It’s hard to be unhappy when you’re eating a cookie. Especially when you’re eating a cookie (or five) in a Disney park. EPCOT’s Holiday Cookie Stroll has returned this year as part of the International Festival of the Holidays, and as someone whose love language is cookies, I felt the need to once again complete the stroll. As I always say, it’s good to have goals. Let me take you along for the journey as I discover the good, the bad, and the not so yummy.
First things first: let me say that these for-purchase food-eating challenges are right up my alley. I love a good challenge, and when that challenge involves eating a total of six cookies (five to complete the challenge and one as the prize for completing said challenge), I’m the person for the job. If you have someone in your park touring group who doesn’t necessarily want to ride attractions, maybe eating cookies would fit the bill. In my mind, it’s always a good thing that EPCOT offers a little something for everyone. Want to hunt for Olaf or Remy? They both have themed scavenger hunts. Want to eat five different cheese-based items during the Food and Wine Festival? Emile’s Fromage Montage is the one for you. Want to gobble up cookies? The Holiday Cookie Stroll will be your jam.
Secondly, I’m glad to see a new cookie join this year’s stroll. The Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie from the Canada pavilion’s Yukon Holiday Kitchen has gotten the boot this year, and I have to say that it deserved it. That cookie was always cute, but also always lacked flavor. It takes a lot for me to throw half of a cookie away, but each time that I completed the Stroll (whether it was on my own, with my niece and nephew, or with my favorite now eight-year-old), the remainder of that cute flavorless cookie went into the nearest trash can.
Let’s take a look at how this year’s cookies stack up!
I began the Stroll with the Gingerbread Cookie at the Holiday Hearth Desserts booth. You’ll find this booth across from Starbucks, somewhat near Port of Entry. Friends, this cookie looks good, but that’s where the appeal ends. Bless his heart, this gingerbread man tries to be good, but he’s just a little too thin. The icing used on the cookie is hard and doesn’t taste great. The cookie itself, while not being the absolute worst, is also not the absolute best. It has a bit of snap and bend to it, which I enjoy in a gingerbread cookie, but lacks the kick that gingerbread can give. I won’t purchase this again. Well, not until next year’s Holiday Cookie Stroll if he makes the cut and continues to be offered…
The official name of this cookie is “SNICKERS-Doodle Cookie made with SNICKERS bar pieces,” but we’ll stick with SNICKERS-Doodle Cookie from here on out. Yes, a partnership/sponsorship has inspired this year’s new cookie, but I’m all for it if it gives us a better cookie. At $2.50 a cookie, you want to feel like the Stroll is worth it, and throwing a cookie away definitely doesn’t engender an overall feeling of value.
The SNICKERS-Doodle Cookie is a thin version of a snickerdoodle, and features a mound of SNICKERS bar chunks affixed to the top with a dollop of chocolate icing. The entire cookie is drizzled with a white glaze. As you might expect, the standout of this cookie is the portion that’s topped with SNICKERS bar crumbles. Side note: please tell me I’m not the only one who never realized that SNICKERS is officially all caps? I digress.
The rest of the cookie is okay, although I found it to be thin, and when I think of a snickerdoodle, I conjure up images of a puffy cookie. The cinnamon flavor of the cookie was nice, though, and I was pleased overall with the Peppermint Pinwheel’s replacement.
Black and White Cookie
Dear me. This cookie. L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen’s Black and White Cookie, which happens to be plant-based, is off-the-charts good. The cookie is perfectly cake-like, and features a lovely undercurrent of lemon. That thick chocolate and vanilla glaze? Unbelievably good. This won’t be the last time that I purchase a Black and White during the festival. It’s soft, enrobed in sugary glaze, and is simply a stand out. The icing on the cookie that I was served hadn’t quite completely set, and I didn’t even care. The icing-covered fingers were sooooo worth it.
By the way, how beautiful are the new mosaic-like overlays on the booth itself?! I loved the colorful addition and attention to detail.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookie
This cookie has been my favorite for the last couple of years. In fact, I’ve made a last-minute trip into the park for one last Chocolate Crinkle Cookie before a festival ends in the past. Rich cocoa taste and a chewy, fudgy consistency make for one delightful treat. You’ll probably understand why I was a bit hesitant when I heard that the Mars partnership was again rearing its head. My favorite cookie was now branded the “Chocolate Crinkle Cookie made with DOVE Dark Chocolate.” C’mon, people. Don’t mess with perfection.
Thankfully, from what I can tell, the only change to the cookie was the addition of a DOVE square to the top of the cookie. Whew. The cookie was just as good with that lovely snap on the outside and chewy goodness on the inside. My fears were all for naught. But can I admit something? While the Chocolate Crinkle was my overall favorite, the Black and White is this close to taking the lead.
By the way, if you’d like to whip up EPCOT’s Chocolate Crinkle Cookie in your own kitchen, you can find the recipe (along with my adventure of making them myself) here.
Friends, as Kathy Werling would say, when you’re headed to the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen to get your Linzer Cookie, “pack you patience.” The line will inevitably be long, and you will be tempted to skip this cookie entirely. But don’t. Please, for the love of all things cookie, don’t skip the Linzer.
The cookies themselves are delightfully spiced shortbread cookies. They’re soft and flavorful, and really perfect. And the thick raspberry filling? Goodness, it’s fantastic. The raspberry jam is bright and punchy and just what you want when you’re biting into a Linzer. This cookie tastes like the holidays, and I’m so glad that I ended the Cookie Stroll on a high note.
Completion Prize: 50th Anniversary Ornament Cookie and a Surprise!
Okay, so the Completion Cookie is never a cookie to write home about. It’s sad, but true. This year’s cookie, found at the Holiday Sweets & Treats booth across from Port of Entry, is a packaged vanilla cookie in the shape of a 50th Anniversary-themed Christmas tree ornament. Those who have completed the Stroll are also given a Freeform 25 Days of Christmas paper ornament. The standout of the whole shebang? Guests who complete the cookie-eating extravaganza are also given a Chocolate Peppermint Sundae in a Holiday Cookie Stroll-themed plastic cup. What?! Oh Disney, you know what we want. The sundae made me happier than it probably should have, but it was just the thing that I wanted after trucking around the World Showcase. And the themed cup is perfect. Give me anything free that’s personalized to EPCOT and food, and I’m a happy camper. Yes, I know that it’s not totally free as I just spent $10 on cookies, but you know what I mean.
Something to keep in mind as you complete the Stroll: you just need five cookie stamps from the participating booths. You can have five of the same cookies if you’d like to; you don’t have to purchase one of each if you don’t want to; just get five total cookies.
With the addition of the SNICKERS-Doodle Cookie, this year’s Holiday Cookie Stroll is stronger than those that have come before. There’s room for improvement, but I’m glad to see that changes are being made. And that adorable Cookie Stroll cup? That’s icing on the cake, or in this case, the cookie.
Have you tried completing the Holiday Cookie Stroll? If so, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments section below.