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How Disney has used meals to raise its theme parks

A pattern of cocktails obtainable onboard the Halcyon.


Thrill-seekers of all ages are excited to return to theme parks, however gravity-defying rides and immersive points of interest aren’t the one issues they’ve an urge for food for.

Within the final twenty years, meals and beverage choices have develop into an more and more necessary a part of the amusements enterprise. And the Walt Disney Co. is the one which’s led the cost in delivering modern and scrumptious meals, snacks and drinks to parkgoers.

For many years, Disney has pushed the boundaries of meals and beverage innovation, growing distinctive park favorites like Mickey Mouse-shaped ice cream bars and pretzels in addition to Dole Whips and themed candied apples and cookies.

Caramel-Peanut Milk Chocolate Mickey Macaron discovered at Disney California Journey’s Meals & Wine Pageant which runs from March 4 – April 26, 2022


“Rides and points of interest are the primary, then meals and beverage are actually neck and neck with why individuals go to the parks,” Dennis Speigel, president of Worldwide Theme Parks Providers, mentioned. “It is only a reality. And what parks have seized on within the final 20 years is constructing their new points of interest round areas that supply meals and beverage.”

Disney has taken this a step additional with its new Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser expertise. Not like its themed lands like Pandora, Galaxy’s Edge and Avenger’s Campus, the Halcyon is a two-day immersive expertise. Friends aren’t strolling in for a chunk or a drink, they’re residing a Star Wars story for 48 hours.

Which means chef Brian Piasecki and his workforce needed to create an all-inclusive program of meals that might be delivered to visitors over the course of two days.

Onboard the Halcyon, Disney is showcasing a few of its extra formidable and delectable meals and beverage creations.

Piasecki labored to create dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner that had been accessible to visitors, but additionally upscale. The lunch buffets, for instance, function acquainted dishes, reminiscent of grilled cheese and tomato soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and salads, however with a distinctly Star Wars spin.

A glimpse at menu gadgets obtainable throughout the breakfast buffet onboard the Halcyon.

Sarah Whitten

The meals trays, that are used for the breakfast and lunch buffets, are uniquely formed with three rectangular depressions in order that dishes can slide into place snugly and never transfer when being carried into the Crown of Corellia Eating Room, the principle consuming corridor onboard the Halcyon. They’ve a definite sci-fi aesthetic, however are additionally extremely purposeful, particularly for many who wish to strive slightly little bit of every thing.

“It is so necessary to the expertise and it is one thing that’s actually underneath the microscope now in our business,” Speigel mentioned. “All people is taking a look at methods to enhance and that is high quality, service, type, plating, every thing. I feel that is going to be with us without end now.”

A historical past of innovation

Whereas Disney has lengthy used meals design as a means of elevating its conventional fare, it entered a brand new section of innovation in 2017 when it launched its theme park land primarily based on the planet Pandora from James Cameron’s movie “Avatar.”

With this new land, Disney had the chance to create its personal delicacies. It wasn’t translating international dishes and recreating them at Epcot, it was taking inspiration from a movie about an alien planet. Cooks used spices present in Argentinian, Brazilian and Chinese language cooking to deliver a definite taste profile to its meals.

“It expands the expertise,” mentioned Invoice Coan, president and CEO of iTEC Leisure. “Disney is enjoying this out and enjoying it as much as advance the customer expertise and on the identical time generate incremental income.”

Friends are usually much less stringent about their diets whereas on trip and can choose to check out menu gadgets that they can’t get anyplace else, Coan mentioned.

At Satu’li Canteen, visitors make their very own grain bowls, selecting between a base of quinoa and vegetable salad, crimson and candy potato hash, blended entire grain and rice or romaine and kale salad. Then they add both grilled rooster, roasted beef, shrimp or chili-spiced tofu on high in addition to a wide range of dressing choices.

The steamed cheeseburger pod meal from Satu’li Canteen within the Pandora land at Animal Kingdom.


The menu additionally options “pods,” higher referred to as bao buns. Inside these steamed buns is both a cheeseburger or vegetable curry.

The culinary workforce additionally designed distinctive desserts for the themed land. There’s a blueberry cream cheese mouse with ardour fruit curd and a chocolate cake with crunchy cookie crumbs and banana cream topping.

Blueberry cream cheese mousse dessert with ardour fruit curd discovered at Satu’li Canteen within the Pandora land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.


Every has been designed to have an out-of-this-world look that’s each appetizing and photographable. Instagram has develop into a spot for parkgoers to share their meals expertise on the parks with others and to get concepts of what they need to strive sooner or later.

Pandora additionally has an array of alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks obtainable from Pongu Pongu, a themed Tiki bar positioned close to the canteen.

Style a galaxy far, far-off

Disney continued this innovation when it opened its two Galaxy’s Edge places, one in Florida and one in California, in 2019.

The principle eating location is Docking Bay 7. Right here visitors can pattern the Braised Shaak Roast (beef with pasta) or the Felucian Backyard Unfold (vegan meatballs with hummus), amongst different gadgets.

There’s additionally Ronto Roasters, which is house to the famed Ronto Wrap. It is a grilled sausage and roasted pork wrap with a spicy slaw. Ensure you have a drink when you determine to chunk into this one, it is acquired a kick.

Pictured left to proper, are the Meiloorun Juice, the Turkey Jerky and the Ronto Wrap crammed with spiced grilled sausage and roasted pork discovered at Ronto Roasters, positioned within the Black Spire Outpost market inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Kent Phillips | Disney Parks

In case you are within the California park, you’ll be able to wash it down with a glass of Phattro from the Docking Bay. It is a play on a half lemonade, half iced tea drink and incorporates a sprint of pear juice.

