The Top-Secret Disney Food Lab You Never Knew Existed

Foodies, rejoice! We just found the yummiest place on earth.

Chemical Laboratory of the Food supply . Food in laboratory, dna modify .Toning imageAlex_Traksel/Shutterstock

You might think that the characters at Disney have the “Coolest Job on Earth”—like this real-life Disney princess—but the chefs at the secret Flavor Lab in Walt Disney World get the title for the “Yummiest Job on Earth.” The Flavor Lab is the culinary hub for every single Disney park and resort in the world. Every savory bite you take and delicious drink you slurp is created and taste-tested by chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists from across the globe in this exclusive test kitchen. Think of it as a sanctuary for foodies everywhere!

The 7,000 square-foot culinary emporium hides behind a gate in an undisclosed back lot near one of the Disney World resorts. Aside from the Disney culinary masterminds themselves, only a select few Disney cast members are allowed to enter through the Lab’s tinted glass doors. Anyone else who is lucky enough to take a sneak peek needs to be escorted to the nondescript location. The Lab’s strict closed-door policy remains in place to keep their recipes from leaking to the public, but we’ll let you in on these 23 secrets from Disney employees.

The large, pristine show kitchen and bar area complete with stainless steel appliances, flat screen TVs, and stage lights looks just like a set straight out of Iron Chef. But the kitchen set isn’t made for television; it’s for demonstration videos to teach other chefs and operators in different parks throughout the world new recipes and techniques including these new and delicious foods at Disney World you’ve got to try at least once.

It takes the Flavor Lab geniuses anywhere from a month to three years, if not more, to dream and develop delectable food items for a new restaurant or park opening. In fact, most dishes go through at least 12 to 20 revisions each before they are perfected. For instance, the french fries at the D-Luxe Burger joint in Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney, took two years for the Flavor Lab to master. And it took the Lab 18 months to convert the Captain’s Grille into the Ale & Compass at the Disney World Yacht Club Resort. But all of the taste testing and experimenting is worth it to ensure that every meal has your taste buds singing zip-a-dee-doo-dah! If you’re on the hunt for more hidden gems, here are 8 other secret spots you never knew existed in Disney parks.

Ashley Lewis
Ashley is an Assistant Editor at Reader’s Digest. She received her Master’s Degree from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in 2015. Before joining Reader’s Digest, she was a Jason Sheftell Fellow at the New York Daily News and interned at Seventeen and FOX News. When Ashley is not diligently fact-checking the magazine or writing for rd.com, she enjoys cooking (butternut squash pizza is her signature dish), binge-watching teen rom-coms on Netflix that she’s way too old for, and hiking (and falling down) mountains.