Sunshine Seasons Food Fair at The Land Pavilion

Sunshine Seasons logo at EpcotLet’s take a trip back in time to the The Land Pavilion at Epcot circa 1993. Even then, I thought Sunshine Seasons delivered one of Walt Disney World Resort’s best varieties for quick dining choices for its guests.

I still recall one of my favorite meals ever at WDW – a slab of veggie lasagna (the version here started my obsession with the pasta dish), filled with hearty chunks of broccoli and zucchini in a flavorful red sauce. On the side, a strawberry and cream slushy with gummi bears mixed in. The swirls of frothy red with silky white cream and little gelatinous bears are an image that I still wish I could get when I’m down at Disney.

Flash forward to 2012, the updated Sunshine Seasons is now more of a food court, where you can grab just about anything to make even the pickiest of eaters happy. That’s why I think it’s always busy here, no matter the time of day. (It probably also helps that Soarin’ is always jam-packed next door, too…)

So, let’s take a look at one of the best eating spots in all of Walt Disney World…

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Review: Fresh-A-Peel Inside Pollo Campero

Exterior of Pollo Campero at Downtown Disney in FloridaSeriously, it seems like it’s been decades since I was last at Disney World. In reality, it’s only been about two months since my brief little work-cation allowed me to drop by Downtown Disney and Epcot.

I flew into Orlando early in the day so I had the remaining hours to myself (as I didn’t have any work duties until the next morning). So, after checking into my (non)-Disney hotel near the airport, I took a little nap since the hot, humid Florida weather was such a drastic difference for me.

I decided to spend the rest of my day going to the Premium Outlet Mall, as I had heard that Disney runs a retail store there. I wanted to check it out so I drove on over. While there were some great deals on T-shirts and gear for the little Mickey-philes, nothing overly piqued my interest. After, I drove down Hotel Plaza Boulevard, a winding, tree-lined avenue that flows directly into the Marketplace at Downtown Disney.

There have been tons of changes at Downtown Disney within recent years – especially to its dining options. Most of the times, we don’t make it anywhere else but Earl of Sandwich and Ghirardelli. As I was on a limited diet (no dairy products) at this time, I opted to try the eats at one of DD’s newest establishments that took over the spot that once was the McDonald’s. Let’s take look inside Fresh-A-Peel at Pollo Campero...

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Foodie Gifts at Walt Disney World

My dear readers, it has been much too long since my last post. Work has been crazy!

Last week, I unexpectedly needed to travel to Florida for a great story about a graduating senior from Florida Institute of Technology, who is spending his summer biking 4,700 miles across the U.S. to raise awareness about scleroderma, the disease that took his father’s life in 2010. He also will give any of the donations he receives to the Scleroderma Foundation (where I work during the day) for its research grant program. I highly suggest you read some more about Wade and his inspiring story!

Anyways, I had a bit of free time, so obviously, I took the opportunity to do what I love best – tour Disney! I had a few hours over at Downtown Disney and good chunk of Sunday afternoon at Epcot.

Today, let’s take a look at some of the new gift items (well, new since I was last there in December) over at the World of Disney at Downtown Disney Marketplace:

Above, you’ll see some chocolate. Not your ordinary chocolate bar – this one is emblazoned with a tongue-in-cheek jab at the famous line you’ll hear as you board the Monorail, “Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas” (please stand clear of the doors). But this one translates to “Please stand clear of my chocolate.” Awesome! This candy is a milk chocolate covered peanut.

Jessica Rabbit chocolate barAnother candy option was this one featuring Jessica Rabbit from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (wow, haven’t seen that classic in a long while!) It pokes fun at her infamous line, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” These candy items are dark chocolate mint creams – I’m thinking something along the lines of a Peppermint Patty.

Dole Whip Tee ShirtNow, for those of you who need a new tee shirt to commemorate your trip – some of these are pretty cool. This one (above) pays an homage to that frosty tropical treat over at Magic Kingdom – the Dole Whip. This one costs $21.95 and it’s also available through DisneyStore.com. (I wish I could just eat the shirt!)

