Since the day Disneyland opened in 1955, Disney Parks have been places where guests can connect with Disney stories and characters through rides, parades, and shows. But there’s no doubt that an equally important part of any Disney theme park experience is the unique food items that we all look forward to enjoying whenever we visit the parks.
By Samantha Davis-Friedman
“Food is at the heart of every memory, every family celebration, every vacation, and it’s one of the main reasons many of our guests come from around the world to visit our parks and resorts,” says Alex Dunlap, Food & Beverage Communications Coordinator for the Disney Parks Blog.
Beci Mahnken, founder and CEO of MEI-Travel, agrees. “Theme parks get a bad rap when it comes to food inside their gates,” she says. “But for Disney destinations visitors, tasty treats and delicious mealtime nosh has become just as much of an experience as the attractions themselves.”
The parks may be temporarily closed, but that doesn’t mean Disney fans can’t enjoy delicious Disney magic while at home, so I challenged my son, Jacob — a first-year culinary student at Johnson & Wales University — to help me come up with a “shortcut” for one of our favorite Disney treats using ingredients we were able to find at our local grocery store and/or already had in our pantry.
Dole Whip was introduced at Disneyland in 1986, and while it was initially only sold at the Tiki Juice Bar in front of the Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland, it’s become one of the most popular snacks across all Disney Parks. I’ve even read that Disney serves over one million Dole Whips every day, which is no surprise.
I happen to be a Dole Whip purist — meaning the original pineapple soft-serve — but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the allure of a Dole Whip Float, the boozy version with rum (for guests over 21, of course), or pineapple swirled with other flavors. No matter which is your favorite, Dole Whip is always gluten-free, and since 2013, the tasty treat has also been vegan. Who knew?
The official Dole recipe has only four ingredients: frozen pineapple juice, a frozen banana, powdered sugar, and unsweetened coconut milk beverage. For our version, we substituted pineapple popsicles for the frozen pineapple juice and unflavored non-dairy creamer for the coconut milk beverage, which kept it gluten-free but not vegan.
The popsicle swap was not only a time-saver but, since real estate in our freezer is in high demand these days, we didn’t have the space to freeze juice in ice cube trays (thankfully, we were able to accommodate one banana). Swapping out the coconut milk was a result of sparsely-stocked shelves at our local grocery store, though unsweetened coconut milk beverage may be a hard-to-find item at any time. We were also able to skip the powdered sugar since the popsicles were already very sweet.
The Result: Our Dole Whip tasted the same as the parks, even though it didn’t look as fancy.
Check out our recipe below:
- Three 2.5-ounce pineapple popsicles, broken into chunks
- 1 banana, peeled, sliced and frozen
- 1/2 cup of unflavored non-dairy creamer
- Combine the popsicles, banana, and creamer in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until it thickens slightly (about 10-15 minutes).
We want to see your creations if you decide to give this Dole Whip recipe a try! Be sure to share photos with us on Twitter at @Attractions.