Walt Disney World’s foodie theme park, Epcot has no shortage of delicious dining options, from the global buffet of flavors in World Showcase to seasonally inspired festival food booths. As if figuring out where to eat at Epcot wasn’t already tricky enough, Disney has thrown yet another restaurant into the mix with the all-new Connections Eatery.
Just steps from the Guardians of the Galaxy ride and around the corner from the main entrance, this shiny-new dining outlet is a convenient spot for lunch or dinner. But, is Connections Eatery worthy of a stop on your Epcot food tour?
We were hungry to find out for ourselves. Spoiler alert: Absolutely! So, bring your appetite as we dig into everything this quick-service restaurant has to offer, including our honest take on the goods.
Part of World Celebration (AKA Future World), Connections Eatery – along with the adjoining Connections Café, Epcot’s new Starbucks location – sits across from Club Cool, Creations Shop and the Wonders of Xandar Pavilion in what was once Innoventions East and the Electric Umbrella restaurant.
To get there from the front gate, just hang a left beneath Spaceship Earth. Feel free to go in the entrance for either Connections Café or Connections Eatery – it’s all connected. Opened the door and ended up in Starbucks? No worries! Grab some java and, as Dory would say (if she had feet), just keep walking. You’ll know you’ve made it when you see the restaurant’s great, big, beautiful mural.
Fresh, Modern Design Meets Thoughtful Amenities
Once you’re inside, one of the first things you’ll notice about Connections Eatery is how big it is. With more than 750 seats available and massive restrooms to match, this is one restaurant at Disney World where you shouldn’t have to struggle to find a table or wait for ages for a bathroom stall. (And all the ladies rejoiced and made mental notes.)
Bright and airy with floor-to-ceiling windows, vibrant colors and a sleek, modern design, Connections Eatery is quite the departure from Epcot’s other food options. Think IKEA Restaurant vibes with a healthy helping of pixie dust. And honestly, there’s a lot to like, from clever design details to thoughtful amenities.
In many ways, Connections Eatery is a love letter to all things Epcot. In fact, if you turn your gaze downward, you might notice three unique floor inlays. Styled after Walt Disney’s “Florida Project” site plans circa 1966, they’re a subtle nod to his dreams of a new “blueprint of the future.”
While you’re looking, keep an eye out for adorable touches like a wall of rolling pins – soon to be home to some menus – and, closer to the Connections Café, a collection of items from around the world used to drink beloved beverages like coffee and tea.
However, the star of the show – aside from the food, of course – is the restaurant’s sprawling mural. Entitled “Global Gathering,” the centerpiece is one of the largest of its kind ever undertaken by Walt Disney Imagineering, spanning an entire wall, and is worth a look even if you aren’t planning on eating.
Echoing the murals over in World Nature’s The Land Pavilion, “Global Gathering” beautifully depicts the unifying power of food. With tableaus of people collecting their harvest and breaking bread, as well as a playful sprinkling Hidden Mickeys, it’s truly a delight to behold and sets the scene for the entire restaurant, including the menu. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself scoping out a table nearby just so you can admire it as you eat.
Along with the glorious mural, Connections Eatery serves up beautiful views of Spaceship Earth, the Xandarian Starblaster outside nearby Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Or, for a makeshift dinner and a show (if the show is something on the Food Network), diners can also look for a spot near one of the three show kitchens. There really isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Speaking of seating, tables and chairs are in the majority here. That being said, there are also a few booths or tables with bench seating to be had. Need to charge your device while you refuel your body? Many bench seats have wall outlets and USB ports close by, while other tables – look for the red – are even equipped with wireless charging.
But, that isn’t the only way Disney has anticipated guests’ needs. While you are welcome to place your order with a cast member at the counter, if you’d rather skip the line and save some time, you can also use the Mobile Order feature on the My Disney Experience app. Then, just look for the dedicated Mobile Order Pickup area to grab your feast.
Once you have your food, the first thing you’ll notice is the use of actual dishes and silverware. We love this because not only does this elevate the meal from the start (sorry not sorry, flimsy plastic utensils), but it’s also so much better for the environment. Then, when you’re finished eating, all you need to do is clear your plate, put it in a bin for cleaning and stack your tray.
Still thirsty? Don’t throw that cup away! Unlike most other restaurants at Disney World, fountain drinks, iced tea and coffee are completely self-service. So, feel free to get a refill before you head back out into the hot Central Florida sun. Drinks can be found near the condiments station.
Ok ya’ll, enough about that. Let’s get to what you really came here for: The food!
A “Global Gathering” – Classic Dishes with a Worldly Twist
As part of his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, Walt envisioned “shops and restaurants that reflect the culture and flavor of locations ‘round the world,” with each designed to evoke the look and feel of their home country. While his grand plan never came to fruition, the concept lives on in the form of World Showcase.
However, you don’t need to walk all the way over to the other side of the park to take your tastebuds on an impromptu trip around the world. Taking its inspiration from Walt’s “Florida Project” and World Showcase, Connections Eatery introduces even the pickiest of eaters to tastes from across the globe, putting an international spin on family-friendly fare like sandwiches, pizza and salad.
One thing is for certain. Connections Eatery has something for everyone, whether you’re craving a cozy classic or a globally inspired take that inspires the senses. Best of all, since nothing is more than $14 (the most expensive entrées are $12.99), it’s very reasonably priced for the quantity and quality of food you get. More on that next.
