Casey’s Corner- Disney World
I’ve never considered myself much of a hot dog man, but I do try to enjoy a dog when I travel. It seems like, to me at least, that there are two types of hotdogs, the favorite hometown ones and the rare and mystical one you find on the road. I’ve been let down by my share of hot dogs, but at times, lifted up as if the various animals inside were showing me a touch of their heaven. One could be missing out on pure bliss until they were serenaded by a chorus of angelic moos and oinks.
My belated honeymoon to Disney World seemed like a good opportunity to recapture that meaty ascension. Every park has hot dogs, but I chose to focus on the Magic Kingdom. If you want the best meat, you have to get to the heart of the beast. There were two choices besides the plain dogs served in carts. The first choice was Tomorrow Land’s “Lunching Pad.” And although the Reuben and Taco dogs looked interesting, I couldn’t bring myself to eat there due to my deep aversion to any food that is linked to the space program. I have yet to know the iconic novelty of freeze-dried ice cream or the much talked about taste of Tang. The second choice was Casey’s Corner, a thematic shop that blended itself into the Willoughby charm of Main Street.
They offered a regular hot dog and 3 gourmet dogs for $8.09 each. We decided to skip the peasant dog and go straight for the kingly trio. These included a classic chili-cheese dog, a slaw and pulled pork dog, and Chicago style dog. Playing it safe, I started with the chili-cheese. The first thing I noticed was that, despite the massive amounts of chili, all I could really taste was the bun. It was massive, albeit soft and fresh. The second bite was a bit more rewarding in terms of varying flavor. The chili was very clean and distinct and the cheese blended in subtlety. My only real complaint about the sauce is that it tasted very clean, as if the batch had not had time to settle into all it’s flavor, but that’s a small complaint. Still, something else kept nagging at me.
Up next, slaw and pulled pork. This time I decided to box clever and start from the top. The creamy texture of the slaw worked well with the sweet BBQ flavor of the pork. It reminded me of all those warm summer picnics in the south that I’ve never experienced. unfortunately, my top down strategy backfired and I didn’t even make it past the toppings. I’m all for a generous amount of ingredients when it’s called for, but this was like trying to tunnel into Everest from the peak. I managed to reach wiener after 3 or so large bites. Again, something was nagging me.
The 3rd dog… ah, the classic Chicago. A personal favorite. The first thing I noticed was how crisp and fresh the toppings were. Perhaps lacking on the bite, but the clean quality was apparent. This is when I noticed the issue that had been tapping me in the back of the head throughout this expedition. After tunneling down through mountains of pork and slaw, chewing through massive amounts of bread, and dancing like a slender sprite through a field of fresh garden delights, I noticed that the hot dog itself was lacking. There was no satisfying snap as my teeth bit into the sausage, no surprise as my salivary glands began the digestive process. It wasn’t a horrible dog, a bit peppery and warm. It just wasn’t as stellar as the presentation had let on.
There were no winged cows or pigs, just a chorus of “mehs” that rang through my head. In the end, it wasn’t a bad experience, but the hype had melted the wax wings of those dogs and sent my heart plummeting back to terra firma. We gathered up what was left of the massive buns and fed the non-tradmarked ducks that waited in the grass behind us. And those were the hot dogs I ate.