REVIEW of the NEW Connections Eatery Restaurant in EPCOT

Disney World certainly likes to keep us on our toes, and today they surprised us with a couple of MAJOR soft openings in EPCOT. The Connections Café opened this morning, which is the new Starbucks location in EPCOT. While we were there earlier, the Connections Eatery (which shares a space with the Café) wasn’t quite ready for guests yet. But now that has CHANGED!

Connections Eatery

This afternoon, the Connections Eatery had a soft opening with its full menu available for guests to try! Of course we had to head inside to check out the space and try some of the eats. Should you add this new spot to your EPCOT food tour? And can the eats even compete with the rest of the amazing food in this park? We’re about to find out!

First of all, you need to know where to find Connections Eatery. It’s located in World Celebration (which is the new name for Future World, in case you haven’t visited in a while), near the Creations Shop. If you’re walking into EPCOT past Spaceship Earth, look to your left to find this restaurant.

Let’s get some food!

There are a few different entrances to the restaurant. You can head in through the Connections Eatery entrance or the Connections Café entrance since it’s really just one big space. Note that Disney has announced this restaurant will officially open on April 27th, but it’ll have a few soft openings over the next few days. So if you’re planning to visit EPCOT soon, stop by to see if it’s open during your visit! If you’d rather be totally sure that this spot will be available, plan to come after the 27th.

A few different entrances

Connections Eatery is a quick service restaurant, so you’ll order at the counter (or opt to Mobile Order instead, which is available here!) and then get your food immediately. You can then find a seat in the large dining room. Let’s head in to check out this new space.

Atmosphere

Walking in, the first thing you’ll notice is how BIG this restaurant is. The ceilings are high, there are a lot of light colors, and it’s just a generally bright and open space.

It’s all open!

Disney has said that Connections Eatery is designed to “nod to Walt Disney’s original plans for EPCOT.” The modern decor and floor-to-ceiling windows are meant to hearken back to Disney’s dream to build a futuristic “community of tomorrow.”

We love how open it is!

But it’s not just the general vibes that nod to old EPCOT. You’ll also see some very cool design elements that specifically refer to EPCOT’s history. For example, look down at the floor near the Café counter to find a floor inlay “inspired by Walt’s 1966 ‘Florida Project’ site plans.” There are more floor designs like this one in other areas of the restaurant as well!

Take a look at the floors too!

A huge mural along one wall represents the “connection” that inspired the name of this restaurant. The mural is called “Global Gathering,” and it depicts people from around the world coming together to eat. That concept extends to the menu as well, with familiar foods taking on unique twists that are inspired by international flavors.

There’s a beautiful mural back here!

This mural is one of the largest murals EVER created by Walt Disney Imagineering! Notice how the scenes shift from sunrise to sunset as you walk down the mural.

Another look at the mural

Once you finally tear your eyes away from the art, you can check out the seating options here. There are mostly tables and chairs, but you’ll also find a few booths available. Note that many of the booths have outlets nearby, which makes them a great choice if you’re looking to charge up your phone before hitting the park.

Inside the restaurant

Grab a seat closer to the mural if you want to look for more details there, or take your food over to a table by the windows if you’d prefer to do some people-watching during your meal!

It’s BIG!

But the mural and people-watching aren’t the only options for “entertainment” here — there are 3 show kitchens as well, where guests can watch chefs at work!

Show Kitchen

It’s important to note that this spot does have restrooms as well — just follow the mural wall down the ramp and around the corner to find them.

Restrooms

To order your food, you’ll head up to the counter and order from a Cast Member at one of the stands there. You’ll then proceed to the counter to pick up your food. There are menu boards above the counter with all of the options.

Where to order

But remember that you can choose to Mobile Order here instead of ordering at the counter. Look for the Mobile Order pick-up signs over the counter to find the correct pick-up location.

Mobile Ordering pick-up stations

There’s some funky lighting over the counter, which we think really adds to the modern theme.

Order here!

Nearby, there’s a stand with several options for condiments, napkins, and real silverware! No plastic utensils for us — we’re feeling quite fancy now.

They have real silverware!

While we’re here, we should probably grab some eats, right?

Eats

Like we mentioned before, this restaurant features “globally inspired flavors” with some classic dishes that take on unique twists. Note that everything on the menu is $14.99 or under, which is not a bad deal for lunch in Disney World.

Menu

The entrées available here include several options for burgers or chicken sandwiches, like a Southwestern Burger, Banh Mi Burger, or Hand-breaded Chicken Sandwich.

©Disney

If you’re not feeling burgers, check out the pizza options.

Menu

There are some fairly traditional choices like pepperoni and cheese, but there’s also a meatball pizza and a curry spice pizza (which is on the plant-based menu).

