Disney did not…we repeat…did not invent the cupcake. But they are bringing “The world’s first cupcake bakery” here to Orlando.
We mention this because with the growing popularity of cupcakes at Disney in the past several years, some may have thought it was invented there.
Look for their latest (of many) cupcake providers, Sprinkles, later this month. May 15.
Coming to Disney Springs.
But here’s something else you may not have known about Sprinkles.
It introduced a first of its own: a cupcake ATM, which will here join others in the chain.
It’s a first, at least, in the state of Florida.
Yes, a machine that provides cupcakes instead of cash.
But here’s a question snack-goers may wonder about:
What does this do to the Dole Whip?
That has its own brand of being Disney’s favorite snack for just about everyone.
Impact on the popular Dole Whip
Sprinkles is not exactly a new kid on the block.
It has been around for a while.
This is their 20th location.
They had their first Florida site in Tampa.
“Sprinkles at Disney Springs signifies the company’s continued mission to bring the popular dessert experience to Central Florida and beyond,” says a press release.
“Disney Springs was a natural fit for us when deciding where in Orlando to open our doors,” said Candace Nelson.
She was the founder of Sprinkles and you may have seen her if you watching the judging on TV’s Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars."
The chain’s cupcakes are said to be handcrafted from the “finest ingredients.”
Flavors include Red Velvet, Carrot Cake, and even Peanut Butter Pretzel
Sprinkles will be open daily from 10 a.m. to midnight.
Unlike other ATMs, you can’t get cash from it but you can choose between 400 versions.
Fresh from the ATM
Freshly-made, according to the company.
Also, dog-friendly (Whatever that means).
Sprinkles opened “the world’s first cupcake bakery” in Beverly Hills, California.
So reported the Food Network.
The company is credited by theLos Angeles Times as “the progenitor of the haute cupcake craze.”
Sprinkles has inspired long lines of devoted Hollywood stars and food-lovers.
When you buy your Disney World tickets and head on over to Disney Springs, your cupcake choices at Sprinkles will be joined by stars like Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey…though there have been no reports on their personal favorite flavors.
Or even a more serious question: how this has impacted Oprah’s famous dieting efforts?
Well, we do know Sprinkles offers gluten-and-sugar-free versions.
This development raises other questions of what’s new…in dining…at Disney.
Particularly when you look at snacks.
With the growing popularity of cupcakes, might they overtake what is undoubtedly Disney’s No. 1 favorite for just about all of us: Dole Whips?
And what are your own preferences these days?
Today, we’ll look at food from several angles.
Disney did not invent the cupcake.
Though they certainly made Mickey Mouse ears to often be associated with cupcakes.
And they certainly have done a lot to for Disney World Orlando ticket buyers to help make not-so-humble cupcakes among the most popular snack foods in the whole world.
As you know, cupcakes here resemble many characters.
There’s been no shortage of cupcakes at Disney.
Some of the gest known have offered Red Velvet Cheesecake versions, introduced in 2010 when the quickly became a favorite. Or Chocolate Peanut-Butter.
Or even the “King Cupcake."
A hint: contains the entertainer’s favorite sandwich: peanut butter and bacon.
Not Mickey Mouse.
And not a Disney character, either.
Among the most popular types (outside of Elvis, and we have no reports on its popularity) are Butterfinger, red velvet, carrot cake, among others.
Cupcake celebrations at special events are common.
Compare that to Dole Whips
Little more than pineapple soft serve ice cream.
Or even Dole Whip floats…not much more than ice cream and pineapple juice, really.
Some call it a work of art, anyway.
You can order it as a Pineapple Float or as in a cup.
Officially, only the cup-version is called a Dole Whip by Disney.
So popular that there’s a podcast named after it.
Dole Whip internet searches turn up multiple pages of fanatic fans raving over it.
If this was a contest, it would be poor “Dole Whip David” versus multiple version-giant-cupcake provider rightly named “Goliath.”
Other of the most popular treats that are less than a meal in Orlando include soft pretzels (well, some are large enough to share), and some with Mickey heads.
World Showcase at Epcot is a popular place for the German version of a Bavarian soft pretzel in World Showcase. That could be the best known.Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal begin using metal detectors at theme parks
Another of the most popular snacks here: Mickey Ice Cream Bars.
Found in carts everywhere. Simply chocolate covering over vanilla ice cream.
A popular place to find it and ice cream in a dish (or cone) is the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street, Magic Kingdom/
For those not aware of them, there are healthier snacks such as fruit bowls at snack kiosks and counter service restaurants.
Healthy or exotic snacks everywhere
But even more exotic choices at Epcot are Kaki Gori, shaved ice or snowballs with fruity syrup at the Japan pavilion.
The announcement of Sprinkles should be no surprise.
Because, Melissa Fegely
guess what?…and we are sure you noticed if you’ve been going to the park for even a few years.
Theme park food has come a long ways in the past few years.
Theme park food at Disney and other places used to be almost entirely fast food: not much more imagination than hamburgers and hot dogs. Maybe cheeseburgers for variety.
And French Fries, of course.
Visitors like yourself wanted more
You, the visitor, wanted to spend your time on rides and entertainment.
Forget the food.
All that has changed.
And cupcakes are far from the only choices.
Various news outlets have been pointing out how visitors these days demand more food choices. This is partly due to the growing general awareness of food.
"I think guests’ expectations' have changed over the years," said Disney Parks and Resorts vice president of food and beverage Beth Scott. "Certainly with things like The Chew and the Food Network and social media, people are becoming much more savvy about their dining experiences."
