It’s that time of year again when we come together to see how excited we can get about soft serve ice cream, presented to us in a slightly different way, for just a dollar more than what’s been on the menu for years. First up, it looks like we have chocolate ice cream served in a green cone instead of a brown cone. I can’t wait.
As a little bit of background, the live-action version of The Lion King comes out July 19th, only in theaters. To commemorate such a momentous occasion, Disney has added several snacks to the ranks at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Park that probably needs more tasty treats the least. But if you’re going to add a chocolate lion tail to an ice cream sandwich, it probably makes more sense in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom than say, the Italy Pavilion at Epcot. Not that that sort of thing has stopped Disney before. We’ll begin by taking a look at the snacks that comprise the Lion King offerings, which Disney is promising will be available “through the end of summer.” Whenever that is. One thing is for sure though – they will still be available when The Lion King comes out in theaters on July 19th.
Our first item on our culinary adventure is available in two different locations, the first of which is the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck, which situates itself in the Asia section of the Park in between Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids.
I’ve long campaigned for the ice cream truck to play an Asian-sounding version of “The Entertainer” for the sake of authenticity.
For a dollar more than a regular cone, you have the opportunity to come away with the $6 “Bugs ‘n Grubs – Chocolate Soft Serve, Cookie Crumbs, Gummy Worms, and a Chocolate Bug in a Waffle Cone.” Unsurprisingly, this tastes exactly like you would expect, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it doesn’t deserve its own blog post. In fact, every single inconsequential snack that Disney adds to the roster probably deserves its own blog post.
With that said, I’m not sure if soft serve ice cream tastes better anywhere else than it does at a Walt Disney World theme park. The soft serve is creamy and elegant with a satiny texture, dense and sweet with a surprising richness that sits on the tongue just long enough to satisfy for a moment before it’s time for another delicious lick. The add-ins here are fun with two or three bright gummy worms pressed into the ice cream alongside a single chocolate piece reminiscent of a ladybug.
Of course, there are male and female ladybugs. Neither of which is actually a bug. They’re beetles. They say that ladybugs are named after the Virgin Mary because this variety of beetle is adorned with seven spots and the Virgin Mary suffered seven sorrows. I wonder what bug they will name after me and the 375,000 sorrows that I’ve already collected from having to go to Electric Umbrella every time they release a new sandwich. The cone tastes like any other waffle cone, malty and sweet, though in this case, it’s very green.
We’ve also got what are probably crushed Oreo cookies sprinkled on top. If you’re in the mood for a soft serve cone, then this would certainly fit the bill. It is quite messy. You probably want to pluck the chocolate
bug beetle from the cone shortly after receiving it or you will risk it sliding away. Snap the picture quick and then go to town because it is going to melt quickly.
Bugs Beetle ‘n Grubs is also available at Trilo-Bites just outside of DinoLand USA, where you’ll find even more options. The Grubs would probably work better as a sundae, but the waffle cone is more edible than your typical paper cup. There’s nothing here that probably demands a purchase, but it’s a fun take and it’s also eligible for a snack credit.
Very on-theme, most of The Lion King (coming out July 19th) snacks are found in the Africa section of the Park, here with the Tamu Tamu Refreshments menu. The listing is so jumbled with seemingly-random pictures and different-size texts that I feel like I’m reading the front page of a CVS ad. If this weren’t Disney World, there would probably be 12 different discounts that you’re not eligible to use that take advantage of coupons that don’t actually exist. The Lion King brings with it three unique snacks – the Simba Sunset and the King’s Cooler on the left, and the Simba Ice Cream Sandwich on the right.
I would call your attention briefly to the Malva Cake Sundae, which is my favorite item offered here. The cake is light, moist, and sweet with a pleasant, almost-carrot-cake-like spice to it that’s enhanced by the cinnamon on top of the refreshing vanilla soft serve. It really is delicious and a little bit of a departure away from the generic quick service desserts that are typically offered.
Above are the two new Dole Whip options here. The $5.49 “Simba Sunset – Dole Whip Pineapple with Watermelon, Strawberry, and Coconut Syrup-flavored Syrup” is on the right. The $8.50 King’s Cooler is on the left with the only difference being that it’s also topped with about an ounce of either Dark or Coconut Rum.
