Sunshine Seasons at Epcot (as of 10/2019) – This menu covers the top 8 common allergens (gluten/wheat, milk/dairy, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish). Check with the restaurant for modifications and/or other special dietary needs.
*This gluten free dining experience took place in May 2019. It includes notes about dairy free modifications.
Dinner at Sunshine Seasons
Sunshine Seasons, located in Epcot, is a food court style quick service restaurant in the Land Pavilion in Future World. If you’re looking for quick service options that aren’t burgers and fries, Sunshine Seasons might be a great option for you. It’s been ages since I’ve dined at this restaurant. And, we recently decided to get dinner there on a whim while in the park getting photos from the 2019 Gluten Free & Dairy Free Guide to WDW.
*This dining experience took place in April 2015.
Sunshine Seasons located at the Land Pavilion in Epcot’s Future World continues to be one of my favorite quick service restaurants on Disney property. In addition to getting a chance to consult with the culinary team instead of a manager, this quick service dining location is also known for being fairly flexible at customizing dishes during lunch and dinner. For several years now, their grill station has also been entirely gluten free and usually only has one item that contains dairy (the mashed potatoes). So you can imagine what a great go-to quick service this is in Epcot.
Over the years, I’ve rotated ordering the rotisserie chicken, slow-roasted pork and grilled fish (which used to be mahi mahi). And on this particular occasion, I decided to go with the grilled salmon which I had not had on their menu before. When ordering, the chef confirmed with me that everything was gluten free and dairy free, with the exception of the mashed potatoes which contained dairy. Even the sauces that accompany the dishes are gluten free and dairy free. That’s win-win!
The grilled salmon typically comes with roasted potatoes, green beans with garlic, and a tomato chutney. I decided to skip the chutney on this visit, primarily because I haven’t loved the sauces that Sunshine Seasons makes over the years. I found that the simple grilled fish, potatoes, and green beans were still flavorful.
The grilled salmon was nicely cooked (a little overcooked, but I did expect that a bit) and the roasted potatoes were delicious. I enjoyed the green beans a lot, as they were full of garlic. If you are not a garlic fan, you might want to ask for another side with your entree. The cast members at Sunshine Seasons are always willing to swap sides too!
Though I didn’t get dessert, I loved that directly next to the grill station is a special diets grab and go section with lots of sweet treats, including Enjoy Life Foods Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies. They have quite a few gluten free and dairy free options (and many free of other allergens, as well).
In addition to the grill station, there are also other gluten free (and dairy free) options at the other stations. You can read about the soup & salad options and the Asian noodle station options on Gluten Free in Orlando’s website.
Overall, I love being able to stop at Sunshine Seasons. They serve quick service meals that aren’t just burgers and fries, and I love having that option when I’m in Epcot.
Have you been to Sunshine Seasons? What did you order when you dined there?
*This dining experience took place in April 2013.
|Sunshine Seasons offers a variety of foods|
Sunshine Seasons is located in the Land pavilion at Epcot. As the quick service location here, it offers a tremendous variety of fresh and seasonal foods that will appeal to most folks. It is also known as being particularly friendly for special diets. If you are gluten free & dairy free, the grill station offers the most comprehensive variety of choices. I’ll be honest, I don’t try to venture into the other areas on the menu, so for me, the grill station is where it’s at. I have heard reviews from other guests who have enjoyed the tuna (modified to be served without the noodles) and salads.
The grill station often rotates it’s choices–but it’s usually some type of chicken, some type of pork and then some type of fish. If you’ve seen some of my older reviews, I have liked some of the dishes and some I’ve been thrilled when they rotated off (ughh that succotash was so gross). I had been really loving the seasonal fish with green beans and potatoes and was hoping to get it this trip–only to find they’ve modified it some.
|New changes on the menu|
The fish has changed from mahi mahi to salmon and the pork is now more bbq inspired. The chicken has some new topping. When I spoke to the chef, he said everything at the station at this time is gluten free (including the sauces) which is great. Two of the sides were not dairy free–the mashed potatoes I knew and expected, but now the green beans have butter in them. Bummer!
I ended up getting the slow roasted pork with the bbq sauce on the side (which turned out to be a good thing) and roasted potatoes instead of the mashed potatoes.
|Slow roasted pork (that wasn’t quite so tender)|
I wish this dish would have had a veggie component; it felt like it was missing something. The roasted potatoes were nicely cooked, I believe they were yukon golds, which I love. They have great depth of flavor. The pork chop was a nice thick portion; however, it was grossly overcooked. Like almost shoe leather consistency. I’ve had the pork chop in the past, and it has been fine, but this was pretty bad. I did make it through the pork chop (thankfully with all my teeth intact!) but I would hesitate to get it again. It just seemed like it got way too overcooked and sat too long. The bbq sauce that came with it was not my favorite. It was very vinegary. I personally like a more ketchupy bbq sauce (if that makes any sense), so this was not for me. Good thing I got it on the side.
