As an Orlando local, you know how it is…family and friends come to town and it’s time to visit the touristy classics. Visit the ICON Orlando, pop over to a local zoo, and spend a day at Disney Springs. But before you host a tour (and insist on calling it Downtown Disney all day), make sure you know your way around the can’t-miss foods. I mean, have you even been to Disney Springs if you haven't tried these eats? These quintessential flavors and experiences are unique to Disney Springs and will leave a lasting memory…even if you don’t catch local legend Eddie Maserati dancing nearby.
Poutine from The Daily Poutine
We’ve all had fries, but have you had poutine? Fries are served swimming in beef gravy and topped with globs of cheese curds. Sound like just the heart attack you’re looking for? Head over to The Daily Poutine, located next to the World of Disney store. Gravy and fries may not sound like a natural choice, but you’ll forget all about ketchup when you try this savory cheat day treat. Poutine is a heavy snack though, so share with a few friends. You know, so you survive and all.
Aside from the classic poutine bowl ($9.49), you can get a little crazier (yes, crazier than gravy fries), and try the Latin, French or Italian variations. I suggest the Latin poutine ($9.99) with fried yucca, black beans, pulled pork and queso fresco.
Cupcake from the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM
Walking away from an ATM usually means getting slapped with a withdrawal fee. So it’s refreshing to strut away from the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM with a sweet treat and a smile. This innovation in snacking technology is a unique experience. Once you’ve selected your cupcake from the menu and swiped your credit card ($5.50), pay attention to the action onscreen. There’s a camera inside the ATM machine that will show you a robotic hand selecting your cupcake! It will appear at the front of the ATM in a small box, perfect for taking home (or, most likely, eating while you stroll).
Grilled Salmon BLT at the Superstar Catering Food Truck
The food trucks in the West Side area of Disney Springs can be easily overlooked. Unassuming and a bit out of the way, they offer some fast snacks and a stellar view of the Characters in Flight balloon ride. For typical classics, head to Fantasy Fare or Springs Street Tacos. But if you want something unique and delicious, the Superstar Catering Food Truck is your destination.
The grilled salmon BLT with smoked bacon and honey mustard ($12) is the most unique choice at the food truck roundup. It’s not every day you come across a salmon BLT, and this one is fresh and ready to satisfy a healthy appetite. Even if fish typically isn’t your thing, this one is a hearty steak with deep smoky flavors that could convince you of salmon’s classic stardom.
Charcuterie Board at Wine Bar George
Wine Bar George is all about enjoying and learning more about wine. A big part of that is pairing wine with food, and you can’t go wrong with the Charcuterie Board ($25) and Artisinal Cheese Board ($26). These shareable selections include artisinal meats, cheeses, grilled bread, chutney, honey, and grain mustard.
Don’t know much about wine? Wine Bar George is for wine connoisseurs and novices alike. Owner and Master Sommelier, George Miliotes, is rumored to have been at the restaurant practically every day since opening. There’s a good chance that you’ll have access to the most expert of advice. Snag a seat at the upstairs patio to enjoy the shade and an afternoon of choice people watching.
Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding at Raglan Road
The unique bread pudding on the Raglan Road menu is a classic that will satisfy the most hearty of sweet tooths. The serving comes artfully arranged with soft bread, butterscotch flavors, and crème anglaise sauce served on the side. I recommend asking for an extra plate and pouring the crème anglaise on top, as the pudding’s cup can’t contain all that sweet goodness. Couple that with the experience of live music and traditional Irish step dancing 7 days a week and you’ve got an authentic Irish experience right here in Orlando.
Doughnuts and a Florida Crush at Homecomin’
You may roll into Chef Art Smith's Homecomin’ with ideas about tasting the famed Hummingbird cake, but I was advised by our server that it tended to be on the extremely sweet side. Instead, try a helping of house-made doughnuts and the signature Florida Crush drink.
