Strange Bedfellows: Food and Drink Recs for Mr. Disney’s Wild Rides

Pete Capella
(Photo: )

Ahh, the amusement park. The American standby for fun and family enjoyment. The sights, the sounds and the thrills have kept us entertained for literally centuries, with the first ever opening up in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1583. But on July 17th, 1955 all of that changed. A genius by the name of Walt Disney gave the world Disneyland: a fantasy land for children and adults alike. 

In our new weekly feature, The Savory Food Editor Brooke Newberry and Cocktail Editor Pete Capella will give their inspired recommendations based on three works by the same artist. This week, we hopped on three of Walt Disney’s amusement park rides to enkindle food and drink recs for each. So keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle and come along on our journey.


Space Mountain

Brooke’s Food Rec: I was too scared to go on Space Mountain as a young girl, and the second time I ever visited Disneyland (this past year, hungover), the ride was thankfully closed (barf). This ride will forever remain an anxiety-producing, white-domed mystery to me. Know what else gives me anxiety?  Raisins.  Especially the ones covered and encased in yogurt. Just like the ride, they’re these things I’ll never really understand: they’re dark inside, and they smell of fermentation (I mean it’s only a guess, but the ride was built in 1975, so…).

Pete’s Drink Rec: So yes, you anxiously wait for an hour in line. But finally Space Mountain, a roller coaster guised to launch its riders into the the unknown realm of outer space, plunges you into the dark ether of the farthest reaches of the universe as fast as humanly possible (well, as fast as they made them go in 1975). It’s virtually pitch black inside, which makes the ride (which is mild at best) seem much scarier. The easily palatable flavor surrounded by the dark unknown immediately inspires me to suggest a Fernet Branca on the rocks. People are often intimidated by its mystery (as I was of Space Mountain as an 8-year-old, leaving my father and my younger sister to enjoy it on their own) and not aware of how incredibly satisfying and refreshing the botanical taste of Fernet Branca actually is.


Haunted Mansion

Brooke’s Food Rec: My favorite part about the Haunted Mansion is its kitsch. Walking up, it just looks like that kinda creepy old house you grew up next to.  Initially it might seem a bit spooky and loud, but in the end it’s totally worth all of the cheesy weirdness. Speaking of cheesy weirdness, if you’re into this ride, I’d recommend making some stovetop popcorn. It commences the same feelings as the Mansion – the sound of the first pop is startling before you get used to it, and it’s fun to watch from beginning to end.

Pete’s Drink Rec: The Haunted Mansion, first launched in 1969, was groundbreaking with its technology and optical features for riders. Filled with ghosts and ghouls in animatronic and hologram form, the mansion is a full-fledged experience. The problem is, it is a bit dated and, because it is in Disneyland, not the least bit scary. It is a bit of harshness wrapped in a bit of sweetness. That is why I recommend drinking The Booker and Bacon. This is an original cocktail invented by Los Angeles-based cocktailer Randy Evans for the Studio City restaurant, The Village. It is brilliant with its ingredient simplicity and taste complexity. Plus, it is garnished with bacon.

Booker and Bacon

2 oz Booker’s Bourbon

1 oz Torani Caramel Syrup

3 dashes Fee Brother’s Black Walnut Bitters

Bacon Strip for Garnish

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain with a julep strainer into a rocks glass. Garnish with fresh cooked bacon strip.


It’s a Small World

Brooke’s Food Rec: This creepy, hallucinatory ride does, in fact, make me think that it is a very small world, after all.  One that is about to suffocate and brainwash you with subliminal messages hidden in the ride’s theme song.  If, however, you are into this kind of trip, then I’d suggest a perfect stack of rainbow-colored macarons. Light, airy and artificially colored – let these cutesy French pastries take you into a sugar coma.

Pete’s Drink Rec: A terrifying trip through a robotic dystopia. It’s as if if the future had a textbook view of life in the past based on nothing but Norman Rockwell-like travel paintings. And in that sterile future, they drink nothing but Perfect Vodka Martinis (gin has way too much flavor for a robot), stirred and served straight up with an olive. 

Perfect Martini

2.5 oz Vodka

.5 oz Dry Vermouth

.5 oz Sweet Vermouth

Stir all ingredients 26 times with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with one olive.


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