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Guest Review: Sunshine Seasons in Epcot

Please welcome guest author Sarah Gurung as she explores Sunshine Seasons in Epcot’s Future World.

When touring the Disney parks, my family tends to gravitate to the same dining locations. But over the years, I’ve come to crave foods that are a little more unusual than the hamburgers and chicken fingers we have always enjoyed.

At Epcot, Sunshine Seasons offers fresh and unique dishes that appeal to a wide range of palates. For this reason, I all but insisted that we stop for lunch at Sunshine Seasons food court during our visit last month.

Atmosphere

Sunshine Seasons is a quick service dining location in The Land pavilion beneath a massive glass roof where sunshine streams through (and, as we found, thunderstorms roar through!).

Here you also find the Living With the Land, and Soarin’ attractions as well as Garden Grill restaurant. Many of the foods grown in the gardens featured in Living With the Land end up in Sunshine Seasons and Garden Grill dishes!

Sunshine Seasons

Sunshine Seasons is organized like a typical food court with different food stations specializing in a variety of foods, a beverage bar, and grab-and-go options.

The food stations include The Grill, Soup & Salad, Asian Noodles, Sandwiches, The Bakery, and Breakfast.

Menu Board

Beverage Area

Each food station features creative flavor combinations served (and often cooked) to order by friendly cast members. This means that, in many cases, you can personalize your dish, substituting sides or requesting changes to meet your dietary needs.

Soup and Salad Menu Board - click image for larger version

Sandwich Menu - click image for larger version

Menu Board for The Grill - click image for larger version

Menu for Asian Noodles - Click image for larger version

There are lots of dessert options, including a grab-and-go dessert case full of cookies, muffins, and other delicious sweets.

There is also a display case with plated desserts, showing strawberry shortcake, carrot cake cupcakes, chocolate cake, and key lime pie, among many others.

Grab and Go Desserts

Dessert Case with Cupcakes

After making their selections, diners proceed to check-out and continue through to the condiment and utensil bar.

Check-out

Seating in Sunshine Seasons is abundant, but given its popularity, it is often a busy and crowded place. Seating includes booths and tables of various sizes, but I find maneuvering between chair legs and tabletops can be difficult.

Seating Area

On this particular visit, I dined with my mom, my sister, and two girls under the age of three. Needless to say, we divided and conquered.

We left the girls with my mom while my sister and I gathered lunch. This is, I think, the best way to approach a busy food court, particularly with little ones.

Kids Pick Mac and Cheese

Eats

With so many options from which to choose, I had a hard time making a decision. In the past, I have tried the rotisserie chicken meal and several Asian dishes, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.

But this day, as I wanted to try a dessert I had heard many rave reviews for, I opted for lighter fare at the Soup and Salad Station.

Salad Station

The Roast Beets and Goat Cheese Salad with Honey Sherry Dressing is comprised of fresh mixed greens and soft, roasted red and yellow beets tossed with a mild dressing that has just a tiny kick of acid from the vinegar.

Three rounds of goat cheese are placed on the side of the salad.

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

The goat cheese slices appear to be coated in a few sesame seeds, which add a bit of texture to the otherwise creamy rounds.

Atop the salad is a very thin, crispy piece of bread that was, unfortunately, a little hard to eat.

Close-up of Goat Cheese Rounds

A composed bit of this salad offered a nice balance: fresh greens, sweet beet, vinegar dressing, creamy cheese, and cracker-like bread. The flavors complimented one another, and the textures gave it an interesting mouth-feel. The goat cheese, for me, was a little strong, so I tried to use small bits of it so I wouldn’t overpower the rest of the flavors.

But the moment I had been waiting for came after my light lunch: dessert. For months, I had been reading up on Sunshine Seasons’ desserts, and the one I decided was not-to-be-missed was the strawberry shortcake.

Growing up, this was always my favorite, so the decision was really a no-brainer. And I’m so glad I stuck with my choice. This strawberry shortcake is a sweet layering of light cake, sweet strawberries, and not-too-sweet dense whipped cream.

Strawberry Shortcake

The cake had the airiness of angel food cake but was thin and easy to manage with just a plastic fork. The strawberries were sweet and abundant, placed throughout each layer in large, juicy chunks. The whipped cream was a great discovery; it was subtly sweet and not at all greasy (as I often find some “light” frostings and creams to be).

A composed bite was very easy to create, and I am not ashamed to say that I tried to avoid sharing this dessert.

Close-up of Strawberry Shortcake

Overall

I love the vibe of Sunshine Seasons. Its busy-ness lends it a sense of celebration, and for me, it feels like a celebration of food.

