If I had to name my all-time favorite summertime treat, it would be the Dole Whip, a creamy yet dairy-free pineapple soft serve ice cream that’s sold at the Tiki Juice Bar in Disneyland. I was going to hold off on writing about the Dole Whip until my next Disneyland trip, but because of my foot issues I probably won’t be back there for a while. In the meantime, people visiting the Happiest Place on Earth this summer need to know about the Dole Whip. My advice to them is: Get thee to Adventureland and dig into this refreshing treat before doing anything else in the park.
I was looking through my photo albums for a shot of the Dole Whip for this blog, but couldn’t find one. “How could this be?” I wondered. “I’ve eaten a Dole Whip every time I’ve gone to Disneyland” (and let me tell you, that’s a lot). Then I realized that I was always in such a hurry to tuck into my Dole Whip that I couldn’t bear to wait two seconds to take a picture of it.
So the picture you see here is actually of a Dole Whip I had at Lappert’s, an ice cream shop in Palm Springs. Lappert’s originated in Hawaii; hence, the tropical bent of its menu. Lappert’s Dole Whip did, indeed, taste like the real thing. But you have to get one at Disneyland to truly appreciate how special it is.
Disneyland’s Tiki Juice Bar, sponsored by Dole, is the first thing you see when you enter Adventureland. It’s the little thatched hut with an enormous line in front of it. Don’t be deterred — the wait is well worth it. You can either get a Dole Whip or a Dole Whip Float. The float is a Dole Whip that’s swimming in pineapple juice, adorned with a paper umbrella and maraschino cherry. This latter option can be quite nice if you’re thirsty. You can also order plain old pineapple juice, which is sometimes served in a really cool souvenir tiki cup.
Here’s an insider tip: There’s a (usually) shorter line on the other side of the Tiki Juice Bar, inside the Enchanted Tiki Room waiting area. While you’re in line, you get to watch vintage Dole Plantation films that show pineapples being harvested. The Enchanted Tiki Room is a classic Disney attraction that features singing animatronic birds, a tropical thunderstorm, and other freaky effects that you need to see for yourself. On a hot day, there’s nothing more rejuvenating than enjoying a Dole Whip while relaxing inside the Enchanted Tiki Room.
The fact that you can only get the Dole Whip at Disneyland and a handful of other places adds to its mystique. I once drove all the way to a Lollicup in Alhambra because on Yelp it said they had Dole Whips. Their Dole Whip was pretty decent, but the next time I went back, they no longer had them, claiming it was out of season. Of course, Disneyland has Dole Whips all year round.
You may think this is much ado about nothing, but the Dole Whip really does deserve all the fanfare it receives. It’s a tasty dessert by anyone’s standards, but if you’re lactose-intolerant, it’s the Holy Grail. I’d been eating Dole Whips for years, popping Lactaid pills in order to digest them because they were too delicious to resist. The day I learned they were dairy-free and I could eat them without a Lactaid was a happy day indeed. I adore both pineapple and soft serve, so what could be better than this perfect blend of the two? And dairy-free, no less!
UPDATE (as of 1/2/17): Brian’s Shave Ice on Olympic in West L.A. has the Dole Whip. This is a dream come true… but ironically, I haven’t gotten a Dole Whip since I reviewed Brian’s Shave Ice last October. Why? I don’t want it to stop being special.
TIKI JUICE BAR, Disneyland, 1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92802
LAPPERT’S ICE CREAM, 130 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262
LOLLICUP, 228 West Valley Blvd. Ste 106A, Alhambra, CA 91801
BRIAN’S SHAVE ICE, 11301 W. Olympic Blvd. Suite 103, Los Angeles, CA 90064