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A Ray Of Sunshine

Too often in the modern era the role of a Disney observer is to chronicle the slow loss of special things, as the parks’ offerings are pared down in service of cutbacks and streamlining. It’s a slow, depressing process that columnist Kevin Yee has termed “declining by degrees”.

Every now and then, though, we win one. And when the restored aspect is a personal favorite, it’s that much more… delicious.


This flavorful treat was once a staple of the Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom. We’ve talked about the large slate of citrus-based offerings once presented in this beloved location, but over the years all were lost except the Citrus Swirl.

What is a Citrus Swirl? It’s frozen orange slush, swirled with vanilla soft-serve. Because the orange half uses real juice, it’s nice and tart compared to the sweetness of the ice cream. It’s yummy. And for several years now, it’s been missing.

The Citrus Swirl was always “my” treat. Like some park-goers feel about the fabled Dole Whip, so did I feel about the Swirl. The Sunshine Tree Terrace was always a mandatory stop at least once per vacation, so it was a shock several years ago when I paid my money for the Swirl and discovered that the orange slush had been replaced by a neon-orange sherbet-ish soft serve. My treat was gone, and Mickey didn’t get my $5. I noticed on my last trip that the Swirl was gone entirely, and the Sunshine Tree Terrace – once a bastion of juicy goodness – was only selling vanilla and chocolate soft-serve. This unique location was now just selling the same stuff you can find everywhere else in the resort, and the homogenization of the Disney experience continued.


I’m thrilled to report that a team of dedicated geniuses have striven in secrecy to restore this glistening golden goodness and today, March 1st, 2012, the Citrus Swirl has returned to the jungles of Adventureland. Look at it. Isn’t it awesome?

Look, not every win can be a billion-dollar rehab or a new World Showcase pavilion. Sometimes the changes that need to take place to return Walt Disney World to its former glory will come in a tasty cake cone or plastic bowl. The million little details that once made up the Disney experience are these silly things that you don’t think about until they’re gone, and then we rarely – if ever – get them back. But we won this one.

So, what can you do? Reward the efforts of the Food and Beverage team and pick up a Citrus Swirl the next time you’re in the park. Have two, or three – it’s juice, after all, which means it’s health food. Only if we show that positive changes will be rewarded will we get more, so head over to the Sunshine Tree Terrace posthaste for some frozen Florida sunshine.

The Orange Bird will approve.

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25 comments to A Ray Of Sunshine

  • Hurray. I’ve always preferred this to the Dole Whip. Actually, regarding the Dole Whip I always get it swirled with vanilla ice cream to give it more of a creamscicle flavor.

  • Jeff

    I feel the same way as you regarding the Citrus Swirl….before I experienced the Dole Whip, the Citrus Swirl was, is still is, a delicious piece of Walt Disney World. Glad to see it is back in its orangey glory and will definitely have my share the next time I get back down to WDW.

  • Keith DeWitt

    Truly of all the stupid decisions Disney has made at WDW the last 20 years, for some reason this one ticked me off more than any other. I mean removing one delicious, unique treat from a food stand would save them that much money!? I love the citrus swirl. It was my favorite snack in the Magic Kingdom. I haven’t stepped foot in the Magic Kingdom since they were taken away. That was my breaking point on Kevin Yee’s “declining by degrees” theory. Now that they’re back, I may come back. Baby steps.

  • Adam

    Huzzah! It’s the little things. I can’t wait to have one.

  • AJ

    Great news!! Thanks for the pick-me-up!

  • Reesie

    This is, in a sense, one of the last great cherry toppers to restoring the original Adventureland, or about as much of it as we can get. They brought back the Tiki Room (shorter, yes, but I like it this way), they’re actually using the Veranda for something, the Orange Bird’s presence in the parks has increased on merch and pins dramatically, and Iago has been banished! I’m not crossing fingers, but if the new Dumbo has two spinners, chances are Aladdin will be removed and we’ll have our nice peaceful Adventureland back to its (almost) original state. I’m really really happy with the way things are going. :)

  • I am literally doing a dance of joy right now! After years of S.O.S. (Save Our Swirl) I am so excited to get my hands on one of these in a week or so!

  • Emma

    Yaaaay! I used to get these all the time when I was a secret shopper (shhh….) and then one day they were gone D: Pineapple floats are delicious, of course, but I like to mix it up every once in a while!

  • […] City USA has the latest news about a beloved snack that looks like it’s returning to Walt Disney World — the Citrus […]

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  • Carrie

    Excuse me while I get down on my knees and praise the higher powers for this glorious treats return. While the Frozen OJ slushie was a nice treat, it was no replacement for the Swirl.

    Oh Glorious Goodness, I shall have you in my grasp soon!

  • Stephen

    If I recall, 2 years ago the Florida Orange goves experienced one of the worst frosts’ in history and the orgage crops were at record shortages. This would have led to a dramatic increase in price, and would have left Disney with the decision of severly raising prices or changing the formula (which clearly didn’t work).

    I have always prefered the Dole Whip to this, but I am also glad that the little guy is winning one back!

  • Stephen

    According to Bloomberg in 2009 the Florida orange crop was down 22% to 122 million boxes, compared to the 2 million + surplus that was experienced in 2011. This is more than liekly the reason for the resurrgance of the “Citris Swirl” return.

    Somethings are just out of Disney hands, and lay with good ole Mother Nature!

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  • […] on Sunday I’d be back with a review of the Citrus Swirl! A special thanks to Michael over at Progress City U.S.A for bringing its return to everyone’s attention at the beginning of the month. Until now, […]

  • […] read more about this classic snack, check out this blog by a Citrus Swirl devotee… Share and […]

  • […] 20 ans » Oranges Are Good For You By Michael – April 6th, 2012 Last month we talked about how the Citrus Swirl, a cult-classic Magic Kingdom snack, had made a fortuitous return to the […]

  • Joni

    Oh yeah!!!! I use to get one every trip. It was a tradition , like having our picture taken on the big comfy couch at Boardwalk. But the day I got the Fake swirl was it. How disapointing that was. Part of the “Old Walt Disney World ” is gone. along with Mr. Toad, The skyway and now, Swirly! COME ON !!!! But it is back, Hallelujah, That refreshing,sweet sour, inexpensive treat from our childhood is back. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to who ever got it back.

  • aaaah can’t wait! going to disney in a few days…

  • Zachary

    I just tried it for the first time this past weekend…MY GOD it was delicious!

  • Ronnie McCarson

    I have not been to Disney World for many years, but the one thing I do remember is the Citrus Twist. It was then and as of today the best frozen treat at Disney. Now Dole is great as well; but they are two different desserts. Dole taste like sherbert and with the juice on the bottom, gives it the extra punch. The Citrus Twist is frozen firm and last longer. It taste like what it is. Real frozen OJ and vanilla ice cream. Thanks Disney for bringing back this blast from the past for me. My only regret is that I cannot get this in my hometown.

  • Jean Cody

    Oh my husband lived that orange swirl in the cups.

  • Kay

    Well, since you were so successful with the swirl, can you bring back the 100% welch’s grape juice that they use to serve in Tomorrow land. My favorite childhood memory….it was hot as heck and we would go to tomorrow land and get the ice cold grape juice!! Fabulous stuff! Somehow having it at Disney was 100% better than at home!

  • Joni

    Happy Happy Happy, Did a little happy jig. CS is the magic Kingdom for me. A MUST stop every time. So cool, so refreshing. Love the mix. DO NOT MESS WITH IT AGAIN, please :) A little reminder of my youth, those who came with me that are not here any longer. A favorite of 4 generations!!

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