Best Ice Cream in Walt Disney World

by on July 24, 2017 16 Comments

Filed under: Dining, Walt Disney World (FL)

Just in time to cool off in the summer heat, I’m back to rank the top ten best ice cream offerings in Walt Disney World! This may be my most divisive list yet – everyone’s got their sentimental favorites when it comes to this tasty treat. Check out my rankings to see where your favorites fall!

Best Ice Cream in Disney World

 

10. Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop (Disney Springs)

A longtime staple of Downtown Disney and now Disney Springs, the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain offers overflowing sundaes, floats, scoops, and cups of several flavors of ice cream, complete with specialty chocolate treats like decadent brownies and cookies, or milk and dark chocolate hot fudge. Lines here are often long, but for a picture-perfect classic sundae, chock-full of chocolate, it’s hard to resist.

  1. Vivoli il GelatoVivoli il Gelato (Disney Springs)

World-famous gelato, straight from Italy… What more can you ask for on a hot day in the middle of central Florida? With tons of flavors and serving options (cups, cones, shakes, and even tasty espresso-soaked gelato called affogato), Vivoli il Gelato is the perfect stop in The Landing for a sweet treat.

  1. Landscape of Flavors (Disney’s Art of Animation Resort)

Gelato from Landscape of FlavorsHidden in a corner of the Art of Animation food court lies a secret stash of sweetness – a small selection of gelato and toppings is available on a rotating basis in the cold counter just next to the refrigerated grab-and-go food section of Landscape of Flavors. Cast Members will scoop and top your selection for you, and while it’s a smaller flavor selection (usually only four or five a day) than most other ice cream locations around Walt Disney World, the flavor and texture of the gelato here is perfect, plus, bonus: toppings!

  1. Donut sundae (photo credit: Rikki Niblett)Plaza Ice Cream Parlor/Plaza Restaurant (Magic Kingdom)

A staple for many family vacations and visits to Magic Kingdom, Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant feature standard sundaes packed with nostalgia for many visitors. While nothing here is out of the ordinary (except maybe the new donut breakfast sundae offered at breakfast!), it’s hard to beat enjoying a sundae or scoop while overlooking Cinderella Castle.

  1. Beaches and Cream Soda Shop (Disney’s Beach Club Resort)No Way Jose from Beaches and Cream

Whether it’s tackling a Kitchen Sink with your family (a whole can of whipped cream! 10 scoops of ice cream? Why not?!), or just enjoying a scoop or two after a dip in Stormalong Bay, Beaches and Cream is wildly popular for its ice cream offerings for guests of Disney’s Beach Club resort, and even those who just wander over from Epcot, just steps away. Personally, I always love trying to finish a No Way Jose or classic Banana Split before walking it off around Crescent Lake.

  1. 50’s Prime Time Café (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)

While 50’s Prime Time may not be the first place you think of when you hear “great ice cream”, it does feature one of the more unique and best ice cream treats in all of Walt Disney World – the peanut butter and jelly milkshake. It might sound weird, or even off-putting, but it’s really a treat! Salty peanut butter flavors mix with sweet jelly and vanilla ice cream to create a perfect dessert. Bartenders at Tune-In Lounge will even kick it up a notch for the adults, and add a shot of your favorite cordial (Chambord and Godiva are among the popular favorite add-ins).

  1. TIE: Aloha Isle Refreshments AND Sunshine Tree Terrace (Magic Kingdom)

Citrus Swirl (photo credit: Derek Burgan)Any “best of” list for ice cream at Walt Disney World has to feature Dole Whip, right? (Yes, the Dole Whip is dairy-free, so not technically ice cream, but could you leave it off a list like this?) Who can resist the creamy, slightly tangy pineapple soft serve from Aloha Isle on a hot day? But here’s a secret (and I don’t want to create a ruckus, here!)… I actually prefer the citrus swirl when it comes to fruity-ice cream-desserts-in-theme-parks, available nearby at Sunshine Tree Terrace. The sour orange slush swirled with vanilla soft serve is the perfect pairing, reminiscent of a classic orange creamsicle.

  1. Mickey Premium Bar (photo credit: Derek Burgan)Mickey Premium Bar (Outdoor quick service carts all around Walt Disney World)

It’s hard to top the original Disney treat, the Mickey premium bar, when it comes to nostalgia. Perfect for nearly all occasions and in most locations, a Mickey-shaped ice cream bar is guaranteed to elicit smiles. Who doesn’t have a memory of beating the Florida heat by chomping off Mickey’s ear (and subsequently becoming covered in melting chocolate and ice cream) as a kid?

