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Sunshine Seasons – The Healthier Side Of Things – Breakfast Edition

Sunshine Seasons – The Healthier Side Of Things – Breakfast Edition

Is it always sunny at Sunshine Seasons? Well, this isn’t Philadelphia, but it is Disney World and the sun is usually shining. What’s the most important meal of the day? All of them, but at Disney World breakfast is top, we’ve got to fuel up for all the fun ahead. With all the great food options spread around the parks and resorts like ‘Ohana, at some point during our trip we’re just looking for a solid health breakfast option, cue Sunshine Seasons! Let’s kick off our day at Epcot with a little breakfast at one of our favorite quick serve locations!

Sunshine Seasons is location within the Land pavilion at Epcot
Inside the Land

Location  

Tucked away in the Land pavilion at Epcot is one of the lesser known quick serve locations – Sunshine Seasons. In a pavilion known for famed attractions like Soarin’ and Living with the Land, it’s easy to miss the quick-serve location in all the excitement. With ample seating, the location is a great place to enjoy a meal while beating the heat or waiting out one of Florida’s flash rain storms.

Passholder Insights: A great rope drop move is to hit up Soarn’ and Living with the Land, followed by breakfast afterward.

Egg White Breakfast Souffle
Breakfast Souffle

Order Up – Main Course 

Breakfast at Sunshine Seasons is served at the Asian Noodle Shop booth. To make it simple, it’s the counter in the center of the restaurant. The menu is simple but offers just the right amount of options to meet everyone in your group’s craving or go to breakfast food. On this day in particular, we were feeling more like the healthier options and sprung for the Breakfast Souffle made with egg whites. Filled with broccoli and swiss cheese, the souffle is served with a cup of fruit and a whole wheat croissant.

Where to start? Let’s kick it off with the headliner – the souffle. First and foremost, kudos to the team at Sunshine Seasons for offering a souffle quick serve style, by no means is this an easy task. Taking this into account the broccoli souffle was overall a solid choice. The eggs were not overcooked and there was definitely the “fluffy” feel you’re looking for. For us, there was just enough broccoli to provide some texture to the dish and make us feel like we were enjoying a healthier meal. If we could change one thing it would be a little more swiss cheese because let’s be honest, can you ever have too much?!

Passholder Insights: Depending on what Epcot Fastpass Strategy you’re using, Sunshine Season is a great place to enjoy a meal while waiting for your Soarin’ Fastpass.

The Sides 

In the warm Florida heat, there is nothing we enjoy more than chilled fruit. Well maybe ice cream from Beaches & Cream, but we’re trying to be healthy right now. The fruit salad served with the Breakfast Souffle was exactly what you would expect, delicious fresh fruit. Where the sides get interesting has to the whole wheat croissant. If you’re French you may want to skip ahead, as we’re sure the words whole wheat and croissants are not meant to go together. However, it works! It works pretty well. If you’re looking for a healthier croissant option, then this is it. The whole grain adds a little more texture to a pastry that is usually more melt in your mouth. 

Passholder Insights: If you’re looking for the real deal croissant check out the Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie in the

France pavilion.

New Breakfast Power Wrap at Sunshine Seasons
Breakfast Power Wrap

More Options 

Beyond the Breakfast Souffle, Sunshine Seasons is serving up a few healthier options with the Breakfast Power Wrap featuring wild rice, sweet potatoes, avocados, blueberries, and tofu, and the Vanilla and Flax Overnight Oats. For more traditional breakfast, we’d recommend the breakfast platter which includes eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, and a decadent looking cinnamon french toast bread pudding. We’ll pause for a minute to let you think about that one…it sounds that good.

For those grab and go moments where you’re looking to eat while racing to your Test Track Fastpass check out the breakfast croissant. The handheld sandwich is made to order giving you a fresh yet portable option.

Passholder Insights: Still thinking about the Cinnamon French Toast Bread Pudding? We are too. Good news, Sunshine Season is serving it as a standalone item as well, along with bacon. Sweet and salty, is there a better combination?

Our Thoughts 

Sunshine Seasons is a respectable quick serve option while at Epcot. It will never be the must-try quick serve at Walt Disney World like Satu’li Canteen or Woody’s Lunchbox but if you need a bite and you’re looking for something a little more healthy and fresh, it’s just what you’re looking for. We’ve got to run, it’s time to soar around the world!

Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort – It’s Italian for Mickey!

Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort – It’s Italian for Mickey!

