Ask any Disney World “expert” about saving money at the Disney parks, and they might tell you the following: don’t eat at the parks! And, as a penny-pincher myself (whooops—Freudian Slip—I meant “conscientious spender”), I would agree.
On the other hand, going to Disney is an experience, and part of that experience is trying all the different foods that are available. With its numerous restaurants spread over four theme parks and two water parks (not counting Disney Springs, which is a veritable city of eating and shopping), there are plenty of excellent places to drop some money and get a good meal.
But what if you’re not necessarily looking for a meal? What if you want a snack—something that’s satisfying and fun but doesn’t require as much time to consume and is less expensive than a table service restaurant?
Fortunately, Disney World has plenty of tasty snacks and “in-between” foods. In this sense, you can have your cake and eat it, too (and who doesn’t love cake?).
Now, and this is important, if you’re really looking for culinary variety, the place to be is EPCOT. Along with the standard ice cream, popcorn, and drink stands, EPCOT is also home to the World Showcase, a collection of internationally-themed pavilions, each of which showcases a particular country and people of our planet. And we all know what comes with people, right?
Food. In some cases, really good food.
I would argue that EPCOT actually has the best dining at Disney World, even if all you’re doing is munching on a snack or two (or three or four or five…I think I have a problem).
Below, you’ll find my picks for top snacks money can buy at Disney’s Epcot.
Top 10 Snacks at Disney’s EPCOT
Let’s begin with a Disney World classic—the Mickey ice cream bar.
10) Mickey’s Ice Cream Bar
Frozen Treat Cart, $4.25
Mickey’s Ice Cream Bar, affectionately called “Mickey-on-a-Stick” by some (okay, maybe just some I know), is a staple at all of the Disney Parks, and it would be a real shame to have a list of great snacks and not include it.
Even though it’s technically nothing more than an over-priced, glorified ice cream bar, it’s still good. Darn good. Its crispy chocolate shell coats a creamy, sweet vanilla center. You should make it a point to have one at least once in your life.
9) Frozen Bananas
Frozen Treat Cart, $4.00
Florida can get hot – really hot – and, unless you’re carting around a cooler with your own ice cream bars, if you get hot enough to need a frozen confection, these frozen bananas are just the thing. Dipped in chocolate and (if desired) rolled in nuts, it’s hard to imagine life before trying one. The banana can be a bit hard to bite through at first, but a few minutes in the hot sun and you’ll be right as rain.
8) Pork and Vegetable Egg Rolls
The Lotus Blossom Café (China), $5.00
Alright, so you find yourself in the China Pavilion, you’ve got a small case of the munchies, but you don’t want a full meal.
Grab some egg rolls—they’re good. To be honest, I’m not sure they’re five dollars good, but they’re still good. In all actuality, if you’re going to eat at The Lotus Blossom Café, stick with the egg rolls, because the rest of the food is mediocre. I’ve only had two “take-out” Chinese meals that were worse, and one of them was when I tried to make authentic Chinese at home. I don’t even own a wok. However, in the case of The Lotus Blossom, I am firmly convinced that the rest of the food is so ho-hum because they put all their energy into producing these egg rolls.
7) Boddington’s English Pub Ale
Rose & Crown Pub (England), $9.00/pint
Okay, so I’m technically bending my own rules on this one, as it isn’t a “snack,” per se. But if you drink alcohol, the Rose & Crown Pub in the England Pavilion of the World Showcase definitely deserves a visit. Now, I’m a beer novice, really, and there aren’t many I actually care for, but a pint of the Boddington is well-worth the $9.00 you’ll spend on it. Plus, the pub offers a variety of small snacks you can munch on while you drink your beer, if you feel so inclined. The cheese plate ($13) is particularly good.
La Cantina de San Angel (Mexico), $10-$15
The Cantina, located on the outskirts of the Mexico Pavilion, offers two varieties and four different flavors of Margarita. You can get them either frozen, or on the rocks, and they come in Lime, Mango, Strawberry, or Cranberry (on the rocks, only) and Pomegranate Lime (also on the rocks, only). I am personally partial to the frozen lime margaritas, and I love to sip on them while we’re waiting for IllumiNations to start. A word of warning, however: they are large, and you’re going to feel them if you don’t space them out a little.
5) Strawberry Crepes
Crepes des Chefs de France (France), $5.00
It’s like a pancake wrap. Really, I think that’s the best way to describe a crepe: a thin pancake rolled up with filling inside. The little crepe cart in the France Pavilion offers a surprisingly light and fluffy crepe, and, while I’m a fan of the strawberry preserve-filled offering, the chocolate and powdered sugar varieties are pretty darn tasty, too.
Topped with soft serve vanilla ice cream, these crepes pair excellently with a shot of espresso – if you’re willing to part with an extra $3, that is. If you’re on a budget, forgo the espresso and just stick with the crepe.
Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie (France), $4.00
Do you want to know why I love the World Showcase? This is reason #4, right here. The éclair from Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie is, I am convinced, more French than France itself. The pastry is flaky and airy, as it should be, and the filling is thick, with a fantastic vanilla/white chocolate flavor (in fact, it’s so good, that just remembering it has caused me to make four or five typos as I’m describing it – my edits on this sentence alone have been numerous).
If chocolate filling is your thing, however, never fear, as they offer their éclair in the chocolate variety, as well.
You may book your tickets to Disney now.
Le Cellier (Canada), $8.00
Alright, alright. So this the third time I’ve included something that isn’t a proper snack, at least not on the menu. Le Cellier is the Canada Pavilion’s premier restaurant, and the poutine is a side dish on the menu.
However, having said that, sometimes snacking through EPCOT, instead of eating meals, is fun. Plus, if you were ever to travel to Canada, poutine is sold at little snack stands and vendor carts in most of the major cities. In fact, the best poutine I’ve ever had was at a little snack stand in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This one, however, comes in at a very close second. Do you get that? A theme park makes the second-best poutine in, I believe, the world.
Not sure what poutine is, you say? Please, allow me: poutine is a basketful of French fried potatoes (some folks call ‘em fries, I call ‘em French fried potatoes), smothered in a rich beef gravy, and topped with melty, gooey, pieces of cheese.
Before we get to the top two snacks, I need to give you all a word of warning: these are not available year-round – they are special selections available only during the Food & Wine Festival.
I know that’s unfair, and I’m sorry. However, having said that, bear in mind that the Food & Wine Festival is, in my opinion, the best time of the year to go to Disney, as it is a time when you can sample a wide variety of snacks and even meals from all over the world.
They also have a large sampling of wines, beers, malts, etc. with which you can pair these foods; they offer cooking demonstrations; and there are numerous vendors selling all kinds of cooking needs (and a few wants, too). EPCOT has also, over the years extended the dates of the festival to better accommodate visitors.
2) Roasted bratwurst in a pretzel roll
Food & Wine Stand (Germany), $6.00
Let’s just be real, the Germans know sausage. Germany, as a culture, has managed to invent/perfect more than a dozen kinds of sausage. Remember when here in America all you could get was, basically, Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage?
Yeah, the Germans know what they are doing, and the German food stand at EPCOT knows what it’s doing, too. The bratwurst is slow roasted, and has a very tantalizing mixture of sweet and spicy in its flavor profile. Topped with whole grain mustard, it is nestled inside of a dense, caramelized pretzel roll.
The roll has all the chewy, salty, bready goodness a pretzel roll should have, making this sandwich, bar none, the best sausage and pretzel roll I have ever eaten.
Food & Wine Stand (France), $6.00
Yes, my #1 snack pick at EPCOT is sautéed snails. Yes, I am aware that many of you are probably never going to try it. But that is completely your loss, I have been to the Food & Wine Festival three times, and three times, I have noshed on these.
Now, since this is my top pick, I need to spend some time on this one, so please bear with me. The snails themselves are sautéed in garlic butter, giving them a deep, rich flavor reminiscent of sautéed mushrooms. They are also surprisingly soft, with the texture of mushrooms, as well. In fact, if one were to simply eat them without knowing what they are, you would probably just assume they were sautéed mushrooms.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, the last time I had them a couple of years ago, they were served in a small brioche roll. EPCOT changed things up a bit in 2016, and they are now served in a croissant. I have not, personally, had the croissant, but if it is half as good as the brioche (or even the éclair – see #4 above), then this is just as delectable as its prior incarnation.
Why? Because the star was never the bread, but the sautéed snails, and if you can manage it, they are totally worth getting over whatever ick-factor you may have to overcome in order to eat them.
And if you utterly refuse to get over that ick-factor, you can expect to find me lurking somewhere in the park, frowning at you disapprovingly.
Well, there you go: my pick for the Top 10 Snacks at EPCOT. By no means, of course, is this the only food available. There are a great deal of restaurants at the park, and I have not eaten at them all, nor have I tried everything on the menu (who could?!) of the places I have eaten (a future desire is to actually try some of the tacos at La Cantina de San Angel).
The Lightning Round Bonus List!
I mentioned earlier that EPCOT offered a very large variety of food (especially when you take the Food & Wine Festival into account). So here are a few other notable snacks that, although they didn’t quite make it onto the list, they are still worth checking out:
- The cheese plate (Rose & Crown Pub)
- Potato Leek Soup (Rose & Crown Pub)
- Spanikopita (Food & Wine, Greece)
- Spaetzle (formerly Food & Wine, now in the Biergarten Restaurant)
- Cheddar Cheese Soup (Le Cellier)
- Lobster Bisque (Chefs de France)
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