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A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Dole Whips!

By Dave Shute

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on


By Jim Korkis

A cult following for a soft-serve frozen dessert created by the Dole Food Company known as Dole Whip has created such a frenzy in Disney theme park fans that many suspect that the treat is only available at Disney. It is not.

Of course, it has been served for decades at the Dole Plantation three miles north of Wahiawa, Hawaii, but in recent years, thanks to the ease in creating it, a variety of popular venues now offer it, from sporting events to zoos to state fairs and other amusement venues. Outside of Disney, vendors are strongly encouraged to use the term Dole Soft Serve instead.

(c) Disney

“Disney has literally created Dole Whip devotees,” stated Jamie Schwartz of Kent Precision Foods Group that licenses the product. “Disney built the brand.”

When Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room opened in June 1963, it was sponsored by United Airlines, promoting its flights to Hawaii. In 1976, the Dole Food Company took over sponsorship and opened up a food and beverage stand at the entrance to the attraction called the Tiki Bar.

Disneyland’s Concept Manager of Food Operations Karlos Siqueiros, who has worked at Disneyland for over thirty years, recalled that in the beginning the little stand only sold pineapple juice and pineapple spears: “Pineapple juice had always been served at the tiki stand, but we didn’t have anything to add to it literally until the Dole Whip came in.”

The soft-serve pineapple dessert can also be purchased as a “float” with pineapple juice or as a swirl of pineapple and vanilla. While most Disney fans associate the term “Dole Whip” with pineapple soft serve, it also comes in several other flavors like orange, strawberry, lemon, raspberry and mango.

In 1997, Kent Precision Foods Group in St. Louis, Missouri began to license the Dole Whip product. While it used to contain a dairy derivative, in 2013 the formula was changed and it became certified as vegan and gluten free. They sell the Dole Whip Mix which is a dry powder online. To make it just like at Disney, all that needs to happen is to add water and pour it into a home soft serve ice cream machine.

It is estimated that park guests at Disneyland and Walt Disney World consume 1.4 million Dole Whips each year. (Disneyland consumes a minimum of 600,000). It is not served at any of the other Disney theme parks worldwide. At the Aulani Resort in Hawaii, it is offered at the Lava Shack.

At WDW, it can be found at Aloha Isle, located outside of the Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland, and at Pineapple Lanai just outside the back of the Great Ceremonial House at the Polynesian Village Resort.

Starting in 2013, the Pineapple Promenade Booth at the Flower and Garden Festival sold Dole Whip where guests could order it with Siesta Key Spice Rum. Subsequent years had the option for including Coconut Rum and Sammy’s Beach Bar Red Head Macadamia Nut-flavored Rum. An alcoholic version with dark rum or coconut rum can also be purchased at Tamu Tamu restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Kent Precision Foods explains it as such: “Dole Soft Serve Mix is a lactose-free dry mix that is reconstituted with tap water and frozen down in a soft serve machine. Marketed under the popular Dole brand name, this unique product delivers an intense, natural pineapple fruit flavor, yet is fat free and cholesterol free.

“Although the Dole Food Company originally created the Dole Whip soft serve mix, they licensed the brand to Kent Precision Foods Group who now has an exclusive agreement.”

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Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Secret Stories of Disneyland, and his Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.

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