The Simba Sunset is an extra 50 cents over the cost of the regular Dole Whip Cup or 50 cents less than the Dole Whip Pineapple Float. Merely on portion size, the Simba Sunset is a great value. Granted, I didn’t weigh it, but it “felt” like it was about twice the amount of Dole Whip than the Cups. And unlike the Float, where half the cup is Pineapple Juice, this is 98.3% Dole Whip and 1.7% syrup. We didn’t think the syrup carried as much flavor as you might expect from the amount involved or the deepness of the color. There was a little bit of a fruity vibe if you got a lot of the syrup in a spoonful, but even with a generous squirt, the majority of the non-dairy frozen treat is going to be consumed sans syrup. I think that’s just fine. If you like Pineapple Dole Whip, then you’ll like this, and benefit from the fact that it arrives with so much. If you don’t like Pineapple Dole Whip, then it’s unlikely that a subtle fruity syrup is going to elevate it for you. They would probably look at you cross-eyed if you ordered one without the Syrup, but you could probably go in that direction as well just for the larger vessel. Overall, I’d recommend it if you’re in the mood for a Dole Whip.
Ordinarily, I’m not a big boozy dessert person. I like dessert. And I’ve been accused of enjoying booze. But I prefer them served separately. But we really liked this one. If anything, the multi-flavored syrup is largely adding sugar, and the dark rum here adds a little bit of caramel, vanilla, and spice, which complements the tropical flavors of the Dole Whip nicely. There’s so much of the Dole Whip that the rum adds a little nuance to each bite. With the smaller Dole Whip Cups, I feel like the rum is a lot more overpowering, which I’m less inclined to recommend.
Here’s what the regular size with rum looks like. The King’s Cooler version is at least 50% more Dole Whip, if not more than the regular Cup. We’re not reinventing the wheel here, but it’s a nice plussing of what’s ordinarily available.
The $7 “Simba Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich – Simba’s Face and Mane on an Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich with a Chocolate Tail” is similar to the ice cream cookie sandwich that it replaced.
But this one does come with a chocolate tail, which we haven’t been able to say before.
We found it pretty difficult to eat with the cookies tending to slide away from our mouths as the sandwich drew nearer, particularly in the Florida summer heat where the ice cream is going to begin melting quickly. On the plus side, it’s relatively thick, dense vanilla bean ice cream that holds up better than most. The chocolate chip cookies are soft and appropriately sugary with enough chocolate chips to carry the flavor along with quite a bit of chocolate icing on top and around the tail.
Simba’s face, which is printed on some sort of edible paper-like substance, is largely what brings us into The Lion King territory. You may find yourself discarding it before eating or it may attach itself permanently to the roof of your mouth, as it did mine. If I start describing every good item as tasting like paper, then you may know why. Of course, if we’re talking about Festival food from the Italy Pavilion, the cardboard-taste is probably true either way.
Overall, this was a nice, fun, refreshing ice cream treat that was just a little bit difficult to consume. I probably would have also liked a little more ice cream wedged in there between the cookies. But you could certainly do worse for seven dollars.
Next up, we have the “Shave Ice” stand, which currently situates itself outside Harambe Market.
Here’s an old picture of where we are. Basically, it’s behind Tamu Tamu Refreshments and Mombasa Marketplace.
“Shave Ice” has been around for about two years now.
Here’s my plastic cup full from June 2k17.
And June 2k18.
So it probably makes some sense that we return in June 2k19 for the $5 Asante Slush – Shaved Ice with Mango and Watermelon Syrup. This is what I had to say about it in my original review:
“It’s crushed ice. And very gritty, hard ice at that. It probably goes without saying that ice is cold, but about half of your “shaved ice” is going to melt away instantly while an incredibly dense, impenetrable, rock hard glacier swims around the impossibly sweet, viscous syrup for the remainder of the day.”
Things have not gotten any better, to the point where this approaches the worst way you could probably spend five dollars in the Park. It’s a shame because Disney could very easily invest in the proper equipment to serve legitimate snowy shave ice. The Snowie Cube Pro, a great machine, is “only” three thousand dollars. We threw at least half of this away after sitting there with it for at least 20 minutes. It’s probably sitting in some landfill somewhere, still frozen solid.
Instead, we get this rusty old contraption that ends up producing one big ice cube where it’s impossible to break off any more than one or two manageable bites. On the plus side, the Asante Slush is attractive and a surprising amount of effort goes into adding a little bit of ice, then a lot of syrup, then a little bit of ice, then a lot of syrup, and then a little bit of ice to create the pretty sunset look.