The choices are diverse, but admittedly the chicken nugget and burger crowd might be disappointed. Still, with so many options, I believe there is something for everyone. Sunshine Seasons is a wonderful location for a fun and flavorful meal (or snack).

What are your must-have eats at Sunshine Seasons? Let us know in the comments below!

Sarah Gurung is an unemployed high school English teacher but a fully-employed stay-at-home mom to one incredible daughter. She has been a Disney World fanatic since her first family trip in 1992 and loves exploring the world of food at the World.

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27 Comments

  1. Sunshine Seasons has recently won my heart by adding an “Orange Vegan Chicken” Asian inspired dish to their menu, featuring Gardein vegan “chicken” pieces. Excellent addition and as a vegetarian it actually made me squeak out loud when I saw it on the menu – it was quite tasty!

  2. Pudge the Fish says:

    Sunshine Seasons is consistently great. In a park with such diverse dining options it manages to rise to the top of the counter service heap. Disney shows that it can certainly create incredible, flavorful meals here without the need of a deep fryer. It boggles my mind sometimes why they have such mediocre dining locations elsewhere; I’m talking about you Electric Umbrella, ABC Commissary and Restaurantasauros. And as this post demonstrates, their selection of desserts are amazing!

  3. Disney Fan says:

    I Love the Sunshine Seasons food court. Every year for the past 5 we make a point of stopping there for a quick service meal. There is always so many choices for everyone, kids included. And the dessert selection is EPIC !!!

  4. Betsy says:

    I love the smell of the entire Land Pavilion which I’m sure is a direct result of what’s going on in Sunshine Seasons.

  5. Amy says:

    I really hope we get a chance to stop by Sunshine Seasons next month–everything always looks and sounds delicious. A.J. had sold me on the carrot cake cupcake, but I’m seriously eyeing the pineapple coconut cupcake next to it. Decisions, decisions!

  6. Eric says:

    We love it. Always stop there for breakfast while we have an early morning soarin’ fastpass

  7. lisa fine says:

    I love Sunshine Seasons! I try to stop there on every trip to WDW, and I almost always order the Beet Salad with Goat Cheese. The flavor is great, and I like getting something healthy to balance out the overload of Dole Whips, sweet potato fries, and ice cream.

  8. Sherri Erwin says:

    Sunshine Seasons is always good, but it’s hard for me to choose it with all the amazing World Showcase places just a short walk away. If you’re stuck with burgers and chicken fingers at WDW (unless that’s what you consistently crave), you’re doing something wrong. There are great choices beyond burgers all over WDW.

  9. Mark D. says:

    I have never had anything but breakfast at Sunshine Seasons, but everytime I see that Strawberry Shortcake dessert I think I need to rectify that situation.

  10. Marc says:

    Loved the Nicosse-inspired salmon with the not-at-all bland salmon, potato wedges, green beans and olive tapenade! Now, if someone could convince a CM to turn the balloons at the top of the ceiling back on (to simulate their movement).

  11. Jenny says:

    My family have gone to Sunshine Seasons twice durring breakfast. We had only thought the food was just ok, nothing to write home about. Looking at what they have for lunch and dinner that may be a different story. So thank you for the review, I may try them one more time later in the day.
    :)

  12. YUM! That new tuna noodle dish looks awesome! I am a big fan of the Soarin’ brulee and fruit tart as well :)

  13. Randy says:

    Sunshine Seasons is a must on every trip to WDW. Just last week ate there twice and would have eaten more often but was partaking in Food and Wine so had to limit visits. The grilled pork chop and mashed potatoes are fantastic as is the chicken. The beet salad is my favorite. The Asain dishes are good also. Too many good choices which is rare at WDW counter services. Finished off with the carrot cake cupcake which was so much better than I was expecting. It was actually moist.

  14. marcellina says:

    I never get a chance to eat anything other than breakfast at Sunshine Seasons because we are usually there first thing in the morning to ride and get past passes for Soarin’…. after that I usually find myself in World Showcase when it is lunch or dinner time! I need to try some of these offerings though.. particuarly those salads. I’ve heard great things about the Beet and goat cheese salad but that seared tuna noodle salad looks delish to me!

    Oh, P.S. I tried the strawberry shortcake 3 weeks ago (thanks to AJ and this blog) and it’s everything you described it to be! Very light and not too sweet with those juicy strawberries! I loved it!

  15. Jon says:

    I was disappointed with my visit to Sunshine Seasons last week. Pork Chop no longer comes with veggies (green beans) and portion size was smaller. Rotisserie Chicken didn’t look as appetizing as it did before and was also smaller and doesn’t come with veggies either.

