Is Epcot the center of all things holiday at Walt Disney World? Absolutely! It’s the festival center now isn’t it? The holiday season is celebrated in unique ways across the world and Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays is where you get a glimpse into international holiday traditions! Beginning November 18th and running until New Year’s, it’s a wonderful time for gourmands, cultralists, and historians alike. There is something for everyone! Let’s dive into the festivities!
A Yuletide Extravaganza! Tell Me More!
Anytime the word extravaganza is used, count me in! For Festival of the Holidays, the World Showcase is transformed into a joyous holiday celebration. Within each of the 11 countries you’ll encounter a holiday storyteller ranging from Saint Nicholas to a mischievous Christmas elf. A DVC Duo favorite is the Canadian storyteller, Santa in flannel, need we say more! Grab a snack and drink from one of many holiday kitchens scattered around the pavilions and enjoy the 10 to 15 minute shows!
You heard it right, holiday kitchens. Rumor has it that Disney is expanding the the number of food booths and offerings in the World Showcase. Thanks to Jeremy at Main Street Magic, we learned that one of the booths will feature housemade pastrami and matzo ball soup. Yummy! We’ll definitely be trying that out!
Passholder Insight: The storytellers go on multiple times during both the day and night, so make sure to check the My Disney Experience App for the exact times. If you want to go old school like us, grab one of the park fliers on your way in. We find it easier to find the times – with this approach and remember, please recycle!
What’s the Holiday without Music?
If you’re looking for some holiday music head over to the stage in front of the giant fountain in the center of Future World. Believe it or not, it’s appropriately named the Future World Fountain Stage. Performing at a variety of times during the day you’ll find Joyful! A Celebration of the Season, a gospel/R&B group singing Christmas, Kwanzaa, and other holiday songs. Be forewarned you may walk away not feeling so great about your own singing voice. Yeah, they’re that impressive!
They’re at again! Those Crazy Chipmunks!
Chip and Dale are on a hunt for ornaments to decorate their Christmas tree, do you want to help? Join Chip and Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree and hunt for ornaments hidden within the different World Showcase pavilions. The scavenger hunt is a great way to explore the countries while the little ones (and little ones in heart…Serena!) are entertained. At a variety of locations you can purchase maps and stickers for $6.99 plus tax. Once you’ve completed your map, you can take back to any of the locations that sell maps for a holiday prize!
Passholder Insights: You don’t have to purchase a map to partake in the scavenger hunt. We usually grab a glass of wine/beer and wander around the World Showcase taking pictures of the “ornaments”.
The Candlelight Processional
The centerpiece of Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays is the Candlelight Processional in the America Pavilion. Starting on Thanksgiving Day (November 22nd) a 50 piece orchestra, full choir, and guest narrator tell the story of Christmas. The choir consists of both Disney cast members and local high school choirs from around Florida. Depending on what night you see the show you’ll get a different famous narrator. For the full list of narrators check out the following link. Each of the narrator’s puts their own little spin on the telling of the Christmas story. The show is presented 3 times a night and runs until December 30th.
My words will not do this justice. My family and I have been doing it for about 20 years now and now we do it with Serena in tow. It’s a sure way to get eveyone, even Scrooge, in the holiday spirit! You can’t help but get goosebumps when those choirs start singing “O Come All Ye Faithful!” Happy Holidays!
Passholder Insight: The show is very popular and we recommend lining up early for it as the sitting is limited. You may have to wait through one show to get in to the next. If you’re ok with standing, we’ve have stood in the back to watch. Standing is great way to see the show without having to wait in the line. We recommend finding a standing spot at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the show.
The Candlelight Processional – Dinner Package
Wondering if you can reserve a seat for the Candlelight Processional? Yes you can with the dinner package. The dinner package consists of your meal at any of the countries’ sit down restaurants and select restaurants around the Boardwalk Area Resorts and the rest of Epcot. The meal includes one appetizer, one entree, one dessert and a non-alcoholic drink per ticket. Ticket pricing will vary based on the restaurant and whether you go with lunch or dinner.
Passholder Insight: The Dinner Package is a great way to see the show. We’ve done the math and if you plan on having a sit down dinner that night, the cost of the package is almost equal. It’s a no brainer for us. Please note that the dining plan will not cover the cost of the dinner package.
Of Course There’s Fireworks!
Capping off each night at Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays is Illuminations, Reflections of Earth. It will be Illuminations last year as part of the event. Beyond the regular show, there is a fun festive holiday finale!
Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays is one of our favorites for the holiday season. Tons of great things to see, try, and experience!