  1. L’Artisan des Glaces (Epcot’s France pavilion)

Ice cream cone from L'Artisan des GlacesMade fresh daily, the ice cream and sorbet available at L’Artisan des Glaces are nothing short of phenomenal. Never icy, full of flavor, and perfectly creamy, no matter what flavor you pick (and there are SO MANY amazing ones to choose from), you’ll love it. The salted caramel, coco-white chocolate, classic vanilla, and rich chocolate are among my favorites, but honestly, you could close your eyes and pick a flavor here and still come out ahead of most any ice creams you’ve ever tried in your life. To take it to a whole new level, try a croque glace, where they sandwich a scoop of your choice of ice cream in a warm, buttery brioche bun with chocolate or caramel sauce. Hot and cold, sweet and savory – it’s the pinnacle of desserts.

  1. Ample Hills Creamery (Disney’s BoardWalk)

It’s almost painful to dethrone Artisan des Glaces from the top of the best ice cream list, but once you’ve tried one scoop at Ample Hills, you know it has to be done (though, in truth, both offer incredible ice cream). Ample Hills is the newest entry into the Walt Disney World ice cream scene with some well-deserved hype surrounding the location. Offering specialty flavors like ooey gooey butter cake, coffee toffee coffee, and malty salty pretzel punch, as well as classics like cookies and cream, butter pecan, and strawberry, Ample Hills serves up huge scoops, cones, and sundaes that are sure to satisfy any tastebuds. Portions are large, and prices are accordingly high, but it’s worth the splurge.

So, that’s my list! I’m sure some of this is controversial, as everyone has their personal favorites. Where do yours stack up? Did I miss any amazing ice cream stops – let me know in the comments below!

Posted on July 24, 2017

16 Responses to “Best Ice Cream in Walt Disney World”

  • I love Beaches and Cream, it’s my #1. Love their hot fudge sundae, doesnt get any better.

  • Not controversial at all! I completely agree. Ample Hills is our favorite. Yes the prices are high but did you know toppings are included? No upcharge for hot fudge and whipped cream! or whatever you like on your ice cream. Nonna’s oatmeal cookie is my favorite flavor. Although the baked / unbaked is a close second. Can you tell we just stayed at the Boardwalk a few weeks ago 😀
    L’artisan des glaces is so creamy and rich, definitely the best in park option!

  • In a park that is often super hot, I love to get a float at Dino-bite Snacks in the Animal Kingdom. Real hard ice cream in Coke or my favourite, Orange Crush. Mmm….

  • Ample Hills also has a sampler where you can get six different flavors in one container (all separated). It is perfect for sharing.

  • Although not as iconic, the Mickey ice cream sandwich is better than the Mickey bar IMO. Doesn’t fall to pieces after a bite or two.

    A few hidden gems when it comes to ice cream is the caramel-ginger ice cream at The Joy of Tea and Fountains at the Dolphin.

  • We didn’t go to Ample Hills in WDW because we are from NYC and can have it whenever we want here, but it’s a worthy choice for king of the ice cream hill. Their flavors are delicious, and I have even bought their cookbook and made several of them at home.

  • Makes me wonder if there shouldn’t be a separate list for soft serve. I have definitely noticed a quality difference depending where I get it from in WDW.

  • If you like to drink your ice cream, try the Fountain at the Dolphin Resort. Wonderful milk shakes, with seasonal choices and big enough to share.

  • I too prefer the Citrus swirl to the pineapple although that’s a close second. Love Ghirardelli’s. I’m going to try that Boardwalk ice cream in August thanks for the heads up.

  • Do any of these ice cream places cater for the dairy free? My husband cant eat real ice cream as he is allergic to Milk but there is a great lack of dairy free alternatives. Ice cream is the thing he misses the most.

  • I blog about ice cream, including Disney’s offerings, and I don’t think #1 or #2 are consistent. L’Artisan nails some flavors – mint chip and chocolate are about the best I’ve ever had – but those. Unconventional flavors never have the right consistency and don’t really work for me. Ample Hills is incredibly fun, but most of their flavors I would prefer at Epcot if given a preference. But they have a large menu, alcoholic options, a sampler and some flavors are truly outstanding, although they had less gluten-free ice cream than I had hoped for a selection that large.

  • by Lee & Robin on July 25, 2017, at 4:43 pm EDT

    Some notes on our experiences:

    1) The ice cream (at least the vanilla used in the sundaes) at Plaza has had ice crystals in it the last couple of times we have gotten a sundae there. Definitely not top shelf ice cream.

    2) Ghirardelli no longer offers nuts as a topping, apparently bowing to the 1% (yes, only about 1%) of the population who are allergic to nuts.

    • So sorry you’re upset that nuts were eliminated as an option. Now try to imagine you have a food allergy, such as wheat, dairy, nuts, and then try to see how many entire restaurants or entrees are eliminated as viable options for you! It gives you a brief glimpse on how frustrating eating out can be with food allergies.