Disney Brings Back an Epcot Tradition

The holidays are going to start to feel more normal with this festival’s return.

Disney’s  (DIS) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report Epcot at Disney World in Orlando has a long history of celebrating the winter holidays, dating back to its first Holidays Around the World celebration in 1996.

That first year of Holidays Around the World began as a small event with food and beverage offerings and some holiday entertainment from around the world, according to FloridaSmart.com. It also featured a Candlelight Processional that had moved from Disney World’s Magic Kingdom to Epcot in 1994.

The holiday celebration began to grow at the theme park and it changed the event’s name to Epcot International Festival of the Holidays in 2016.

Fun holiday festivities return again to the park as the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays begins on Nov. 25 with a variety of activities such as storytellers, holiday kitchens, a Holiday Cookie Stroll and Joyful! A Celebration of the Season, which features gospel, R&B and holiday songs performed by the Joyful vocal ensemble.


A Joyful Celebration

Joyful! A Celebration will be held at the World Showcase Plaza in multiple performances each day at 2:40 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 4:50 p.m. and 6:10 p.m. The performances will celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa from until Dec. 30. 

Holiday storytellers and other performers will be found at the World Showcase throughout the holiday season, featuring different holiday wonders and stories. Park goers can enjoy different holiday treats from around the globe and cookies during the Holiday Cookie Stroll. After purchasing five cookies and collecting passport stamps for the event, participants can receive a special treat. The special treat can be picked up at Holiday Sweets & Treats. 

After a two-year hiatus, the Candlelight Processional at Epcot is making its return. The event will tell the Christmas story, the biblical tale of Bethlehem and have music provided by a live full orchestra and the a cappella group, Voices of Liberty at the America Garden Theater. Guests who want to attend will require Epcot admission. 

Narrators are lined up to voice the Candlelight Processional at Epcot including stars such as Josh Gad, Simi Liu, Edward James Olmos, Raul Esparza, Whoopi Goldberg, Isabella Rossellini, Daymond John, Gloria Estefan, Neil Patrick Harris, Cal Ripken Jr., Marie Osmond, Courtney Vance, and Angela Bassett. While the lineup of exact dates of narrators is subject to change, Disney fans can agree that is a pretty exciting list.

Disney offers ways to make attending the Candlelight Processional even more of an event with Candlelight Processional Dining Packages. The event takes about 40 minutes and runs three times each evening at 5:15 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. inside the American Adventure Pavilion. The package includes an appetizer, entrée, dessert, and a non-alcoholic beverage and reserved seating for the event. 

It’s Free, But It’s Gonna Cost You

Since the Candlelight Processional is a free event, the best way to secure a seat for the date and time you want to attend, is to get the dining package. The package prices start around $52 for adults and $23 for children. Reservations for dinner are currently being accepted.

Arriving a minimum of 40-45 minutes has been the best to get good seats, but for really popular narrators, attendees may want to show up sooner. 

Some guests who are unfamiliar with the magic of this event, may think that waiting in line for an hour plus for the event seems like a ‘big ask’ when they only have so much time on their vacation.

If you aren’t as interested in seeing the show, you could also sit outside the theater, grab a snack and just listen to the performance and narration. Using your imagination for the show, when it saves you an hour-plus waiting in line isn’t a terrible thing.

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