REVIEW: Salt & Straw Will CHANGE the Way You Think About Ice Cream in Disney World
IT IS TIME, FOLKS. What time is it? Well, it’s time for your world to be ROCKED when it comes to…ice cream!
You’ve had vanilla ice cream, cookies ‘n’ cream, and maybe even a rocky road or two. Maybe you consider yourself to be an expert in the ice cream department, or you’re a soft serve pro. But the ice cream you’re about to learn about is probably unlike anything you’ve EVER experienced before. Salt & Straw has officially made its way to the Most Magical Place on Earth and is now OPEN in Disney Springs! They’ve been serving up some funky and unexpected ice cream flavors over in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney, and now us Disney World fans can get our hands on the goods too. Of course, we HAD to make our way over to Disney Springs to try a whole bunch of their ice cream flavors and we’re bringing you all of our thoughts — let’s get into it!
On the outside of Salt & Straw you’ll find a GIANT ice cream cone (not real, of course — such a shame there!). If you’re searching for it, you’ll find Salt & Straw over on the West Side of Disney Springs — close to the AMC Theatre and Splitsville.
There are all kinds of fun signs and details on the outside (and the inside too), like one sign that says Salt & Straw “the most delicious decision you’ll make today.” We can’t say we disagree!
Also, anyone else getting waffle cone vibes from the brown design on the sides of the building? We love that!
Inside, you’ll find more of that waffle cone vibe, as well as lots of woods and some darker colors, with pops of other colors in between!
There are more great signs in here, including one that encourages you to eat some ice cream if you ever stop believing — sound advice we can get behind.
The inside of the Salt & Straw space is a bit tight, so that’s something to keep in mind. It’s meant to be more of a grab-and-go type of situation, not a grab-and-sit-inside spot.
There’s an order counter, with the check-out area on one side.
You’ll also find a small freezer for grabbing Pints To-Go.
On the opposite wall, there are 2 little shelves with merchandise from the shop. There are fun tumblers themed to Florida (appropriate!), and ice cream scoops (again, VERY appropriate!).
Again, as we noted above, you’ll have to get all your ice cream to-go because there is no seating inside. Another thing to note is that it can sometimes feel a little cramped inside, particularly if a lot of people are hanging around tasting flavors. So you may need to push your way through the crowds a tiny bit if there’s a decent amount of people in front of you.
Speaking of tasting flavors, an important thing to know is that you can taste AS MANY FLAVORS as you want here! Yes — taste away folks! There are little spoons used for tasting and tiny trap doors at waist level for you to toss those spoons away.
Salt and Straw officially opens its doors tomorrow at Disney Springs
— Disney Food Blog (@DisneyFoodBlog) April 19, 2022
Alright, now that we’ve talked about the atmosphere a bit, let’s get into the story.
The Story of Salt & Straw
Salt & Straw is a family-run business created by cousins Kim and Tyler Malek. Kim had a dream to open an ice cream shop since back in the mid-90s, but she put it on the back-burner until around 2009. At that time, Kim moved back to Portland.
Kim shared that her cousin Tyler was in China studying business and he came back due to a death in the family. Tyler then started cooking, sort-of as a way to help people cope with the pain of a family loss, and that led Tyler to turn in his business school books for…culinary school supplies!
The rest, as they say, is history. Kim was working on her ice cream company at the time and enlisted the help of Tyler in creating ice creams. Tyler started by making ice creams in Kim’s kitchen (while he was living in her basement), and just a few years later he was listed in Forbes’ 30 under 30 for changing the way people eat.
Salt & Straw began with just one shop, but things grew and grew!
The city their shop is in puts an imprint on their flavors. One big thing about Salt & Straw is that they like to partner with local groups or individuals to collaborate and create some unique flavors. You’ll see that reflected in their menu in Disney World (and other spots!).
Oh, and ever wonder where the same “Salt & Straw” comes from? Well, it actually comes from when ice cream was made at the turn of the century. At that time it was cranked with rock salt surrounding it and then packed onto hay/straw! (Quick poll — did anyone out there actually know that about ice cream? If so, you’re a true ice cream GENIUS!)