Get’em while they’re hot! What’s hot? Reservations for the new rooftop restaurant coming to Disney’s Riviera Resort, Topolino’s Terrace. We’re closing in on the grand opening of a brand new Disney resort, and with new resorts comes new dining experiences. You can’t see us, but we’re doing our happy dance! In the DVC Duo house, nothing gets us excited like hearing of new restaurants coming to Walt Disney World. We’ve got the menu, let’s start perusing what the chefs are cooking up at Topolino’s Terrace!

Concept Art for the Disney Riviera Resort with Topolino's Terrace on top
Topolino’s Terrace will be atop the Riviera Resort

The Backdrop  

Walt Disney World is the backdrop for this new dining experience. With grand views of Hollywood Studios and Epcot, Topolino’s Terrace will be serving up food inspired by the flavors of the European Riviera. Serving both breakfast and dinner, you’ll have the choice of dining with a few of your favorite Disney pals in the morning or enjoying an elegant dinner in the evening. Joining both the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and the Toledo at Disney’s Coronado Resort, Topolino’s Terrace will be the third option at Walt Disney World for rooftop dining. 

Passholder Insights: Based on the restaurant’s location at nighttime you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the new Epcot Forever show. 

Concept Art for the outdoor seating area at Topolino's Terrace
Topolino’s Terrace Outdoor Seating

Breakfast Is Served 

Join Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy for a breakfast with a view. Topolino’s Terrace will offer a Storybook Character Dining experience at breakfast time. Reviewing the menu this won’t be your ordinary eggs and waffles type of meal. The chefs at Topolino’s Terrace are bringing the breakfast basics to a new level. From a Sour Cream Waffle with roasted apples and orange-maple syrup to the Quiche Gruyere with house-made Pancetta, the breakfast menu is a showcase of elevated classics.

As apart of the meal, you’ll receive a variety of pastries to wet your appetite. Rumor has it, the Epi Bread is where it’s at. If it’s anything like the pull apart bread from Sebastian’s Bistro we’re in for a treat!

Along with the traditional breakfast drinks, Topolino’s Terrace will offer a couple of different French press options, as well as variations of the classic breakfast cocktails. If you’re looking to go full on European Riviera check out the Bellini.

Passholder Insights: Similar to other character meals, breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace will be one table credit if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan. Dinner will be Signature Dining and two credits on the Disney Dining Plan. 

Topolino's Terrace bouillabaisse
Bouillabaisse at Topolino’s Terrace

Dinner Time  

It’s all about the base as Meghan Trainor would say. The base for the Topolino’s Terrace dinner menu is Italian. Topolino is Italian for Mickey after all. What makes an Italian menu stand apart from the rest are all the different courses. You’ll be able to order up to 5 different courses depending on how hungry you are.

Reviewing the menu a couple of items that standout have to be the Burrata con Panna, you can never go wrong with cheese in the DVC Duo house. Putting a smile on Serena’s face is Escargot en Coquille starter and Bouillabaisse main dish. Nate’s eyeing the Winter Pumpkin Ravioli to start and following it up with AAA Filet, you had him truffled mashed potatoes!

No meal is complete without dessert. From the pictures alone the Fruits of the Forest looks like it could be the must try. The pastry chef is pairing black currant mousse with blueberry sorbet and serving atop a hibiscus cake. Finishing off the dish are a few macerated berries. Sounds like a winner to us!  

All the meats at Topolino’s Terrace are cooked on an oak-fired grill. You can find the full menu here.

Topolino's Terrace Fruits of the Forest dessert
Fruits of the Forest

But Wait, There’s More!  

If the meal didn’t get you hooked, then maybe the drink menu will. Pulling from the European Riviera influence the bartenders are shaking up some unique twists on classic cocktails, from a Euro-inspired manhattan to the midi spritz, and even their version of a champagne cocktail called a Frizzante Anise Brezza.

Everything about the drink menu speaks to the European influence and the wine and beer menu is no different. The majority of the offerings come from either France or Italy, a couple of countries that know a thing or two about wine. Similar to Jiko’s extensive African wine list, Topolino’s Terrace is all about matching the drinks with the restaurant theming. 

Passholder Insights: Arrive in style, by the time Topolino’s Terrace opens on December 16, 2019, the new Disney Skyliner will be providing service to the Disney Riviera Resort. 

Our Thoughts 

You know us, we’re always up for new restaurants to try at Walt Disney World. From what we can tell Topolino’s Terrace looks like it will be a solid addition to both the Character Dining and Signature Dining options. What we’re most excited about is the oak fire grill. Anytime food is cooked over an open flame we’re happy. Well, they’re calling our name, let’s eat!