Turkey leg tee shirtThis turkey leg shirt – is one of two designs that I have seen for those triptophanatics (get what I did there – turkey has triptophan and fanatics…um…ok anyways…)

So, this one also is $21.95 and also available online through the Disney Store. Anyone else think the “nice and juicy” tagline is a little racy for Disney’s brand or is that just me?

Churro Tee ShirtThe final tee-shirt item for the theme park food lover is this one for the churro. It features a mariachi-band member holding one of the crunchy, cinnamon treats by his side. Again, this shirt is $21.95 and available online.

Cute as a cupcake onesieAnd finally, I bring you your cuteness factor for the day. This little onesie for the youngest foodie in your life is perfect! It features Minnie and reads: “Cute as a cupcake.” Oh…this one will be perfect for that little one someday in the future!

Review: Disney’s Restaurant Marrakesh

Restaurant Marrakesh signageNestled in the back of the Moroccan pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase, you’ll find this secluded dining spot. It’s safe to say you’ll encounter some of the most adventurous of eaters here, but I hope some of the more picky palates would venture out of their comfort zones to try the offerings at Restaurant Marrakesh.

Finding the restaurant is just the first part of the adventure that awaits you. You need to wind your way through the foreign bazaar of native Fez hats, jewels and fabrics. Take the time to experience all of the culture that you encounter. Back when the pavilion was created in 1984, King Hassan II of Morocco sent his own personal artists, or maalems, to help Disney Imagineers with construction of the project and to preserve its authenticity.

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Cooking with the Beatle’s Yellow Submarine

Yellow Submarine metal lunchboxI found these little treasures at one of the shops in the United Kingdom section of Epcot’s World Showcase. So, if you’re a Beatle fan or just know a foodie in love with the Fab Four, check out these items…

“We all live in a yellow submarine…”

One of the gifts you can find in this British treasure trove is an aluminum Yellow Submarine lunchbox that features artwork from the 1969 animated film of the same name.

Beatle Trivia: Yellow Submarine originally appeared on the Beatle’s 1966 album Revolver, which also featured the single Eleanor Rigby.

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Review: Tony’s Town Square at Magic Kingdom

Lady and the Tramp at Tony's Town SquareEditor’s Note: This post is featured on the Disney Blog Carnival #39. Read more great posts about all things Disney! The next carnival will be Feb. 6. Submissions are due on Feb. 4!

Who doesn’t love the classic movie of Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp,” a love story of an elitist cocker spaniel who falls for a mutt from the other side of the tracks?

The movie’s classic romantic scene behind an Italian restaurant is recreated on Main Street USA at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant pays homage to the era of the movie, the cuisine and even those playful puppies who are so in love.

Let’s take a closer look inside one of the Disney parks’ sit-down spots that is fun for the whole family…

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Review: Disney’s Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater

Exterior neon sign at Disney's Sci-Fi Dine-in TheaterEditor’s Note: This post is featured on the Disney Blog Carnival #38. Read more great posts about all things Disney!

It’s been more than a decade since I’ve had a meal at the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Back during my awkward teen years, I reveled in the chance to watch old, science fiction and horror B-movies thanks to Comedy Central’s “MST 3000.” At the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater, movie buffs and science fiction geeks will enjoy the opportunity to see clips from vintage classics like “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman” or “The Giant Gila Monster.” Today’s teens will probably find the restaurant out-of-date, nerdy and totally not cool.

Since I don’t fit in that latter category and I still enjoy my science fiction every now and again (yes, I did go to a Star Trek convention in eighth grade), I still find this restaurant to be a fun draw even with its short reel of movie clips and vintage news stories, small tables and minimal menu.

Let’s take a look at what has changed in the more than 10 years since I’ve been back to Sci-Fi (and what hasn’t):

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