is the Mickey Premium Bar that it is one of the most photographed Disney World snacks. The Instagram-worthy Mickey bar is so popular that nearly 3.5 million of these frozen treats are sold across Disney World each year! And in the sweltering Florida summers, these addictive bars sell like hot cakes. If you want to get your hands on one of these bars, you don’t have to look far, for they are sold at kiosks and carts throughout Disney World. Heck, as of 2019, you can even buy them at your local grocery store! In honor of Mickey’s 90th birthday, Disney announced in January 2019 that Mickey Premium Bars would be available at select grocery stores for a limited time. Here’s a bit of history on these ice-cold treats: it is believed that the Mickey Bars were first introduced in 1985 as regular oval-shaped ice cream bars, but they were redesigned into the iconic Mickey shapes in the 1990s. To the delight of fans, Disney World sometimes comes up with variations too, like the Mickey Premium Bar Krispy, which was made in collaboration with Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. This altered Mickey Bar had the usual chocolate covered bar in the shape of Mickey’s face but with white chocolate ice cream melting from one ear, which was meant to look like someone had already bitten off a piece of the ice cream bar!
9. People really, really love the Jumbo Turkey Legs!
Right up there with the famous Mickey Premium Bar and Mickey Pretzel is another best-selling item at Disney World – the Jumbo Turkey Leg. And it is aptly named ‘Jumbo’, for it is indeed quite large. For some, it could even be a meal in itself! While the jumbo turkey leg looks like a hulking piece of meat, you can rest assured that it is well within the range of an acceptable serving size, nothing more than what you would expect to find on your Thanksgiving dinner table. This delicious drumstick has had its fair share of controversy. A rumor that did the rounds was that the Jumbo Turkey Legs at Disney World were not turkey legs at all, and that they were in fact made from emu! Disney World has rubbished these rumors. Some have even insinuated that the turkey legs tasted like ham. There might be some truth in that, but only that the turkey legs are cured in a marinade that is typically used for curing ham. The sticky glazed turkey legs are one of the most beloved concessions at Disney World and are widely available across the park. But this was not the case in the 1980s when these turkey drumsticks were first introduced at Disney World; they were only sold at one food cart in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom. So popular are the Jumbo Turkey Legs now that visitors consume about 1.4 million of them each year! And considering the fact that it takes about 6 hours to cook each leg, it is sure to be one tasty treat! Die-hard fans of the Jumbo Turkey Leg can even buy turkey leg t-shirts at Disney World.
8. No gum at Disney World!
One of the strangest food facts about Disney World has to be their no gum rule. Whether you are looking for some gum to freshen up your breath or a piece of bubble gum for some good old-fashioned bubble blowing fun, you would be hard pressed to find gum of any kind in Disney World. Officially, Disney World does not sell gum anywhere on the park premises. It is, in fact, a banned sale item throughout the various Disney parks and resorts, including Disney World and Disneyland. But while you can’t really buy gum in Disney World, there’s no rule against bringing in your own. Just be mindful to not spit it out on the street or leave it under a table or chair – yuck! You would be advised to dispose of it at the nearest trashcan, which, incidentally, won’t be more than 30 steps away at Disney World. Cleanliness is serious business at Disney World! The ban was apparently a brainchild of the great Walt Disney himself. He wanted to ensure that the park grounds were clean and tidy. He did not want gum stuck on the streets or anywhere else. That was quite insightful of him for nobody likes stepping on chewing gum! On a side note, you won’t see any plastic drinking cup lids, straws or even balloons at the Animal Kingdom in Disney World. For the folks at Disney World really do care for their animals – they don’t want any of the plastic stuff to accidentally end up in the animal habitats. So if you ask for a drink at the Animal Kingdom, be fully prepared to get it in a cup sans lid and a plastic straw. You could ask for a cardboard straw though.
7. Disney World grows Mickey-shaped veggies!
One of the kingdoms/parks at Disney World is the EPCOT Center. EPCOT stands for ‘Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow’, but is popularly known as just ‘Epcot’. Walt Disney envisioned it as a futuristic model of community living that was completely self-reliant, sustainable and free from all forms of modern society trappings. Epcot is clearly visible even from afar for it is a giant geodesic sphere that is now home to many theme park rides. Besides it entertainment attractions, the Epcot also has vast areas where Disney ‘Imagineers’ (Disney term for imaginative designers, thinkers, and researchers who work at the park) sustainably grow their own vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc. And just like almost everything else at Disney World, Mickey Mouse has left his stamp on the fresh produce too. The brilliant Imagineers at Epcot have devised an ingenious method to create cucumbers with Mickey Mouse ears, where ordinary cucumbers are passed through a special Mickey-shaped tube as they are growing on the vines in the greenhouses at Epcot. To a layperson, they may look like oddly shaped cucumbers, but when thinly sliced, they have the perfect shape of Mickey Mouse’s head! Reportedly, Disney Imagineers use the same technique to grow other Mickey shaped veggies and fruits too! And you can enjoy these Mickey cucumbers and veggies in a fresh salad at the Garden Grill Restaurant. Thanks to the Epcot, Disney World is quite self-sufficient in its production of about 30 tons of fresh produce every year, which is supplied to all the restaurants on the park premises.
