November 13, 2020

The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook

The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook: From Delicious Dole Whip to Tasty Mickey Pretzels. 100 Magical Disney-Inspired Recipes

by Ashley Craft

Published November 10, 2020 by Adams Media

Rating: 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Genre: Cooking, Wine & Food

Description from the Publisher:

Experience the magic of the Disney Parks right in your kitchen with these 100, easy and delicious recipes inspired by Walt Disney World!

Stroll right down the middle of Main Street USA, journey from Adventureland to Infinity and Beyond at Pixar Pier, and explore every avenue in between to taste the flavors of the Disney Parks… all without leaving your kitchen.

With The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook you can bring the magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World snacks and treats right to your home.  Recreate favorites like the classic Dole Whip and Mickey Pretzels to new favorites like blue milk from Star Wars land and Jack Jack’s Cookie Num Nums from Pixar Pier.

These 100 recipes inspired by iconic yummies are perfect whether you are a forever Disney fan or just love a good snack.  Now you can feel as if you shared a snack with Mickey himself right from the comfort of your own home!

My Thoughts:

If you’re a Disney-phile like me, then you just KNEW the moment you saw this book that you HAD to have it!  The beautiful cover, in signature Disney navy accented in gold, just screams, “PICK ME”.  Flipping over to the back side, you know right away you’re in good hands.  Not only did author Ashley Craft grown up in Anaheim Hills right next door to California’s Disneyland, but she also had the amazing experience of not one, but two, internships at Florida’s Walt Disney World in her college years.   We are GO FOR LAUNCH, people, with a tried and true Disney expert.

Now, if you’ve ever been to a Disney park, you know that the food is an attraction category all its own.  If I lived a little closer, heck, I’d drop into Disney World just to eat!  And, of course, my family and I have stacked up our short list of favorites.  So, the true test for this Unofficial Disney Cookbook – did our faves make the cut?  So, let’s dig in and find out!

The recipes are organized by Disney Park: the original Disneyland, which is followed by Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom; then we swing back to California with Disney’s California Adventure, the newest of the American Disney parks (it appears Craft has organized the parks from oldest to newest.)

Disneyland

  • Craft hit the ball out of the park (ha ha) with her first theme park section.   Perennial favorites that my family has been enjoying for almost 25 years made the list, such as the delicious Mint Julep and scrumptious Beignets from New Orleans Square.
  • I was also pleased to see that popular Adventureland stop, Bengal Barbecue, made the list with its mouth-watering Tiger Tails.   While I, myself, would have included Bengal Barbecue’s Chieftain Chicken Skewer, it was nice to see several skewers in the mix, with the Bengal Beef, Pork Belly, and Safari skewer options.   Not to be outdone are the Jungle Julep and Hummus Trio.
  • I’m not familiar with the Main Street’s Raspberry Rose Mickey Macarons or Fantasyland’s Matterhorn Macaroons, but they sound delectable and I can’t wait to try them!
  • The volume does also include crowd pleasers like Main Street’s Churros, New Orlean’s Square’s Clam Chowder, and Critter Country’s Churro Funnel Cake.
  • If you don’t see your Disneyland faves here, check out the Magic Kingdom section!

Magic Kingdom

  • Beloved Disney Park favorites are well represented with offerings such as Dole Whip, the giant smoked Turkey Legs, and Caramel Apples.  Fun fact: There are only two outlets in the world where you can buy the tropical Dole Whip, a dairy-free, pineapple-flavored, ice cream-like dessert, – a Disney park, and Dole’s home base at the historic Dole Plantation in Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Other tempting recipes being slapped onto my weekly menu as we speak are the Mickey Sugar Cookies, Cheshire Cat Tails (a puff pastry, vanilla pudding, and chocolate-chip dessert), Peter Pan Float (which sounds like a heartier version of an Italian Soda, but with ‘eggs to make you grow strong’), and the Maple Popcorn. 

Epcot

  • Ahhh, Epcot – if Disney holds the gold standard for theme parks, then Epcot holds the triple crown!  It’s hard to pick a favorite when it comes to Epcot, because there are just so many great options.   Not to mention the annual Food & Wine Festival where Disney really takes it up a notch – or three!
  • Some my family’s favorites come from the Canada area of Epcot, in the form of the beer cheese soup from Le Cellier and the beaver tails (like an elephant ear – we like it topped with chocolate-hazelnut spread!) occasionally offered at seasonal food stands.   I don’t see those in the cookbook, but with so many options available, I can only imagine the difficult task Craft had in narrowing this volume down to a mere 240 pages.  I am thrilled, and you will be too, to see pages for France’s Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches and Crepes, and Germany’s Caramel Corn from the Karamell-Kuche (German for Caramel Kitchen), all three of which my family can personally attest are absolutely mouth-watering as well as addictive!
  • On my “must try” list are Craft’s recipes for the Caramel-Chocolate Pineapple Spears, Caramel Pecan Bars (Sensing a theme yet?  Epcot is a veritable caramel-lovers paradise!), and of course the Coconut Popsicles.
  • Fun fact: Epcot stands for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”, which was Walt Disney’s name for the park, which he sadly didn’t get to see visualized.  Disney passed away in 1966, while Epcot did not open until 16 years later in 1982.

Other Disney Parks

  • While there certainly is much room for debate, in my family’s minds, Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS), Animal Kingdom (AK), and California Adventure (DCA) have never really been known for their food, unlike their Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot counterparts, so I’ll review these three together.
  • That said, DCA has recently stepped it up in recent years, with efforts such as bringing in celebrated chefs.  And this reviewer does in fact believe it appropriate to include a section for each park, as the cookbook wouldn’t be complete without it.   So, I was enthused to dive in and see what intriguing options Craft includes for her readers.
  • I was glad to see a top favorite, Candy Apples, in the DHS section, along with the Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas.  Every child’s dream Mickey Waffles enter in the AK section, as well as Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches and Bars (kiddos and grown-ups alike can’t get enough of Mickey-shaped food!).   DCA brings us Pumpkin Spice Churros, Chili-Lime Corn on the Cob, and Bavarian Pretzels.   

All of this!  And more!!!

  • A very handy feature is a section on The Disney Cook’s Essentials, a valuable grouping of the tools of the cooking trade, Disney style, for your home kitchen.
  • One of my absolute favorites about this book, though – and I’m sure it will be one of your as well – is the tales, anecdotes, and interesting factoids sprinkles throughout the book like pixie dust.   In fact, this is what really makes this book special, as each recipe is thoughtfully headed with a small tale relating to the recipe you are about to read – truly a treat that will whisk you off to that Disney magic in a jiff!

Conclusion

With 240 pages, numerous full-color, full-page illustrations, and even maps of the park marked with the location of each of the tasty treats, this is sure to be a treasured volume in your kitchen cookbook library for years to come.

A big thank you to Ashley Craft, Adams Media, and NetGalley for providing a complimentary copy of this publication in exchange for this honest review.

The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook released Tuesday, November 10th and is available now from Adams Media, a division of Simon & Schuster.  Please consider buying from BookShop.org, the online book seller that contributes 75% of the profit margin to support independent bookstores.  (Note: Desiree does receive a small commission should you purchase through this link, however she shares this out of her enduring love for corner bookstores everywhere, rather than for any monetary gain.)

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