Review: Lunch at Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons

Sunshine Seasons is a beloved quick service lunch spot, and with cheerful decor and tons of menu options — including some healthier for you choices — it’s easy to see why.

Plus, it’s located in the Land Pavilion in Epcot’s Future World at Walt Disney World — and every WDW fan knows that’s the spot to ride Soarin’ and Living with the Land. So, you know, you’ll be there anyway. Why not score some good eats?

And good eats they’ve got! We’ve long celebrated the dessert case here, where you can snag such sweet beauties as the Strawberry Shortcake and the Mickey Oreo Cheesecake (which is as adorable as it is yummy). And now the Rose Gold Minnie Ears Cupcake, of course!

The savory options here are awesome, too, with some of the food growing right in the Land’s greenhouses showing up on the menus. One of the things we appreciate most about Sunshine Seasons is that the menu offers a lot of non-standard quick service items. Spicy Fish Tacos and Mongolian Beef are crowd pleasers, and guests with various food preferences and needs will find plenty of options here, too.

Epcot's Sunshine Seasons

Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons

It’s time to let the sun shine in!

Atmosphere

Sunshine Seasons can’t be missed — literally. It’s the center of the Land Pavilion and features soarin’ ceilings, bright swaths of fabric, and massive floating globes (in the spirit of hot air balloons). You’ll look down onto the seating area as you make your way down to the lower level (where you find entrances to those rides we mentioned).

Sunshine Seasons from Above

Sunshine Seasons from Above

If you’re looking for Garden Grill and its super fun character meal, that’s on the top level across from the pavilion’s entrance (you’ll look straight over the open area below).

But everything else you’re looking for is on the lower level. When you arrive on the lower level, you’ll enter Sunshine Seasons’ ordering area and be greeted by a large menu board. This will give you an overview of the various food stations — including Sandwiches, Asian Noodles, Soup & Salad, and The Grill (and let’s not forget The Bakery!).

Sunshine Seasons Menus -- click for larger image

Sunshine Seasons Menus — click for larger image

Each ordering area also features an illuminated menu board above the station. And you can see the prepared food and on-going food prep here as well. Trays are located beneath each station so you don’t have to juggle your cupcakes and your rotisserie chicken.

Sunshine Seasons Asian Cuisine Station

Sunshine Seasons Asian Cuisine Station

There are also grab-and-go stations and designated Kid Zones where the littles can grab their sides and drinks.

Bottled Drinks

Bottled Drinks

Kids Meals Beverages and Sides

Kids Meals Beverages and Sides

Across from the food stations is a long beverage area. You’ll select your beverage before heading to the check out.

Beverage Area

Beverage Area

But, y’all, don’t miss the dessert cases. We insist. Some are grab-and-go and some are behind the glass. There are winners in both locations, so peruse and choose.

Grab and Go Desserts

Grab and Go Desserts

Desserts!

Desserts!

If you’re looking for the Rose Gold Minnie Ears Cupcake, this is where you’ll find it. (We all want to look at her again, so…)

Rose Gold Ears Cupcake

Rose Gold Ears Cupcake

When you’ve made your selections, head to the check-out, where you’ll find a few more grab-and-go options as well.

Check-out

Check-out

You’ll pass utensils, napkins, and condiments on the way to the seating areas, each of which has sort of an amoebic shape and a low wall encircling it. These seating areas are best seen in their entirety from above. They’re packed with tables and chairs (with some booths along the wall). This is fairly extensive, and it’s typically not too difficult to find a table.

(Here’s a bit of trivia: the different sections are themed to different seasons, so check the table design to see which section you’re sitting in!)

Sunshine Seasons at The Land pavilion in Epcot

Sunshine Seasons at The Land pavilion in Epcot

During busy meal times, Sunshine Seasons will be hoppin’. It’s a fun and cheerful place to eat — so let’s dig in!

Eats

On this visit I ordered a Reuben. This classic sandwich featured layers of Corned Beef, Swiss Cheese, Sauerkraut, and Russian Dressing. The fillings are grilled between great Crusty Bread.

Reuben Sandwich

Reuben Sandwich

This was so good. Satisfying and exactly what a Reuben should be. The cheese was melted, the corned beef deliciously salty, and the bread perfectly crisp. This is definitely a solid option for a diner who’s after classic eats. But note that this is pre-made, so unless you’re willing to wait a LONG time, you won’t be able to get one customized to your tastes.

Reuben

Reuben

Next up, I tried a guest favorite. The Slow-Roasted Pork was substantial. Covered in house-made BBQ sauce, it definitely made an impact on the plate.

Slow-Roasted Pork with BBQ Sauce

Slow-Roasted Pork with BBQ Sauce

The pork itself was delicious; tons of flavor. But that sauce? Holy vinegar, Batman! It was so strong, this was hard to get down. I don’t know if this was a bad batch or of this is the standard level of vinegar in the BBQ sauce, but it was way too much for my taste. It was all I could smell for about an hour after being there!

Slow-Roasted Pork with BBQ Sauce

Slow-Roasted Pork with BBQ Sauce

The sides for the Slow-Roasted Pork are sort of cafeteria-style: a big scoop of Mashed Potatoes (meh) and a piece of Corn on the Cob. But for a picky eater, these would be fine. But if you ARE a picky eater, or choosing a meal for such a person, get that BBQ sauce on the side.

