In the first week of February 2013, we did the Chocolate Kingdom Factory Adventure Tour of the newly opened Chocolate Kingdom. Chocolate Kingdom is located just next to Fun Spot USA (and Old Town) in Kissimmee,don't expect a big factory somewhere in an industrial zone. Don't expect large machines over here like in large factories. You enter in the store itself, where you can buy all kinds of chocolate, all made on premise. In the back of the store is a small greenhouse, with a few cocao trees, which will take some years to grow. Might be needed to make a hole in the ceiling in the future, as the trees can grow up to 26 feet tall!
Next to the green house is the entrance to the Factory Tour. The tour starts with a video of the 21st birthday of Princess Chocolina. In short: all princes from around have made a chocolate present for her, to win her heart. Prince George the Good has made a pair of chocolate shoes, but his dragon friend sneezes and melts the shoes by accident. Then follows a short documentary about the process of creating chocolate, followed by our prince and dragon again, when they find out they can go to the Chocolate Kingdom to create new chocolate shoes just in time for the birthday and you can assist them.
Next, the tour really starts and the tour guide explains where cacao really comes from and what it looks like. You'll get to taste a roasted (and sugared) cacao bean (these can be bought in the store). Some like it, some don't. It has a kind of bitter taste. Later on, they explain how the Aztec made a drink out of it, called 'Chocolatl'. Of course you can taste this as well, though it is not the exact original flavor, it should have come close to it (chocolate with a little chili added). Next, you will come across a real chocolate castle and a chocolate river and help the dragon to ease his sneezing. Near the end of the tour, all kinds of different machinery needed to create the chocolate as we know it, are explained, finalizing it with tasting three pieces of chocolate; dark, milk and white. These all taste great!
After the tour ends, you are able to create you custom chocolate bar. Not by yourself, but by the Royal Artisans. Maybe that's better too, I don't wanna know what would happen if you see other people play around with chocolate and all the mix-ins you can choose from. It would be one big mess. The chocolate bar costs $5, and that's cheap, because it's a large bar and made out of the finest chocolate. Taking the tour is mandatory for creating the custom bar.
The tour is set up for children and adults, but as we are in Orlando in the Disney area, it's probably more geared towards children. But don't let this fool you, even adults can learn a lot on this tour! It's a lot of work from bean to bar. Even if you don't want to take the tour, go to the shop and spend those dollars on the delicious chocolates they sell at Chocolate Kingdom!
Next time we visit Kissimmee again, I will definitely go and buy chocolates over here. I was afraid I wouldn't like this chocolate as I am a European chocoholic (we have better chocolate!), but fortunately it tastes the same and thus tasting better than for instance Hershey's.
For more information and tickets, visit the Chocolate Kingdom website.