Normally, I’m not that into sweet treats. However, I make an exception for Walt Disney World and more specifically EPCOT. The selection of sweet snacks and desserts available at EPCOT is enticing. If you carve out a Dole Whip exception, I could spend days in the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom forgoing desserts altogether. But in EPCOT? Nah. I couldn’t do a lap around the World Showcase pavilions without stopping for a delicious dessert or two.
What are the best desserts in EPCOT?
My friend, you may well have asked us to choose the prettiest stars in the heavens. With its international showcase, EPCOT is uniquely positioned to move beyond funnel cakes and a variety of ice cream to pick and choose from among the finest dessert concepts in the world.
This list could go 100 different ways, but I’m going to do my best to rank them as I believe most EPCOT guests would agree. However, as always, please remember that I took French for years and proposed to my wife in Paris. Therefore, I have an affinity for French culture. I will try to be fair and balanced. But as you plan your day, you may want to allow for a slight favoritism to all things francophone adjacent.
1. Croque Glace
L’Artisan des Glaces, France Pavilion
Bonjour! Bienvenue to the France Pavilion, home of L’Artisan des Glaces which translates to artists of ice cream. The Croque Glace has one scoop of ice cream and sauce stuffed into a homemade brioche bun and then it’s pressed warm. In other words, it’s warm on the outside and ice-creamy on the inside. Does it live up to its billing as a work of art? Bien Sur! Hang it in the Louvre right next to the Mona Lisa. In fact, why is the Mona Lisa smiling? Because she knows she’s got a Croque Glace waiting just outside of our view.
2. Stracciatella Gelati
Gelateria Toscana, Italy Pavilion
We go from France to the Italy Pavilion where we want don’t want anything too complicated. The Gelateria Toscana brings us Stracciatella Gelato, the Italian ice cream treat that seriously makes me wish I’d studied Italian instead of French in school. What is Stracciatella and will anyone be mad if I mispronounce it? First, Stracciatella is a gelato with irregular-sized shavings of chocolate. Why does that matter? Each bite is a little different, a little surprising. And it’s also delicious. Secondly, will anybody be mad? In the Italy Pavilion, I try to speak entirely in a heavy accent like Mario and Luigi. Everyone finds it extremely charming.
3. Sake Slushy
Kabuki Cafe, Japan Pavilion
My friend, you had me at sake. The good folks at the Kabuki Cafe took the Dole Whip concept of a refreshing pineapple dessert beverage and asked, “What if we took out all the whip stuff, left the fruity flavors and added sake?” Geniuses. This alcoholic shaved ice comes in blood orange, coconut pineapple or blackberry. But if you’re looking for a non-alcoholic option, Kakigōri is Japanese shaved ice without alcohol. It’s available in rainbow, strawberry, melon, cherry, tangerine or blue raspberry.
4. Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich
L’Artisan des Glace, France Pavilion
We return to L’Artisan des Glace. This delightful dessert is the classic ice cream sandwich, but instead of the classic moist chocolate cookie patty things that come off on your fingers, you get a pair of macarons with ice cream in between. This is why I love the French.
5. The Cannolis
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria, Italy Pavilion
This is for the dads. For example, is there anything that makes any dad happier anywhere than getting to quote “The Godfather”? Leave the weapons, take the cannoli. That’s vacation heaven for any dad out there. Plus, you get a fantastic dessert out of the meal. Can’t be beaten, unlike Jimmy DeNunzio. Anyway, the Cannolo Siciliano is a pastry filled with sweet ricotta, chocolate and candied orange. It’s beautiful. For the record, cannolo is singular and cannoli is plural.
6. Banana Pudding
Regal Eagle, American Adventure Pavillion
I can feel your raised eyebrows, askance in doubt as I break from wonderful old-world desserts to … puddin’. But let me tell you. In my travels throughout the South, I have surely eaten some of the world’s best barbecue. We’re talking from Dreamland in Tuscaloosa and Rendezvous in Memphis. And I can tell you that Disney does barbecue consistently and surprisingly well. Also, a good barbecue comes with good banana pudding. I don’t know how or why. All I know is that it is a concrete fact.
7. Chocolate Mousse
Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie, France Pavilion
What? Are we in France again? Welcome, my friends, to Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie. So, what does that mean? If you must know, a boulangerie is a bakery while a patisserie is a bakery that specializes in sweets. At Les Halles, you get both. While I could prattle on for quite some time about the beauty of a perfectly done baguette, we are not here for the savory, dear reader. Mousse au Chocolat isn’t the most daring dessert on the menu, but if we’re being honest, sometimes there’s a reason something becomes a classic. But if you want something a little more daring, you could try the Chocolate Caramel Tarte or the Napoleon, but you can’t go wrong with the classic light Chocolate Mousse.
