Back when I was around eight years old, my parents took my sister and I to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. As my mother hated rollercoasters, and I wasn’t the kind of child that liked to terrorize myself voluntarily, we avoided all the rides that seemed designed to test the strength of your sphincter in the face of a fabricated yet realistic, life-threatening situation. The spinning teacups were as dangerous as the rides got, and my family was quite happy with that.
We ended our Disney World tour at Tomorrowland. We’d checked off most of the non-rollercoaster rides, and we had one more to check out. We didn’t know what it was, but there was a long, snaking line, seemingly a hundred people deep. We joined the line and waited, wondering what was to come.
I remember a tinge of doubt when I saw a sign that indicated how tall you had to be to ride. As we shuffled closer to the front of the line, we heard screams.
“I think this is a rollercoaster,” I said.
For some reason, we didn’t beg the ride operator to let us out of the line. Or maybe my father thought this would be a good time to teach us an early lesson in commitment. We got on and after what seemed like an eternity of being bounced violently around in a dark planetarium, I got off with PTSD and an understanding of what kind of ride Space Mountain actually is.
Over 20 years later, I’m still cautious about theme parks and rollercoasters. Finding myself on a two-week vacation to Orlando, Florida I turned down Universal Studios for a slightly muddy walk around the Tibet-Butler Preserve and some face time with injured Gopher Tortoises.
But afterwards, I still got a piece of the Magic Kingdom, in a Styrofoam bowl of soft, creamy, sweetly-sour, pineapple Dole Whip.
Originally limited to Disney parks and the Dole Pineapple Plantation in Hawaii, it’s now available at Twistee Treats in Orlando and several other locations around the U.S. It’s a surprisingly vegan soft serve that doesn’t lack in creamy heft – I would have assumed there was some sort of dairy in it if I hadn’t been told otherwise – but light enough to be the kind of thing you’d want to eat all summer.
I am the kind of person who craves and/or fixates on some highly processed candy bar or food item for some indeterminate amount of time. I am also the kind of person who usually forgets about the food I’m craving after, at most, a couple of hours. After my pineapple Dole Whip experience at Island Fin Poke Company, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for over 48 hours. The question, “what do you want to do?” was usually answered with the words, “Dole Whip.”
Even after I’d hyped it in my head, my second cup still tasted just as delicious as the first. As I scraped the last smears of Dole Whip from the bottom of a Styrofoam bowl, I said that we should go back and order more. I was only sort of kidding.
That was nearly three days ago, and I’m leaving Orlando, once again, after having made a life-altering discovery.
Time to get more Dole Whip.