24 Days of Thanksgiving Day Twenty Three Iconic Disney Food

Day Twenty-Three: Iconic Disney Food – 24 Days of Thanksgiving

Seeing that tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, a time when we all like to indulge in good cooking, I felt it was only appropriate to highlight my love of iconic Disneyland food. Whether it’s a Mickey-shaped pretzel, a Dole Whip, Plaza Inn fried chicken, or a corn dog from the Little Red Wagon, they each bring back precious memories for me of a specific time and place. I’m thankful for the beloved treats that connect me and so many others to the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

Do you have a favorite snack, something you must have on every trip to Disneyland? Maybe it’s freshly made popcorn with its alluring buttery scent wafting from every cart. What about a crispy, hot churro? It’s hard to beat that perfectly fried cinnamon sugar crunch. But maybe you’re craving cool refreshment on a warm day? The tangy sweetness of a Dole Whip pineapple soft serve is just the thing. Not a fan of pineapple? No problem! A Mickey Premium Bar with its velvety chocolate coating and vanilla ice cream center is just right, and it’s Mickey-shaped too! Speaking of Mickey-shaped, don’t forget the savory goodness of salted pretzels and cheese sauce. Or perhaps your palate craves something on the sour side, like a giant dill pickle? Whatever snack attracts your fancy, there is no wrong answer. Each of these treats is delicious in its own right and deserves its icon status.

There’s something about the food at Disneyland that hits differently than something similar would anywhere else. Certainly, popcorn, pretzels, and ice cream are not unique to theme parks. And yet, these treats take on an extra layer of enchantment when enjoyed in the “Happiest Place on Earth.” One reason is that the food quality is uniformly good. Disney takes pride in serving the best exemplars of popcorn, pretzels, and ice cream, among many other delicacies, with flavors that are distinct. I think about the corn dog from the Little Red Wagon, or the fried chicken from Plaza Inn, which are two of my favorite Disney meals. They are, in my opinion, the best corn dog and fried chicken I’ve ever tasted. They’re also consistent in their quality—equally as satisfying every time I order them, which keeps me coming back for more.

Truly though, the reason I think the Disney foods we know and love are so iconic is because of the way they help us create memories. As I discussed on day three of this 24 Days of Thanksgiving series, Disney Parks are experts in triggering our senses. Sensory elements like smell, taste, and sound help convert short term memories into long term ones. So when we eat a churro in front of the castle, a place that is already rich in visual details and novelty, the smell of the cinnamon and the crunch of the dough are further layers that help cement the experience into our brains. Add in the emotions of sharing a treat with loved ones, and the day is one you’ll never forget.

Did you pick your favorite Disney snack? Mine is the classic Dole Whip. It takes me back to my early days of being a Disneyland Annual Passholder, back to when I was just out of college and starting out on my own. My budget was pretty tight, and I couldn’t afford a lot of extras during park visits. I was on the lookout for a satisfying dessert that was also cheap. In those days, you could get a Dole Whip for about $3.50 (yes, this was a while ago, haha). I would order one from the Tiki Juice Bar and then enjoy it inside “Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.” I still remember the pure, perfect joy I felt savoring my treat and watching the birds sing words and the flowers croon. The cares of the world melted away. Every time I have a Dole Whip all these years later, I’m transported there again as if it were yesterday.

So before the feasting we’ll take part in over Thanksgiving, I hope you’ll have the chance to think back to a time when you were blessed to visit Disneyland and eat a favorite snack or meal. Whether an iconic, Instagram-able treat or a humble bite, I hope this memory brings you cheer. Personally, I am grateful for the wonderful Disney food I’ve been able to appreciate over the years, and the people who have made those meals extra special.

But now we’d love to hear from you! What are your must-get Disney snacks? Do you have any cherished memories surrounding Disney food? Please join us in giving thanks during these 24 Days of Thanksgiving and share your gratitude below! Happy Thanksgiving from the Daps Magic team!


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