Sides with Slow-Roasted Pork

Sides with Slow-Roasted Pork

So maybe we can’t say everything on the menu here is spectacular, but Sunshine Seasons is doing quick service just about as well as anywhere else in terms of selection and diversity of options. And we really appreciate that. Plus the desserts are not to be missed. I mean…

Flower Pot Cupcake

Flower Pot Cupcake

Nosh or Not?

Sunshine Seasons is for you if: 

  • You are looking for a quick service spot with tons of options.
  • You’re planning to spend some time in the Land Pavilion and want a convenient meal.
  • Desserts are an important part of your breakfast, lunch, and dinner plans.
  • You’re seeking vegetarian or healthier-for-you choices.

Get your sunshine somewhere else if: 

  • You want to enjoy some of Epcot’s fantastic table service options in World Showcase instead.
  • You don’t plan on spending much time in the Land Pavilion.
  • You prefer to eat somewhere with more standard theme park food.

Overall

Sunshine Seasons is a terrific place to grab a quick meal or a sweet treat during your Epcot visit. It’s super convenient if you’re already in the area, and the options are diverse and tasty (for the most part!). Plus, it’s really fun, bright, and relaxed — just as your vacation should be!

If you want to see why Sunshine Seasons is one of our favorite spots to grab Vegetarian or Vegan grub, check out our YouTube video!


Is Sunshine Seasons a must do for you? Let us know what you love in the comments below! 

Review: SO MANY Good (NEW!) Eats at The Plaza Restaurant in Walt Disney World

The Plaza Restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is a classic.

From its prime location at the Cinderella Castle end of Main Street, USA, to its elegant decor and moderately priced menu, The Plaza Restaurant is a truly great value. And the menu is family friendly (including those bottomless milkshakes!), so it’s easy to enjoy a meal with your whole crew.

But flashier dining options have relegated The Plaza to the realm of hidden gems.

And, honestly, we’re kind of okay with that. Because when Be Our Guest is booked solid, The Plaza is often a gettable alternative. And with a few new menu items, my most recent visit was a total home run.

Plaza Sign

Plaza Sign

[Read more…]

Fun Gifts For the Disney Grillmaster

These can be found at shops throughout Walt Disney World and are perfect for the grillmaster in your life!

First, a fun grill tools set — notice the hidden Mickey in the spatula?

Mickey Mouse Grillmaster Tools

And here are some great spices, seasonings, and sauces to sample! Oh Boy, That’s Good Dry Meat Rub; Oh Boy, That’s Good Chicken Dry Chicken Rub; and Sweet-As-Minnie Barbecue [Read more…]

DIY Disney: Disney Recipes for Your Summer Picnic

I’m thrilled to announce the first, official Disney Food Blog column — Chef BigFatPanda’s DIY Disney Recipes! Every month, our resident Chef BigFatPanda will put together his amazing step-by-step, photo-filled posts where he and Chef Mickey show you their adventures in the kitchen cooking up Disney goodies! Today, we launch the column with three great recipes that you can pack up and take on a Disney-inspired picnic (perfect for 4th of July!). Enjoy…

Hello! Chef BigFatPanda here! How are you? Don’t answer cause I can’t hear you, but I’ll assume you’re reading this with peachy vigor. I like that. Peachy Vigor! I’m going to use that from now on.

So, did you hear? I am so excited to get my own column here on the Disney Food Blog. No longer am I a guest, but a cast member (or whatever AJ wishes to call it). Thanks so much to everyone!

I wanted to do something a bit different for this post, so I chose some fairly simple yet overlooked Disney recipes that can truly be incorporated into a delicious summer meal. I am going to make the Barbecue Sauce from the Flame Tree Barbecue in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, grilled Asparagus just as they make it in Disney’s Grand Californian Resort’s Storyteller Café, and Coquina cookies, originally from the Cinnamon Bay Bakery at Disney World’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Add these Disney recipes to a rice, pasta, or potato side and you have a complete and colorful summer meal just in time for Summer Nightastic!

Flame Tree Barbecue Sauce

As usual, the recipe’s instructions will be bolded for easy reference should you wish to print this out and skip my banter.

Ingredients for Flame Tree Barbecue Sauce

You will need:
1 cup Ketchup
¼ cup Rice Wine Vinegar
¼ cup Water
¼ cup Packed Light Brown Sugar [Read more…]

Flame Tree Barbecue: Lunch With a View

Flame Tree Barbecue has long been a favorite counter-service location in the Animal Kingdom Theme Park for Disney World guests.

Flame Tree not only offers incredible value and an interesting atmosphere, it also has one of the best views in Disney World!

Atmosphere
Found in Animal Kingdom Theme Park’s Discovery Island section, right next to the entrance to Dinoland, you’ll find a long, flat, open-design building that usually has several lines of Disney guests sticking out of it and snaking back to the main thoroughfare.

Flame Tree Barbecue Queue Line

Jump into one of those lines and use the time to take in the interesting [Read more…]