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Disney World’s Most Sought-After Dining Location Is an Unassuming Cart

You might walk by it, but you’d be missing an iconic snack with historic Disney roots.

<p>Allrecipes/Suzanne Clements</p>

Allrecipes/Suzanne Clements

In the shadows of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World, you’ll likely notice a throng of guests in line. But this isn’t for Pirates of the Caribbean or any other popular ride—although what the hungry park-goers are waiting for could be considered an attraction in itself. It’s known simply as the Magic Kingdom Spring Roll Cart.

And the small red and green wagon has garnered a near-cult following, making this a now iconic Disney snack held in the same esteem as Dole Whip and Mickey Pretzels. The menu is simple: varieties of the Asian-inspired dish with distinctly Disney twists. From cheeseburger ingredients to chicken cordon bleu, these spring rolls are stuffed with unexpected fillings before being deep fried to a golden brown and served piping hot.

<p>Allrecipes/Suzanne Clements</p>

Allrecipes/Suzanne Clements

When Did Disney World’s Spring Roll Cart Get Its Start?

The inspiration for the Spring Roll Cart can be traced back to the early days of the mouse’s first-ever park, Disneyland, in California. Walt Disney was unabashedly fascinated with Polynesian culture—and that admiration wasn’t just used as creative fuel in some of his first attractions, like Adventureland’s Jungle Cruise, but also in cuisine.

One of Disneyland’s first large-scale restaurants, Tahitian Terrace, opened in 1962 to transport diners to far-off places, fusing elements of Asian, Oceania, and Caribbean cultures. This elaborate dinner show—ahead of its time by theme park standards—featured tropical and Asian-influenced bites in an immersive setting, complete with Hawaiian performers.

Walt Disney died before the opening of Disney World in 1971, but that, too, would introduce Magic Kingdom park-goers to a new version of Adventureland.  While its opening day restaurant, Adventureland Veranda, began with a menu of theme park basics like sandwiches, it quickly expanded to dishes like shrimp fried rice. Shortly after, a partnership with Kikkoman brought along stir-fried beef and ‘sweet and sour’ hot dogs.

Adventureland Veranda closed in 1994, but not before exporting its flavors to the streets of the Magic Kingdom. The Adventureland Egg Roll Cart first served an intriguing version of the American Chinese favorite: a Hot Dog and Cheese Egg Roll. It created an intoxicating smell that would waft through Adventureland, drawing people in. The hot dog was wrapped in a generous coating of cheese and deep fried inside a wonton wrapper, just like an egg roll. In the cooking process, the cheese would liquify causing a burst of flavor with every bite.

The beloved Hot Dog and Cheese Egg Roll would eventually fade into the cart’s menu memory in favor of traditional egg rolls and turkey legs—but the sales of one surprisingly outweighed the other.

“Quickly, it was understood that the unique egg roll was far outpacing the turkey leg, which could be found in multiple areas,” says Wade Camerer, Executive Chef at Disney Consumer Products. “To make a more immersive and diverse dining experience for our guests in a way that can only be delivered in the Magic Kingdom, the Adventureland Spring Roll Cart was born!”

It was then that Disney began to flex its creative muscles and strayed from the usual vegetable and pork egg rolls it had been serving.

The Magic Kingdom Spring Roll Cart now makes its home in Magic Kingdom just outside the entrance to Adventureland, delivering wildly creative versions of the homemade snack—typically two flavors at a time—to crowds in droves. “I feel the guests connect with a familiar or nostalgic flavor presented in a fun manner,“ says James O'Donnell, Culinary Director at Walt Disney World. “They’re portable, easy to share and a perfect pick me up between attractions, shows, or meals.”

Disney’s food and beverage wizards keep fans on their toes. Over the years, the menu has featured everything from Bacon Macaroni & Cheese to Cuban Spring Rolls. “We look at all opportunities and influences when developing new flavors, “ says O'Donnell. “Finding a flavor profile that connects with a memory is key.”

Few have resonated with Disney food fans like Cheeseburger Spring Rolls, which have been on and off the menu throughout the years as the team tinkered with the recipe. It’s currently a menu mainstay.

“Watching our guests take a bite and state, ‘Yes, tastes just like a cheeseburger’ is satisfying for my chefs and me,” says O’Donnell.

<p>Allrecipes/Suzanne Clements</p>

Allrecipes/Suzanne Clements

Another mainstay, the Pepperoni Pizza Spring Roll, is served with a pizza dipping sauce and expertly mimics the flavors of a slice of pizza in a way that’s both delicious and mind-bending.

Orders come in two and guests can pick just one flavor, or order one of each, Pepperoni Pizza and Cheeseburger. “We fondly refer to this combination as the dynamic duo of spring rolls,” says Camerer.

<p>Allrecipes/Suzanne Clements</p>

Allrecipes/Suzanne Clements

Perhaps much like the former Adventureland Veranda, the Spring Roll Cart’s success could be attributed to the fact that it's bridging fantasy with familiarity. And the next time you take a bite, remember that it not only began with a mouse, but a man with a taste for inspiration from lands far away.

Read the original article on All Recipes.