Regular readers of Chip & Company know that I enjoy exploring the various things to see and do Downtown Disney (DTD) at Walt Disney World. Part of the reason for my pleasure in the larger DTD area – the absence of Adventurers Club notwithstanding – is that the place offers different experiences for different people that can vary with the trip. Indeed, the “must sees” for a first-time visitor to DTD are different than for guests who are returning on their second, third or thirtieth trip.
While I’m not a hard-core Disney foodie, I do like my food, Disney and otherwise. And DTD offers a varied menu of tasty options for foodies. Here are few of my favorites to tempt you and whet your appetite for your next trip to the World.
This store is the must-stop shopping destination for Disney foodies. This culinary haven in the DTD Marketplace area (near the Earl of Sandwich) offers a number of goods for the kitchen, from cookware and cookbooks to coffee mugs and cookie cutters. Oh, and pre-packaged Disney food to take home. The pantry is especially fun for those of us who enjoy a Mickey-themed kitchen in red, white and black.
The Spice & Tea Exchange
Located inside Mickey’s Pantry, The Spice & Tea Exchange promises to set noses aquiver in anticipation. As its name suggests, it features both spices and loose teas beautifully displayed in apothecary jars, as well as accessories. The ingredients are fresh, often organic, and preservative free. Guests are welcomed, indeed encouraged, to stop and smell the spices. Employees are on hand to help you explore your olfactory options.
On my recommended list? Try the Florida Grinder, one of its signature blends. It combines Brazilian Atlantic sea salt, lemon, lime, orange zest, mild green peppercorns, rose petals and ginger. Or for a true splurge, bring home one of the store’s more unusual offerings, like a Himalayan Mineral salt block.
Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop
Oh, you know I’m a fan of the ice cream at Ghirardelli’s – or really of I’m a fan of any Disney ice cream. But foodies might want to stop by the chocolate shop area of the store. That’s where you can buy chocolate samplers and souvenirs as well as a counter for baked goodies and sinfully good hot chocolate. But before you decide what to purchase, be sure to savor for a free chocolate sample.
As a side note, I adore that the packages are often themed to whatever holiday I’m pretending to celebrate when I buy a “gift” of the pre-packaged chocolate deliciousness.
Goofy’s Candy Company & Candy Cauldron
Let’s not candy coat this. I love candy – just see my recommended candy stops – and Ghirardelli’s chocolate is a melt-in-your-mouth taste sensation. But If you like your candy, and want to have a hand in its creation, stop by either Goofy’s Candy Company at DTD Marketplace or the Candy Cauldron at DTD West Side. Both places offer a sugar rush just in the heady aroma as you step through the doors. While I enjoy both stores, and really stop by whichever one is closer to my other destinations, I’d choose Goofy’s Candy Company generally for its customizable treats but give the slight edge to the Candy Cauldron for its made-to-order apples. Maybe it’s the Snow White’s Wicked Witch theming.
Raglan Road Gift Shop
A fan of Raglan Road’s Irish fare with flair? Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop attached to restaurant’s gift shop. There, in addition to buying other items imported from Ireland, you can purchase cookbooks featuring Raglan Road recipes and other cuisine developed by chef Kevin Dundon. Also available are Dundon Food Experience products, such as chutneys, relishes and jams. My recommendation? Try the apple chutney.
What about Disney foodies and the Downtown Disney restaurants?
I know, I know, Disney foodies are wondering about where to eat at DTD? Really, the challenge here is that choosing a snack or restaurant is such a matter of taste. For instance, although I’ve mentioned many sweet snacks above, primarily for the Disney foodie shopping experience, I’ve been known to curb my salt and savory cravings with Wetzel’s Pretzels (try the jalapeno cheese option).
But for a starter course on Disney restaurants, here’s what I recommend. For quick service, I don’t think you can go wrong with the gourmet pizzas at Wolfgang Puck Express or the fresh sandwiches at Earl of Sandwich. For table service, my favorite meals are found at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant, starting with the to-die-for Irish soda bread all the way through to the bread pudding.
Still, don’t solely trust my taste buds. Tempt yourself with some Chip and Company’s Disney World Guide to restaurants and snacks found under the site’s “Planning” tab.
And Disney foodies…let’s help each other out! What are your favorite food and dining experiences at Downtown Disney?
- Downtown Disney Dining – Is It Worth the Trip? (chipandco.com)
- Guide to Downtown Disney – ‘Must-Sees’ for First Timers (chipandco.com)