Forget the long wait for Space Mountain--what about the long wait for a pineapple-flavored Dole Whip?
Eating your way through Disneyland is allllll part of the experience: Whether it's the smell of fresh waffle cones wafting out from the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street or walking around with a giant turkey leg the size of your calf, everyone has their must-eats.
It pains us that we had to omit a few longtime staples--the salty/sweet Monte Cristo sammie at the Blue Bayou, the virgin-but-still-somehow-delish mint juleps in New Orleans Square, tiger tails at Bengal Barbecue, the always reliable $10 churros--but we've narrowed the list down to our top five recommendations. Feel free to berate us in the comments for forgetting your choice treat.
Our first pick goes to the frothy, light Dole Whip. While the Dole Whip stand located just inside the gates leading to Adventureland only serves the pineapple flavor, seven other flavors also apparently exist, according to Precision Foods: Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, mango, peach and orange. If we had to, we'd compare the consistency of the Whip to less creamy, less filling sort of soft-serve ice cream. It's airy, refreshing and the pineapple flavoring is neither too tart nor intense. Seriously. Perfect. The Whip gets the privilege of being our first choice solely because of how difficult it is to attain one outside of Disneyland: We've encountered it at a few places in Hawaii (including the Dole Plantation in Oahu), Disney World, and, well, no where else.
GIANT Turkey Legs
These heavenly, oily, turkey legs can be found scattered throughout the park at various food stands--usually appearing with their buddies the chimichangas. So large they can be an entire meal, the $7 turkey legs are the perfect combination of seasoned flesh the SIZE OF YOUR FACE. Look at that beautiful photo. It's like a small animal or something.
GIANT Corn Dogs
Pardon us while we mourn the loss of Corn Dog Castle inside Disney's California Adventure... but thankfully, we've got an Annual Passport handy and we can just dash right across that esplanade onto Main Street inside Disneyland to the Corn Dog Truck. Our esteemed food critic Edwin Goei just wrote the place up the other day when discussing his ideal food truck picks. It's hard to mess up a corn dog, but Disneyland's got the right idea with making it jumbo-sized. Corn dogs? Always good. JUMBO corn dogs? Even better. (EDIT, 10/29/09: The giant corn dogs are apparently GONE, people. See Edwin Goei's blog post on it right here.)
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Gibson Girl Waffle Cones
Sure the Dreyer's ice cream that comes in the cones is great and all, but we'd rather focus on the siren call of handmade waffle cones that is often floating out from the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street. Crunchy and not too sweet, it makes an awesome pairing with your ice cream flavor of choice (RIP Fantasia!). Go on, it's okay: Make the upgrade from the sugar cone or cup.. you'll walk off (some of) it just by visiting the park. Right?
Alright, so gumbo isn't exactly the most photogenic of foods, but you're going to have to trust us on this one: With chunks of sausage, okra and bell peppers floating around in what a friend once described as "ricey, yummy goodness," the gumbo is juuust spicy enough and definitely filling. We like to save this one for those cooler fall or winter visits to Disneyland. Also: There's a veggie version available, too. Find the gumbo in a sourdough bread bowl at the French Market in New Orleans Square or at that small food stand to the right (if you're facing the attraction with your back to the Rivers of America) of the Pirates of the Caribbean.