These fast friends proved to be the perfect mix of fresh and sweet. The Florida Crush is an ideal afternoon drink: Tito’s vodka, orange juice with a splash of agave syrup, and muddled orange and strawberries. Served with an orange slice, it looks like Florida in a glass.
The house-made mini doughnuts are actually quite large for the “mini” title, and they come covered with pecans, bacon and caramel made in house. Oddly, the donuts also come with honeydew, watermelon, cantaloupe and pineapple chunks, which taste subdued when eaten with the sweet dessert, but thanks for the fruit.
Creme Brulee at Amorette’s Patisserie
Right across the way from The Daily Poutine, Amorette’s Patisserie has pies, cakes and chocolates that are as good to look at as they are to taste. The creme brulee ($6.00) is made-to-order, so you’ll pick your dish of custard, then watch as a cast member fires up a blow torch to crisp up the top. Fresh berries and a signature Amorette’s chocolate are added to the top. After watching the care in which they are created, it can be a tough decision to crack that carmelized shell, but trust me, you won’t feel too bad after the first bite.
Make-Your-Own Treat at Goofy’s Candy Company
Watching the cast members dipping caramel apples at The Candy Cauldron is a favorite pastime of those visiting Disney Springs, but if you want to turn your experience up a notch, skip it for a trip to Goofy’s Candy Co. Constructing your own sweet monstrosity is a specialty at Goofy’s lab. Instead of just picking out a pre-made treat, you can design your own. Choose a caramel apple, crisped rice treat or marshmallow, then select dark, white or milk chocolate for it to take a bath in. (Price varies depending on what kind of treat you want, with a crisped rice coming in at $4.99 and the apple at $10.99.)
Choose one of 12 toppings (extra topping choices are $1 each) including M&Ms, chopped pecans, and coconut. Then select from 3 types of chocolate drizzle. I opted for a decadent crisped rice treat with dark chocolate, crushed Butterfinger and a white chocolate drizzle. The best part? Since your treat is made to order, the chocolate is still warm for that first bite.
Mickey’s 90th Anniversary Blend Coffee at Joffrey’s Coffee
Although Starbucks is ever present, the smell of Joffrey’s Coffee remains a staple of the Walt Disney World resort experience. But you can get Starbucks just about anywhere in the country, so stop by Joffrey's for a WDW specialty blend to get that true taste of Florida (dear reader, feel free to insert your own joke here about what you think Florida tastes like).
A cup of the exclusive Mickey’s 90th Anniversary Blend is the perfect way to start a Disney Springs morning or cap off your night before the drive home. It doesn’t hurt that they also sell gigantic Homer Simpson-style donuts for $3.99.
Mickey Mouse treat from the Snack Carts
While there is so much non-Disney shopping and entertainment to enjoy at Disney Springs, you have to eat at least one thing that's Mickey-shaped before the cast members will release your vehicle from the Lime Garage. Or at least, that’s how I imagine it. At the least, you’ll be added to Donald’s list of favorite people.
To show your support for “the leader of the club that’s made for you and me”, stop by one of the many snack carts around the Disney Springs area. You’ll find Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwiches, soft pretzels, and my personal favorite, the Mickey ice cream bar. If you close your eyes at just the right moment during a bite, it feels like you’re in the Magic Kingdom.
Other favorites to try:
- DB ‘Clothesline Candied Bacon' at The Edison
- The Taco Cone from 4R Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck
- Lobster roll from Paddlefish
- Build your own pizza at Blaze Pizza
- Coca Cola flight from the Coca Cola Store Rooftop Beverage Bar
With so many restaurants, lounges and snack spots to eat your way through, I’m sure we’ve missed one of your must-eats. Do you have any to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR/PHOTOGRAPHER
Rain Blanken is a writer and editor from St. Petersburg, Florida. She is a former Disney Vacation Planner, is a DVC Member, and avid frying pan wielder. Rain's favorite Disney princess is Leia, and she would live inside Boma if they would just stop checking under the tables at night. See photos of her misadventures @rainlovesdisney.
All photos by Rain Blanken unless otherwise noted