Connections Eatery Menu
The sandwich section is easily the menu’s most adventurous, offering up such creative takes on burgers as a miso-marinated Banh Mi Burger crowned with pickled veggies, a Southwestern Burger slathered in chamoy and guacamole and a Mediterranean Burger served with zingy zhoug mayo on housemade doner bread.
Even the American Classic Burger is anything but basic, getting a savory upgrade courtesy of a roasted garlic spread. Not in the mood for a burger? While we didn’t try it, the Hand-breaded Chicken Sandwich looks incredible, each touting a huge piece of pickle juice-brined bird that’s been fried and generously doused in Signature Sauce.
Off the burger menu, we tried the absolutely decadent-sounding French Bistro Burger. Priced at $12.99, it’s tied for the most expensive dish. But, considering everything you get on it – bacon, caramelized onions, creamy brie and sauteed mushrooms with a Dijon mayo (in a word, yum!) – it’s well worth it.
In fact, we’re going to go out on a limb and say this is one of the best theme park burgers you can get at Disney World. Is it a revelation? Of course not, even with the gourmet beef blend and tasty mélange of toppings! But, for a well-done burger in Epcot, it still ticks all the boxes.
The bacon strips were thick, smoky and perfectly crispy, while the jammy onions and mushrooms added an element of savory sweetness and a generous smear of Dijon mayonnaise tied it all together. Having said all that, between all those toppings and the seasoning used on the patty, this burger is a wee bit salty. Luckily, the gooey brie does help to mellow it out a bit.
Sadly, we didn’t get a chance to try something from the restaurant’s other main entrée category: pizza. Unlike the burgers, this corner of the menu doesn’t really do anything groundbreaking – think pepperoni, meatball or five-cheese – with one glaring exception. The plant-based Curry Spice Pizza puts a novel twist on everyone’s favorite handheld with its blanket of unexpected toppings, including tikka masala, carrot, potato, peas, tomato and lime “yogurt.”
Looking for something a little lighter (or at least something that’s masquerading as healthy)? Set your sights on the salad menu. Falling into the latter category, the General Tso Chicken Salad is like a gateway drug to greens. While we didn’t try the concoction on this trip, the salad, topped with crispy chicken tenders drizzled with General Tso’s Dressing and flavorful bites like crispy wontons, mandarin oranges and broccoli slaw, looks as incredible in person as that description sounds.
Instead, we opted for the restaurant’s other plant-based option, the Niçoise-style Salad. Served on a bed of mixed greens, this classic French salad comes topped with a bounty of vegetables, such as potatoes, green beans, olives, tomatoes and white beans.
Overall, we found this fresh option to be one of the better quick-service salads in the parks and a pretty good deal for $10.29. On the whole, the veggies were yummy. While the potatoes were a little on the soft side, they were nicely seasoned, and the olives added just enough bite to balance everything out. Tying it all together, the Dijon vinaigrette is incredibly tasty. That being said, it does almost too good of a job, since there was a lot of it.
There’s no better time for dessert than when you’re on vacation. If you’re feeling something sweet, you have a few different options at Connections Eatery. For a something that’s big enough to share, the sugar-encrusted Liege Waffle is decadently topped fresh strawberries, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Alternatively, you can also end your meal with one of two shakes: the plant-based Mango-Coconut Milk Shake drizzled with pomegranate molasses or the Apple Pie Gelato Shake.
We tried the latter for $7.29 and holy cow, this thing is delicious! Between the warming cinnamon and sweet apple flavors, it seriously tastes like someone whirled a slice of pie into a batch of ice cream. All that’s missing is the crust! Really, all it needs is a crunchy element like pie crust pieces or graham cracker bits to make this perfect.
Lastly, you need something to wash it all down with, right? While you could go for the Cucumber and Thai Basil Cooler, a refreshing cocktail made for hot summer days, we’re not gin fans (it tastes a little too much like potpourri). So, we gave this one a pass, opting instead for the non-alcoholicWatermelon-Mint Agua Fresca.
Available for $4.99, this fruity cooler is a must for watermelon fans. Although the mint tastes like an afterthought, that wasn’t the case with the watermelon at all. Imagine what a wedge of fresh watermelon might taste like whirred through a juicer, and this will probably come close. Absolutely delicious, not overly sweet and ideal for kids and adults alike.
So, is Connections Eatery worth a visit on your next trip to Epcot? While the flavors at this counter-service restaurant aren’t as daring as what you’ll find at Spice Road Table and the preparation can’t compare to that of Monsieur Paul or Takumi-Tei, for the price you’re paying and quality you’re receiving, we think it’s absolutely worth it.
For some guests, this burger and pizza-heavy menu won’t be enough to drag them away from eating and drinking around the World (Showcase). And that’s ok! That’s not really who this restaurant is meant for anyway.
Rather, add Connections Eatery to your list if you’re looking for a people-pleasing option with approachable, kid-friendly dishes with just enough global flavors to keep things interesting. Overall, it’s a fun restaurant with some great Epcot-inspired elements, really good food, blissfully cool A/C and plenty of ways to charge your phone. And really, what’s not to like about that?
Have you had a chance to try Connections Eatery yet? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can save money for more delicious food with our discount Epcot tickets.