©Disney

You can also get a couple of different salads here.

Salads and kids’ meals

For sides, there’s coleslaw, fries, a side salad, or a mandarin orange.

©Disney

Kids have several different options, including familiar eats like cheeseburgers or some more adventurous choices like a Grilled Chicken Bao.

©Disney

The only thing for dessert is a Liege Waffle, but you can also check out the options for shakes as well!

The shake looks yummy!

There’s an Apple Pie Gelato Shake and a Mango-Coconut Milk Shake.

©Disney

For your drink, choose from some standard choices like soda, water, milk and chocolate milk, or coffee.

©Disney

The 21-and-over crowd can also check out various beers and wines.

©Disney

There are so many new things to try, so we’re going to grab a little bit of everything!

Food

We grabbed a few different entrées and just as many desserts!

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 To start out, we tried the French Bistro Burger for $12.99, which has a Gourmet Beef Blend, Caramelized Onions, Bacon, Brie, Mushrooms, and Dijon Mayonnaise, on a Toasted Brioche Bun. (Is anyone else drooling just reading that list of ingredients? 🤤) It came with a side of fries as well.

French Bistro Burger

In this burger, the toppings really MAKE the dish. There’s a lot of that dijon mayonnaise sauce (enough that it spilled out when we bit into the burger), which made up for the fact that the patty itself was pretty dry. The bacon on top is big, thick slices, which we loved! Those add a nice smoky flavor to the burger.

Yum!

The mushrooms and onion actually make the burger a little bit sweet, since they’re caramelized. And that brie cheese is perfectly melty with some of the rind still attached so you get those tasty crusty pieces as well.

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Our burger was very salty, even when we tried a bite without bacon. We think there’s quite a bit of spice (but not heat) in the burger patty itself. In general, this is a great choice if you want an interesting take on a familiar meal. We’ve got to say that it’s one of the best burgers we’ve had in a Disney World park (even though you can find better in Disney Springs or at Steakhouse 71 — but those aren’t in the parks!).

Have a look inside

We opted for a lighter entrée next with the General Tso Chicken Salad for $11.49. This is Petite Kale Blend, Broccoli Slaw, Red Bell Pepper, Mandarin Oranges, Edamame, Crispy Wontons, and Warm Fried Chicken, all drizzled with General Tso’s Dressing.

General Tso Chicken Salad

We think this dish is a great addition to EPCOT since it’s a healthier option that still packs a lot of flavor! The chicken on top is fried and tossed in General Tso sauce, which is a little bit spicy but not overpowering at all. All of the flavors work very well together, and the crispiness of the chicken complements the veggies nicely.

General Tso Chicken Salad Bite

If you’re not a fan of sesame flavor, you’ll probably want to avoid this dish as it’s the main flavor here. And if you really don’t like any spice at all, it might not be for you! But in general, if you enjoy General Tso chicken and are looking for a filling, healthy option, we think this would make a great lunch.

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The most interesting pizza to us was that plant-based Curry Spice Pizza, which you can get for $10.99. This pizza is topped with Tikka Masala, Carrots, Potatoes, Peas, Tomato, Plant-based Mozzarella Cheese, and Lime “Yogurt.” It’s served with a Mediterranean Side Salad.

Curry Spice Pizza

If the curry flavors have you worried about spice, don’t worry — this dish wasn’t spicy at all. The curry was definitely flavorful, and you could taste all the different spices in the masala, but the plant-based “yogurt” on top mellowed out any heat.

Curry Pizza

The crust of this pizza was nice and soft without being too soggy to hold up all of those toppings. It’s not a thin crust, but it also isn’t as puffy as the cheap quick-service pizza you’ll find at spots like PizzeRizzo. And the unique flavors make this a much better choice than those pizzas as well! We loved the combination of all the veggies together, and the potatoes made it a very filling slice as well.

Take a bite!

If you’re looking for a plant-based meal or just want to try a fun twist on a classic favorite, we think this is a great choice. The side salad was tasty as well, and it was topped with a vinaigrette and some olives.

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For dessert, we started off with the Liege Waffle for $5.29, which is made with Brioche Dough with Pearl Sugar, Strawberries, Whipped Cream, and Chocolate Sauce.

Leige Waffle

This waffle was similar to the one we had at Connections Café earlier today, with the dough tasting more like a Danish pastry and the whole thing being encrusted in sugar. It has a great crunch when you bite into it, although somehow the waffle itself is not overly sweet.

A closer look

With all the toppings, though, it’s definitely sweet when you eat it all together! And we also think it’s big enough to share between a couple of people. The strawberry sauce was one of our favorite parts of this dessert because it tasted very fresh. That sauce brought a great tartness to the dish, which contrasted with the intense sweetness from the chocolate.

