Our grand circle, culinary adventure continues as we take a left towards Adventureland and Caribbean Plaza.
We’re fresh off a stop in Liberty Square, which included reviews of this Churro Ice Cream Sandwich, in addition to a great new Whoopie Pie themed to Princess and the Frog and a Foot-long Corn Dog. We also reacquainted ourselves with one of the better quick service options in Magic Kingdom with Columbia Harbour House.
Our VIP tour began on Main Street with a look at what’s happening at Casey’s Corner with their Hot Diggity Dog program, in addition to Plaza updates and a fresh look at what’s available at Main Street Bakery Starbucks.
Adventureland is not home to a major quick service outlet, but you will see Tortuga Tavern across from Pirates of the Caribbean open most days. Years ago, back when it served the dear-departed Taco Salads, its operation was a rarity.
Tortuga Tavern is certainly not the first place I would choose to eat a substantial lunch, but lines are typically short to nonexistent and seating is covered and more plentiful than Pecos Bill or Casey’s Corner. The Short-Rib Topped All-Beef Hot Dog isn’t substantially different than what we saw at Casey’s Corner, though you’re locked into the smaller size and Chips are served in place of Fries. The Short-Rib Sandwich is on the small side and best-skipped.
The $4 Rum Cake is a decent dessert, small, but dense, with a healthy amount of cinnamon and spice underneath the sweet caramel glaze. It’s hard for me to imagine anyone wanting to go out of their way to try one, but you could do worse.
The Pepper Jack Pretzel is very similar to the Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel circa 2k14, perhaps with a little less spice. The pepper-forward cheese is intertwined inside the Pretzel for a nice warm snack, particularly on cool fall and “winter” evenings. If you’re after grocery store Black Bean Chips, then you can pick up a small side of those with Pineapple Jalapeno, Mango Sriracha, or Traditional Hummus. It’s a fine choice if you’re looking for something on the side of healthy.
A Pirate Pear Slushy is available.
Call me a slushy purist if you must, but I prefer my Blue Raspberry and Coca-Cola flavors. The Pear version is very sweet and very syrupy.
Recently, Golden Oak Outpost has become one of the best snack outlets at Magic Kingdom.
Here’s the current menu. Since summer 2018, the only meaningful change is the sauce accompanying the Jalapeno Poppers. Chipotle Ranch arrives in place of what Disney was calling “G.O.O. Sauce.” Said sauce arrived without any description whatsoever and turned out to be a thick, bright red raspberry goop. “G.O.O.” may be a throwback to the initials of the Outpost, but if this was called Colonel Randy’s Adventureland Parlor, I wouldn’t expect them to slap those initials on the name of a sauce, either.
The Fried Cauliflower served here is a great vegetarian snack, fried to a beautiful golden brown and with just the right amount of crunchy batter surrounding the cruciferous vegetable that retains a nice bite. These are “Disney spicy,” which is to say, “not very,” but there’s just enough of a red pepper presence to make the zesty, herb-y Garlic Ranch Sauce taste all the more refreshing.
The Jalapeno Poppers are potentially worth a visit too. They’re not quite as crispy as the Fried Cauliflower, but the breading does a nice job of keeping all of the oozing, melted nacho cheese encased inside of the pepper, even after the initial bite. I’m not a big Poppers guy, but these are about 11.6% breading, 69.3% cheese, and 19.1% pepper, making for a rather cheesy affair. They’re another good choice for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
I would also call your attention to the Milkshakes, which are both unbelievably thick and delicious, in addition to being much more substantial than the Dole Whip or Orange Swirl for a dollar or two more.
Speaking of which, Sunshine Tree Terrace is still home to both the Orange Dole Whip and Citrus Swirl.
If you like smooth and sweet, stick with the Orange Cream or Orange Cream Float.
