LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – For 50 years, Disney World has provided magical memories with its iconic attractions and fan culture.
Many go to the parks solely for the snacks, (foods shaped like Mickey always taste better, right?) but there’s one particular treat that has become so famous and exclusive to Disney, that it’s gained a cult following. Dole Whip, the pineapple-flavored soft serve, is light and refreshing, and the recipe is short compared to its origin story.
Like most Disney World attractions News 6 has spotlighted, Dole Whip can be traced back to Disneyland, where in 1976 Dole first collaborated with company with the sponsorship of the park’s Enchanted Tiki Room. Back then, it was just Dole pineapple juice and fresh pineapple spears on the menu. Those treats were also the first items served at Walt Disney World in 1983, when Dole Packaged Foods became the sponsor for the newly-renamed Aloha Isle at the Magic Kingdom. A year later, what was originally called Dole Pineapple Whip was introduced.
“Back in the early-80s in the kitchens at Dole, we were looking for a delicious, frozen novelty snack,” said Stuart McAllister, vice president of sales and marketing for Dole Packaged Foods. “Through a lot of research development and tastings we got that true-to-fruit flavor. Once we had the magic, so to speak, we launched the Dole Whip.”
The tropical treat has evolved over the years, simply by Dole “taking out the bad stuff.” Dole Whip is cholesterol, lactose and gluten-free.
Bird before Whip
Much like Dole, outside sponsorships were common with Disney World in the beginning to help cover expenses. During the theme park’s building stages, Imagineers embraced what surrounded them. In 1969, the Florida Citrus Commission agreed to sponsor the Sunshine Pavilion (the now Enchanted Tiki Room and at the time, equivalent to Disneyland’s attraction) along with the Sunshine Tree Terrace, the nearby quick service food stand in Adventureland.
The Sunshine Tree Terrace is also home to the famous Citrus Swirl, which some would say is the most underappreciated Disney World treat. Citrus Swirl is a combination of frozen orange juice and vanilla soft serve. While Citrus Swirl and Dole Whip have their similarities, (both are refreshing, frozen treats in swirl form) Citrus Swirl has something that Dole Whip does not -- a mascot.
Both Disney and the FCC knew a spokesperson would benefit the partnership, only this one wouldn’t speak or tweet a word. To communicate, Orange Bird only thinks orange thoughts.
Orange Bird made regular appearances in Adventureland but started fading away right around the time of the early years of Dole Pineapple Whip. Disney and FCC officially cut ties in 1987, but in 2012, Orange Bird was brought back. Today, it seems as though Orange Bird is seen more on merchandise compared to being on original advertisements.
The Dole cult
In recent years, Dole Whip has taken on a life of its own. Dole Whip-inspired merchandise has appeared in Walt Disney World gift shops, primarily in the summer months. A quick Google search will also pull up various online stores.
In spring 2020, when Disney World was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Disney and Dole shared their Dole Whip recipes online.
To no surprise, the original pineapple flavor remains the most popular nearly 40 years after its creation. But what may be surprising to some is Dole Whip’s variety. There are seasonal flavors throughout the year at various locations in a cup, cone, in the form of a refreshing drink and other unique serving vessels.
“The impression is that it’s all about pineapple, but there are other flavors,” said McAllister. “There is strawberry, orange, lime, raspberry and even watermelon and cherry that Disney brings in seasonally.”
While you never need a reason to eat a Dole Whip, there is now a day to celebrate it. Disney World proclaimed July 19, 2021, as the first-ever Dole Whip Day.
Dole Whips by land and by sea
Many Dole Whip purists will argue that a true Dole Whip experience can only be done at the Magic Kingdom, but there are now several places to get Dole Whips -- straight up or with rum.
Beyond the parks, Dole Whip is served at Disney Springs, on cruise ships, and Disney hotels (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Hawaii’s Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa). Fans can also treat themselves to a Dole Whip at the Dole Plantation, all while learning about the company’s Hawaiian heritage and see where their pineapples first grew.
Pretty soon, Hawaii might not have the only island that serves Dole Whip. According to McAllister, Dole Whip expansion plans are in the works.
“We hope to see it at Castaway Cay,” Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.
Where to find Dole Whip at Disney World
- Aloha Isle at Magic Kingdom
- Barefoot Pool Bar and Oasis Pool Bar at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Marketplace Snacks at Disney Springs
- Pineapple Lanai at Disney’s Polynesian VIllage Resort
- Storybook Treats at Magic Kingdom
- Sunshine Tree Terrace at Magic Kingdom
- Tamu Tamu Refreshments at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
- Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto & Tiki Terrace at Disney’s Polynesian VIllage Resort
- Warming Hut at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
To all who come to this happy corner of ClickOrlando.com, welcome! Walt Disney World is counting down to its 50th Anniversary, and so are we. With 50 days until 50 years, we are taking a daily look back at the past, how Disney’s opening shaped Central Florida’s present and a peek at what’s in store for the future