When: December 2, 2015, 5:25 PM
Verdict? Not recommended
On its own, the Mint Julep Bar can be somewhat hard to find. It’s just a small, walk-up window, located off a side alley in New Orleans Square (the one that also leads to the restrooms). The closest landmark is the New Orleans Square train station.
The reason I say, “on its own” is that, on most days, the Mint Julep Bar is easy to spot: just look for a long queue of people snaking along the sidewalk. It’s crazy popular.
The Mint Julep Bar basically sells three things: beignets, coffee, and “New Orleans Mint Juleps.” Most people are in line for the beignets; for me, I was all about the Julep.
The New Orleans Mint Julep is on the list of “those” foods at Disneyland (see also: Lobster Nachos at Cove Bar, Monte Cristo at Blue Bayou, Corn Dogs at Corn Dog Castle) that you’re not supposed to miss. It’s famous! It’s iconic! It’s a New Orleans drink served in New Orleans Square!
So yeah, time to give it a try.
The queue took a solid 30 minutes. After waiting my turn, I arrived at the window, placed my order, and watched in mild horror as the Cast Member dispensed my Mint Julep out of a soda fountain. (Really. “Mint Julep” was handwritten in sharpie on the dispenser label. As I recall, it was located between “Coke Zero” and “Sprite.”)
So they bring over the Julep, dress it with mint, lemon, and cherry, pop in a straw, and hand it to me through the window.
I find a table, sit, and take my first sip.
Initial reaction: Hey! This is refreshing and tasty! It’s light. It’s fairly minty, and not too sweet. It tastes sort of like mint Torani syrup mixed with tonic water. It’s lightly carbonated. I’m digging it.
Second sip: So this is still pretty good, but it’s losing steam. There’s a sameness creeping in. Clearly, this is a sipping beverage. I better slow down and take it easy.
Third sip: Uh, okay, I need water or something to cut the taste. And, wow, this suddenly feels like a very, very big beverage. (Is this a large? Did I order the large?!?!)
Fourth sip: There is no way on Earth I’m going to be able to finish this thing.
And that’s how it ended: with a whimper. I managed to drink about 25% of the glass, at which point I hit my limit and simply couldn’t see myself going any farther. The initial rush of novelty and sweetness was gone, replaced by a flat, sweet, lightly-carbonated chore.
So no, I don’t recommend this.
I mean, yes, it’s iconic. And yes, if you’re in a group of four people, and willing to split one four ways, I could see ordering this for the novelty value. But it doesn’t stand on its own as a refreshment. There’s no way I’d order one of these as a complement to a meal, or stand-alone to enjoy on a hot day. It’s just … novel. And the novelty fades far, far, far too quickly to make this a desirable beverage.