If you prefer the juxtaposition of tart frozen orange juice alongside the same vanilla soft, serve, then go with the Citrus Swirl. In my experience, the Orange Dole Whips, seen above next to the Orange Cream Float, are larger, which may come into play if you’re planning on sharing.
Aloha Isle Refreshments is the name of the Pineapple Dole Whip outlet located to the right of Enchanted Tiki Room. If you like these sorts of nighttime pictures, I have a post with more than a hundred of them here.
While the Pineapple Dole Whip is the original gangster, Disney has added a couple of fresh takes in recent years.
The $7 “Pineapple Upside Down Cake served with a choice of Pineapple Dole Whip, Vanilla Dole Whip, or Swirl” is one of my personal favorites. The cake typically enjoys a surprisingly fresh fluffiness – light and tropical with a real fruity character. The Dole Whip adds a cool refreshing flavor to each springy bite. Quality does come down to freshness, however, and I have been served the occasional stale cake. Hopefully you’ll have good luck. I think the risk is worth the extra two dollars over the regular size, though this arrives with less of the non-dairy frozen treat than a $5 cup.
The $5.29 “Hei Hei Cone – Blue Cone filled with a layer of Pineapple DOLE Whip, Raspberry Soft-serve, Sugar-Piece Eyes, and a Sour Candy ‘Comb’” is one of three new cones that debuted on February 24th, 2019.
It was easily my favorite of the bunch, pairing the sweet, refreshing, fruity flavor of the Raspberry Dole Whip with the tropical flavors of the sweet Pineapple. Hei Hei sports two googly eyes and on the first day, they were authentically-placed on opposite sides of the cone. On our return visit the next day, the eyes were placed much closer together, giving poor Hei Hei a little less of an alien-esque appearance. The “Sugar Candy Comb” is basically a strawberry fruit roll up covered in that familiar sour sugar. I think most people probably remove it and enjoy a couple of sour, pucker-y bites separate from the Dole Whip. The blue cake cone is light and crispy with a subtle sweetness on its own. The blue color is just for show – there is no blueberry flavor or anything.
At the moment, this is the only opportunity to order the Raspberry Dole Whip, which is actually dispensed from a machine in the back.
Overall, this is a precious little dessert with enough going on that I think the relatively small size is worth the money. The only thing it’s missing is a little coconut topper. Keep in mind that this thing does melt almost-instantaneously. Scout out your Instagram spot in advance because the cone is going to look like it took a walk straight into the ocean within a few moments of it being served. And don’t use the cone to write the post. It’s only called the Hei Hei Cone. It’s not a real chicken.
The Adventureland Egg Roll Cart remains popular. You’ll find it across from the entrance to The Magic Carpets of Aladdin.
Two fillings are typically available, Cheeseburger and a limited-time offering.
Buffalo Chicken is what’s currently available. Inside the crispy spring roll skin, you’ll find very mild, big chunks of chicken mixed with carrots, celery, and a ranch sauce. The hype on these is significant, but I admit that I don’t really get it, particularly considering these are delivered frozen from Chef’s Commissary, a local wholesale distributor. On the other hand, the fact that these are virtually identical to what you would expect to be served at a TGI Friday’s may put them distinctly above a number of other offerings. Anyone looking for any semblance of spice will also be disappointed. While they’re potentially “just fine,” $7.50 seems rough for two short rolls.
On the plus side, the Buffalo Chicken is my favorite version so far – much less dry than the previous Macaroni and Cheese.
The flavor of the Cheeseburger version mimics that of a basic McDonald’s hamburger. The flavors of onion and pickle are surprisingly overwhelming as they’re followed up with mustard and ketchup.
You could do a lot worse, but I don’t think I would buy into the hype on these things.
Overall, Adventureland offers a nice assortment of snacks that should help carry you towards bigger meals in Frontierland and Liberty Square. Consider a stop at Golden Oak Outpost for something hot and crispy and follow it with a visit to Aloha Isle for something cool and refreshing.