Italy has the biggest food lineup of any booth at the 2020 Taste of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Oh joy. In this Walt Disney World dining review, we’ll look at the menu prices, share food photos, and offer thoughts on what is worth your money. Or in Italy’s case, what’s definitely not worth it.
Before we get to that, let’s begin with a brief synopsis of what’s happening with the 2020 Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. As you’re no doubt aware, Walt Disney World’s theme parks were closed for 4 months. Upon reopening, this event began–over a month before the full EPCOT Food & Wine Festival would typically start. In short, the Taste of EPCOT Food & Wine Festival is a truncated version of the full event.
Menus have been scaled back, fewer new items have debuted, and some dishes are holdovers from the Flower & Garden Festival. Walt Disney World has not officially announced when this event will end or how it might evolve as the phased reopening continues, but there are signs that it’ll be expanded. Consequently, we’re updating our menus & reviews to reflect what’s currently available–but note that this is all subject to change. Additional items might be added and others removed. Stay tuned for more EPCOT updates!
A clear pattern has emerged when it comes to Italy’s booths at the various Epcot festivals: the kiosk is notorious for their prices, perplexing culinary choices, ambition (or lack thereof), and the fact that the menu changes completely for every single event, every single year. Reviews of the Italy booth are notoriously harsh, with reader comments suggesting far more enjoyment of the cuisine.
At Walt Disney Word, Italian cuisine is ubiquitous, undoubtedly because it’s a crowd-pleaser that appeals to a wide range of guests. Everyone loves butter, oil, and cheese, and throwing enough of those things at even unambitious or mediocre Italian food tends to offer comforting and familiar results. That’s the easiest way to explain why places like Tony’s Town Square, Mama Melrose, or this booth inexplicably garner positive guest feedback.
Realizing this, and fearing more hate mail, we’ve gone easier on Italy in the last couple of years. It hasn’t hurt that the booth itself has gone from a zero-effort venue where everything was cooked elsewhere, carted over, and reheated (no joke) to a booth that now prepares some food within the marketplace. Baby steps.
With that long-winded preface out of the way, let’s take a look at the 2020 menu for Italy:
- Margherita: Rustic Italian Flatbread with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese
- La Classica: Cheese Tortellini with Ricotta, Provolone, Fontina, Parmesan, Vodka Sauce, and Crispy Bacon
- Traditional Sicilian Cannoli: Crisp Pastry filled with Sweet Ricotta, Chocolate, and Candied Orange
- Peroni Nastro Azzurro Pilsner
- Pinot Grigio, Terre Di Bacco
- Chianti, Gabbiano
- Prosecco, Terre Di Bacco
- Moscato Fior d’Arancio, Batasiolo
- Rosa Regale, Banfi
- Italian White Sangria with Prosecco
- Italian Red Sangria with Cabernet Sauvignon
That’s over $20 worth of “food.” Multiply that times 4 festivals per year, times however many years we’ve been doing this, and we’ve spent…probably enough money to fund a 401(k) and retire from the Disney blogging game. And in a normal year, we would’ve bought it all knowing it’d all be awful, and written a scathing review. However, 2020 is anything but a normal year.
How does that saying go? “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me 37 times, shame on me.” In short, we aren’t buying this garbage again. It’s slightly different from what was served previously, so we’ll simply republish reviews of similar items…
Margherita Flatbread ($7.95) – Last time, the Italy booth’s public elementary school lunch dish was the Pollo Crispy Chicken, a pale imitator of Tyson chicken fingers.
This time, the proprietors of Primavera Kitchen headed down to Wal-Mart and grabbed a ton of Great Value brand Margherita pizzas. It’s as if someone tried at Disney said, “no one can do pizza worse than the Almost Pizza served at PizzeRizzo” and the Italy booth responded, “hold my Limoncello.” Don’t eat this.
La Classica -> Ravioli Carbonara ($8.50) – The Italy Global Marketplace is notorious for serving al dente pasta that tastes like it might’ve been prepared in a microwave. I mention that as context for this positive review, which found these reasonably well-prepared, savory, and creamy.
Calling them “good” might be a stretch, and this dish is not even remotely worth $8.50 (I’d say $4.00 would be a reasonable price).
Traditional Sicilian Cannoli ($4.95) – What you see is pretty much what you get here. This isn’t ambitious, freshly prepared, or deserving of praise, but it’s also not deserving of condemnation.
We think it’s too small for the price, but the same could be said for many other desserts at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Either way, we don’t recommend it.
Overall, I don’t really know what to say. This review isn’t nearly as harsh as it could’ve been, but that’s only because our expectations are so low for the Italy booth. Regardless of how much squandered potential Italy has, there’s only one abomination that doesn’t belong at a ‘foodie’ event, and a couple of things that are “only” mediocre. Either way, save your money and skip this booth.
Check out our Epcot Food & Wine Festival Booth Menus post if you want to see and read more about every menu this year. You’ll also want to read our full Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival Guide before you go to get an idea of what to do, strategy for the festival (yes, you will need a strategy), and much more!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of the Italy Global Marketplace? Do you think we’re going too harsh–or too easy–on Italy? Have you tried any of the food items at this booth? Any thoughts on these items? Portion-size or quality-wise, did you have better or worse luck than us with what you ordered? 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!