REVIEW: We Tried EVERY ITEM on the Menu at the New Connections Eatery in EPCOT
The new Connections Eatery is now open at EPCOT, and we hopped on in to check it out. Join us for a photo and video tour of the new venue, plus reviews for every single exclusive menu item.
The Eatery takes over what was Electric Umbrella and Innoventions East. With the expansion, it is considerably larger than the former restaurant, offering over 750 seats now.
The interior is quite modern, which has been a concern, but honestly, the more open floor plan and more streamlined design comes off way more pleasant here than it did in the Creations Shop across the way.
You can order at the counter or mobile order (once the restaurant officially opens).
We appreciate the presence of real silverware and actual plates and bowls here. The parks started to get away from this in new locations with COVID-19’s emergence, but it is making a comeback.
Soda, coffee, and iced tea are self-service, a nice change. This will be a great place to refuel out of the sun in the Summer months.
The restrooms are MASSIVE. While we loved the Electric Umbrella restrooms, they were quite small. You will likely never have to wait for a stall in either the men’s or women’s rooms here.
There is also a bottle filler near the water fountains.
The only thing we didn’t really like about the place is this steel “jail wall”. Not only is it visually uninteresting, most of them were badly dented during delivery and installation.
Along the entrance near Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a wall of rolling pins. This will eventually feature menu boards.
Three show kitchens are a nice touch. We’ve always enjoyed watching cast members grill at Satuli Canteen, but now you’ll be able to watch chefs create many different dishes.
The eatery features ample space and plenty of seating.
The big open windows are the star. The view out into the lush landscaping and the monorail rolling by are exquisite, a reminder of how much Imagineering got right with Communicore in 1982.
Some tables have wireless charging for devices that support it, but many of the bench seats have both USB and standard charging ports.
Someone finally got the memo. This is the best counter service hamburger we’ve had at Walt Disney World since D-Luxe Burger, and that’s because its the same higher-quality patty. They taste fresh off the grill. It’s not gourmet or life changing, but this is a good hamburger you won’t regret ordering. The bun isn’t as good as the ones we’ve had at D-Luxe, but it’s still above the WDW average.
We can see why this will be popular. It has a complex flavor profile as you get the strong brie, the smokiness of the bacon, the flavor of the mushrooms, and the sweetness of the caramelized onions. It’s packed. This is a winner.
Hand-breaded Chicken Sandwich – $11.99
House-made Pickles, Signature Sauce, Toasted Brioche Bun
For the price, this is big. The chicken is prepared in the same manner Chick-fil-A does it, brining it in pickle juice. The chicken itself is high quality white meat. The house-made pickles and signature sauce are good with a solid bun. Unfortunately, the breading is very over-seasoned, coming across too peppery. It was not to our taste.
On top of the fresh, moist burger patty is rich cheese (our favorite of all the cheeses on the burgers here). The corn-chipotle salsa and fresh guacamole add a nice variety to this sandwich. We would recommend this one.
Banh Mi Burger – $11.99
Miso-marinated Gourmet Beef Blend, Pickled Vegetables, Sriracha Mayonnaise, Soft Sub Roll
The miso-marinated burger patty is very good. Marinating the patty to make it different was a great idea. However, even though the menu specifies a “soft” sub roll, ours was pretty hard and crunchy. It ruined the sandwich. We would have loved this served on the Doner bread used for the Mediterranean Burger below.
This was our favorite of the burgers. The patty again is very good. This is a refreshing sandwich given the crunchy assortment of vegetables on top. The bread is soft, but well accented in each bite by the sesame seeds. Between the feta, the crispy vegetables, and the wonderful Doner bread, we are giving this burger the first place prize.
Five-Cheese Pizza – $10.49
San Marzano Tomato and Basil Sauce, Cheese Blend, served with Mediterranean Side Salad
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The dough is thick and heavy. We’d describe it as Pizza Hut-adjacent. There’s a heavy layer of red sauce and tons of cheese. It’s not the best pizza you’ll eat at Disney World, but certainly better than standard Disney counter service pizza and flatbread, and priced reasonably for the size honestly. This is a solid choice.
Meatball Pizza – $10.99
Beef and Pork Meatballs, San Marzano Tomato and Basil Sauce, Cheese Blend, served with Mediterranean Side Salad
While it came out a little deformed, this is the same as the cheese pizza, but with hefty meatballs. They’re pretty solid for counter service meatballs; a little salty, but quite big.
Pepperoni Pizza – $10.99
Pepperoni, San Marzano Tomato and Basil Sauce, Cheese Blend, served with Mediterranean Side Salad
This was nothing special. It’s the cheese pizza with your standard grocery store pepperoni added. Probably our least favorite of the three.
