While the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios have already started celebrating the holiday season with their special events, we are just two weeks away from the holiday festivities beginning at Epcot. Each year, Epcot celebrates in its own unique way, showing the global reach of Christmas (and other related holidays).
The premiere portion of Epcot’s celebrations is the Candlelight Processional. This incredibly beautiful performance includes a mass choir, a 50-piece orchestra, and a celebrity narrator who all combine in a gorgeous manner to share the story of Christmas. This year’s celebrity narrators include some favorites (Neil Patrick Harris…some day I will see you perform this) and some newbies (like Jonathan Groff, the voice of Kristoff from Frozen). Here is the full list of celebrity narrators:
- November 28 – 29: Jodi Benson
- November 30 – December 2: Neil Patrick Harris
- December 3 – 4: Jonathan Groff (NEW!)
- December 5 – 6: Whoopi Goldberg
- December 7 – 9: Levar Burton
- December 10 – 11: Edward James Olmos
- December 12 – 14: Joe Morton
- December 15 – 17: Chita Rivera
- December 18 – 20: Ana Gasteyer (NEW!)
- December 21 – 23: Marlee Matlin
- December 24 – 25: Isabella Rossellini
- December 26 – 27: Blair Underwood
- December 28 – 30: Steven Curtis Chapman
The Candlelight Processional takes place at the America Gardens Theatre at 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. (with the exception of December 7, when showtimes will be 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. only).
The other big part of Epcot’s holiday festivities are the Holidays Around the World. This is where guests can learn how other countries and cultures celebrate the season. This is really what the Epcot spirit is about.
The major part of Holidays Around the World feature special performers who come out and showcase each country’s traditions through things like song and storytelling. This year there will be three new experiences, one in Mexico, one in Morocco, and one in China.
In Mexico, guests will be able to experience “Fiesta de Navidad,” which will feature dancers and mariachis celebrating the holiday customs of the country. In Morocco, a new storyteller will share holiday traditions and festivals. Finally, in China, we’ll see the Chinese Lion Dance, which will take place to honor the Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival.
The other countries will feature returning favorites such as the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs sharing a musical tour through the customs of Canada; in France meet Père Noël; in Germany, hear from Helga who tells the story of the first Christmas tree and the tale of her first Nutcracker; in Italy, meet the witch La Befana who arrives on the eve of the Epiphany granting gifts to good children; in Japan, they share stories about the Daruma doll and customs of the New Year; Norway has guests learn about the Christmas Gnome from Sigrid; in the United Kingdom, guests can meet Father Christmas; and at the American Adventure Pavilion, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus (they are only available until December 24), learn about Kwanzaa and Hanukah, and enjoy the melodies of the Voices of Liberty Dickens Carolers.
For guests looking to try a little international flair, there’s the option to stop in each country and delight in different dishes and beverages from around the world with the Tastes Around The Globe. Special holiday dishes include:
- World Showcase Promenade: turkey waffle (a sweet potato waffle with roast turkey and green bean casserole)
- Canada Pavilion: pecan-maple bark
- United Kingdom Pavilion: hot applejack cider with whiskey and a blend of seasonal spices
- France Pavilion: bûche de noël au chocolate (chocolate cake shaped like a log) from Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie and gingerbread ice cream from L’Artisan des Glaces.
- Morocco Pavilion: honey walnut baklava from the Morocco Juice Bar
- Japan Pavilion: teriyaki chicken karaage, (crispy fried chicken bites with teriyaki sauce) at Kabuki Cafe
- American Adventure Pavilion: gingerbread men, chocolate chunk cookies and sugar cookies, hot chocolate, hot apple cider and peppermint bark at the Sugar and Spice Holiday Bakery
- Italy Pavilion: panettone, the sweet bread loaf, moscato wine, and ciocolata calda (hot chocolate)
- Germany Pavilion: stollen fruit cake and sip glühwein (hot spiced wine)
- China Pavilion: kaikouxiao (happy face fried cake) from The Joy of Tea kiosk
- Norway Pavilion: rice cream from Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe
- Mexico Pavilion: sweet tamales at La Catina de San Angel
Also returning to Epcot this year will be the group “Joyful! – A Gospel Celebration of the Season” which is a mix of gospel, R&B, urban, and jazz music. “Joyful!” will be performing on the Fountain Stage in Future World.
Finally, to round out the evening is a special version of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. During the holiday season, don’t miss the Holiday tag featuring the song, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
The holidays are a delight at Epcot and there is so much to see and do. But make sure you hurry, because you’ll only have from November 28 – December 30 to see it all!