Pineapple Promenade is one of a couple of kiosks that I neglected to photograph this year, as I was too busy shaking my fists at the menu prices and figuring out what on earth we were getting from the five booths in the vicinity. So you’ll just have to deal with what last year looked like for a second. Since nobody is really ordering anything, the more things change, the more they stay the same anyway.
Festival Day is always a little hectic. I also stood there contemplating for some time whether I would go to a Pineapple Promenade given the opportunity. Outside of Epcot, nobody has ever invited me to a pineapple promenade. You could easily say people haven’t invited me to a lot of things, including many events where one would assume my position would be, or should be, included, if not required, so that doesn’t prove much. If I were to make my own pineapple promenade, we might look at it for 30 seconds before going back inside. After all, neither of us probably needs our feet or shoes stuck with fruit spikes that I imagine had been a great defense mechanism against predators until humans came along and just used a knife and then some whacky specialized machine to cut them down. So it’s a no on the homemade Pineapple Promenade for the foreseeable future, but Epcot’s remains, without much of a pineapple barrier in your way as you make your purchase.
On the other hand, a late springtime stroll along the promenade of the Dordogne in France might be nice, or perhaps the splashy-splash of the Barcelona Waterfront, or meandering the the beaches in Nafplion, Greece with the rich blue and green hues of the water glistening from the walkway. I have enough trouble trying to convince anybody to come over as it is. Something tells me that a man-made, treacherous maze of spiky fruit wouldn’t be a good way start to a fresh series invitations. “So I have these Pineapples…about 400 in all….and they’re all on the ground…”
All three food items return alongside the ever-popular Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade and Dole Whip with Fanta poured around the base of the cup if you really want to throw caution to the wind. We also see a mashup of alcoholic offerings.
Spicy Hot Dog with Pineapple Chutney and Plantain Chips – $8
I’m not sure why Disney has gone to the full size dog here rather than offering smaller samples like the other booths. I like this hot dog a lot, but it’s a bit of a gut bomb if you don’t share it, so just keep the required tummy space in mind before committing. This isn’t Casey’s Corner after all, where you might hope one of those $12 monstrosities will take you farther than you need to go, which or may may not be the bathrooms located conveniently outside, across, and around from the establishment.
Here, the hot dog has a nice snap to it and the spice doesn’t immediately hit you – but rather lingers after each bite. The pineapple chutney does a nice job of adding some fruity, tropical flavors that “feel” almost Hawaiian, and the creamy sauce helps mellow the spice. The plantain chips further the tropical vibe and add a crunch that contrasts nicely with the softness of the fresh bun and chew of the dog. Very good, though I would happily pay $4 for half if they decided to go with a smaller portion.
Mixed Berry Buttermilk Cake – $5
This looked so good that you can see the shadow of my oversized head peering down at it as I tried to eat it hands-free at the same time that I was taking a picture. Either that, or it’s stupid to bring a bulbous ultra-wide 11mm lens to a festival full of tiny plates of food. In any case, our Buttermilk Cake base was on the dry and crumbly side of things, to the point where it was sort of like breaking off little bites of chalk, but I appreciated the rich buttery flavor underneath a heaping pile of fresh, sweet, macerated berries that retained a firm enough chew against the crunchy hardness of the cake underneath. Hopefully, the quality of the cake will improve throughout the Festival. If you’re in the mood for a fruity, vibrant dessert, then this isn’t a big gamble at five bucks, and I didn’t even mind that much that the cake underneath wasn’t quite up to par. Things will likely improve throughout the Festival, but you’re just a few steps away from the exceptional Cheesecake from the Honey Bee-stro, which is an all-time great.
Dole Whip – $5.25, with Fanta for $6.25, or with Parrot Bay Coconut Rum – $12
This is the same Dole Whip that’s served at an ever-expanding number of locations around Walt Disney World, only here at a similar or higher price for a smaller portion. It’s a better buy at Magic Kingdom or the Polynesian, but this is about what they serve at Tamu Tamu Refreshments at Animal Kingdom for the same money. It’s here if you have to have it at Epcot.
Value: Lower than elsewhere/10
Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade – $4.50
While this originally debuted in 2013 at the economical price of $2.50, the Desert Violet Lemonade has grown increasingly popular even as the price has nearly doubled. There’s a little bit of a floral, lavender flavor with a little bit of tart lemon. It’s less intense than you would think given the dark purple. It’s mostly sugar and dye.
Definitely consider trying one to see what all of the fuss is about, even if the cup is on the small side for the price Disney is asking. I think it’s been around long enough that demand has waned a bit, particularly with the nearby construction. But it might blend in with the new bathroom doorway mural or something. You’ll have to let me know.
Pineapple Beer Flight with – $9.50 with 3 Daughters Brewing Tropical Hefe Wheat Ale, Wicked Weed Brewing Fresh Pressed Wheat Ale with Mango, Pineapple, and Guava, and Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company Alo’hop IPA. Or $4.50 for Six Ounces or $8.50 for Twelve.
The Tropical Hefe Wheat Ale says about the same thing four different ways, but a little bit of citrus covers up a lot of the cloudy artificial banana, that might just be clovey enough to drink in small batches.
The Wicked Weed Brewing Fresh Pressed Wheat Ale is a mouthful before it even tells you which flavors to expect after the name. The sugary guava is the most prominent flavor with the other citrus-forward mango and tropical pineapple adding more sugar to make this one of the sweeter beers at the Festival. It’s a little too juicy for me, but it’s worth trying in whichever size you use to sample.
The Alo’hop IPA is a punch of citrus with a pineapple flavor that borders on being overbearing. It’s certainly worth trying as part of the flight, but the group will probably be mixed on this one. And whoever likes it most is probably interested in my homemade pineapple promenade.
Florida Orange Groves Winery Sparkling Pineapple Wine – $12
Here it is from a couple of years ago. With rising Festival wine prices, $12 isn’t terrible considering the $30 retail price of the bottle. Unfortunately, the wine arrives with a low ABV, but is still somehow unpleasantly alcohol-forward with an artificial pineapple flavor. With all of the pineapple going on here, I’m not sure why you’d necessarily want to add more at this price point, but it’s here for those who prefer to drink their pineapple calories.
Overall, the Spicy Hot Dog is just about as much food as you can get for the money at the Festival. I’d also consider the Buttermilk Cake, Beer Flight, and Desert Violet Lemonade, even if none of them are necessarily at the very top of my own best-of list.