You may have run right by it dozens of times in a rush to get those all-important Soarin’ Fast Passes or en route to World Showcase for something more exotic.
But if you’re starving (or have picky, non-experimental eaters to feed), that neon sign over the Electric Umbrella in Epcot can be a very welcome sight.
But should you keep walking? Or is there anything of interest here? It had been a while since we had last taken in a lunch at the Future World counter service stop, so I thought it was time to pop in and see if I could find anything new! (Oh, and please forgive any fuzzy pictures; I was using a new camera lens and I couldn’t quite get the hang of it! ;-D)
Located adjacent to both the Innoventions Fountains and Mouse Gear, you can’t miss this restaurant. It anchors the plaza in Epcot’s Future World to the left, as you peer toward World Showcase.
There is a ton of shaded seating here, so finding a table and a place to take a break is rarely a problem. And inside, you’ll find a fun, futuristic, neon-weather vibe. This is early Epcot at its best, IMHO.
And of course, true to the name of the restaurant, you’ll find “electric umbrellas” in bright, primary colors lighting up the inside. (If you are a late 70′s early 80′s baby, you are required to love this.)
Now, should you seek seating that’s a bit quieter than that outside or underneath the giant umbrellas, here’s a feature that many people don’t even know about: there’s an upstairs area in the Electric Umbrella, too! Head up here to find quieter quarters and smaller crowds.
The ordering area here is pretty standard. There are no computerized kiosks, and cashiers still take your order in the “old-fashioned” way. After that, you proceed up to the counter for food pick-up.
I had heard that there were a few “more interesting” choices on the menu here than I remembered, so we were definitely anxious to check it out.
This at-a-glance menu showed us everything offered here; and for a small menu, there is a good amount of variety. You’ve even got some good Kids’ Picks. (More about those in a bit.)
While you’ll find a couple of burgers anchoring the menu, they’re a little something different from your standard options. Slightly less generic Kids’ Pick offerings include a Chicken Wrap and a Vegetable Flatbread.
We’ve also heard pretty good things about the Meatball Sub.
On the second menu, the adult’s Vegetable Flatbread was a unique offering that caught my eye. After several days of snacking my way around the World at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, this lighter option held some definite appeal.
The campaign for healthier kid food is definitely in place, as the Kids’ Picks details continue to highlight the healthy options, like carrots and grapes as sides, and water, milk, or juice for beverages displayed more prominently. “Treat” foods like fries and soft drinks are in smaller type, and are “available upon request.”
In an effort to keep us grown-ups healthy, too, the adult entrees here offer the option of grapes instead of french fries as a side item for some of the menu items.
Since we were visiting during the run-up to Halloween, our beverage came in this fun Halloween cup.
Soft Drinks are self-serve here, so feel free to get that refill!
Since it had already piqued my interest, I decided to try the Vegetable Flatbread. In lieu of tomato, the sauce here is made with roasted red peppers, which gave it a bit of a kick!
Topped with diced and sauteed red onion, zucchini, and eggplant, this was really colorful! And although the yogurt dressing was a nice garnish, I could have done with a little cheese — and without the sprinkle of cilantro.
While a little bare, it’s still a nicely-sized, flavorful, and not-too-filling vegetarian option. It’s perfect for those really hot Orlando days!
At the polar opposite of my veggie flatbread was the enormous Mushroom and Swiss Cheeseburger. This one is another foray into the Disney gourmet burger scene.
Notice the distinct lack of grapes here.
There is a WHOLE lot goin’ on here. 1/3-pound Angus beef patty is layered with Swiss cheese, bacon, sauteed mushrooms, and a huge-ish fried onion ring.
And I have to say — it was pretty delicious. While the meat was a little more cooked than I would have liked, that’s to be expected in a counter service spot. But the toppings were all delicious and generous.
And while $10+ may seem a little steep, you’re getting a lot for your dough and this could easily be shared.
We wanted a little something sweet as well, and I figured it was time for me to start ordering those little, prepackaged desserts. I never, ever get them, but I’d heard good things about the Strawberry Cheesecake and wanted to check it out.
We weren’t caught off-guard by the fact that this isn’t really what you think of as cheesecake, since normally, cheesecake comes in a slice, not a cup. And this is the same bowl o’ cheesecake that can be found at other spots around the resort.
But digging in, I found that it had a creamy consistency and just the right amount of strawberry flavor. That little swirl of strawberry gel added a little extra fruit sweetness and color, and was a nice touch. The graham cracker crust wasn’t crisp, but definitely offered a nice texture and flavor to the dish.
And here’s a fun new-to-me find! For those of you who have been eating french fries with strawberry milkshakes all your lives, I wish you’d let the rest of us in on the secret! When I took a bite of strawberry cheesecake and then a bite of french fry — I was blown away!!! Sounds gross, I know…but it was awesome!
OK, guys, I’ll be honest with you. I had been avoiding Electric Umbrella. There are so many other delicious restaurants in Epcot…why would I waste time with this one?
Well, I’ll say it. I was wrong. I actually really, REALLY enjoyed my meal here, and the opportunity to just sit and people watch from seating both indoors and outdoors was much appreciated after a long day in Epcot.
The food was very good, the cast members were great, and…well…this is original Epcot awesomeness. You’ve gotta respect. I’m actually looking forward to my next Electric Umbrella visit…how about that!
Do you have a favorite selection at Electric Umbrella? Let us know!