Before we talk about all the tasty (and VERY unique) ice cream flavors offered at Salt & Straw, we’ve gotta talk about what makes this ice cream DIFFERENT from other frozen treats you may have tried. At Salt & Straw, they’re known for creating unique flavors of ice cream that are all handmade in small batches, and utilize local, organic, and sustainable ingredients. Basically, this ain’t your average pint of cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream.
There are typically around 12 flavors that Salt & Straw carries year-round. Some of these are more traditional while others are a little more “out there” — satisfying the palette of most people in your group!
But, one of Salt & Straw’s signature features is that they have limited edition flavors which change monthly. It’s the type of thing that’ll keep you coming back month after month to say “what’s on the menu now?!”
From ice cream flavors inspired by kids’ stories to TURKEY ice cream (themed to Thanksgiving, of course), there are a lot of unique offerings to look forward to. Click here to see some of the most bizarre flavors they’ve featured in the past!
Typically, flavors will change on the first Friday of the month. What flavors are coming up in May? Well, Kim actually shared that flowers will be incorporated into the themes of the ice cream flavors for next month because, as they say, April showers bring…May flowers!
Alright, enough about details. Let’s get into the flavors that are available right now.
For the limited edition flavors this month, the flavors were inspired by stories made up by kids (which is why there’s a flavor called The Adventurous Llamanaunt and The Ice Cream of Moo). WHAT?! YES.
As we mentioned above, there are also classic flavors available. These include things like Chocolate Gooey Brownie, Cinnamon Snickerdoodle, Honey Lavender, and Arbequina Olive Oil.
Salt & Straw really considers ice cream a platform for storytelling, and it shows in the level of detail put into these flavors.
Part of the menu explains how you can get these flavors — single, double, kids, a split scoop, a pint, a flight(!), and in a waffle cone and/or with sprinkles.
You can actually see a bit more detail on the Disney World website for Salt & Straw. It has pricing information…
…details on the seasonal flavors…
…and explanations on the classic flavors.
Alright, you’ve got your ice cream flavors picked out, but how do you get IN to Salt & Straw? Well, there are a few things to know.
How to Get Your Ice Cream
Due to its popularity, Salt & Straw will be using a virtual queue when the line gets too long. If the virtual queue is in place when you stop by, just find the Salt & Straw employee holding an iPad.
They’ll ask for your phone number and you’ll receive a text when it’s your turn to visit. You’ll then join the line and (after a little bit of waiting) enter ice cream paradise.
Want to skip the line altogether? Well, you can order ahead online! Just visit Salt & Straw’s website to place your order and select your pick-up window.
The Salt & Straw signs also indicated that guests can always skip the line if all they want is to get a pint (and maybe even a side of waffle cones to go!).
Alright, enough already, let’s get into the ice cream!
As we mentioned above, Salt & Straw offers a TON of different flavors. How could you ever pick just one or two or even three?! Well, you don’t have to! You could order a ridiculous amount of ice cream, or (if you wanted to be somewhat more reasonable) you could grab an ice cream FLIGHT to try a few different flavors!
We got the chance to visit Salt & Straw during a media event, during which time we got to try a few different flights. Our first round included Chocolate Gooey Brownie, Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, Panther Coffee Chocolate Tres Leches, and Salted, Malted, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
First round of samples @saltandstraw
— Disney Food Blog (@DisneyFoodBlog) April 19, 2022
We’ll start with Chocolate Gooey Brownie. You might be thinking — “chocolate, brownies, ehh this is regular stuff.” BUT OH NO IT IS NOT.
Here’s the description of this flavor from the Disney website: “For everyone who eats warm brownies right out of the pan. Fudgy chocolate-y brownies get folded into an intensely rich chocolate ice cream.”
Essentially, Salt & Straw makes homemade brownies and a homemade marshmallow fluff for this ice cream, to create a sort-of fudge-like situation. Say it with us: YUMMMMMMMM.
This was the gooiest and most delectable rich chocolate brownie ice cream we’ve ever tasted. EVER? Yes, EVER! If you love gooey brownies, this ice cream was MADE for you.
Next up was the Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons. This one had a strong salt flavor but not in an oh-I-spilled-the-salt-shaker-all-over-my-food-way. Instead, the strong salt flavor is really a compliment here!
