I Have a Craving for Thanksgiving Fare

thanksgivingAmong many other things, Walt Disney World (WDW) is known for its grand celebration of holidays like Independence Day, Halloween, and Christmas—all of which include delicious traditional foods for those seeking yummy treats to those who appreciate multi-course fine dining, and/or everything in between.  During those more prominent holiday seasons, such eating opportunities abound and crisscross the entire property from resorts to parks.  In this post, I will focus on another noteworthy Holiday celebrated with a bit less fanfare every autumn at WDW—Thanksgiving Day. Though spectacular Christmas decorations already envelope the property, Thanksgiving food items are offered at various locations on that special day.  Unfortunately, many people are unable to travel to WDW for Thanksgiving; consequently, they are convinced they will never have the opportunity to partake of Disney’s version of Thanksgiving Fare.  On the contrary my friends, your Turkey Day cravings—and mine—can be satisfied before and after the Holiday itself.  Those of us who hunger for Thanksgiving-type foods can satisfy our cravings in a variety of ways at various WDW locations all year through.  Read on to discover some of the ways you—and I—can please our Turkey Day palates at WDW year round.

For those who seek the entire, authentic early-American feast, I recommend making a pilgrimage to Liberty Tree Tavern situated in Frontierland deep in the heart of the Magic Kingdom® (MK).  At dinnertime, the regular family-style menu includes many of the same entrees and sides found on grandma’s Thanksgiving table such as Roasted Turkey Breast, Carved Beef, Sliced Pork, Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, Herb Bread Stuffing, and Macaroni and Cheese.   Johnny Appleseed’s Cake, which is a white cake filled with apples, dried cranberries and topped with ice cream, completes this appealingly simple meal.

A giant feast is great for some; however, if you are like me, you crave only select portions of Thanksgiving Dinner.  Here are some unique ways to satisfy those specific cravings:

Turkey — Many would say that Thanksgiving Day would be incomplete without Turkey.  Similarly, numerous WDW visitors cannot imagine going to the parks without partaking of at least one giant, smoked Turkey Leg.  Yes, they are genuine one-and-a-half pound turkey legs.  On a 2010 episode of Food Network’s Unwrapped, Marc Summers shared that these ginormous legs come from upper-Midwestern turkeys that weigh-in around 40-50 pounds.  Marc also revealed that the flavorful tenderness is achieved by injecting the legs with a salt-water cure after which they are slow-cooked in a smoker for six hours.

Potatoes — While we, Americans, were observing Columbus Day, our Canadian neighbors to the north were celebrating Thanksgiving Day.  That’s right; Canada celebrates its very own version of the holiday.  Though theirs is over for 2013, I am quite certain Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada pavilion at Epcot® will not object to us celebrating ours by enjoying and giving thanks for Poutine.  Definitely not typical Thanksgiving potatoes, traditional Poutine consists of a mound of French fries topped with a brown gravy and cheese curds.  At Le Cellier, Poutine is offered in three very refined, unique versions:  Le Cellier Poutine (Canadian Cheddar, Black Truffle, with Red Wine Reduction), Duck Confit Poutine (Duck Confit, Huckleberry Compote, Truffle Tremor Cheese, with Radish and Herb Salad), and New Brunswick Lobster (Butter-poached Lobster, with Meyer Lemon Crème Fraiche).  Nothing says Thanksgiving like French fries piled high with butter-poached lobster, right?  You better believe it!  They’re awesome!

Green Beans — Offered as a substitute for Pommes Frites or as the side to Braised Pork, the Green Beans Jardiniere at Be Our Guest Restaurant in MK is a delicious twist on a customary Thanksgiving side.  Jardiniere, a French word meaning “a garnish of mixed vegetables”, is an excellent term to describe this dish that includes green beans, red peppers and onions.  While the onions are cooked until tender, the green beans and peppers are prepared to maintain color and firmness.  Heated to perfection, the onions add a subtle flavor that does not overpower the dish.  Light, refreshing, and satisfying, the Green Beans Jardiniere is a wonderful alternative to traditional “green beans with bacon” or “green bean casserole”.

Dessert — Other than on Thanksgiving Day, pumpkin pie is not served at WDW.  (Someone, please correct me if I am wrong on this.)  For this reason, it is necessary to get creative in order to satisfy that particular craving—as if we have not been creative to this point. In MK at the Main Street Confectionery, there is a favorite, seasonal pumpkin offering available only in the latter part of the year.  It is the palate pleasing, flavorful, creamy Pumpkin Fudge that contains all the warm spices found in traditional pumpkin pie.  It can be purchased in quantities just right for one to indulge or large enough to share.  Since this oh-so-smooth treat is seasonal, those in need of spiced, Thanksgiving-style dessert in the “offseason” can satisfy it all year round at The Writer’s Shop located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios®.  There, a Thanksgiving-worthy dessert takes on a new shape and flavor in the form of a large, sandwich-style, rich and spicy Carrot Cake Cookie.

(Image copyright Disney)

These are but a few suggestions, perhaps you have more?  How would you satisfy a craving for Thanksgiving Fare at WDW?  What are your favorite versions of turkey, potatoes, green beans, and dessert?

head shotKendall began visiting Walt Disney world in 1991 with her family and has continued to visit the resort with her husband.  As a child, she and her family filled vacations with challenges such as “How many times can we ride Splash Mountain during SpectroMagic and the fireworks?” (Answer: 7)  Now, after marrying a converted Disney skeptic, she and her husband enjoy challenges such as “How many hours can we eat nonstop at the Food & Wine Festival?” (Answer: 4)