The most popular (and the most photographed!) ice cream at Disney may be the classic Mickey ice cream bar – available at carts throughout the parks and at resort locations. Whether it’s a selfie starring you and your Mickey bar or an adorable line up of your six grandchildren, each enjoying an iconic Mickey bar (take the photo before they eat the ears!) – this might be a favorite memory of your Disney World trip. And if you’re an ice cream aficionado, Disney can offer you new worlds of flavors and creative concoctions to explore. Here are the top five “coolest” places to indulge in frozen treats:
5 Best Ice Cream Parlors at Walt Disney World
1. If location, location, location is a factor, you can’t beat the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor – right at the corner of Main Street and Castle! Many families enjoy the tradition of eating ice cream while holding their place on the Main Street USA curb, waiting for a parade. Cones with chocolate Mickey ears and “Plaza” waffle-bowl sundaes will make the wait pass quickly. Their ice cream cookie sandwiches are stellar – with cookies made fresh on site and sometimes decorated with seasonal sprinkles. For quicker service in such a crowded location, they keep the menu streamlined – but every bite will literally melt in your mouth.
The adjacent Plaza Restaurant also specializes in ice cream – and this is a great place to enjoy it – with wrought iron ice cream parlor chairs, mirrored walls, glass chandeliers, and plenty of air conditioning. Their brownie sundae is a guest favorite.
2. Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at the Beach Club Resort draws ice-cream-loving guests from across property. Beaches & Cream is particularly famous for their jaw-dropping Kitchen Sink. A metal sink serving dish is heaped with scoops of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coffee, and mint chocolate chip ice creams, doused with every topping they can get their hands on – hot fudge, butterscotch, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, marshmallow creme, strawberry, and pineapple. Then comes the Whole Can of Whipped Cream studded with big pieces of banana, generous wedges of brownie, cake, cookies, and chunks of chocolate bar. Onto all this they rain down sliced toasted almonds, dark and white chocolate shavings, milk chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles, and maraschino cherries! They really throw in every flavor plus the kitchen sink – in a kitchen sink! (If there are any elements your family wouldn’t enjoy or there are allergy concerns, tell your server.) The arrival of a Kitchen Sink will be announced to the restaurant at large – and guests at all the tables will enthusiastically repeat after the server, “A whole can or whipped cream?!” It’s a party! The Kitchen Sink isn’t even the only iconic ice cream at Beaches & Cream. Their signature sundaes have avid fan bases. Are you on #TeamNoWayJose or #TeamMudSlide? (The No Way Jose starts with chocolate and vanilla ice cream followed by peanut butter and hot fudge sauces, whipped cream and a generous sprinkling of peanut butter and chocolate chips. Meanwhile, the Mud Slide is vanilla ice cream with a hot fudge covered brownie, lovingly smothered with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and Oreos!) If you want to keep it simple, get a banana split. If you want to try something new, they’ve got an amazing grilled banana bread with ice cream, whipped cream, peanut butter, and caramelized bananas (think Elvis!). Basically, there’s no way to go wrong at Beaches & Cream.
3. It takes some nerve for a newcomer to set up shop just across the lake from Beaches & Cream, but that’s what Ample Hills Creamery has done at the BoardWalk. If Beaches & Cream is all about mouth-watering toppings, Ample Hills is all about tastebud-tantalizing flavors. Disney guests who trek to the Liberty Tree in the Magic Kingdom just for the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake will be wowed at Ample Hills by their Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Ice Cream – made with cream cheese and chunks of house-made St. Louis-Style ooey gooey butter cake. (Yes, the ooey gooey toffee cake comes from St. Louis, not the original 13 Colonies!) Ample Hills also tempts guests with their Dark Chocolate Ice Cream – made with 72% E. Guittard chocolate. PB Wins the Cup is vanilla ice cream with peanut butter chocolate flakes and house-made peanut butter cups. Nonna D’s Oatmeal Lace Ice Cream features dark brown sugar cinnamon ice cream with oatmeal lace cookies. Coffee Toffee Ice Cream will give you a lift with espresso-infused chocolate-covered toffee pieces.
Other Ample Hills flavors include:
- Peppermint Pattie
- Chocolate Milk and Cookies
- Blue Cotton Candy
- Baked/Unbaked (think cookie dough!)
- Lemon Sky Ice Cream (what do you suppose “billowy” sorbet tastes like? Let’s go find out!)
- Strawberries and Cream
- Sally Sells Seashells (orange marshmallow ice cream with house-made salty chocolate seashells)
- Malty Salty Pretzel Punch
4. Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop at Disney Springs. Don’t be put off by the long lines – this place churns out orders in quick time, and wow does it smell good in there! “Decadent” is the word for the menu. If you find a table indoors, you might opt for the Earthquake Family Favorite which will shake everyone up with 8 flavors of ice cream and 8 toppings. (At $35 it will also send tremors through your wallet!) Ghirardelli has a comprehensive menu of hot and cold espresso drinks as well as hot chocolate drinks, and even a menu section entitled, “Intense Dark Sundaes.” The regular sundaes won’t let you down, either:
- The Ocean Beach Sea Salt Caramel Sundae is vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce, hot fudge, and sea salt, topped with whipped cream, Ghirardelli chocolate squares, and for good measure, more sea salt.
- The Sea Cliff buries half a “colossal” Ghirardelli chocolate chip cookie (served warm) under vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream.
- The Strike It Rich Butterscotch Hot Fudge Sundae is butter pecan ice cream enfolded in butterscotch, topped with Golden Almond Nuggets, along with the requisite hot fudge and whipped cream.
- The Muir Woods is black cherry vanilla ice cream with hot fudge, whipped cream, and chocolate chips.
5. L’Artisan des Glaces at Epcot’s France Pavilion – how could you not be intrigued with a name that translates into “Ice Cream Artist”? You won’t be disappointed in the artistry. All 16 flavors are made on site, with 10 ice creams (including Profiterole and Caramel Fleur de Sel flavors) and 6 sorbets (including pomegranate and mango flavors).
Three menu standouts include:
- the Croque Glacé – 1 scoop with choice of sauce in a homemade brioche, pressed warm
- Ice Cream Martini – 2 scoops, with a shot of Grand Marnier, Whipped Cream Vodka or Rum
- Chocolate or seasonal Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich
Zut alors! How to choose?!