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The chocolate sauce was very rich. It tasted like milk chocolate to us (there was no bitterness). The whipped cream was light and sweet, and it was melting into the warm waffle. Although we really enjoyed this treat, we almost wished there was a version of this dessert with just that strawberry sauce because we loved that flavor so much.

Cutting into the waffle

We also tried out BOTH shakes, cause we’re not quitters.

Both shakes

The Apple Pie Gelato Shake is $7.29. Spoiler alert: this was AMAZING.

Apple Pie Gelato Shake

The shake has a lot of texture to it, and we’re pretty sure that came from some pieces of graham cracker inside. The cinnamon-sugar flavor is strong, and there’s even more drizzled on top of the whipped cream.

It’s like apple pie in a cup!

The apple flavor doesn’t quite taste like fresh apples (we think it might be artificial flavoring), but it wasn’t off-putting either. It’s not a bad artificial flavor, but it might have been nice to have some fresh apple bits inside. Overall, we think this tastes just like if you were to put a slice of apple pie in a blender and mix it all up. We loved it!

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The Mango-Coconut Milk Shake is also available for $7.29. This one is topped with Pomegranate-Molasses Drizzle.

Mango-Coconut Milk Shake

This milkshake was surprisingly tart! We were expecting the pomegranate-molasses syrup to be sweet, but it was actually quite sour.

Can milkshakes be…tart?

The frozen mango helped to balance out the tart flavor a little, although even the mango wasn’t as sweet as we were expecting.

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In general, people who LOVE mango and tart fruity flavors are going to enjoy this the most. It wasn’t our favorite treat here, but it was definitely fresh and creative! It’d be a great cool-down snack on a hot day.

Nosh or Not

Gather at Connections Eatery in EPCOT if:

  • You’re looking for a wide variety of options to please lots of different people. This spot has a little something for everyone! From hearty burgers to lighter salads and a great plant-based dish, we think that almost everyone can find something to enjoy on this menu.
  • You’re traveling with a big group and want to sit down together inside with air conditioning. This space is HUGE, and there’s definitely plenty of room to accommodate a larger group. Just push a few tables together and call it good!
  • You want to try some more adventurous eats without going too far out of your comfort zone. Yes, the eats here are inspired by global flavors, but they’re still not super unique or “out there.” You can get familiar dishes with just a small twist to make your lunch or dinner a little more exciting!

Skip this new spot if:

  • You would rather find more unique options around World Showcase. EPCOT has SO. MUCH. GOOD. FOOD. Can you really justify using up valuable stomach space before you even make it to World Showcase? With great quick-service spots like Yorkshire County Fish Shop and La Cantina de San Angel along the way, you might want to consider some more authentic eats in that section of the park.
  • There’s an EPCOT festival going on. One of our favorite things to do in EPCOT during a festival is to visit all the different festival booths and snack all day long. If you love doing that too, it may not be wise to fill up on burgers and salad, no matter how good those dishes are!
  • You’re looking for a fancier sit-down meal. The dining area here is nice, but it’s not anniversary-date-night-nice. If you want a more luxurious or romantic setting, try out Le Cellier or Chefs de France in World Showcase. Keep in mind that those spots are more expensive as well, so you’ll get what you pay for in terms of atmosphere.

Overall

To be totally honest, we’re still not convinced that EPCOT was the best park for this spot. We know the theming and flavors all match really well with the general vibe of EPCOT, but there are already SO many great restaurants in this park. And there’s even Sunshine Seasons nearby in the Land pavilion, which has the same “quick service restaurant with a huge dining room” thing going for it.

Plenty of space in here!

Other parks (ahem, Magic Kingdom) could really use some solid new spots like this, especially with a lot of indoor seating for guests to take an air-conditioned break. HOWEVER, once we get past that detail, we’ve got to admit that the food here is very good! Everything we had tasted great, and there’s a solid variety of options that we think could please just about everyone. And we like the different global flavors that are featured on the menu.

All the food!

The restaurant itself is also impressive, with lots of cool EPCOT details. The bright atmosphere and colorful accents make it a really enjoyable place to be, and we could look at that huge mural for a LONG time. Overall, we had a great time and we can’t wait to try more of the eats in this spot!

Bye for now!

Keep following DFB for more reviews of the newest food in Disney World!

Take a FULL TOUR of the Connections Café (the Starbucks part of this location) here!

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Are you planning to eat at Connections Eatery on your next trip to EPCOT? Let us know in the comments!

The post REVIEW of the NEW Connections Eatery Restaurant in EPCOT first appeared on the disney food blog.

source https://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2022/04/21/review-of-the-new-connections-eatery-restaurant-in-epcot/

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