Salt & Straw takes their salt so seriously that they met with a salt master (did you even know that job EXISTS?!). According to the website, “Mark Bitterman, the world’s first selmelier, collaborated with us on this reimagined salted caramel flavor. We ribbon dark house caramel into ice cream generously salted with Bitterman’s fleur de sel from Guatemala.”
Overall, the ice cream wasn’t too sweet (which was surprising given that caramel things can be pretty sweet sometimes)! We also really enjoyed how it had almost a burnt caramel flavor on the back end (again, in a good way).
Then it was time to try the Panther Coffee Chocolate Tres Leches. For this flavor, Salt & Straw actually partnered with Panther Coffee, a coffee maker in Miami.
On the Disney website Salt & Straw says, “Full-bodied Panther espresso steeped two ways cultivates the perfect coffee ice cream to accompany our intense tres leches cake swirl made with cocoa, dark chocolate, and coconut-infused anejo rum from Coconut Cartel.”
This one was a true favorite of our reporter who checked these out! It had a strong coffee flavor (YUM), but it wasn’t an overwhelming, bitter kind-of flavor. You definitely need to like coffee to enjoy this one, but we found that the ice cream still had a nice balance of that coffee flavor with a subtle sweetness.
Finally, for this flight, we had the Salted, Malted, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. The website explains, “Made with the same bold malt you’d use to brew amber ale, our cookie dough is perfectly salty—we use two types of salt. Thick malted fudge rounds it all out.” Y’all — sit and just imagine if malted milk balls and chocolate chip cookie dough had a beautiful and delicious baby. That’s it. That’s the flavor here!
If you love malted milk balls, this is one you’ll definitely want to check it out! It’s nice because the malted milk ball flavor really elevates the whole experience and takes things up a notch!
P.S. Did you know that cookie dough is actually Salt & Straw’s most popular flavor?! So if you end up loving this one, know that you’re not alone. You can start a fan club with your fellow cookie dough friends!
Overall, the big takeaway from this flight is that these flavors were all pretty accessible. You’ve had salted caramel ice cream or cookie dough ice cream before (in all likelihood), you’ve just never had them like this! These take those classic flavors and elevate them, but don’t make them unapproachable. So if you’re concerned about where to start on the Salt & Straw menu, consider one of these options!
Our next flight included Cinnamon Snickerdoodle, Honey Lavender, Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper, and The Salty Donut Guava and Cheese.
Next round of flavors @saltandstraw
— Disney Food Blog (@DisneyFoodBlog) April 19, 2022
First, we have Cinnamon Snickerdoodle. Fun fact about this ice cream: it is based on grandma’s cookies and it uses cinnamon from a company called Red Ape that helps with Orangutan conservation. On the Disney website, Salt & Straw shares, “We fold our house-baked chewy snickerdoodle cookies into ice cream that’s spiked with the most intensely spiced, warm cinnamon. Made with Red Ape Cinnamon.”
This was AMAAAAAAZING. The ice cream had delectable, soft chunks of snickerdoodle cookies in it (as any self-respecting snickerdoodle ice cream should) and a strong cinnamon flavor. It was definitely sweet but not sickly sweet. (Actually, we found that none of the ice cream flavors at Salt & Straw were sickly sweet — probably because of the ingredients they use. That’s a good thing for us ’cause it means we can eat MORE ICE CREAM without getting that I’m-gonna-get-a-cavity feeling.)
Next up was Honey Lavender. We know what you’re thinking — honey and lavender? Can that even work? And well…it turns out the answer to that is YES!
Salt & Straw shares, “We steep heaps of fragrant lavender petals to make a syrup, then infuse it into cream, bringing out a smoky lilac hue and floral punch followed by a sweet touch of honey on your tongue.”
The Honey Lavender definitely had a strong flavor, but it wasn’t too unusual. If you like those floral flavors, then it’ll be right up your alley. But even if you think this might be a little outside of your comfort zone, you might want to give it a try because we think it might just surprise you!
Then it was time for Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper — certainly sounds interesting, right? This ice cream has no artificial flavors. Instead, to get the unique combo, they use an old Italian trick of dipping berries in balsamic with pepper to flavor them!
According to Salt & Straw this is a “strawberry triple threat.” As we described above, the team “steal[s] a trick from the Italians, using balsamic and citrusy cubeb black pepper to help coax out the fruit’s acidity and brightness.”
