For the past few years, Gideon’s Bakehouse has held something of a cult status in Orlando. Many theme park visitors would make an hour plus pilgrimage to their location in the city’s East End Market just to sample their baked goods. Then the Polite Pig at Disney Springs began to occasionally offer up their famous cookies, and they would sell out quickly. Last year, Gideon’s finally opened its own location in Disney Springs. I was able to visit on a recent rainy evening to see what all the fuss is about.
Despite having opened nearly a year ago, the bakery remains very popular. During peak hours, there is a virtual queue that you join and you get a text when it’s your turn. However, on a recent drizzly Friday evening, the queue was not open so I joined a real – and long – line at the Gideon’s Bakehouse location just across from Raglan Road in the Landing section of Disney Springs.
When it was finally our turn to enter the shop, I was distracted by the gorgeous, creepy décor. If the Haunted Mansion and one of the shops in Diagon Alley had a child, this would be it.
Although this is not a Disney-owned restaurant, it has a backstory fit for any Disney attraction. During his search for the perfect cookie recipe, founder Steve Lewis purchased an antique cookbook from 1898. There were faded notes and drawings in the book and the name Gideon in childlike handwriting. Lewis decided to name his bakery after the book’s original owner and he filled his shelves with Victorian curiosities in Gideon’s honor.
Tip: The earlier in the day you go, the more choice you’ll have. Many items are first come, first serve.
I’ll admit it – I hadn’t done a ton of research before coming here, and it’s tough to know the specific baked goods that will be available when it’s your turn to order.
The main draw here are the HUGE cookies. Made from scratch each day and weighing in at almost half a pound each, they are a bit pricey at $6 (although considering how much we spent on food in the parks, this doesn’t really sound outrageous to me). But I defy anyone to eat an entire one of these at one go.
We ordered an Original Chocolate Chip cookie, which is the cookie that all others are based on. The recipe reportedly took 15 years to perfect, and has been called the Best Cookie in Orlando and even the best on the planet. It’s packed inside and out with chocolate and chocolate chips, and the interior has a cookie dough-like consistency.
Peanut Butter Crunch was another purchase, and this one has a dough full of peanut butter as well as peanut butter chips and peanuts.
Tip: Gideon’s doesn’t ship its cookies, so the only places you can get them are at Disney Springs and Orlando’s East End Market.
We also bought a Pistachio Toffee Chocolate Chip cookie, which features toffee pieces, chocolate chips, and lightly salted pistachios. Because of the salty/sweet contrast, this was my favorite of the cookies.
There are monthly limited edition cookies and a Coffee Cake Cookie that is exclusive to Disney Springs. This often sells out in the morning.
I brought these cookies back to our room and our family ate them over the course of a few days.
There are also giant slices of True Red Velvet Cake ($9) and a rotating Daily Chocolate Cake and Double Frosted Cake. These could easily be shared between two (or more!) people.
Gideon’s is also famous for its cold brew coffees ($6) with flavors like Original Peanut Butter, Classic White, and Ginger Snap. While they sounded intriguing, the cookies are pretty rich and sweet as is, and I really would have preferred a regular old cup ‘o Joe, which doesn’t seem to be available.
Tip: There’s a 6 cookie per person limit in the store, and some of the seasonal baked goods are limited even further.
If you follow Gideon’s on Instagram, there are sometimes “secret menu” cookie and cake flavors. The day we were there a special Chocolate Coffee Cake Cookie was available, but could only be ordered after the sun had officially set. I tried to order it, but was a few minutes too early, so I missed out.
This is a fun and spooky destination. While I don’t know that I could eat one of these cookies every day, I would certainly want to visit again and try whatever limited edition flavors are offered. I would also love to have the opportunity to take a closer look at the inside of the shop when (if!) it’s not crowded.
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