Editor’s Note: Please join the WDW Radio Blog in welcoming its newest writer, Lauren Gaggioli. While she is a fan of the Disney Parks on both coasts, her home park is Disneyland, and you may remember hearing her on Show #447 – Best Unique Snacks in Disneyland.
I have an abiding love for all things Walt Disney World, but my home park is Disneyland. Recently, I’ve come to realize that a tradition I had assumed was a universal Disney tradition is actually unique to my home park, and I wanted to share it with you!
Fittingly for those of us who are fans of WDW Radio, the tradition revolves around food.
It’s a sleeper snack because, while beloved by many Disneyland goers, it’s a food not even considered a snack by most people.
It is, of course, the delectable brined perfection that is the Disneyland Pickle.
Since this is the WDW Radio Blog, I have to put a warning out there: on most topics, I remain pretty unbiased. I love each coast’s offerings for different reasons. But in the pickle department, I will proudly and stubbornly announce that I am very biased on this front.
When it comes to pickles, California is king.
For those of you journeying to the “other park,” here’s a countdown of the top 3 ways you can enjoy the Disneyland tradition when visiting the motherland.
3. Dill Pickle Popcorn
If you want the ultimate smash up of Disney snacks, head over to the Cozy Cone in Disney’s California Adventure and grab a flavored Pop-Cone of Dill Pickle Popcorn.
Salty and herbaceous, this is definitely a departure from your traditional bucket of buttery goodness. If you’re seeking a little adventure or a new twist on a classic, this treat is a great option.
Consider yourself warned, though. The fresh herb flavor of dill puts this snack squarely in the dill pickle lover’s corner. If you’re not a huge fan of dill, head to the next 2 offerings because they’re not nearly as dill-centric.
2. Deep Fried Pickles
I spent 5 years of my childhood living in the South. Moving back to California left me missing 3 things: Chick-Fil-A (which we finally got on the west coast, thank goodness), mac ‘n cheese counting as a veggie side on most menus, and fried pickles.
I was so excited to see fried pickles on the menu the first time I ate at Carnation Café that I immediately ordered 2 helpings for the table.
Everyone agreed: these fried pickles are amazing.
These are the traditional Disneyland Pickle cut in quarters, dredged in seasoned panko bread crumbs, and fried to golden perfection. There’s a crispness to the coating but the pickle doesn’t get mushy at all.
I’m going to chalk that magical balance up to pixie dust.
Side note: for those who are strict pickle chip fans, I hear you and I’m with you, but these spears are not to be missed.
1. The Disneyland Pickle
I know. The idea of eating a pickle as a snack is kind of weird. But, even if you hate dill pickles, hear me out…
The Disneyland Pickle is not your traditional dill pickle.
Dill pickles are often very vinegar-forward and the cucumbers take on that tanginess along with the herbs and spices that they’re packed with such as dill, garlic, and peppercorns. While the Disneyland Pickle is technically a dill pickle, the flavor is much milder than your average store-bought pickle.
The ingredients combine in just the right way and the result is pure magic. It’s a refreshing treat that takes the melon sweetness from the cucumber and pairs it with a savory saltiness that makes it my go-to snack on a hot day in the park.
And, yes, these fresh-packed beauties are very different than the prepackaged pickles you can find in Liberty Square.
The thing I love most about the Disneyland Pickle is that it’s reminiscent of a bygone era. It’s the kind of treat you can imagine Laura Ingalls Wilder saving her pennies to buy at the local mercantile on the prairie. It’s nostalgic Americana at its finest: a simple, wholesome pleasure. To indulge in such a treat while strolling through Walt’s park enjoying the beauty he brought to us is as close to time travel as I think we’ll come in my lifetime.
I enjoy this tradition every time I have the opportunity to partake in it, and I am forever thankful for the man who made these little joys possible.
I hope you too will give this treat a try if for no other reason than to take a moment to see the park through different eyes.
(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)