And with 80 calories of pure sugar per ounce, there is potentially no better way to contract hyperglycemia. So there’s that. But unless you’re looking to enjoy seven or eight ounces of very cold multi-use flavored syrup, I’d skip the Shave Ice.
A dessert that I would recommend in this area is the $5 “Most Beautiful Cake” from Harambe Market. Just in case you were wondering if it really is 2019, it “literally” tells you to go take a selfie with your new dessert and include the hashtag, #harambemarket.
This is probably what you would expect when searching for the hashtag on Twitter with the most recent sighting over a week ago. “That feel when your husband says he doesn’t want anything but as soon as he smells your corn he turns into a wild beast.” I’m not sure if this is some sort of internet euphemism or slang, but I am also not interested in the answer.
When you are tall, you don’t actually have to buy any desserts, you can just take them over the heads of the other bloggers. Amusingly, this “You Are Most Beautiful” mural is located in the very back left of Harambe Market. To the right is the backstage entrance/exit for cast members, who are constantly annoyed by the presence of tall bloggers taking pictures over the heads of other bloggers. A cast member is liable to walk around the corner and then have to stand there for a few awkward moments while the tourist frames their shot. Maybe this is actually what Disney security was trying to stop me from doing.
The cake is pretty with the vine and flower motif from the mural topping the light and airy cake with a vanilla-forward icing with a nice burst of coconut. The pineapple center is sweet and fruity and does a nice job of bringing a tropical vibe to the dessert with the coconut crisps adding a little bit of a crunch and more of a roasted coconut flavor.
It’s really good and, since it’s available with mobile order, easy to acquire even if you’re not committing to a meal at Harambe Market, which I review here. Just keep in mind that the eatery typically closes at 4pm.
Here’s what you can expect to find in Zuri’s Sweets, which is also located across from Harambe Market and located in the back of Mombasa Marketplace.
The other half.
You’ll also find Goofy’s Glaciers frozen beverages available inside Zuri’s. If you’re looking for something that’s cold, refreshing, incredibly sweet, and actually edible, then you may want to try one of these Glaciers over a “Shave Ice.”
Harambe Market is home to the Serengeti Sangria, which Disney does not offer a description of; it’s your standard Beso del Sol boxed Sangria with a splash of Van Der Hum South African Tangerine liqueur. It’s been available for years, though the name is a change.
If none of that catches your fancy, there’s always Kusafiri, offering a variety of hearty sandwiches, in addition to snacks and treats.
The last of the limited-time Lion King options is the Lion’s Latte, available hot or iced, from the Joffrey’s kiosks. One of them is located across from Yak & Yeti, while you’ll find the other outside the Park on the right.
In other news, the Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwich has returned to the Dino-Bite Snacks menu.
You might remember it from April’s Tasting Sampler review.
It was my top choice:
The flavor of the Ice Cream Sandwich brought me right back to those Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Bars that none of us may have enjoyed since the eighth grade. The two cookies are soft and sweet with a ton of sugary sprinkles baked in. The ice cream is tossed in cake crumbs, bringing even more strawberry and vanilla flavor, in addition to making the texture more interesting. It was quite the treat and something that I would recommend searching out if it’s available.
And it may well be available moving forward. Dino-Bites is located to the right of the main entrance to Restaurantosaurus.
There’s another major holdover from the Tasting Sampler – Mr. Kamal’s Seasoned Fries.
And so we had to have them with Ketchup at the top, followed by the Tandoori Honey Mustard, Safron Aioli, and Honey Kimchi Ketchup. And they were actually a really good, basic snack, with fresh, crispy fries tossed in a zesty blend of spices alongside some varied, interesting sauces that were almost unbelievably satisfying. Disney fries are typically a pretty ho-hum accompaniment, but this version is delicious and I think most people will find the sauces a refreshing change of pace. There’s always ketchup, if not. I doubt Mr. Kamal’s will be awarded more than one Michelin star anytime soon, but these are a fun, shareable, no-nonsense snack. The portion is pretty sizable too if you want to take some time to count the number of fries that are probably in the boat.
That sounds pretty good.
Also in Asia, Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe has a new Daily Chef Special in the Sweet & Sour Tempura Shrimp, which actually sounds promising. The Ribs were the Daily Special for about two and a half years, so we’ll probably have an opportunity to give the new option a whirl.
That probably does it for this roundup. We’ll get over to Restaurantosaurus next to try a few items there and then get back to our afternoon touring.