In general, Sunshine Seasons is a great choice for quick service meals at Epcot. It’s Disney owned so they do a nice job with handling everything. I just didn’t like the seasonal changes or the overcooked meat on the dish I got. I’ll still go back–and probably try the fish again.
On a side note, this location has a nice little special diets section, although they moved it close to the grill section away from the other areas, so it’s a little hidden. I also think they scaled back on the variety of items they had.
|Grill station and the special diets items–you can see how far off the beaten path they are|
I would encourage you to visit Sunshine Seasons for something more than just burgers and fries. They offer a decent meal that is seasonal and delicious. A solid 8 out of 10 for me in general; this experience was more like a 6 out 10 because of the tough pork chop.
Have you been to Sunshine Seasons before? What do you recommend?
*These dining experiences took place in July and August 2012.
I mentioned in Podcast Episode 004 that one of my favorite places at Walt Disney World for gluten free and dairy free snacks is Sunshine Seasons in the Land Pavilion at Epcot. This review shows you a variety of items that I have found at this quick service location that are allergy friendly. What I find the most appealing at Sunshine Seasons is it’s ability to provide a lot of individually packaged and quick to-go allergy friendly options. They have, in my opinion, the largest selection of such products and they even have gluten free beer! Here’s a run-down of some of the products that might good for food allergies.
First up are the Enjoy Life products. I love this company because they provide really tasty products that are very inclusive of food allergies as they are free of the top 8 common allergens. How awesome is that? Recently, I’ve noticed that Sunshine Seasons (and many other locations on property) have begun to include more variety of Enjoy Life products. Here are some that I found:
|Variety of Enjoy Life Products|
|Only a few lonely boxes of cookies on this shelf–they get scooped up fast!|
|Chocolate chip cookies in individual packages and individual candy bars|
As you can see, you can purchase full-size boxes of Enjoy Life products. From Lemon, apple, chocolate brownie and chocolate chip cookies, there are definitely a variety of flavors that you can purchase. My personal favorite are the chocolate chip cookies and the chocolate brownie cookies, but then I’m a sucker for chocolate!
You can also see that they offer individually sized chocolate chip cookies and rice milk chocolate candy bars. The chocolate candy bars are awesome and on the last trip, I enjoyed one while taking a break from the hot weather.
|Crunchy chocolate chip cookies! Yum!|
|Ricemilk crunch candy bars…|
|My snack one afternoon…before I scarfed it down!|
|Surf Sweets Candies|
Another company that provides allergy friendly snacks on property is Surf Sweets. They are great because their products are allergy friendly, peanut free, and gluten free. These really hit the spot when you are looking for something that’s sweet, but not chocolate.
Another product you’ll find is Rocky Mountain Popcorn Company. This is a great one if you like that salty sweet combination in a snack. Their products are gluten free and nut free. They do make dairy free flavors (and the caramel corn is one of them), but it is processed in the same facility as products with dairy, so possible cross contamination could occur.
|Nestle Triple Blast Ice Pop|
If you’re looking for something cool, you can always check out the Nestle Triple Blast Ice Pop. This is one I like to get when it’s really hot outside!
This quick service location also has fruit and applesauce as other great options for snacks. I didn’t take a photograph, but they also have Redbridge Gluten Free beer.
Overall, Sunshine Seasons has a terrific amount of allergy friendly offerings. This is just a few of the items you can get if you are looking for a snack while in Epcot. My hope is that in the future other quick service locations will follow suit and add more allergy friendly products. I did check out the new food court at Art of Animation and I found that they offered a fair amount of products, but still not quite as good as Sunshine Seasons. A definite 8 out of 10!
|Oak Grilled Fish with Seasonal Vegetables|
Sunshine Seasons offers a lot of great choices for food allergies. I really enjoy the grill section, where I’ve had some really great chicken. Sometimes it is a little bit of a miss, depending on the seasonality and choices. I wasn’t a huge fan of the previous menu (see the review here), but I’m liking the new one a lot. One of my new favorite options is the Oak Grilled Fish with Seasonal Vegetables. So far, I’ve had it twice and the veggies include green beans and tomatoes with roasted potatoes. Yum! The fish, I believe was Mahi Mahi the last time I was there. What I like most about this option is that it is very light, yet filling. It offers a tasty alternative to burgers and fries. It typically comes with a black olive tapenade, but they weren’t sure if it was safe or not, so I passed on it.
The pork and chicken have some new options too, so be on the look-out for more reviews with those!
And check out the new Enjoy Life! products that I found in May 2012 at Sunshine Seasons…
|Enjoy Life! products|
|More options from Enjoy Life!|
**These dining experiences took place in November 2011 and May 2012.