Sunday, January 25, 2015

I Scream, You Scream, we eat a lot of Ice Cream

When it comes to eating desserts, I could easily pass. I’d rather have a burger over cake.  I am however a great appreciator of ice cream. It is one of my favorite foods.  I prefer hard ice cream over soft serve.  Depending on the flavor, I can eat ice cream with or without toppings. Disney World and Universal  in Orlando are filled with a great variety of frozen delights, and I was ready to try as many as I thought my waist line could handle.  

Animal Kingdom
   Riding the first day of vacation high, and feeling the need for something to top off our Tamu Tamu lunch, we went in search of the elusive Animal Kingdom ice cream sandwich.  

There is no sign naming the kiosk where the ice cream sandwiches are sold. You just have to look for the kiosk that has it on the menu.  We found that kiosk located in between the entrance to the Discovery Island Trail and the large entryway to the Harambe Africa section of the park. 

 We stood in line and debated if we should get one to share or our own.  Fortunately the girl in front of us ordered an ice cream sandwich. Once we saw how gigantic it was, there was no need to get more than one.

 The chocolate chip cookies are the star of the this treat.  They were fresh and delicious and the cold super creamy vanilla ice cream complemented the cookies well.  There were only two issues
1)      We had to put a lot of muscle into hacking away at the cookie in order to split it in half.
2)      The hot weather caused the ice cream to melt rather quickly. 

Things got messy, especially towards the end. I had to take a trip to the restroom to get un-sticky. 

Minor problems however compared to the delightfulness of the sandwich. It was my favorite of our Disney World ice cream treats.  I recommend getting one if you ever find yourself in Animal Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom
I know, this might sound a little crazy to all of the Disney people, but this was our first time trying the popular Dole Whip vs. Citrus Swirl treats.  I was unaware in the past that they were such a thing. We wanted to see what the fuss was all about. To make a proper assessment, we had to get one of each.

The biggest pro to the Citrus Swirl is that the lines at The Sunshine Tree Terrace are refreshingly short.

The Citrus Swirl is tasty, but it does have a more tart slightly bitter pithy orange taste, so if you aren’t into that, it may not be your preferred treat.

The Dole Whip line was the longest line I waited in during our entire trip. There is a significant lack of shade and I could feel my skin crisping as I stood there waiting, and waiting.  I think the problem was that most groups nominate one poor soul to be their Dole Whip point person so each person standing at the window ordered three, six, even ten Dole Whips.

There was a British mother and daughter standing in front of me in line and a woman from Texas standing in front of them.  I witnessed what I could only describe as a British SNL skit where the British people make fun of what they think the stereotypical American is like.
First the woman from Texas kept pushing her sun block on the British ladies as though they were so foreign sun block must be a revolutionary invention to them.

“It’s cloudy and rainy all the time where y’all are from right?”

Texas must have asked that at least four times. At first the British ladies tried explaining that during the summer the weather in the UK is pretty much the same as the US, but they finally gave up trying to reason with Texas and replied yes. 

Texas continued talking the composed polite Brits’ ears off. She was TMIng all over the place and at one point the conversation devolved into her telling the ladies how in the US simple minded people kill babies by accidentally leaving them in hot cars. I really wanted to throw the flag at that point and tell her you can’t talk about dying babies at Disney World.  Really there should be a Disney task force that sweeps in and carts you away if you broach such topics.  I  also wanted to apologize to the two British ladies and let them know that we aren’t all like Texas. I imagine that once they had their Dole Whips in hand, they ran as fast as they could to the other side of the park to evade Texas for the rest of the day.

I liked the Citrus Swirl but if I had to choose, I liked the Dole Whip a little more.  It is sweet, light, and maybe it was the dehydration I experienced while standing in line, but I thought it was the more refreshing of the two. 

 The other most popular ice cream treat in Disney World is the Mickey Bar.  I’m not sure if it’s that you are on vacation and at Disney World, but I think that The Mickey Bar is better than your normal grocery store ice cream bar of a similar kind. 

