by Beth Keating
March 13, 2023
Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was a middle school teacher. And if you’ve ever had the occasion to interact with middle schoolers, you know it’s not easy to capture their attention. “Pi Day” was one of those days in the school year that seemed to excite the class across the board.
“Pi Day” is March 14, or 3.14, based on the mathematical constant for π (it’s actually 3.141592, etc., because it goes on forever, or at least for trillions of digits.) π represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.
So, back to the middle schoolers – we celebrated Pi Day by having the kids bring in their favorite pies for a festive lunch. Most of them brought things like apple pies, chocolate pies, berry pies, you get the idea…. The teachers then had the kids make their own circular “pizza pies” with English muffins and pizza sauce. A good time was had by all.
If you find yourself at Disney World for Pi Day on Tuesday, there are a few interesting selections you can grab for your own Pi celebration. While pizza might be your obvious choice, there are lots of other possibilities along the way. (Please, don’t go for the nearly $12 individual doughy theme park pizzas at places like PizzeRizzo when there are so many better options!)
One of my personal favorites is in Animal Kingdom. Trek over to the Yak & Yeti Local Food Café in the Asia section of the park, and grab a cute little mini mango pie ($7.99). This delicious individual serving pie has a tangy filling, and a graham-cracker adjacent crust. Best served cold, they are a great afternoon treat, but I’ve been known to try one for breakfast, too. Hey, you are on vacation; it’s fine!
Hollywood Studios has a few specialty desserts that appear for holidays, and there are a few that will be disappearing soon from the 50th anniversary celebrations. But if you want a pie that’s a little more traditional, pay a visit to your cousins at 50s Prime Time Café for the Lemon Meringue Pie ($9), a tart lemon curd in a crisp pie shell, made all the better because it’s topped with a toasted meringue and raspberry sauce. Just be sure to keep your elbows off the table.
If you find yourself in EPCOT, head to Via Napoli in the Italy pavilion, where three massive wood burning ovens, each named after one of the active volcanoes in Italy, bake up perfect (and sometimes unique) Neapolitan pies. On a recent trip, we sampled the Quattro Formaggi Pizza (ranging from $25-$55 depending on size), and the Prosciutto e Melone Pizza, a delightful and unexpected white pizza with cantalope! (ranging from $26-$54 depending on size).
Disney Springs is a goldmine of “pie” entrees, or desserts, as the case may be. For a more non-traditional pie, the quick-serve Cookes of Dublin offers a delicious Chicken & Wild Mushroom Pie ($15.99), a combination of chicken, wild mushrooms and leek in a white wine cream sauce topped off with a flaky pastry.
Wolfgang Puck is perhaps the king of “pies,” having staked his reputation on his signature haute cuisine pizza over the years. His Disney Spring’s location, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, currently offers more than a half-dozen pies, ranging from a simple Margherita ($18) to the somewhat pricy but very delicious smoked salmon pie ($32). Can you say Spago?
Pizza Ponte is a quick-serve favorite of our family, as its pizza is closest to our New York style preferences. The Big Roman ($6.95) is a LARGE slice, more than sufficient for a nice lunch, but we’ve also enjoyed the Four Cheese slice ($7.95) and, of course, a traditional pepperoni slice ($7.25). They’ve all called us back to Disney Springs again and again, and you can’t go wrong with any of the pies from Pizza Ponte.
The home cooking at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ is always tasty and oh-so-filling, and with so many delicious things on his menu, you’d be forgiven for overlooking the chocolate pecan pie ($14), a 100-year-old Smith family recipe. You’ll be torn between this and the similarly priced hummingbird cake (always a winner), but it is Pi Day, so you’ll lean toward the nutty goodness. But, if you are really unable to make a choice, and have a friend with you, you can always opt for the Signature Sampler ($24), a higher ticket dessert that nonetheless will give you the hummingbird cake AND the chocolate pecan pie AND the carrot cake. Oh, and a scoop of ice cream, too. Roll yourself on out of the door when you are done.
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, also at Disney Springs, may be familiar to many Disney guests, because as a chain restaurant across the U.S., it’s a good possibility you have one in your hometown. With so many other yummy and unique choices on your vacation, Blaze may not be your best use of dining locations, since you can visit one once you get back to the home front, but if you need something speedy, they are a solid choice to design your own meal. If you aren’t in Disney, you can also take advantage of Blaze’s special $3.14 11-inch pies on Tuesday, as long as you sign up ahead of time for the Blaze rewards program. They’ll drop you a special coupon in their app for your discounted meal. (The coupon is good through March 31st, so maybe you can get a double Pi Day out of it.). Check the Blaze website for participating locations near you.
Blaze isn’t the only locale where you get to see your pie being made. Pay a visit to Trattoria Al Forno on the Boardwalk, where the open kitchen lets you watch the chefs hard at work as they prep your dinner. Choices range from the Pizze Margherita ($20), with its fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, to the Pizze Carni ($23), a three-meat pizza with an unexpected blend of Italian meats including prosciutto, capicola and sausage, with a bit of a bite from a smattering of pepperoncinis. We’ve never had a bad meal at Trattoria Al Forno, and while it may not be a pie, the Veal Osso Buco here ($35) has been a birthday dinner for a family member on several occasions.
We’ll finish off your journey through the Pi Day possibilities with a restaurant you probably haven’t been to – Ale & Compass at the Yacht Club. And, more importantly, we’ll recommend a dish that you might never have thought of including in the “pie” search: the $30 New England Seafood Pot Pie, made with shrimp, scallops, crab, and sustainable catch of the day, along with baby carrots, pearl onions, peas, potatoes, and crustacean cream, served up under a gloriously puffy crust. It’s only served during dinner hours from 5-9 p.m., however, so you have a very limited window of opportunity to sample this oceanic delight. May we suggest pairing it with the restaurant’s Parker House Rolls ($13), which in our family’s opinion, is one of the best reasons to visit Ale & Compass? They are served with bacon jam, pub cheese, and citrus butter, and are insanely good!
No matter which “pie” you choose for this year’s π day, we hope you enjoy exploring some of these great Disney dishes. Maybe you’ll discover a few that we haven’t tried yet.
Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.
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