  16. Nikki says:

    The Key Lime tart is one of my favorite things on property to eat. I always eat here because of the huge dessert selection. This definitely isn’t one of those places where you have to settle for the packaged carrot or chocolate cakes found in so many QS locations.

  17. With all of the delicious food options in the World Showcase, my husband and I tend to overlook Sunshine Seasons as a dining location in Epcot, but it looks like we have been missing out! I remember going to Sunshine Seasons as a kid and it being a favorite for my family. My dad still talks about their yummy mac & cheese (I guess he was eating off of our plates)!

    I will definitely be stopping by on my next visit. Your photo of the strawberry shortcake pretty much sealed the deal for me. The spicy cashew chicken looks right up my alley too!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  18. A Newton says:

    Love Sunshine Seasons – hate the self-serve dessert case. Seen way too many people pick up cookies and stuff… and then turn around and put them back in the case! Stick with the dessert counter. ^^

  19. Jessica says:

    I know that EPCOT has so much to offer food-wise with World Showcase, but I simply can never pass up the chance to eat at Sunshine Seasons EVERY time I go… the choices, the quality, the DESSERTS… heaven. :-)

  20. Michael McKelvin says:

    I can honestly say that I’ve never had a good experience with Sunshine Seasons. The first time I eat there with my family and I got this Seared Tuna salad that was just kinda meh. And just this past September, we went there and I was disappointed again. I got the pork chop after hearing rave reviews, and it was one of the drier and tougher pork chops I’ve ever had. And my mash potatoes were cold and unpleasant. I thought the first time was my fault, ya know, maybe I picked the one bad thing on the menu. After that pork chop, I doubt it. Everyone raves about the selection, I just wish I could find one that was good.

  21. Courtney G says:

    ha ha I dont share my strawberry shortcake either.

  22. Essie says:

    I tried the ‘veggie flat bread’ sandwich in 2010 and was surprised to find it cold. I didn’t like it and couldn’t eat it. I asked them about it and they said it was supposed to be cold. I asked them if they had a microwave and if so, could they heat it for me. I thought that maybe I could eat it that way. They did and it was one of the most delicious sandwiches I had ever had. I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t know why I chose it, but after they heated it I thoroughly enjoyed it and was so glad that I had gotten it! They really do have a vast selection to choose from.

  23. Allie says:

    Unfortunately, the only experience I had with Sunshine Seasons (in December 2008) resulted in my dad and I getting food poisoning! We’ve learned to stick with either burgers or food from the World Showcase for lunch, and we save our Asian food cravings for sit-down restaurants. We might have to try that strawberry shortcake for a snack credit, though!

  24. Cindy says:

    I nevered seemed to be able to fit in Sunshine Seasons, as I was always there in the morning to ride Soarin’. Last year, though, I finally got my chance, and I loved it. I have been craving seared tuna noodle salad ever since having it there. It’s tough to squeeze in a counter service meal at Epcot with so many great choices in World Showcase, but I’m going to do my best to on my next vacation.

  25. Claire says:

    My husband is a vegetarian, so we specifically chose to have what we thought would be a nice supper at Seasons during a recent Epcot visit. He ordered the Grilled Vegetables Flatbread sandwich and was NOT pleased to bite into cold, soggy vegetables and equally cold, soggy bread. When he took it back to the counter and asked for it to be heated, the staff person said they had no way to heat it (not even the microwave option a previous reviewer was offered). No refund, either. We apparently were supposed to have known that grilled veggies on flatbread would be served cold out of a refrigerator. I’m not a picky eater, but I tried a bite and thought it was disgusting, so a $10 “supper” got tossed in the trash can. The next time we order a flatbread or a panini or a pizza anywhere at Disney, we’ll be sure to ask if they’re served cold as well BEFORE we order one! Food Service, you really messed up with this menu item — it’s just plain awful!

  26. Julie says:

    Some of the desserts look great. Can you get all the desserts to-go or just certain ones? I’d like to grab some as we’re leaving the park and save them for later. Thanks!

  27. Tom says:

    Thanks so much for the updates on Downtown Disney. I am looking forward to dining at the Boathouse I love seafood and i will rent one of those amphibi cars as soon as they become available.

    Disney has a lot of great restaurants we have dined at The Brown Derby and Sana at the AN
    IMAL Kingdom Lodge, it was my birthday, we had a great time and well worth the money.

    Please keep informed on the progress of Disney Springs especially the Boathouse. I am thrilled to hear that new restaurants are coming to Animal Kingdom Park it has needed more and better restaurants for a long time.

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