Seeing as how my kids are grown and my niece and nephew are both older than 7, I think I'm safe to say without offending them that my friend, Asher, is my favorite 7-year-old. Asher loves Walt Disney World and eating cookies, so it only made sense that Asher and I would give EPCOT's Holiday Cookie Stroll a whirl. Asher's mom, Kate, graciously brought Asher over to EPCOT (he's not quite old enough to drive, you know), and shared in on the cookie strolling fun.
I started off by grabbing a festival passport for both of us. You'll find the Holiday Cookie Stroll page at the back of this year's passport. A piece of advice I'd give to families who might want to try the Holiday Cookie Stroll is to make sure that the kiddo in your group gets to hold the passport.
He or she will have the opportunity to interact with cast members as they stamp the Cookie Stroll page, and if he or she is a reader, they can keep track of which cookies still need to be hunted down. Asher kept us up-to-date during the Stroll as to which cookie was next, as well as to where we'd find that next cookie.
Asher decided that we'd begin the Stroll by heading around World Showcase in counter-clockwise fashion (so sorry to those who those who must traverse the Showcase clockwise), so Yukon Holiday Kitchen's Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie was up first. I came into this year's Holiday Cookie Stroll hoping that the two cookies that disappointed me last year would show improvement. Yukon's Peppermint Pinwheel was last year's worst offender. It was dry, lacked peppermint taste, and, ultimately got thrown away. It was sad.
Thankfully, this year's version gets marks for vast improvement. This year's cookie is thicker, softer, and has much more peppermint flavor. The outside of the cookie now sports not only holiday sprinkles, but crushed peppermints as well.
Asher loved the bumped-up peppermint flavor of the pinwheel cookie, and immediately declared it a 10 out of 10. He also loved that the cookie looked like a big peppermint candy. Asher ate the entire cookie, which was indicative of his great love for it. It was also his first cookie of the Stroll; tummy space tends to fill up the further around the Showcase you travel. Kate informed me that he changed the score for the Peppermint Pinwheel in the car on the way home from 10 out of 10 to 2,000 out of 10. So, yes. Big props to Yukon's cookie!
The Gingerbread Cookie can be found this year at the Festival Favorites Holiday Kitchen inside World Showplace, located between the Canada and U.K. pavilions. This cookie was the other one on last year's Stroll that needed help. The former version was thin and dry, and thankfully, this year's edition fixes both of those issues. This cookie is thicker, more moist, and packs a lot of ginger punch. It's not top of the heap for me, but it, along with the Peppermint Pinwheel, has shown improvement.
Asher gave the Gingerbread Cookie a 4 out of 10. He didn't like the chewy texture and, while he liked the ginger taste, he wished it was dialed down just a bit.
When you stop by World Showplace, be sure to take advantage of the three photo ops that have been set up. You'll find two inside the event space, and an ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas-themed one outside as you leave. These opportunities are great ways to commemorate your cookie-eating adventure.
Asher's very favorite cookie coming into the Stroll was next, and he relished it greatly. L'Chaim Holiday Kitchen's plant-based Black and White Cookie got top billing in his book until his post-game scoring adjustment in the car on the way home. In-park, the Black and White Cookie garnered a score of 1,000 out of 10. For full disclosure, Asher only likes the lemony/vanilla side of the cookie. Chocolate just isn't his thing.
This thick, cake-like cookie is my second favorite in the whole shebang. It's delightful, and I wish I had one right now (darn those park passes being gone for the day). This cookie is substantial, and tummy room by this point in the Holiday Cookie Stroll was filling up, so half of my cookie came home.
Remember that Asher doesn't like chocolate? Yep, that impacted the next cookie on our list. American Holiday Table's Chocolate Crinkle Cookie, while being my very favorite, was Asher's least favorite. It received a 2 out of 10 on his scoring scale, and, after trying a bite, Asher said he didn't like the chewiness of the cookie.
This is a cookie that I specifically go to the park to get. It's chewy, fudgy, and rich. The one that I had when I was there with Asher was a bit on the dry side, like it had sat out for a bit. The one I had on opening night of the festival was sheer perfection. Mi corazón. If you'd like to make them in your own kitchen, click here to check out the time I did just that for Saturday Snacks.
The next cookie on the Stroll can be found at the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen next to the Germany pavilion. The Linzer Cookie features two shortbread cookies with a raspberry filling, all topped with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. This cookie wasn't Asher's favorite; in fact, it received a rating of 1 out of 10. But, in the process of taking a bite for research purposes, he discovered that he does like the top cookie, as well as the powdered sugar with which it's covered. Mom got to eat the bottom of the cookie (the part with the raspberry filling), so it was a win-win.
I enjoyed the bright punch that the thick raspberry filling brought to this cookie. While it's not my personal favorite of the Stroll, I recognize that it's beautifully and artistically done and tastes quite good. Be on the lookout for that powdered sugar when eating both the Chocolate Crinkle and Linzer cookies. It gets everywhere.
Once you've finished the Holiday Cookie Stroll, it's time to head toward the front of World Showcase to the Holiday Sweets and Treats booth for your complementary Minnie Peppermint completer cookie. This year's cookie is new, and for that, both Asher and I were glad.
Last year's completer cookie was thin, dry, and not good. This year's version is a thick sugar cookie topped with a layer of colorful fondant that had a light peppermint taste to it.
Asher enjoyed the peppermint flavor of the cookie, and gave it a 5 out of 10 in the taste department, but a 10 out of 10 in overall appearance. He's right; this is a very photogenic cookie. Take note that this year's cookie does not come with a small bottle of milk like last year's did.
When I asked Asher if he would recommend doing the Holiday Cookie Stroll to other kids, he said yes, and that he'd tell them that they'd have fun. The Stroll from start to finish took 2 hours for us to complete, and is a great way to add a little bit of holiday fun to your afternoon of traveling the World Showcase.
Keep in mind that, in order to complete the Stroll and earn your completer cookie, you just have to purchase 5 cookies. Any five. If you'd rather skip one and buy 5 of your very favorite, that's perfectly fine. I bet that if Asher were to go back, he'd stick with the Peppermint Pinwheel and the lemon half of several Black and Whites. Five of those, and he will have completed another Stroll. Yum!
Getting to experience the Holiday Cookie Stroll with Asher and my friend, Kate, was a fantastic way to see the experience through a different lens, and it was definitely a fun time for all three of us.
Have you completed the Holiday Cookie Stroll with a kid or two? If so, what did he or she think of the Stroll? What was his or her favorite cookie? Please let me know in the comment section below. Happy holidays!