Curry Spice Pizza (Plant-based) – $10.99
Tikka Masala, Carrot, Potato, Peas, Tomato, Plant-based Mozzarella, Lime “Yogurt,” served with Mediterranean Side Salad
Basically, it’s a salad pizza to make a vegan offering. It was rather unremarkable. Nothing on it is bad, but nothing stands out either. Everything tastes fresh, but there are no profound flavors. Of the two plant-based options here, we preferred the niçoise-style salad.
General Tso Chicken Salad – $11.49
Petite Kale Blend, Broccoli Slaw, Red Bell Pepper, Mandarin Oranges, Edamame, Crispy Wontons, Warm Fried Chicken, General Tso’s Dressing
We love Disney World’s chicken tenders, and there are currently very few places to get them. Beyond that, there are few places to get them battered in sauce, the only place coming to mind for us is Sci-Fi Dine-In. These were phenomenal. The General Tso’s sauce is very light, not too heavy as to ruin the salad. The chicken is well coated in it. Everything underneath combines for a flavorful combination that stands out from most things you’ll find on the fast food side of dining resort-wide. This is going to be our favorite EPCOT dish this summer, offering some delicious protein and a refreshing, crisp, cool salad.
Niçoise-style Salad – $10.29
Crispy Mixed Greens, Wedged Potatoes, Tomatoes, Green Beans, Olives, White Beans, Dijon Vinaigrette (Plant-based)
This is one of the better “normal” counter service salads. Everything was fresh, and the tomatoes were bursting with flavor. The olives offset everything nicely for a much-needed flavor profile change. The savory dijon vinaigrette makes the dish though.
Coleslaw – $4.49
Sadly, this is just the standard counter service coleslaw, leaving something to be desired.
Mediterranean Side Salad – $3.79
Everything was fresh, and this is a decent side. However, we found the vinaigrette to be overpowering in this case.
French Fries – $4.49
We hate Disney World’s french fries, and these are no different. Honestly, I have been to every Disney property in the world and no one does it worse than WDW. They’re too hard, too salty, and seemingly overcooked.
Two Cuties Mandarins – $1.99
These are exactly the same as in your local supermarket.
Liege Waffle – $5.29
Brioche Dough with Pearl Sugar, Strawberries, Whipped Cream, Chocolate Sauce
This waffle is great. It may prove denser than you’d expect for a waffle, but the consistency is not off-putting and the flavor is there. The sweetness of the pearl sugar has a pleasant aftertaste, and the tartness of the strawberries combines with the sweetness of the chocolate and whipped cream for an enjoyable dish. Because of the decent size and heavier waffle, this would easily be a shareable dessert. We highly recommend this.
Apple Pie Gelato Shake – $7.29
Fantastic! It has the perfect amount of cinnamon, not enough to be overpowering. It hits all the notes just right; the apple flavor, the cinnamon taste, the creaminess of the gelato; it’s a top-tier EPCOT snack.
Mango-Coconut Milk Shake – $7.29
Topped with Pomegranate-Molasses Drizzle
This shake is plant-based. It was too thick for the straws provided, but we managed with a spoon. It’s light and refreshing, perfect for a hot day. There’s a hint of coconut, but the tartness of mango and sweetness of the pomegranate are what you will taste most. We recommend this as well.
Watermelon-Mint Agua Fresca (non-alcoholic) – $4.99
It’s exactly as described: watermelon and mint. Sugary up front, and it takes a few moments after you sip to get the cool mint taste. Nothing to write home about, but it’s another refreshing option. Do remember that Starbucks is just around the corner at Connections Cafe and does have Refreshers.
For being from a counter service restaurant, it’s not terrible. The basil is very strong. If you’re in the market for gin, it’s hard to settle for anything less than the Dahlia and Barcelona Lounges at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. They’ve cornered the market on good gin drinks at Disney World, but those are far from EPCOT, so you can settle for this while waiting for your Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Lightning Lane time.
What a time it is to be alive when Disney World counter service food doesn’t make you regret eating. We think most people will really enjoy Connections Eatery. There were dishes we’ll actually come back and get again, which is honestly rare for in-park fast food. The desserts are stellar, some of the best on property, and a few of the sales and burgers really stand out.
Connections is one of the better counter service options in all of Walt Disney World. It is EPCOT, and we do recommend stepping a little out of your comfort zone to try something around World Showcase, but if you want comfort food, this is a good choice. We miss Electric Umbrella, but with the huge windows, beautiful views (who doesn’t love watching the Monorail go by?), and ample seating, this is, in every way, an upgrade. Kudos to the team that made this happen, it’s a rare case of counter service dining elevation with burgers and pizza.