Oga’s Cantina is a spot for Star Wars followers to embrace their internal scoundrel. Right here, visitors can order alcoholic drinks which are each acquainted and international with names like Fuzzy Tauntaun, Jedi Thoughts Trick and Bloody Rancor.

These seeking to skip the booze can check out blended drinks just like the Carbon Freeze and the Hyperdrive, which function fruit juices, popping pearls and dry ice.

Reservations for Oga’s replenish shortly and sometimes purchasable specialty drink mugs are out of inventory.

“[Disney] understands that when you do it and also you do it proper, the theming and the standard of what you might be serving, the visitors will purchase it,” Speigel mentioned.

From left to proper, alcoholic drinks: The Outer Rim, Bespin Fizz, Yub Nub, and Fuzzy Tauntaun might be discovered at Oga’s Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Kent Phillips | Disney Parks

Moreover, all through the themed land parkgoers should purchase particular bottles of Coca-Cola merchandise. The beverage firm labored with Disney to create stylized Coke, Sprite and Dasani bottles that match into the world of Batuu. The sodas are harking back to thermal detonators from the Star Wars movies and have the title of every model in Aurebesh, the fictional language of Star Wars.

All the way down to Earth meals

For Disneyland’s Avengers Campus, which opened in 2021, the theme park was confronted with a brand new problem — innovating conventional American meals.

Disney’s culinary workforce determined to lean into its superhero theme and depend on Ant-Man and the Wasp to create distinctive menu gadgets.

The principle eating space inside Avengers Campus known as Pym Check Kitchen. Right here, scientists use rising and shrinking expertise to make monstrously massive and surprisingly small creations. Friends can get pleasure from rooster sandwiches with huge rooster patties, spaghetti and meatballs with one massive meatball, and smooth pretzels which are the dimensions of a head, amongst different gadgets.

At Pym Check Kitchen in Avengers Campus inside Disney California Journey Park, Ant-Man and The Wasp use shrinking and rising expertise to modern meals. Pictured: The Not So Little Rooster Sandwich.


Subsequent door is Pym Tasting Lab, a spot for adults to get pleasure from craft beers and signature cocktails. The mixologists play with taste, providing a wide range of elements that vary from habanero and mango to lemon and vanilla.

Pym Tasting Lab, adjoining to the Pym Check Kitchen in Avengers Campus at Disney California Journey Park, options alcoholic drinks for adults, together with: X-Periment, Molecular Meltdown, Honey Buzz and Particle Fizz.


There are two meals carts. The primary is Shawarma Palace, a nod to the long-lasting mid-credits scene from “The Avengers.”

The opposite known as Terran Treats. This sales space is positioned close to the Guardians of the Galaxy trip and options gadgets that play on conventional human meals. Round rainbow churros and brilliant purple cream puffs are only a few of the delicacies obtainable.

Venturing again to house

In creating the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser expertise, Disney took every thing it had realized from Pandora, Galaxy’s Edge and Avengers Campus and set the bar greater.

As a part of the overall price of the two-day expertise, all meals are included. So for breakfast and lunch, visitors are handled to buffet-style meals. They will decide and select from a dozen or so choices and eat as a lot, or as little, as they need.

“It fills you up and you’ve got enjoyable consuming it,” Speigel mentioned.

Breakfast bento field onboard the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser.


The eating room is provided with a conventional soda fountain in addition to free Blue Milk and Inexperienced Milk, which is featured within the Galaxy’s Edge park land. Particular alcoholic drinks are the one menu gadgets that must be bought individually.

A bubble waffle grilled cheese served with a creamy tomato bisque soup onboard the Halcyon.


For dinner, there’s a set menu. And on the primary night time on board the Halcyon, dinner comes with a present. Whereas visitors are having fun with colourful bao buns and noodles, the galactic songstress Gaya begins her efficiency, a mixture of pop, jazz, and rhythm and blues.

Chef Piasecki identified that the different-colored bao buns mirror the colours in Gaya’s outfit.

Dinner served throughout Gaya’s efficiency aboard the Halcyon.


The second course was served household type at every desk and consisted of Bantha Beef Tenderloin, Tip Yip Rooster, Stewed Shrimp, Inexperienced Herbed Fluffy Rice and Surabat Spiced Flora. 

The meat tenderloin was glazed with tamarind and got here alongside potatoes, the rooster was glazed in bourbon and flippantly fried, the shrimp was cooked with lemon grass and served with coconut-lime foam, the rice was cooked with herbs and the “flora” was greens roasted with Harissa spice.

Dinner on the second night time was a “style of the galaxy,” that includes dishes primarily based on totally different planets within the Star Wars universe. It was throughout this meal that Disney’s culinary prowess was on full show.

A bread and cheese plate impressed by the molton planet of Mustafar.


Every course was served concurrently, with dozens of crew members descending into the eating room directly to ship plates. There was a dish of cheeses and bread, impressed by the molten planet Mustafar; blue shrimp from the jungles of Felucia that arrives billowing in cool smoke; and a beef and seafood plate drawn from the Wookie house world of Kashyyyk.

The Galactic Starcruiser does produce other choices on its menu for these with much less adventurous palates or dietary restrictions.

Alcoholic drinks might be bought within the Crown of Corellia Eating Room in addition to on the Sublight Lounge. Friends will acknowledge lots of the signature cocktails, as they’re primarily based on conventional drinks, however they’ve been elevated.

The Hoth Icebreaker, for instance, is harking back to a lemon drop martini however is served in a novel glass, coloured blue and incorporates a vanilla and lemon foam in addition to an isomalt sugar garnish.

“What Disney has performed with the starcruiser and that menu and what they’re placing out, I feel that may trickle down in lots of, many various methods all through the entire business,” Speigel mentioned.

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