This particular creation was another favorite of our reporter who tried it! It definitely tasted like balsamic and it had that nice, acidity from the balsamic, coupled with the fresh, real tasting strawberry. The balsamic gave it a hint of a kick that just works!
Oddly enough, we didn’t really taste much of the black pepper, but overall we loved how unique this flavor was!
And finally, this flight ended with The Salty Donut Guava & Cheese. According to Salt & Straw, “Family-run craft donut shoppe, The Salty Donut, makes works of art out of fried dough. We pay homage to our favorite, Guava + Cheese, with cream cheese ice cream, glazed brioche donut chunks, rich Florida guava curd, and puffed pastry streusel.”
This REALLY tasted like cream cheese and guava. We didn’t get any kind of donut flavor though. Instead, the guava was really what stood out! If you love guava, then this might be IT for you. But if that’s a flavor you don’t really care for, then you might want to try one of the other items because it’s definitely guava-forward.
And finally, we ended our media preview night with a flight featuring some of the classic flavors as well as some seasonal ones! This flight included Arbequina Olive Oil (classic), Freckled Mint Chocolate Chip (vegan, classic), Bottomless Limes! (seasonal/limited time), and Adventurous Llamanaut (seasonal/limited time).
Drum roll please!
Last but not least, the seasonal ice creams @saltandstraw
Arbequina Olive Oil
Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip
— Disney Food Blog (@DisneyFoodBlog) April 19, 2022
For the Arbequina Olive Oil, Salt & Straw gives the following description, “Ice cream illuminates this incredible Oregon olive oil‘s velvety texture and tropical, grassy notes. At once simple and wildly complex.”
In our opinion, the ice cream had a nice subtle olive oil flavor, much more subtle than, say, the Olive Oil Cake over at Wine Bar George. But, be warned — the ice cream isn’t as sweet as a regular vanilla. BUT it is, what the Salt & Straw team calls, the flavor that “should be the NEW vanilla.”
We were told that this is one that could go particularly well on pies, cobblers, and the like as an a la mode option, and we could DEFINITELY see that.
If you happen to catch us around Thanksgiving time, don’t be surprised if you see us lugging around a few pints of this flavor to use at home. Hey, someone has to be the holiday hero right?! (Trust us, your fam will thank you for bringing this instead of that weird cobbler you tried to piece together using Pinterest )
Next we had the vegan Freckled Mint Chocolate Chip. Salt & Straw notes that in this treat, “Coconut and pure Oregon mint oil coalesce into a delicate, floral ice cream, freckled with organic dark chocolate.”
This ice cream TOTALLY SURPRISED us! It was incredible! For starters, we would’ve had no idea this was vegan ice cream had we not known in advance. Though we will say that the texture of this one is not quite as creamy as its non-vegan counterparts!
We didn’t get a strong coconut flavor. Instead, we mostly tasted a really high quality mint and that melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. It was awesome and vegan eaters should be very excited! Truly, this blows away some of the other dairy-free ice cream we’ve had.
Then it was time to try a seasonal flavor — Bottomless Limes! This ice cream was actually inspired by a story from Rae, a 12-year-old. (The seasonal ice creams this month were inspired by stories written by kids!) Truly, only the boundless imagination of a child could come up with some of this stuff! According to Rae, there’s a holiday called Hole Day…? As the description for this ice cream goes, “Ever wonder why we celebrate Hole Day? Why do we hang string lights and turtle decorations? Why do we eat key lime pie ice cream for dinner on Hole Day?”
Well Salt & Straw has created an ice cream to celebrate this most mysterious holiday. With this treat, they “ribbon in Key Lime cheesecake with hunks of golden pie crust, crystallized with brown sugar and ginger, and shards of sprinkle-studded chocolate bark.”
This ice cream really tasted just like Key Lime Pie! We got that fresh lime flavor and it even had that delicious graham cracker goodness in it. So if Key Lime Pie is your jam, you’ll want to eat this ice cream by the bowl-ful!
And finally, we ended this flight with The Adventurous Llamanaut — this is another creation from this month’s series, inspired by kids’ stories.
