Restaurant Review: Connections Eatery
I must admit that I entered the location of my latest restaurant review with substantial skepticism.
Most people acted indifferent toward the eatery it replaced, Electric Umbrella, but I was a fan.
My wife and I loved people-watching from the second floor of that establishment.
Alas, Disney reinvented this space to modernize both the interior and exterior. And I must admit that EPCOT looks and feels better for it.
Here’s my review of Connections Eatery, a significantly brighter dining experience…and I mean that literally!
How to Find Connections Café
Disney recently split the former Future World area of EPCOT into multiple spaces.
The one I consider the simplest to find is World Celebration, and that’s also the location for Connections Café.
All you need to do eat here is enter EPCOT through its main entrance, not the International Gateway in back.
From the EPCOT entrance, you’ll walk past Spaceship Earth. Presuming that you’re heading in a direction where the big golf ball is getting larger in size, you’ll veer left.
The Project Tomorrow sign on the side of the accompanying building identifies that you’re heading in the right direction. You’re only a short walk from Connections Café!
You’ll notice this place quickly, as it’s a giant building with exterior windows in a straight row for a long distance.
Most guests take this visual for granted, but it’s actually rare sight at Walt Disney World! Conventional isn’t really Disney’s thing.
Still, the company made an exception for Connections Café. Consider the decision a direct response to criticisms of Electric Umbrella, which was kind of dark inside.
Once you reach the restaurant, you should know one other thing. It comes in two parts. There’s Connections Café and Connections Eatery.
Disney has brought back its old Starbucks here as a mini-coffee shop that shares the same space with the Quick Service restaurant.
That’s important to know if you’re using Mobile Ordering. Should you pick the wrong spot to look for your order, you could easily circle the long building once. I’m not even joking.
In fact, I’m not embarrassed to admit I made this mistake the first time I ate here. If I had gone the other direction, I would have saved myself so much time and aggravation.
Finally, you’ll know you’ve gone too far if you walk past Creations Shop, the merchandise store in the adjacent building.
Exploring Connections Café
I’ve already mentioned the negative about this restaurant. It’s massive in size.
Should you get turned around, you may need a minute to get your bearings. After you’ve visited a couple of times, you’ll get adjusted. There’s some learning curve, though.
The good vastly outweighs the bad in that Connections Café addresses a longstanding problem with Electric Umbrella. The seating is plentiful here.
Seriously, this restaurant is cavernous in size. Even better, it possesses something Electric Umbrella never did: style!
You’ll appreciate all the EPCOT-centric décor, some of which is hidden in plain sight.
Meanwhile, the wall-length paintings on display will mesmerize you with their attention to detail.
Still, you shouldn’t get so distracted as to miss the knick knacks on display on the opposite walls.
There’s an element of discovery at Connections Café if you’re interested in exploring a bit.
Dining at Connections Café
I’ll say something I rarely do about this dining experience. We were starving by the time we got here!
If I had eaten a block of wood at that moment, I probably would have enjoyed it.
This was our travel day, so we were pretty much straight off the Disney bus and into the restaurant.
After spending six hours in airports, I wasn’t about to risk anything fancy and instead went basic, even for me. That means a cheeseburger and fries.
The American Bistro Burger isn’t anything fancy, but it got the job done on this day.
Meanwhile, my wife treasured her vegan dish, the Curry-spiced Pizza. She kept raving about the combination of Tikka Misala and Lime “yogurt.”
Since this was our first experience, I want to add a few thoughts. First, the brioche bun here was absolutely delicious.
Again, my hunger might have impacted my tastebuds, but I loved the bun’s crunch. Similarly, I could have ended five plates of the French fries here.
Sometimes, a meal goes just right at Disney. This meal definitely falls into that category.
We also tried dessert here, but it’s no longer on the menu.
Instead, Disney has replaced it with Liege Waffle, which sounds rather decadent. I can’t speak to its quality, though.
The Quirks of Connections Café
However, the restaurant comes with some quirks. For starters, there aren’t enough drink stations to match the sheer volume of diners.
I waited in line for an extended period on multiple occasions. Similarly, we weren’t sitting at a table convenient to most trash receptacles.
There was one trash cannister near us, and it was an absolute mess that day.
People just kept piling on the trash, which reminded me of a kitchen game my wife and I play called Trashcan Jenga. You can probably guess how it works.
Some poor cast member was about to lose Trashcan Jenga to an epic degree.
Finally, the bathrooms are hard to locate until you know where they are.
While eating here – and we’ve done it multiple times since then – I’ve noticed that the most frequently asked question is directions to the bathroom.
Remember that the restaurant is still just a year old, while Disney remains somewhat understaffed. So, those factors play a role in the dining experience.
Realistically, for a Quick Service restaurant, these are trivial complaints, though.
In the big picture, Disney has reinvented a somewhat dank restaurant with vanilla cuisine into a vibrant space. The food quality is undeniably better as well.
During its existence, Electric Umbrella maintained one of the worst reputations at Walt Disney World.
As I type this, TripAdvisor ranks Connections Café as one of the better Quick Bites locations in Orlando.
So, the repurposing of this building qualifies as a mission accomplished for Disney.
I’d argue that you can and should find better Quick Service restaurants to try at EPCOT.
However, there’s something to be said for the convenience of Connections Eatery!