Connections Cafe and Eatery is the new quick-service hub in World Celebration at EPCOT. While Connections Cafe and Eatery are in the same building, we’ll be focusing on Connections Eatery – the quick-service location in the venue. Connections Cafe is EPCOT’s new Starbucks. In this Connections Eatery review, we’ll focus on the pizzas and salads section of the menu. In total, there are four pizzas and two salads. Connections Cafe & Eatery officially opens on April 27th, but has been open for soft-opening previews for a few days now. BlogMickey.com paid 100% for all food in this review.
For a review of the burgers and the chicken sandwich, check out our earlier review.
Connections Eatery Review
Connections Cafe is on the east side of the venue, facing the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction. There are two entrances to Connections Cafe from World Discovery, but everything is connected in this dining complex.
The theme is in the name – connections. The theme is mostly represented by a giant mural called “Global Gathering”. This piece of art depicts the heart of this restaurant – people from around the world gathering around food. It’s one of the largest murals Walt Disney Imagineering has ever created, and if you look closely, you’ll notice the scenes blend seamlessly from sunrise to sunset.
Three show kitchens are scattered around the venue. Two flanking the ordering counter for Connections Eatery and one in the Connections Cafe side of the location.
In addition to the idea of a connection to others through food, eagle-eyed guests can also find some nods to the history of EPCOT and Walt Disney!
There are three flooring inlays at Connections Cafe & Eatery that showcase the history of E.P.C.O.T. by paying homage to visuals seen in the 1967 EPCOT film.
Overall, we’re a bit torn on the Connections Cafe & Eatery venue. With a capacity of more than 1,700 people, the space is massive. For what it is, it’s wonderfully laid out. A kitchen sits in the middle of the building (behind the multicolor wall in the photo above), and each side offers floor-to-ceiling windows that bring natural light into space throughout the day, and at night the space turns into a colorful but calming venue.
However, we have to wonder if there could be a better use of the space. There used to be a variety of attractions and experiences in this building as recently as just a couple of years ago. While there will certainly be a collection of new experiences around Connections Cafe & Eatery such as Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind on one side and the World Celebration green spaces on the other, it’s hard to ignore just how large of a space this truly is. Space is at a premium within theme parks, so the fact that Disney chose to make this building entirely into a space for dining and coffee speaks volumes about what they think EPCOT needs.
Overall, the vibes are good. It’s a clean, minimalistic space that offers a variety of views depending on your tastes. You can find a busy walkway on the Connections Cafe side and a garden view on the Connections Eatery side. Right now, the space feels calming, but that might change once Cosmic Rewind opens and the masses are looking for a place to grab a slice of pizza or a burger.
The floor-to-ceiling windows do a wonderful job of connecting you to the theme park around you. Watching a monorail pass by while enjoying a meal truly is a wonderful way to spend your afternoon. While Connections Cafe & Eatery uses many of the same design choices as Creations Shop, the two really couldn’t be more different in execution. We will be stopping in at Connections Eatery a lot in the future.
Pizzas and Salads Menu
After taking a look at everything on offer for the sandwiches in an earlier review, we wanted to see how the pizzas and salads stacked up! We’ll get to the dessert and milkshakes in our third installment of this series.
Meatball Pizza – $10.99
Beef and Pork Meatballs, San Marzano Tomato and Basil Sauce, Cheese Blend, served with Mediterranean Side Salad
We’ll run down the menu starting at the top and the meatball pizza. If there’s room for improvement at Connections Cafe it lies in two areas: more chicken offerings and an ounce of inspiration in the pizzas. The meatball pizza is only slightly above uninspired. We were faced with two full meatballs (cut in half) and nothing stood out to us as exceptional and only slightly flavorful.
The nicest thing we could say about the meatballs is that they were a good portion size. We’ll spoil our cheese pizza review now and say that it only got a 2-star review. The meatball pizza gets a 2.5-star review because it would likely be impossible to add ingredients to a counter-service pizza and make it worse than a standard cheese pizza.
Five-Cheese Pizza – $10.49
San Marzano Tomato and Basil Sauce, Cheese Blend, served with Mediterranean Side Salad
If the BlogMickey cost of a meatball is a half star, the Disney World cost of a meatball is a half dollar. Don’t let the description fool you into thinking that you’re going to get something here that will blow you away. This is only slightly above a standard Disney cheese pizza (which would only garner a single star anyway). You can pass on this and not feel like you’re missing out in any way.
Pepperoni Pizza – $10.99
Pepperoni, San Marzano Tomato and Basil Sauce, Cheese Blend, served with Mediterranean Side Salad
Sticking with the concept of you can’t add an item and make it worse, we have the 3-star pepperoni pizza. While the meatball only produced a half-star bump, the pepperoni, which was crispy and plentiful, will get a full star addition over the 2-star cheese.
Curry Spice Pizza – $10.99
Tikka Masala, Carrot, Potato, Peas, Tomato, Plant-based Mozzarella, Lime “Yogurt”, served with Mediterranean Side Salad
Excitement. Flavor. Risk. We came into this review expecting very little from a plant-based pizza, but the Curry Spice Pizza really blew us away!
The earthy, slightly spicy Tikka Masala was balanced wonderfully with the lime “yogurt”. Everything here was fresh and colorful. We’ll definitely be ordering this again and the only reason we took off a half-star was for the early unmanageable crust. It was soft and completely unstructured, requiring a knife and fork to eat. If the kitchen can figure out a way to add some structure to this pizza, we have a surprising winner on our hands.
We’ll pause briefly here to highlight the side salad that comes with all the pizzas. We liked this petite side salad more than the “Mediterranean” salad that comes with the burgers, but we still think there is some room for improvement on the side salad front.
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
Speaking of winners, let’s keep the good eats rolling with the General Tso Chicken Salad. A massive portion of salad is topped with three of the best chicken tenders we’ve ever had – let alone at Disney World.
Earlier in this review, we talked about how Connections Cafe should lean in a bit more on their chicken dishes. This is a prime example of that. We loved what the kitchen did with the chicken sandwich in our earlier review, and the chefs outperformed expectations with this salad too. We’d love to see Disney offer more chicken dishes at Connections Eatery and allow the kitchen to run wild because even with misses in the burger and pizza department, the chicken did not disappoint.
Back to the review. We loved the slight spice from the General Tso’s dressing not only on the chicken but also on the salad beneath it. The rest of the buffet of ingredients serves one purpose – to keep things light and fresh, and they do a good job of it. The salad and ingredients below the chicken are refreshing, while the chicken serves as a welcome contrast that makes for a wonderful salad.
Niçoise-style Salad – $10.29
Crispy Mixed Greens, Wedged Potatoes, Tomatoes, Green Beans, Olives, White Beans, Dijon Vinaigrette (Plant-based)
Better than average, we didn’t completely enjoy everything in the bowl. The wedged potatoes were a bit odd for a salad from a texture perspective and we didn’t find that there were enough ingredients in the bowl to justify this salad over the General Tso Chicken Salad or even the Curry Spice Pizza if you wanted to stay plant-based. Not bad by any means, just different with the potential to underwhelm based on personal tastes.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!