OK. Mr. and Mrs. Savvy.
You still don’t go to the park to eat…unless you are starving…and you want to save all your money to buy souvenirs…any kind at all, even though that is not our recommendation….so what do you do?
To save money on food, that is.
If you admit that food is necessary…
Various Disney dining packages are the answer.
Saving money on food can be done
Food will still cost you but there are many options that range from snacks and refillable drinks at quick service places to higher-end meals at more posh luxury resort hotels.
Buying an annual pass may also not be cheap but it does help with meals.
All annual passport holders receive discounts ranging between 10 to 15 percent off at select restaurants in the park, entertainment complexes and resort hotels.
But if you are serious about money, you do what many others do and there’s no fear or guilt about it: bring those snacks yourself.
Perennials you see everywhere that are even more common than hidden Mickeys are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yes, remember that even Elvis Presley liked them.
And granola bars (Elvis was not known for this type of food but look what happened to him).
And bottled water, of course.
The guidelines here are simple: any food is allowed as long as it does not require heating.
Also not embarrassing for you to do at all: order a kid’s portion at a restaurant.
You know they are cheaper. But may have worried someone might ask if you are older than 12.
You certainly already know that eating lunch and breakfast is cheaper than dinner.
A guideline of when to eat
So that’s a good guideline of when to eat, isn’t it?
Try not to buy your food at the park during busy times such as Christmas or spring break…prices then can be higher.
Then, there is what has been called the “free Disney Dining Plan.”
It is not really “free,” of course. But it does save money.
On select dates in August through December, it has food discounts.
You can book vacation packages with non-discounted resort hotels and park tickets to get the Disney Dining Plan. Each member of your party gets the perk.
August 23 through October 1, 2016
November 15 through 21, 2016
November 26 through 28, 2016
December 10 through 21, 2016
There are various stipulations and rules.
You also must purchase at least 2-day tickets that include either Park Hopper or other options. Three-night minimum stay is also required.
So no resellers can offer you tickets.
Something else you should be aware of: the promotion is always based on arrival dates. Your dates at Disney have to coincide with dates offered in the program.
Prices vary, according to tiers.
Upgrades are also an option.
If you don’t trust the good judgment of other members in your party, the Disney options may definitely be for you.
Disney option is up to you
That’s because it is not unusual for families or others to not only order the most expensive items on the menu, but also drinks…which everyone knows are highly profitable to the sellers who get them for pennies and sell for dollars.
So in lieu of looking through the menus as you, the bill payer, cringe at the horror of high costs…you already know what you’re going to pay. Regardless of what everyone orders.
A simple solution to knowing…and perhaps even controlling…your costs.
Saving food costs, continued
An Internet sites recently listed places where you can get food items for under $10.
They included many bargains such as Whole Dill Pickles at Liberty Square Market for only $1.50. Or Hard-boiled eggs at the Main Street Bakery for $2.59.
Or perhaps best of all: Garlic Knots with Marinara at the Pinocchio Village Haus: $4.49
The effort was appreciated.
But on the other hand, how much will a single pickle or even a hard boiled egg do to curb your appetite?
Further, what kind of high calorie, nutrition-free snack are items like that anyway?
And finally, one single pickle for $1.50 or an egg for $2.50?
Really, what kind of bargain is that anyway?
New food options
There’s a new adult beverage and hard float menu at the Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.
Then, there’s Tutto Italia offering fixed price (prix fixe) lunches this summer. Located in Italy’s Epcot Pavilion.
Price for a three-course meal: $27. Includes soft drinks.
There are also several other fixed price meals within Epcot’s World Showcase restaurants.
Getting away from snacks
You see others claim at times to offer guides to the “best…or even very best.”
The very best overall restaurant at Disney will never be agreed upon by all but many would not argue with our pick of “Be Our Guest.”
At least when it comes to counter service types at the Magic Kingdom.
There are almost always long lines to get inside. Often at least 30 minutes waiting times for lunch.
But the long popular restaurant has been getting good word-of-mouth notices for years. And keeps getting them.
For sustaining a great atmosphere with good food, we would give a first place award to “50s Prime Time Café.”
With its Osterizers on wooden tables over linoleum floors, it’s a throwback to another time. You might think this was a re-run of the old TV program “I Love Lucy.”
Often packed, but the best themed atmosphere anywhere.
One area where Prime Time truly stands out is in desserts.
Most restaurants at Disney rely on a central commissary. But not ”Prime Time.”
Upside down cake and warm apple crisps are among favorites.
Dessert menu is special
In addition, the dessert menu is presented as a photo reel on a View-Master….don’t know what that is? Understandable…you’ll have to time travel back to the 1950s or so to find View Masters.
But both Earl of Sandwich and Wolfgang Puck Express, which are outlets of places that exist in the world outside Disney, are generally good choices for high quality and usually reasonable prices.
All this bring us to a good but disturbing restaurant: the Coral Reef Restaurant. Known for its wall-sized aquarium with colorful fish that are only waiting to go on your dining plate.
Disturbing prospect, to say the least.
But some of this is a far cry from the Dole Whips that we all like.
Unlike cupcakes, more variety is not likely…but possible.
You can imagine blueberry or strawberry versions.
You can already get them self-serve.
But while they should remain popular, we doubt that you’ll see them offered anytime soon at an ATM machine…
Though you never know, do you? ###