An amusement park vacation must have snacks. Many snacks. And there are some good ones to be found in Orlando. Of course the best are from the tiny town of Hogsmeade, specifically at Honeyduke’s.
I chose my take-home treat very carefully, not wanting something that I’d tasted before (e.g. Bernie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, available in finer candy shops), nor something that might look cute, but probably was boring (e.g. chocolate frogs).
When I got home to Ottawa and cracked it open, I was thrilled with my choice of Ton-Tongue Toffee. I’m happy to report that my tongue only grew slightly when eating it, the more to enjoy this very tasty combination of thick, hard dark toffee covered with a medium-thick layer of milk chocolate (with a few almond flakes on top which you don’t really notice, regardless of how much your tongue has grown). The treat is flavourful, buttery and rich, without being overly sickly sweet. At 417 g, you can munch away for weeks after your trip and remember your flight over Hogwarts in The Forbidden Journey.
It comes in two forms, cold and frozen (i.e. chilled but without ice, and slushy form). Our taste testing team (me, and my 8- and 6-year old almost-nieces) vastly preferred the frozen – it wasn’t as sweet. Butterbeer is beautiful – the caramelly colour with the white creamy head is exactly what you imagine it should look like. You can buy it in a signature take-home plastic beer mug (approx $10) or a disposable plastic cup (approx $5). Its taste is hard to describe – a bit like cream soda perhaps, with a distinctly butterscotchiness. I was tempted to have a second at the end of the day, but the lineups were ridiculous (hint: you can order at both ends of the small Butterbeer cart, and the end towards Hogwarts often has no line) (and no, staff are not so service-oriented that they will direct you to both sides). If Butterbeer were not so iconic, would I buy it? Probably not. But sipping it surrounded by the snowy rooftops of Hogsmeade is not to be missed.
Other than the Harry Potter treats, the snacks at Universal Studios are regular fare. Expensive and greasy, sugary and bland. You could also get the Universal’s meal deal … eat all day long. Ewwww.
At Disney there is a wider-variety of treats, and you can find non-theme park items too. We were grateful for the fresh whole fruit (approx $1.25, although it seemed unfair to get only one, not two, pieces of fruit with a Disney Dining Plan snack credit, since the same credit could buy you an ice cream bar costing $4.50).
At the parks, my favourite snack was the chocolate-covered banana. I discovered these in my youth in Balboa, California, where you could watch as they dipped a frozen banana on a stick into melted chocolate and then, if you wished, rolled it in crushed peanuts. The frozen banana is refreshing, and the chocolate a treat. Disney’s version is not quite as good as a Balboa Banana, but it is yummy enough that I ate four during our week’s visit. While I talked almost everyone in our party into trying a bite, no one else was particularly thrilled. You have to like frozen banana to enjoy this one.
Another popular treat is the Dole Whip. Thanks to the Disney Dining Plan, I indulged in four of these too (it helped that our hotel, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, had a self-serve machine in the café). A Dole Whip basically tastes like whipped frozen pineapple juice, of which I’m a big fan (in Southeast Asia, it was my can-you-believe-it-is-only-10:30-in-the-morning-and-it-is-already-36-degrees refresher of choice: pineapple juice and ice whipped in a blender). However, a Dole Whip is not just juice and ice. In confirming whether it was really dairy-free for two members of our party (it is), we checked the ingredient list on the large bag of concentrated mix. There were several things I couldn’t pronounce, and after that the Dole Whip tasted more chemically and sugary than fresh pineappley, as it had before. All in my mind? Perhaps. I did order one more after that though!
At Epcot, you can sample snacks from around the world. But, if this Canadian menu is representative, I wonder about the authenticity … Canadian chicken chipotle sausage with sweet corn polenta?
I’ll add more Disney treats here soon. There are so many to choose from. But the pumpkins are only served to residents, not guests.
And if you’d like to see my views on Disney and Universal thrill rides, click HERE.