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge – Dining in the Golden Age

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge – Dining in the Golden Age

Hooray for Hollywood! Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge that is. Like a fine wine, the Hollywood Brown Derby gets better with age. An opening day dining location back when Hollywood Studios was called MGM studios, the restaurant is a classic nod to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Fast forward to today and the restaurant has expanded beyond its original footprint to include an outdoor patio lounge. Let’s take a break from setting records on Toy Story Mania to enjoy the classic stylings and cocktails, of the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge!

The Disney Hollywood Brown Derby was model off this original in California
The Original Hollywood Brown Derby

Taking A Step Back

We’re not going back to the future, we’re just going back in time. Quick, to the time rover! Before 1989 there was only one Hollywood Brown Derby and that was in, you guessed it – Hollywood. When Walt Disney World opened its replica of the famed restaurant, or as Nate calls it, the Cobb salad mecca, it brought a piece of history to the east coast. As of today, it is the last Hollywood Brown Derby, as the original has closed up shop.

Home to the Cobb salad, that’s right the Cobb salad was created at the Hollywood Brown Derby, let’s all say thank you, the restaurant takes guests back in time. In October of 2013, Disney World expanded the restaurant to include the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, which in all accounts is more of an outdoor patio than lounge in its truest sense.

Passholder Insights: The lounge is first come first serve, as they do not have advanced dining reservations.

The patio of the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge
Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge Patio

People Watching Galore  

There is only one thing that Serena likes more than a good meal, and that’s people watching. The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge is perfectly situated for people watching, as it overlooks one of the main thoroughfares at Hollywood Studios. The lounge is a narrow patio with high top tables and umbrellas to shield you from that blazing Florida sun.

Passholder Insights: For the Star Wars fans out there, the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge is a good place to enjoy a drink and catch the March of the First order and Star Wars stage show.

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge Margarita Flight
Margarita Flight

Classic Place, Classic Drinks  

Every Disney Lounge is known for something, whether it’s the tropical drinks of Tambu Lounge or the African wines at Nomad Lounge. The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge is no different. Here, they celebrate flights – no, we’re not talking about flights of wine or beer or even Flight of Passage, we’re talking about margarita flights and martini flights. They know us too well, Nate will take the margarita flight and Serena will have the martini flight. We’ll be Soarin’ before you know it! Both are solid choices, it all depends on what you prefer.

Beyond the flights, the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge is serving up their take on the classics. From the sidecar to the gin mule, and even the rarely seen Tom Collins, it’s a classic place for those of us who enjoy classic cocktails. If you’re looking for a drink for the road, the bar at the end of the lounge is your place to go.

If wine or beer are more your go to’s, the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge has a solid selection of both.

Passholder Insights: If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan you’ll want to dine in the restaurant, as the lounge is not part of the plan. The restaurant is considered Signature Dining.

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge Cobb Salad
The Cobb Salad

It’s About The Salad

Words that we never thought we would say, but it’s true! The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge and restaurant are known for the Cobb salad. Whether you’re a Cobb salad super fan or looking to try one for the first time, this is the place to go. It’s like eating a hamburger at Louis Lunch in New Haven, CT (it’s where the hamburger was arguably created). What’s great about the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge is they offer a smaller version of the salad, compared to the restaurant menu. Even though it’s smaller it still tastes just as good. From the tangy blue cheese to the salty crispy bacon bits, cut with a nice acidic vinaigrette, it’s a masterpiece of salad creations.

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge Derby Sliders
Derby Sliders

Beyond Salad  

The small plate menu at the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge has something for everyone in your group. Our favorite has to be the Derby Sliders. The plate comes with two sliders. The first is the Wagyu beef with bacon, gouda, and homemade mustard, yes, just yes! The second is duck confit with avocado, taleggio cheese, chipotle-vegetable slaw, sweet onion-orange conserve, and crispy leeks. The duck steals the spotlight on this one, it’s tender and melts in your mouth. The tang from the sweet-onion orange conserve perfectly balances out the gameness of the duck.

Wrapping up the menu are the desserts. Like the cobb salad, the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge has a famous dessert as well, the grapefruit cake. If you like grapefruit the cake is a must try, as the sweetness from cake pairs well with the tartness of the grapefruit.

Passholder Insights: You can ask your server for two of the same sliders if you would prefer one over another.

Our Thoughts

From where we sit, on the patio of the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, the lounge is the best food in Hollywood Studios. Add in the atmosphere and perfectly crafted classic cocktails and it’s a home run. If you’re someone who enjoys classics dishes and classic drinks, this your place. Well, our flights are here, cheers!

