Mac & Cheese is a booth at the 2020 Taste of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival located inside the World ShowPlace between Canada and France. In this Walt Disney World dining review, we’ll share menu prices, food photos, and offer thoughts on what’s worth your money.
In our Desserts & Champagne Marketplace Review, we cover the fun history of World ShowPlace during Walt Disney World’s Millennium Celebration. Now let’s turn to how it’s used today. World ShowPlace has remained in place during the two decades following the end of the Millennium Celebration. Its 65,000 square-foot indoor space is now used for special events and is touted by Disney Meetings as one venue with “infinite possibilities” thanks to being the largest indoor special events spaces.
In a normal year, World ShowPlace would be busy during the fall with convention business, private functions, and up-charge offerings during Food & Wine Festival. These special events have been a huge growth area for Walt Disney World over the years, and are the same driving force behind Disney building Gran Destino Tower. That’s why this once-temporary structure is still standing and has never since been considered for new World Showcase nations. However, with Disney’s convention and special event calendar obliterated for (at least) the remainder of 2020, World ShowPlace is now being used as a festival center of sorts…
The Mac & Cheese marketplace is one of a handful of booths in World ShowPlace. It’s also one of a few with corporate sponsors, something that I often find groan-worthy as it means the unnecessary inclusion of almond milk into recipes or the booth selling overpriced plastic bags of tomatoes. Not so with Mac & Cheese, which is presented by Boursin Cheese–a logical and tasty fit for this booth.
After all, Boursin is a fine cheese that’s beloved at social gatherings in France (per Bousin, and since their corporate website says so, it must be a fact). It’s sophisticated stuff for discerning palates, not some swill like Babybel. Never mind the fact that they’re both made by Bel Brands USA (and also the reality that Babybel is a delicious guilty pleasure). But I digress!
The Mac & Cheese booth is essentially the spiritual successor to the Cheese Studio. It may not be so obvious on the face, as there’s zero menu overlap, but closer investigation reveals it to be true. First, both have “cheese” in the name. Second, both are sponsored by Boursin Cheese. That’s the smoking gun–maybe detective was my true calling, and not Disney blogger. Guess we’ll never know.
As its own thing, the Mac & Cheese booth would score high marks. As a replacement for a top 3 booth at last year’s Food & Wine Festival…not so much. I’d trade all of this for that glorious Maple Bourbon Cheesecake or even the Braised Beef Stroganoff. But again, I digress…
Anyway, on with the review, starting with the Mac & Cheese food and drink menus:
- Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese with Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese topped with Herbed Panko
- Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese with Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese Sauce topped with Carrots, Celery, and Blue Cheese Crumbles
- Lobster Macaroni and Cheese with Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese Sauce and Lobster Cream topped with Herbed Panko
- Macaroni and Cheese with House-made Italian Sausage and Peppers (Plant-based)
Mac & Cheese Beverages:
- Stiegl Brewery Radler Zitrone, Salzburg, Austria
- L’Ecole No. 41 Chenin Blanc Old Vines, Columbia Valley, WA
- Evolution by Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR
Now our photos and reviews of each item at the Mac & Cheese marketplace…
Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese ($5.50) – This mac & cheese is topped with Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese Sauce plus carrots, celery, and blue cheese crumbles.
I really wanted to love this–I’m a sucker for buffalo chicken mac & cheese. However, it was a bit dry and lacking in buffalo sauce. That should be relatively easy for Disney to remedy; if that happens, this one would catapult up the list as everything else about it is fantastic. As is, I’m tempted to bring my own sauce so I can order this again.
Macaroni and Cheese ($5.50) – This is the plant-based option, featuring with meatless house-made Italian “Sausage” and peppers.
This would rank as Sarah’s second-favorite mac & cheese and my third-favorite. The Italian “sausage” is fantastic, making for a hearty and satisfying dish here. It’s probably among the best dishes at the event if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
Lobster Macaroni and Cheese ($6.50) – This mac & cheese is topped with lobster chunks, plus Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese Sauce, lobster cream, and herbed panko.
This ranks as my second-favorite and Sarah’s third-favorite. Her primary complaint was that the lobster didn’t compare quality-wise to other restaurants around Walt Disney World. My response: “yeah, but there’s a lot of it!” You’re getting significantly more lobster than you would at a table service restaurant, and for around half the cost. All things considered, I was pretty impressed by this dish, and would order it again in a heartbeat.
Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese ($4.50) – This mac & cheese is topped with Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese plus herbed panko.
This is our unanimous #1 pick from the Mac & Cheese Marketplace. It’s also the cheapest item on the menu! It turns out that the simplest dish is the best, as this dish is befitting of its “gourmet” name. The removal of other ingredients allows the creaminess of the Boursin coupled with the texture of the herbed panko to really shine. It’s decadent and indulgent, truly an “adult” mac & cheese.
Ultimately, Mac & Cheese is the best booth at the 2020 Taste of Epcot Food & Wine Festival. That’s simultaneously high praise for this specific marketplace and an indictment of the event as a whole. As much as we love mac & cheese, it’s hardly the pinnacle of culinary ambitiousness, and not what you’d expect as the highlight of a “foodie” event.
On the other hand, some indulgent comfort food really hits the spot right about now, especially after a rough few months. Plus, I’d purchase every single one of these dishes again, and feel like I’m getting pretty good value for money in the process. I’m still hopeful that Cheese Studio makes a triumphant return with the full Epcot International Food & Wine Festival next year, but for now, this’ll do!
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!
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What do you think of the Mac & Cheese Marketplace? Have you tried any of the four food items at this booth? What did you think of them? What do you think of this booth? Does it live up to the quality of Cheese Studio, or is it an inferior replacement? 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!