The Mickey Bar’s chocolate coating is thick and the chocolate is good quality. We enjoyed our Mickey Bar break, but like the ice cream sandwich, they can get messy quick.

 Downtown Disney
We were feeling a little worn out the night we went to Downtown Disney.  Shannon skipped on ice cream, but I felt like I had to have my Ghirardelli sundae.  

If we are at a destination that has a Ghirardelli Shop we try to make a stop.  I’m not sure what it was, if it really wasn’t as good as it used to be, or if we had had such great ice cream already on the trip that it couldn’t measure up.  I got the Caramel Sundae and it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t fantastic like I remembered.

It could have been just an off night for them. It was a busy night at Downtown Disney and the woman taking our order was grumpy and reminded me of the Lunch Lady from the Billy Madison movie.  I’m willing to give Ghirardelli the benefit of the doubt and another try on a future trip.

This is a bit of a cheat. We had every intention of having ice cream at L’Artisan de Glaces in France.  I was looking forward to it well before our plane departed for Orlando, but we visited Epcot at the end of our trip and by then we were feeling a little daired- out. 

Instead of ice cream we stopped in Japan at the Kabuki Café to try a Kaki-gori.

Kaki-gori is shaved ice that is topped with fruit flavor.  You can get strawberry, cherry, melon (tastes like honeydew), tangerine, or you can get rainbow if you want to try all of the flavors.  
Shannon got tangerine, while I went all in and got the rainbow with an added topping of sweet milk (that makes it ice creamish right?).  

This sounds a little strange, but as soon as I took the first bite I was transported to a Spanish colonial square draped with purple-pink flowers in the San Felipe section of Panama City.  Kaki-gori was exactly the same fruit flavored topped with sweet milk treat we had in Panama, but there they were called raspados.  We enjoyed our Kaki-goris so much that if we hadn’t strayed so far from Japan and scored a good fireworks viewing spot, we would have had a second.

Universal Studios-Diagon Alley
The ice cream place that I was most looking forward to visiting during our trip was Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor in Diagon Alley.  

I remember reading The Prisoner of Azkaban and being jealous of Harry as he hung out at Florean Fortescue’s, eating strawberry peanut butter ice cream while Florean shared his knowledge of the Goblin Wars.  I couldn’t believe I was standing in front of that actual ice cream parlor. It was the place I most wanted to see brought to life in Diagon Alley.

 The theming is fun and charming, but the service is no joke.  

Everyone is pleasant and polite but the line works like the Soup Nazi of ice cream lines.  You better know what you want when they ask, which is easier said than done as there are so many wonderful choices. 

 They have a Butterbeer soft serve, but I really wanted to try the strawberry peanut butter ice cream since 1) it is directly from the books and 2) peanut butter is my favorite ice cream flavor.  I got one scoop of strawberry peanut butter and a scoop of earl grey lavender because how could I pass up a chance to do a Potter- Next Generation ice cream mash up?

I adored the strawberry peanut butter. Oh how I wish I could have some right now.  It needs to become a more popular ice cream flavor.  I felt that the earl grey lavender was too mild.  Maybe they made it that way so it wouldn’t overwhelm the not so adventurous, but I thought that the earl grey ice cream that I had in Bryant Park in NYC was more flavorful. 

The ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s was so good, we returned for a second round the next day. On our second visit Shannon tried the clotted cream ice cream.  It was a strange mixture of tart and sour, I was not a fan.   I couldn’t pass up a chance to have the strawberry peanut butter again and I also got a scoop of the salted caramel blondie. That flavor was also divine.  I look forward to trying the other flavors and maybe even the butterbeer soft serve the next time I'm at Universal Orlando.

Our Orlando Parks trip turned out to be a great ice cream/ice treat tour.  

If you have a favorite Disney ice cream stop let me know. We are working on putting together another trip this fall and I’d love to try some different creamy indulgences.

J.K. Rowling skipped over the part of Harry's life where he blew all of his inheritance money partying in his 20s and had to earn money by scooping ice cream at Florean Fortescue's 

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