What I found at ... is a series that tests and vets intriguing store-bought foodie finds.
What: Mickey Premium ice cream bars
Where: Select Safeway stores on Oahu
Cost: $7.99 Safeway Club member price, regular price $10.39, box contains six ice cream bars
Q: Will these ice cream bars transport you to the Happiest Place on Earth?
Be warned: This post has a backstory.
Mickey Mouse-shaped ice cream bars have been one of my favorite Disneyland Park snacks since I was a kid. They’re a simple treat — a crunchy chocolate shell encasing vanilla ice cream in a Mickey shape — but one I always had to get with every Disneyland visit. I'm not the only fanatic out there: #mickeyshapedfood is a trending hashtag with nearly 16K posts.
My islandwide hunt for these ice cream bars started at the end of January. That was a few weeks after Delish.com and other food blogs announced these limited-edition Disneyland Park treats would be in grocery stores ‘in the coming months.’
Once I started seeing ‘found it!’ posts on all my favorite Disney food blogs, it was time for action. One of those posts had a picture of the Mickey ice cream bars at Target, so I called the Kailua, Ala Moana and Salt Lake locations. I also called various Foodlands and Safeways. I was pretty dedicated in my search because 'limited edition' is vague. Did that mean these grocery store bars would only be available through Mickey's 90th birthday celebrations at Disneyland Park?
At first, no one knew what I was talking about. At the end of February, Kailua Target told me the bars were no longer in stock — on a day I hadn’t called, they brought them in and other Disney fanatics wiped out the freezer shelves.
The phone calls all ended the same way: “We don’t know if or when we are getting these. Sorry.”
By mid-March, I gave up. I had a trip coming up to the Happiest Place on Earth and figured I would get my fill while I was there.
A week later, Frolic contributor Lee Tonouchi texted me and proved that pixie dust and magic can happen outside of Disneyland.
Lee didn’t know I was on a quest for these bars. He texted me a picture because the Mickey-shaped ice cream reminded him of my dual passions for Disneyland and dessert. So I probably shocked him with my response:
LEE WHERE IS THAT!!?!?!?
I’ve been looking ALL OVER FOR IT!
Is there any way you can get me one??!?
Lee found these at the Safeway in Waimalu Shopping Center. I never thought to call Waimalu Safeway, but I also hardly go there. The larger locations I called, Beretania and Kapahulu, were sold out. Maybe I just don't have the same magical timing as Lee.
Lee was so kind that he bought me not one, but two boxes of Mickey ice cream bars and dropped them off at my house that very night. He said there were only three boxes at the store. When I asked why didn’t he buy all three, he told me, ‘You always gotta leave one box for good karma.’
Here are some facts about the ice cream bars sold in Disneyland to compare them to these more accessible ones:
- Mickey-shaped Nestle ice cream bars in Disneyland are 4 ounces, while these Premium bars are 3 ounces. Which means the ones in Disneyland have more calories, but calories don't count at the Happiest Place on Earth. But calories do count once you're not on vacay. Which leads to my next point:
- Grocery store ice cream bars are made with skim milk instead of richer whole milk. Again, fewer calories per bar = less guilt about eating two of them for dessert. Sidenote: Disneyland never reveals how many calories are in each food item, because of course you're not thinking about this while indulging.
- You get the most for your money with these grocery store ice cream bars. You get six ice cream bars for $7.99 if you're a Safeway Club member, while one ice cream bar in Disneyland is about $6. Even if you're not a Safeway Club member and have to pay $10.39 for a box, it's still more affordable.
A: They're similar, but ...
These grocery store bars, while still yummy, taste lighter. They're slightly less creamy because of the skim milk. If you look closely at the box, you'll notice in small print: "1/2 the fat, 1/3 fewer calories than full fat ice cream."
Still, any Disneyland lover will appreciate these frozen treats, especially since summer is coming up soon. Just don't be surprised if you constantly see empty shelves in the freezer section during your hunt for these. Lee went back to Waimalu Safeway the next day, and someone (not me) had snagged that last box.