The Best Ice Cream at WDW – Downtown Disney’s Ghirardelli Soda Fountain
When I’m at Walt Disney World, my taste buds crave ice cream. And if you scream for ice cream, too, try some of the best ice cream on property at Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop.
Ghirardelli (pronounced gear-ar-delly, for everyone who’s like me and forgets) has two connected stores. The Chocolate Shop sells packaged candies, baked goodies and other merchandise. That side of Ghirardelli is also where you can buy coffee and chocolate drinks.
But it’s the slurp-tastic Soda Fountain that gets my attention with its range of ice cream concoctions, from simple scoops to thick shakes and floats to lavish sundaes. The fountain also offers a number of coffee, espresso and chocolate beverages for those who prefer those treats as well as baked goodies filled with – you guessed it – Ghirardelli chocolate.
Ghirardelli’s Ice Cream Decisions, Decisions!
From the moment you follow your nose and practically float into Ghirardelli, you are treated to Disney-level sensory overload in your ice-cream experience.
There are several ice creams for single and double scoops, or to tempt you to (over)indulge with their ginormous sundaes: Butter Pecan, Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies ‘n Cream, Espresso Chip, Ghirardelli Chocolate, Ghirardelli Rocky Road, Kona Coffee, Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry, Strawberry Cheesecake, and of course classic Vanilla.
Toppings top the experience, and you can add the following in addition to whipped cream or chopped almonds: Blueberry, Butterscotch, Chocolate Syrup, Crushed Pineapple, Dark Hot Fudge, Marshmallow Cream, Milk Hot Fudge, Warm Caramel, Warm Peanut Butter, and Sliced strawberries.
These tasty flavors are served in a non-edible dish or one of these tasty options: a cake cone, sugar cone, or a chocolate-dipped waffle cone or bowl.
Ghirardelli Ice Cream Specialties: Sundaes, Splits and Shakes…Oh My!
A menu provides a list of ice-cream specialties that are nearly impossible to choose from. Just check out the brief descriptions of just SOME of these nearly-irresistible dishes. (See the a more complete sample Ghirardelli Soda Fountain menu.)
The World Famous: Ghirardelli’s classic hot-fudge sundae with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and homemade hot fudge, topped with whipped cream, chopped almonds and a cherry.
The Gold Rush: A peanut butter and hot fudge sundae. It’s topped with whipped cream, chopped almonds, cherry, and a Ghirardelli Squares milk chocolate. (Pictured at left.)
Espresso Escape: A sundae with two scoops of espresso chip ice cream, covered in dark chocolate hot fudge sauce and topped with whipped cream and a square of Espresso Escape Intense Dark chocolate.
The Golden Gate: Ghirardelli’s Banana Split, featuring vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream, with classic toppings on each: crushed pineapple, sliced strawberries, and homemade chocolate syrup. Of course, the banana split offers fresh bananas, whipped cream, chopped almonds, and a cherry on top.
The Haight AshBerry: This Very Berry Sunday features strawberry cheesecake ice cream, sliced strawberries, vanilla ice cream with blueberry topping. The sundae is topped with whipped cream and chocolate-covered blueberries and a chocolate dipped waffle roll for a crunch.
Mint Bliss: This sundae combines a scoop each of mint chip and chocolate ice cream, dark chocolate hot fudge sauce, whipped cream and a square of Mint Bliss Intense Dark chocolate.
Nob Hill: Billed a sippable sundae, Nob Hill blends two scoops of vanilla ice cream with Ghirardelli’s homemade hot fudge and tops it with semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Of course, there are many more ice cream treats to sample or create your own mix-and-match options.
Be warned: because Ghirardelli Soda Fountain’s ice cream tastes as good as it smells, the store is often quite busy. Trust me, though, it’s worth the mouth-watering wait.