The Cronut Has Returned.

It’s been about a month since we were burned by our enthusiasm for the return of BeaverTails at EPCOT, only to be devastated when Walt Disney World (probably) realized they couldn’t just unilaterally bring back another company’s protected trademarked. So let’s hope the second time’s the charm for WDW fans who are passionate pastry people!

Walt Disney World has announced that the Croissant Doughnut has made its triumphant return to EPCOT today as a new menu addition at Connections Cafe & Eatery. Known informally as the Cronut, this was a fan-favorite snack crawl dessert at EPCOT for several years before it disappeared.

The cherished Cronut hasn’t been gone nearly as long as the beloved BeaverTail. Whereas the latter has been missing for nearly two decades, the Cronut craze is currently celebrating its 10th year. Honestly, I can’t believe it’s been that long–I remember back when these delicious desserts became all the rage; 2013 doesn’t feel like it was 10 years ago!

We’ve already shared all of the pertinent details about the Cronut’s return. For anyone who wants to know more for whatever reason, let’s start with a brief history of the Cronut at Walt Disney World. The glorified doughnut first appeared at Refreshment Port with a couple of different varieties (including my personal favorite, topped with a swirl of soft-serve ice cream). After a couple of years, it largely disappeared from the Refreshment Port menu, often displaced by seasonal poutines for the various EPCOT festival.

The Cronut then popped up at Taste Track, which was a food truck in Future World near Cool Wash that operated during the summer tourist season and had special menus for the EPCOT festivals. Back during the 2018 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, it debuted the all Cronut menu pictured below.

Well, technically not all Cronut. That drink in the middle was a Pancake Milkshake. Not that you care about something that happened 5 years ago or a menu from which you can’t order now, but at the time, the options were a Croissant Doughnut with Cinnamon Sugar, Chocolate & Marshmallows, Chocolate Hazelnut Cream, or Sprinkles for $6.50 each. You could also add a scoop of gelato (Chocolate, Hazelnut, White Chocolate Raspberry or Vanilla Bean) for another $2. Ah, simpler times!

Taste Track was retired at the start of the EPCOT overhaul, and eventually replaced by the kiosk that’s currently home to the Fry Basket. Although that menu sucks (sorry not sorry), it’s far more ambitious during other EPCOT festivals–especially Flower & Garden–so we can’t really complain too much!

Once the Cronut menu vanished from Taste Track, the phenomenal pastry once again reappeared briefly at Electric Umbrella, before that also closed. That was the last anyone has seen of the delicious dessert, meaning it’s been absent for about 4 years at this point.

It’s a bit fitting that it would resurface in the same location where it was last seen, and right after a different fan-favorite pastry was teased for the 2023 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival. Although the Cronut is no BeaverTail, it’s still pretty delicious!

Also fitting is that Walt Disney World was going to roll out their version of a trademarked pastry–only to realize at the last minute that they couldn’t do that–with another instance of the same.

The key difference here is that Walt Disney World knew from the get-go that “Cronut” is trademarked, and the original creator of the pastry was quite litigious. Consequently, they’ve always used the descriptive term “croissant doughnut” for the dish. (Had they named it “Rodent Bread” in the first place, we could be enjoying generic beaver tails right now!)

In case you’re unfamiliar with cronuts, they are the beautiful marriage of croissants and doughnuts (hence the name) and were part of a huge craze for about 5 or so years since the concept was pioneered in New York.

At their best, cronuts are at once crunchy, doughy, and flaky, embodying all of the best qualities of croissants and doughnuts. If you get one that has been sitting around too long, there’s an emphasis on the crunchiness. The standard cronut at Walt Disney World is coated with cinnamon sugar, and is similar to a churro, but superior in every way. This is a good introduction to the wonderful world of cronuts.

Previously, my absolute favorite Cronut was the ‘chocolate hazelnut cream’ variety. Ironically, this is Walt Disney World menu code for Nutella (another trademark usage issue…or perhaps Disney uses the off-brand because they can’t afford the real stuff?), they just don’t spell it out. Nutella works fantastically with the cronut–even better than ice cream.

The quality of the cronuts very much depends upon how long ago they were made. Connections Cafe & Eatery is incredibly busy most of the day, so I’m hoping that won’t be an option for most guests grabbing a Cronut. However, on an off-season weeknight, you might get one that has been sitting around too long, which might cause you to question why the heck we spoke so highly of this hockey puck-like snack.

On a totally unrelated and belated note, Connections Cafe & Eatery increased the portion size of their pizza. This actually happened a few months ago, but I’ve kept forgetting to provide an update on it.

In any case, the crust got a bit thinner, the side was removed, and the portion of pizza approximately doubled–two slices instead of one. I’ve had the pizza a few times since (it’s an easy option late at night while waiting to be called for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind–or eating after riding), and my take is that it’s actually better than before. Pretty rare for Walt Disney World to improve dishes after a new menu drops–usually the opposite happens!

Ultimately, we’re incredibly pleased to see the Cronut return to EPCOT. Connections Cafe & Eatery is the perfect place for this, and my hope is that it’ll be possible to watch Cast Members prepare them in the on-stage kitchen.

My other hope is that this will become the new flagship dessert of Connections Cafe, replacing the Liege Waffle. (I know that has its fans, but I’m not one of them.) It’d be great to have a variety of different Cronut options, or at the very least, a new limited time option for each EPCOT festival.

With Dreamers Point set to open right next door to Connections Cafe & Eatery sometime in the next several months or decade, I can think of no better tribute to the man and mouse who started it all than a bunch of decadent desserts with crazy toppings.

A whole menu of Cronuts is really what Walt would’ve wanted, and he’s been rolling over in his grave hard since the Cronut disappeared. (Increased seismic activity due to said grave-rolling is actually why it’s taking so long to fill in the Giant EPCOT Dirt Pit™️!) As every true fan knows, Walt Disney was talking about Cronuts when he famously said, “if you can dream it, you can do it.”

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What do you think of the Cronut returning to EPCOT? Is the reappearance of the croissant doughnut at Connections Cafe & Eatery a suitable consolation prize for missing out on the BeaverTail? Should Walt Disney World simply pull a similar move, and introduce rodent bread topped with chocolate hazelnut spread at Refreshment Port? Have you tried any of the past Cronuts at EPCOT? What did you think of them? Do you long for a great big beautiful tomorrow with many different cronuts offered permanently at EPCOT? Questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

12 Responses to “The Cronut Has Returned.”
  1. Mercy October 2, 2023
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    • Tom Bricker August 16, 2023

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