There are plenty of exciting things about going to Disney World. You get to experience a magical theme park that makes you feel all the childhood nostalgia, you get to enjoy really elaborately planned rides and experiences, you get to see some beautiful fireworks and amazing parades, and you also get tons of great Instagram photo opportunities. But there’s another very wonderful thing about visiting the Disney theme parks: the food.
Yes, while the happiest place on earth might have been created with children in mind, it is also a place where you can get some of the best food, ever — and so there are lots of interesting facts about Disney World food out there you should know before you go.
After all, Disney World is known for some of their iconic food options almost as much as they’re known for all of their character experiences.
A trip there isn’t complete without getting a Pineapple Dole Whip, a giant turkey leg, a Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar, or a huge jumbo pretzel from “Germany” in Epcot… and that’s barely even scratching the surface. Disney World offers over 475 places to eat throughout the entire resort, so picking only a few options can be extremely tough — everything is good! But here’s what you should know about the food before you start your vacation:
1. You can’t buy gum anywhere at any of the Disney parks or resorts.
Looking for some gum to nix bad breath? Good luck finding it unless you can bum it off someone else who’s more prepared than you. Both Disneyland and Disney World have banned the sale of chewing gum in the parks, but they have a good reason…
It’s to keep the parks as clean as possible. No one likes stepping in old chewing gum everywhere!
2. Doritos were invented in Disneyland.
Here’s something you probably didn’t know… in 1955, Frito-Lay owned a restaurant in Disneyland called Casa de Fritos. They came up with a way to use their stale tortillas: add a lot of flavor and fry them. These became a huge success with guests, and Doritos became a national brand.
3. Some parts of the park really do smell like food — and it’s not real.
If you’re walking through Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and you notice the smell of freshly baked goods, you’re not imagining it, and no, it’s not actual food. Imaginers use Smellitzer machines that send scents through hidden vents throughout the parks.
One former Disney employee wrote that it’s because scent is a strong trigger for memory, and makes us associate the parks with childhood nostalgia.
4. Disney has a Disney Harvest program to help deal with food waste.
With so much food being prepared, it’s almost cringe-worthy to think about all of the waste that must occur. Fortunately, Disney has the Disney Harvest program, which allows them to donate food that would normally be thrown away to feed the homeless in Central Florida. If they didn’t, the waste would be more than 700,000 pounds of food!
5. There’s a reason why the U.K. pub is called Rose and Crown.
In the United Kingdom area of Epcot, you’ll find a pub called Rose and Crown that mimics what real pubs in the United Kingdom look like.
The name came from the fact that the most common words found in pub names in the U.K. are “rose” and “crown.”
6. They really know their wine.
Disney World might be a place that little kids love to go to, but that doesn’t mean adults can’t enjoy it as well. Disney World offers a lot of wine in dining establishments, and it’s not just the cheap stuff.
According to Walt Disney World News, more than 700 sommeliers have been awarded the Court of Master Sommelier Introductory Certificate at Walt Disney World Resort. Impressive!
7. It doesn’t always make sense to spring for the dining plan.
Disney offers a dining plan for families who plan on spending a lot of time at the parks. It can be a good deal, but it also might not be worth your time — and could even lead to you spending more money than necessary (and maybe that’s what Disney intended).
One Disney expert told E! Online that it only makes sense to buy the plan if you’re going to eat a sit-down meal every single day of your trip.
It’s definitely something to take into consideration.
8. There are secret menu items you should order while you’re there.
Yes, even Disney World is a part of the secret menu craze. According to Insider, these options are secret enough that they’re not on the menu, but not so secret that employees won’t know how to make them if you ask for them by name.
These include a cinnamon bun and candied bacon cheeseburger from All-Star Movies Resort World Premiere food court, Ice Cream Nachos at The Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland, and the Chili Mac n Cheese Bread Bowl at the Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner on Main Street.
9. There were once some weird rumors that the turkey legs weren’t made from turkey.
In 2017, actor Zachary Levy stirred up some trouble when he appeared on Conan to say that the turkey legs might not be what they seem. He stated:
“I have friends that have worked for Disneyland, and I was talking about how the turkey legs tasted more like ham than they did like turkey, and they said, ‘Well, they’re actually emu.'” Both Snopes and Disney shot down the rumor.
10. You won’t find plastic straws or lids at Animal Kingdom.
Going to Animal Kingdom is a wonderful experience, but if you get a drink, expect it to potentially be slightly messy. According to E! Online, they won’t serve drinks with lids and they only have cardboard straws.
This is also for a good reason: they don’t want the animals to get harmed if garbage accidentally gets into their habitat.
11. The Enchanted Tiki Room was almost a restaurant.
Today, you know the Enchanted Tiki Room as a really amazing attraction at the Magic Kingdom, but it was almost more than that. In the beginning, it was supposed to be a dinner show, where guests could be entertained by the famous animatronic birds while eating dinner.
You know that fountain in the middle of the room? It was supposed to be a coffee station.
But it ended up being too impractical, and instead, it just became an attraction to check out, no food included.
12. People eat a lot of turkey every year.
Visitors really, really love those turkey legs. In fact, according to Walt Disney World News, more than 1.2 million pounds of turkey drumsticks are eaten every year in the four parks.
13. They also eat tons of popcorn.
There are a dizzying array of options when it comes to snack foods at Disney World, but one of the most popular has to be popcorn.
They sell so much of it, apparently, that if you stacked each kernel on top of each other, it would be 200 feet high every two days.
14. Oh, and people really love the churros too.
The churros are another popular option at Disney World. According to Disneyland News, visitors eat 3,800,000 churros every year, and if they were laid end-to-end, they would stretch 954 miles.
15. The Be Our Guest restaurant actually sells “the grey stuff.”
If you’re a fan of Beauty and The Beast, then you know about that moment in the song “Be Our Guest” where they sing, “try the grey stuff, it’s delicious!”
For anyone wondering what it is, it’s a dessert at the restaurant in Magic Kingdom, and it’s basically cookies and cream panna cotta. Definitely sounds delicious!
16. You can get free culinary tours in Animal Kingdom Lodge if you want.
Are you interested in learning more about some of the food in Disney World? Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offers up free culinary tours of all the restaurants at around 4 p.m. each day. The best part? You get to taste test some of the items.
17. Disney grows their own fruits and vegetables.
If you’re wondering how Disney World keeps up with the demand for all of this food, the answer is that they literally grow some of it themselves.
More than 30 tons of fruits and veggies are grown every year at Land Pavilion in Epcot, then used in the restaurants and cafes.
18. Disney visitors really do eat *so* much food.
You’ve already seen how popular certain dishes are, but consider this: every year, Disney visitors eat more than seven million hamburgers, a half-million pounds of mac and cheese, one million pounds of watermelon, and two million pounds of ketchup.
That is a lot of food.
19. There is a secret members-only club to eat and drink at in the Magic Kingdom.
If you want to do something more unique while in Disneyland, search for Club 33. It’s hidden in plain sight in New Orleans Square, and is a 5-star restaurant that is super exclusive.
In order to get in, you have to be a member, know someone who is a member, or get your name on the 14-year waiting list and pay up to $100,000 in membership fees.
This is also the only place they sell alcohol in the Magic Kingdom.