Be Our Guest At The Magic Kingdom – Lunch Edition

Be Our Guest At The Magic Kingdom – Lunch Edition

Be… our… guest…, be our guest, well you know the rest and good luck getting that out of your head! It’s time for the Be Our Guest lunch edition! We have long touted this quick serve as a gem in the Magic Kingdom. You can find our breakfast review here but today, we’re talking about the meal that keeps us going through those long Disney days! One of our strategies to hitting up this ultra-popular restaurant is planning for the “between times” which means that you may find yourself with either a late breakfast or early lunch reservation – embrace whatever magic floats your way! If you do happen to get a lunch reservation, today we’ve got you covered!

Ballroom Dining area at Be Our Guest
The Ballroom Dining Area

Setting The Table (Or Stage)

Nate and I have been to Be Our Guest several times for lunch and we’ve had Alicia (Serena’s sister) join a few times. Between us, we’ve had most of the lunch menu so let’s browse the choices!

French Dip at Be Our Guest
The French Dip

The Serena Go To!

Starting things off, the French Dip (how fitting) is my usual go to. With tender thinly sliced prime rib, on a garlic bread baguette (Maurice!), with a peppy horseradish slather and a smattering of greens (usually arugula), this is a respectable sandwich for those beef buffs among us. Served with warm jus for dipping (I like mine extra sloppy) and the standard Disney fries which are always perfectly cooked. The quality of the beef is excellent and the baguette is light and crispy. This sandwich is truly the sum of all parts.

Passholder Insight: A great way to hit the in-between times is to rope drop the Magic Kingdom, then as the park gets busy around 10:30 am head over to the restaurant for the perfect break!

Croque Monsieur at Be Our Guest
The Croque Monieur

Nate’s Favorite!

Coming up next is the croque monsieur. This is an elevated version of a grilled ham and cheese. Typically a ham and cheese (gruyere c’est la classique!) with a bechamel slathered top that is bubbled under a broiler, the Be Our Guest version is a bit more portable. A griddled ham and gruyere on multigrain bread with a thick schmear of bechamel on the inside brings this basic sandwich to level 2. As the French dip, the ham here is high quality carved ham. I personally feel like a little dijon mustard or even a little fruit chutney on the side would be a nice addition here just to mix up the flavors but overall this is a stellar ham and cheese, one worth trying.

Passholder Insights: Be Our Guest is the only quick serve can make Advance Dining Reservations for at Walt Disney World. You’ll want to try to book this at the 180-day mark.

Carved Turkey Sandwich at Be Our Guest
The Carved Turkey Sandwich

When We’re Mixing It Up

For those of us who prefer to limit our saturated fat intake on vacation, the carved turkey sandwich is a hearty portion of freshly roasted turkey breast, aioli, arugula all on the garlic bread baguette. Yum yum yum! Alicia has also had the nicoise salad which has a healthy sized portion of perfectly seared ahi tuna along with all the proper fixings – poached green beans, roasted bell peppers, fingerling potatoes, and a poached egg. This is drizzled in a tangy herb vinaigrette. This is a hearty salad for those of us who are carb conscious and love fresh seared tuna. Definitely an updated classic.

nicoise salad at Be Our Guest
The Nicoise Salad

Using The Dining Plan

For those using the Disney Dining Plan (DDP), your meal also comes with dessert. As they say in the song, try the gray stuff, it’s delicious! But seriously the desserts here are an assortment of cupcake offerings, one for every taste – chocolate, vanilla, lemon. There’s also a creme brulee with that unmistakable crust crack that us brulee junkies love.

Passholder Insights: Be Our Guest is one of the best values if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan.

Our Thoughts  

Overall this is quite a bit of food for the price and again the real treat here is the ambiance – three separate dining rooms, the magical food delivery, the whole castle theme. It’s certainly one of the most magical quick serve locations on property. Grab a seat and order up some magic!

Tambu Lounge – The Original Polynesian Resort Tiki Bar

Tambu Lounge – The Original Polynesian Resort Tiki Bar

Can’t beat the classics! Long before Trader Sam’s became a Walt Disney World headliner, Tambu Lounge was holding down the hut at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Nothing screams vacation more than a tropical drink and an umbrella. All that’s missing is the sandy beach…oh wait, the Polynesian Resort has that as well. Disney, they think of everything. Well, as Jimmy Buffet would say, it’s five o’clock somewhere, let’s grab our stool and enjoy one of the Tambu Lounge original cocktails!