8. Maple Crème Brûlée
Le Cellier Steakhouse, Canada Pavilion
The Maple Creme Brulee with maple whipped creme and raspberries is surely the perfect old-school culinary dessert to top off a classic steakhouse meal.
9. Pretzel Bread Pudding
Sommerfest, Germany Pavilion
I have said it before and I will say it again. The German culinary scene is quite underrated. Take Sommerfest in the Germany Pavilion of EPCOT, for example. You don’t have to go all around the world, Sommerfest has something from all the food groups. For instance, you can get a bratwurst with sauerkraut, a Warsteiner Dunkel beer, a jumbo pretzel and Pretzel Bread Pudding for dessert. Sure, you’re double dipping in the pretzel food group, but nobody seems to mind.
This dessert strikes me as if a mommy pretzel and a daddy muffin loved each other very much and made a bread pudding with caramel and sugar icing. It has a touch more of a muffin DNA than the pretzel. But it also has that pretzel taste. Also, if you run across the Apple Strudel during one of the various festivals, it’s a must. However, it’s not currently on the menu.
10. Pistachio Cake
Tangierine Cafe, Morocco
This dessert is available as part of the Food & Wine Festival offerings. It’s a pistachio cake served with cinnamon pastry cream and candied walnuts. I think from a culinary standpoint, the Morocco pavilion is the most slept-on dining option in EPCOT.
11. Sticky Toffee Pudding
Rose & Crown, United Kingdom
The Yorkshire County Fish Shop in the United Kingdom Pavilion offers a Cuties mandarin orange 3-pack for dessert. It’s just so funny to me that the closest thing you can get to a dessert at the Fish and Chips shop is some citrus. Here ya are, mate, have some beer, a bit of tea, fish and chips and some oranges. Gotta keep a weathered eye out for the scurvy. But seriously, if you want a proper dessert from the UK, go over to the Rose & Crown dining room where you can choose between the very British Sticky Toffee Pudding or a plant-based gelato. Cheers!
12. School Bread
Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe, Norway Pavilion
If I’m being honest, the Norway Pavilion is usually my least favorite dining experience in EPCOT. I just don’t jive with the majority of the Norwegian flavors. While this may be true, the exception is the School Bread. It’s a sweet roll filled with custard and dipped in coconut. I do question how the coconut made its way to Norwegian cuisine. However, I am aware there have been shipping routes to the islands for several hundred years now. Speaking of dad joke opportunities, the whole, “Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?” bit from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is just ripe for the dad joke-picking here.
La Cantina De San Angel, Mexico Pavilion
I could wax poetic about the wonder that is the churro but if we’re being frank, churros don’t need a hype man. Deep-fried pastry sprinkled with sugar and a warm chocolate dipping sauce? Say less.
14. Hazelnut-Chocolate Crepe
Le Creperie de Paris, France Pavlion
When the wife and I were young and childless, we found ourselves fond of the creperies in Paris, the little stands where they made fresh crepes. I liked the savory with ham, egg, cheese and mushroom with a salt and pepper crepe while Leslie enjoyed the Nutella crepe made with the famous chocolate hazelnut spread and sugar.
At Le Creperie de Paris, Leslie’s crepe made with whipped cream is named the Gourmande. My French is no longer good enough to give you a correct translation. Therefore, we turn to Google which translates gourmand to greedy; akin to gluttonous. I’d like to think our friends aren’t having a little joke at our expense, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they were. Still, if you want to order the dessert crepe with the slightly insulting name, it’s quite good.
Why isn’t Dole Whip on the list?
Dole Whip is not a regular, year-round menu item in EPCOT. Yes, it’s available at some of the booths during various festivals and it is sometimes available at the Refreshment Outpost or Refreshment Port. Currently, the Refreshment Port has an alcoholic Food and Wine Festival beverage that I think is a Dole Whip item even though it isn’t in the name, which is the Boulevard Brewing Co. Quirk Pineapple Orange Whip Hard Seltzer, Kansas City, Mo. But overall, EPCOT is not a Dole Whip park.
Is EPCOT known for food?
Yes. At EPCOT, food comes before rides, shows and meet and greets. Certainly, EPCOT takes food seriously. And that’s before you take into account the four annual festivals that chiefly serve as an excuse to bring more food and beverages into the park.
What are EPCOT’s festivals?
Four EPCOT festivals happen quarterly. In addition to the International Food and Wine Festival, there is the Festival of the Arts, the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival and the Festival of the Holidays. Importantly, all come with booths that offer unique food and drink options.
What is your favorite dessert at EPCOT? Let us know in the comments!