This particular ice cream was inspired by a story from Asher, age 7. According to Asher, “Llamanaut is a little llama who wants to be an astronaut. She loves to do the moonwalk. So she goes to the NASA shop. She gets landing gear and engine and adds it to her ship. She goes to space and sees all of the plants. She gets distracted by the Milky Way. She was the first llama in space!” EPIC. The ice cream features “pink and blue marshmallow ‘milky way’ fluff glistening against purple-y pitch dark cherry ice cream.”
This ice cream certainly lives up to its adventurous title! We’re not going to lie, we did fear that the Maraschino cherries would give it an artificial, medicine-type flavor but they didn’t! Instead, this ice cream had a great subtle cherry flavor with a little BURST of sweetness from the marshmallow. That llama was really onto something here.
So how much does the ice cream at Salt & Straw cost? The prices are included in some of our images above, but we’ll note it again here. A single scoop is $6.95, a Double Scoop is $9.50, a Kid’s Scoop is $5.75, a Flight of Four Scoops is $14.75, and a Pint is $12.95. You can also get a Waffle Cone for an additional $2.
Add-ons include Sprinkles for an additional $0.50, or a Split Scoop for an additional $0.50. And that’s our look at the ice cream flavors we got to try from Salt & Straw!
Nosh Or Not
Stop by Salt & Straw if…
- You love ice cream. DUH! This shop truly is an ice cream lover’s dream! If you’re all about this chilly dessert, this should be on your must-try list.
- You like inventive and unique flavors. While there are some very accessible flavors here (accessible, but elevated), there are also some SUPER unique flavors. Some of the options here go well beyond the usual vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. And the flavors are constantly changing (each month), so you’ll want to come back to see what new things have arrived. Who knows?! If we’re lucky maybe we’ll even get Turkey-flavored ice cream or ice cream with BUGS!!
- You want to pick up pints of ice cream to take home. This could be a fun selling point of Salt & Straw for you — you can grab a whole pint of your favorite flavor to have later! So if you’re local to the Orlando area or staying in a place with adequate freezing power to keep these cold during your stay, these could be a wonderful option!
Skip Salt & Straw if…
- You have SUUUPER picky eaters in your group. Again, there are some accessible flavors here, but none are totally plain. We do think that some of the more classic flavors will satisfy pickier palettes, but there’s no denying that they’re not quite as “standard” as what you’d find at other places. Just remember that you can taste the flavors here so that could help you pick which ones are best for you!
- You want to sit down and enjoy a snack. There is no seating inside Salt & Straw, so you’ll have to get your ice cream to-go.
- You want fancy sundaes and shakes. If you’re looking for specific ice cream treats like those, you might be better off visiting Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop or a spot like Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. The ice cream flavors themselves are the stars here, so there’s nothing really in terms of sundaes or creations like that.
Overall, this is probably some of the best ice cream you’ll find on Disney World property. The flavors here are unique and feature ingredients you probably won’t find combined in this way anywhere else. And you can really tell how high quality the items are, particularly since Salt & Straw creates small batch ice cream utilizing local, organic, and sustainable ingredients.
Whether you come in just for a single scoop, or you stop at this place time and time again to see what monthly specials are available, it’s a paradise for ice cream lovers, sweet treat fans, and those who are simply looking for an adventurous experience when it comes to food. We’re truly looking forward to seeing what Salt & Straw comes up with next.
Stay tuned to DFB for more!
Click here to see some of the BIZARRE flavors Salt & Straw has offered at other locations in the past!
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Disclosure: In nearly all circumstances, Disney Food Blog writers and photographers pay full price for their own travel, hotel, food, beverage, and event tickets. We do this because it’s important to us as journalists to ensure not only that we give you unbiased opinions, but also that you can trust us to do so since we’re paying our own way. On rare occasions, when we are invited by a company to attend a preview as media, and when we choose to accept that invitation, we will always make you, our readers, aware of that situation. Recently, we were invited by Salt & Straw for their media event. Note that when we attend events as media we are 1) Not required to review that event/food on any of our channels, and 2) Not required to review that event/food favorably. You can always count on DFB to give you a 100% unbiased and honest review of any event that we attend, food that we eat, or beverage that we drink. You can see more in our Disclosure Policy. Thank you for reading. — AJ
Are you going to try the ice cream at Salt & Straw? Let us know in the comments!
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