Seating Area for Tambu Lounge
Tambu Lounge Seating Area

Location

From the moment you walk into the Polynesian Resort, it’s like stepping into a tropical oasis. The theming is so on point you could picture Don Ho singing Tiny Bubbles in the lobby. If you’re not familiar with Don Ho, Google it, we’ll wait. Alright, back to the article. The Tambu Lounge is located on the second floor of the resort. When arriving at the resort you’ll want to stay to the right and head up the staircase.

Surrounded by a who’s who of great dining options, as you arrive on the second floor, the Tambu Lounge will be directly in front of you on the right, next to ‘Ohana. Off to your left, you’ll find one of our favorite breakfast places and a hidden gem dinner spot, Kona Cafe.

Passholder Insights: If you’re arriving via the Magic Kingdom Resort Monorail, you’ll already be on the second floor. Tambu Lounge is straight ahead from the exit.

The bar area of Tambu Lounge
Tambu Lounge Bar Area

Decor  

Surrounded by tiki gods, thatched roofs, and tropical plants, Tambu Lounge brings the beachside hunt inside. You can either pull up a seat by the large bay windows with grand views of Seven Seas Lagoon or cozy up to the bar. With some of the most tendered bartenders on Walt Disney World property, you know where you’ll find us!

Recently, the Tambu Lounge bar was renovated to add both outlets and USB charging capabilities. Charging your phone while enjoying an adult time-out. Don’t mind if we do!

Passholder Insights: Seating is limited. One of the things we like to do is order a drink and chill out on the couches near the exit to the monorail.

The Lapu Lapu at Tambu Lounge
The Lapu Lapu – Photo Credit – Main Street Magic

Unique Drinks

Tambu Lounge is known for two drinks, the Lapu Lapu and the Backscratcher. If presentation is everything, then these two drinks won’t disappoint. The Lapu Lapu is served up in a whole pineapple, yes the whole pineapple. Instagram better be ready for your pic! To serve the famous drink they take a pineapple and hollow out the inside and cut out a crevice for the straw. Filled with rum and an array of tropical fruits, the Lapu Lapu will definitely get people’s attention around the lounge. The best part is that it’s more than just a showpiece, it tastes good too!

The backscratcher at Tambu Lounge
The Backscratcher

If a pineapple is too showy for you, give the backscratcher a try. Combining a couple of different rums, passion fruit juice, and whiskey, the backscratcher is topped off with, well, a backscratcher. The garnish for the famed cocktail is a backscratcher made by the Oriental Trading Company, yes the same company who owns and operates DisneySea. How convenient!

Rounding out the bar is a variety of tropical drink options ranging from Mai Tai’s to Hawaaiin mules. If tropical drinks are not your cup of tea, no worries, as Tambu Lounge offers a solid beer and wine menu and has a full bar. According to Serena, they pour a mean bourbon!

Passholder Insights: If you’re not hanging around Tambu Lounge and looking to explore the resort, let the bartenders know and they’ll create your drink to go!

The Beef Carpaccio at Tambu Lounge
The Beef Carpaccio – Photo Credit – Main Street Magic

Snack Away!

Every good drink needs a solid sidekick and Tambu Lounge as a great selection. On our latest trip, we tried two items, the Beef Carpaccio Tataki which consisted of thinly sliced beef marinated in a spicy mix of black pepper and chili oil served cold. When we say thinly sliced, we’re pretty sure it only had one side! The beef was perfectly prepared and packed a punch with the spice. It was definitely a solid dish, the only downside is we wish there was more!

The Tambu Mixed Grill at Tambu Lounge
Tambu Mixed Grill – Photo Credit – Main Street Magic

Our second snack was the Tambu Mixed Grill. With Tambu Lounge sharing a kitchen with ‘Ohana you’re able to order the grilled meats from the restaurant at the lounge. It’s a great way to sample restaurant if you’re unable to make a dining reservation. To cap it all off, you can order the secret dessert item, the bread pudding from ‘Ohana. Just do it, and thank you us later. Just ask the bartender and they’ll hook you up!

Passholder Insights: Downstairs at the Polynesian Resort is Captain Cook’s which is a counter service restaurant. It’s the one resort area where you can order up a Dole Whip!  

Our Thoughts

Tambu Lounge is a true Disney World classic. Whether you’re looking for a quick drink, waiting for a table at one of the restaurants, or just taking a relaxing night away from the parks, it’s a great place. Depending on what time of day you stop by, check out the My Disney Experience app for when the Magic Kingdom fireworks are taking place for the day. The Polynesian Resort has a great view of the fireworks from the beach and they even pump in the music. The only left to do is pick out a drink. We’ll take a couple of backscratchers!