6. Delicious scents everywhere at Disney World!
If you’ve ever been confounded by the delicious scents wafting through the air at Disney World, then you’re not alone! Many visitors often report smelling sweet fragrances vaguely reminiscent of baked goods at various spots throughout Disney World. And more so on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, which has an enchanting smell of sweet and delicate vanilla. It is widely believed that the famous Disney Imagineers use ‘Smellitzer’ machines to emit a fragrant vanilla scent through vents hidden across Main Street. This fragrance changes to peppermint around the Christmas holidays. So what you smell is not actual food or your imagination gone wild, it is actually an artificial ambiance-creating scent designed to put you in a deliciously happy mood. Employees at Disney World say that this was another one of Walt Disney’s ideas who was a master of creating experiences using a range of sensory mediums. Disney Imagineers believe that infusing special scents at the various attractions of the park enhances your experience and helps you create delightful, evocative memories. As such, many areas, rides and attractions have been given a unique smell. For example, there is a distinct popcorn smell at the main entrance of the park, and sea spray and old wood smell at the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. But not all smells are artificial; some can be attributed to genuine cooking smells emanating from the various restaurants, food carts, and kiosks that are scattered across Disney World.
5. No food wasted thanks to the Disney Harvest Program
With over 400 restaurants and food carts at Disney World, the amount of food consumed each day at Disney World is quite staggering. And even larger is the amount of food that is left unconsumed every day. But the good people at Disney do not believe in letting any leftovers go to waste. They have the Disney Harvest Program to manage and donate the reportedly 700,000 pounds of leftover food from all the restaurants, kiosks, and food carts across Disney World. Working in partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Disney World donates and delivers unused food items like salad fixings, filet mignon steaks, fresh produce, and many other food items to feed the hungry and homeless in Central Florida. Started in 1991, the Disney Harvest Program has dedicated Disney Harvest trucks to deliver food donations to the various food banks under the Second Harvest Food Bank umbrella. Disney is committed to giving back to the community and help end hunger in its immediate vicinity. Spreading happiness both within and without its premises, Disney World is truly an asset to society.
4. Popcorn and churros are eaten a lot!
With a mind-boggling variety of food items numbering well over 6000 at the various Disney World restaurants, cafés, food carts, and kiosks, picking just one or two items to snack on can be quite a task! But one of the easiest, most convenient and popular food options at Disney World is their popcorn. So popular is it that about 5 million popcorn servings are sold at Disney World each year, which is about 322,00 pounds of uncooked kernels! Of all the popular snack options at Disney World, churros are the ones that appear the most on the Instagram profiles of visitors. People really do love their churros. According to some reports, about 3,800,000 churros are sold every year at Disney World. And ‘limited time only’ versions of churros like rose gold churros, lightsaber churros, gold churros, and pumpkin spice churros sell out almost instantaneously. Here’s a fun fact about Disney World Churros: if all the churros sold at Disney World were laid out in a single file, they would form a 954-mile long line!
3. There is a secret menu at Disney World too!
Just like most other famous chain restaurants, Disney World has a secret menu too. If you’ve already had the popular Disney World snacks and treats like Mickey Waffles, Jumbo Turkey Leg, Mickey Premium Bar, churros, popcorn, etc. and just want to try something new, there are many other secret items that you can try at the restaurants and food carts here. Even though they are not officially listed on the menus, employees will definitely make these secret menu items for you; all you have to do is ask! According to Disney World food experts, the tart and sweet All Citrus Swirl at Magic Kingdom’s Sunshine Terrace restaurant is a must-try secret menu item. It is said to be even better (and healthier) than the well-known Citrus Swirl since it is made from pure orange juice. Other highly recommended secret items are The Golden Horseshoe restaurant’s delicious-sounding Ice Cream Nachos, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn’s Nachos Rio Grande that can easily feed a large group or the Candied Bacon Cheeseburger at the All-Star Movies Resort World Premiere food court.
2. The secret of the Enchanted Tiki Room
The Polynesian-themed Enchanted Tiki Room is a very unique attraction at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. It is an audio-animatronic show presented by over 225 lifelike exotic birds, flowers, totem poles, and other electronic performers. But the Enchanted Tiki Room was not designed to be just another attraction at Disney World. Though it has been entertaining audiences since 1963, it was initially meant to be a ‘dinner and a show’ restaurant, where diners would be regaled with the antics of animatronic birds as they tucked into delicious South Pacific fare. But the Enchanted Tiki Room faced several management, ownership and technological issues. So, the folks at Disney World decided to salvage the situation and turn it into another themed attraction within the Magic Kingdom. Another secret that the Enchanted Tiki Room hides within its vibrant interiors is related to its spectacular ‘magic fountain’ that occupies a central position at the attraction. It was meant to be a coffee station (if you look closely, the base of the fountain still has the original storage compartment), but since there was no restaurant anymore, the fountain simply became yet another attraction at the Enchanted Tiki Room.
1. Disney World is a 100% Coca-Cola resort
If you’re a Pepsi fan visiting Disney World, you are in for a major surprise! There is no Pepsi anywhere in Disney World – theme parks, resorts, or any other Disney World property. The happiest place on earth is a 100 percent Coca-Cola only resort. If you really need Pepsi to get you through the day, you will probably have to bring your own. And for all the soda addicts out there, Disney World offers unlimited free refills of various types of Coca-Cola sodas. A secret hack to scoring this free soda is buying a refillable mug at any of the resorts and refilling it at any location that has a soda fountain. An even cooler way to sample some free Coca-Cola is at the ‘Club Cool’ attraction at Epcot Center. It offers visitors complimentary Coca-Cola drinks from around the world. It’s the perfect way to cool off and taste some exotic Coca-Cola flavors from all over the globe. That should be reason enough to convert you into a Coca-Cola fan!