Italy has the most expensive cuisine of any booth at the 2023 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.
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 2023 menu for the Italy food booth:
Cavatelli with Sweet Sausage Ragout and Crispy Applewood-Smoked Bacon (NEW)
Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Vanilla Cream and Strawberry Compote (NEW)
Italian Sangria Red or White
Italian Margarita with Tequila and Limoncello
Pictured above is over $35 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. Nevertheless, we used to buy it all knowing it’d all be awful, and write a scathing review.
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. The cuisine has bad every single festival and every single year since we started doing this in 2011. Maybe 2023 will be the year that finally changes. Probably not. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
With that said, here’s a look at the food from the last time we reviewed the Italy booth…
Mezzelune Croccanti ($12) – These are described on the menu as “Crispy Half-moon Breaded Mozzarella-filled Ravioli with Pomodoro Sauce.” In reality, they taste vaguely like overcooked mozzarella sticks served at a public elementary school lunch.
Actually, that might be a bit harsh on school lunches. At least those would have a generous amount of cheese. These were dense, tough, and had barely any cheese–or any flavor, for that matter. If someone told me the exterior was 50% cardboard and the interior was 50% rubber, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. Easily one of the worst dishes at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Even more “impressive” that they’re also among the most expensive. I honestly wouldn’t recommend this if the price were $1. Stay far, far away.
Grilled Chicken Ravioli ($13) – 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 $13. That’s not a typo, these are thirteen dollars. If these were $4-5, we’d recommend them. They’re a no-go for this price.
Bomboloni ($11.00) – These are described as “Cream-filled Italian Doughnut with Raspberry Sauce and Powdered Sugar.” I swear the Italy booth has done these before for another event, but I can’t find the details in my archives.
Although the price might suggest otherwise, there’s nothing particularly special about the Bomboloni. They’re basically mini-doughnuts. Ours tasted freshly prepared and doughy-but-airy with a good flavor. They’re not exactly deserving of praise (see the price), but also not deserving of condemnation.
Ultimately, I don’t really know what to say. What you saw above was $36 worth of food that, from my perspective, was worth less than $10. The menu and its prices are plainly visible, and yet we waited in a 20 minute line for the Italy booth. Even if I didn’t have the benefit of reading a review before lining up, there’s no way on earth I would’ve paid those prices (but for needing to do this review) after walking by and looking at the menu.
The point is that people don’t really care or heed the countless words of warning about the Italy booth. 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. There are a couple of mediocre dishes, which is good by Italy standards, but bad once you look at the prices. We know most of you will ignore us, but we would strongly recommend that you save your time and money and skip the Italy booth.
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!