“Delicious Disney” commemorates 50 years of WDW restaurants

Written By Scott Joseph On September 29, 2021

Delicious Disney Cover

There’s a lot going on to commemorate Walt Disney World’s fiftieth anniversary but for Disney food fans a highlight is sure to be the publication of “Delicious Disney: Walt Disney World: Recipes & Stories from The Most Magical Place on Earth” by Pam Brandon, Marcy Carriker Smothers and the Disney Chefs ($35; Disney Editions).

The book, published Sept. 28, has recipes from WDW restaurants present and past as well as historical notes.

This is Brandon’s twenty-second cookbook for Disney (although she has written several others, including “Field to Feast: Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs, and Artisans” and “Culinary Confessions of the PTA Divas,” written with Anne-Marie Hodges. (SJO readers will recall the days when the Divas of Dish contributed recipes to this site.)

This is the first Disney book that Brandon has written with a co-author. Smothers (whose last name reflects that she was once married to Tom, one of two famous brothers with that name) had previously written “Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food,” which focused on Disneyland.

Southeast 9 23 Bosch

The two were brought together by Kathy Mangum, a former Disney World Imagineer and mutual friend. “Marcy and I had never met,” said Brandon during a break from book signing events at Walt Disney World Wednesday. Mangum and Smothers, who lives in Sonoma, were good friends, said Brandon, and Mangum told her, “You have to meet Pam.”

“We met for breakfast on the BoardWalk,” said Brandon, “and talked for three hours.” From that discussion came the idea for the commemorative cookbook.

Brandon has done many Disney cookbooks – the first was in 1996 when she was a member of the Walt Disney World public relations team and she suggested a cookbook would be a great way to promote the opening of California Grill at the Contemporary Resort. But this is the first to have historical pieces to go with the recipes.

Readers will learn, for example, about the development of the Handwich in the late eighties, a sandwich that could be eaten with one hand while people strolled. Brandon, who is no longer a Disney cast member, said she was surprised to learn that the popular Dole Whip originated at the Florida resort and not Disneyland as she had believed. The Mickey Mouse ice cream bar also came out of the WDW kitchens, but not without protests from an executive who was horrified by the thought of people biting off Mickey’s ears.

One chapter of the book is titled Gone but Not Forgotten and features recipes and stories from restaurants that have closed, such as the Empress Lily Potatoes and French Fried Ice Cream from the old golf resort. There is also a cocktail recipe from Top of the World, the entertainment venue that was replaced by California Grill.

There’s also a chapter called Never Left the Menu with perennial favorites like Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli, also from California Grill, and the Cheddar Cheese Soup from the Canada pavilion at Epcot.

The Disney cookbooks sell very well. “People love to come on vacation and take home a recipe to recreate a memory,” said Brandon. “They’re a great souvenir.”

Brandon snapped a photo of one of her favorite recipes from the book, Shrimp with Tomato-Feat Compote, from the early days of Citricos at Disney’s Grand Florida Resort & Spa when Phil Ponticelli was chef. “It’s easy to make,” she said, “and it can be served as an appetizer or with pasta as an entree.”

The cookbook is available at ShopDisney. It will not be available on Amazon until April 2022.

Delicious Disney Shrimp dish

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