The holidays have arrived at Walt Disney World and the parks have “decked the halls” with a full lineup up festive cheer. One of the most unique holiday celebrations at any theme park is the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. This eclectic festival features holiday traditions from 11 countries in World Showcase. Here guests can enjoy seasonal food and beverages, lively holiday music, and theatrical performances demonstrating holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays takes place from November 29 to December 30, 2019. Admission to the festival is included in the cost of your park ticket, but food and beverage from the Holiday Kitchens may be purchased at an additional cost.
One of the most popular aspects of the International Festival of the Holidays (and any Epcot festival, really) is the Holiday Kitchens serving regional holiday dishes from different world cultures. This year features 13 kitchens with holiday favorites from countries like South America, Japan, Germany, and Italy. With some familiar holiday dishes and some that may be new to most guests, there’s something to please everyone. If holiday sweets are your thing, then make sure you take the Holiday Cookie Stroll where you can try five festive cookies and earn a special sixth one for all your hard work! Kitchens are open daily during the festival from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
To read about everything served this year, check out our full Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Kitchens Guide.
Guests visiting the festival have access to a number of live performances, special for the holidays including a meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus! At “JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season”, a talented vocal ensemble treats guests to the joy of Christmas and Kwanzaa through Gospel, R&B and holiday songs. And in the American Adventure pavilion, The Voices of Liberty perform beautiful classic holiday medleys. In addition to these performances, guests also enjoy storytelling presentations highlighting different holiday celebrations from various cultures in World Showcase. These performances are often led by an actor portraying an important holiday figure and the stories are fun, well-acted and give you an interesting look at holidays around the world. Performances occur on small stages at the entrance to each pavilion. Check park Times Guide for performance times.
- Mexico: Las Posadas Celebration: Feliz Navidad! Join the fun and pageantry of Las Posadas with dancers, piñatas and the music of Mariachi Cobre.
- Norway: A Mischievous Magical Barn Santa: Celebrate the season with laughter as a mischievous Barn Santa visits Sigrid, an unsuspecting Christmas storyteller.
- China: Chinese Lion Dancer: Catch a glimpse of this colorful performance that brings good fortune and happiness in the Lunar New Year.
- Germany: Chilli Da Mur: Join as this accomplished German vocal group celebrates the season with folk music, pop, and original songs.
- Italy: La Befana: Listen to the tale of La Befana, a kind-hearted witch who visits sleeping children on the eve of the Epiphany.
- The American Adventure: Santa and Mrs. Claus: Enjoy a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, who have slipped away from their workshop at the North Pole to bring good cheer to you this holiday season.
- Japan: Daruma Storyteller: Hear the fascinating story of the Daruma doll and the Japanese customs of the New Year!
- Morocco: Festivity in Morocco: Join in as a lively band recreates the fun of street festivals and the holiday season across Morocco.
- Between France & Morocco: Hanukkah Storyteller: Join the storyteller Zachary as he shares legends, tells tales and sings songs, highlighting Hanukkah celebrations throughout the world.
- France: Père Noël: Visit with Père Noël and rediscover the magic of Christmas through the letter of a delightful child.
- United Kingdom: Father Christmas: Join Father Christmas as he rings in the season, sharing the traditions of the United Kingdom and good cheer.
- Canada: Canadian Holiday Voyageurs: Explore holiday customs from across the vast regions of Canada on a musical tour of the Great White North.
One of the most popular holiday offerings at Epcot is the Candlelight Processional performance. This star-studded event features a 50 piece orchestra and mass choir accompanying a chosen celebrity as they tell the traditional story of Christmas. On nights during the festival, a celebrity narrator reads the biblical tale of the first Christmas with seasonal orchestral performances woven throughout. This is one of Walt Disney World’s most beloved holiday traditions and can become crowded with certain narrators. There are three performances nightly at 5:00 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:15 pm so the Professor recommends trying the earliest shows for lower crowds. This year’s lineup of narrators are:
- Ming-Na Wen
- November 29 through December 1
- Neil Patrick Harris
- December 2 through December 5
- Whoopi Goldberg
- December 6 and 7
- Isabella Rossellini
- December 8 through 10
- Chita Rivera
- December 11 through 12
- Gary Sinise
- December 13 through 15
- Pat Sajak
- December 16 through 18
- Warwick Davis
- December 19 through 21
- Steven Curtis Chapman
- December 22 through 24
- Edward James Olmos
- December 25 and 26
- Marlee Matlin
- December 27 and 28
- Lisa Ling
- December 29 and 30
Guests wishing to add extra magic to their Candlelight Processional experience and guarantee a good view can book a special dining package that includes a meal at one of a selection of Epcot Table Service locations and a reserved seat for the show. Each meal includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert or one full buffet (where applicable), along with a non-alcoholic beverage and is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pricing varies by location and mealtime.
Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree
If you’re looking to add a little extra fun to your holiday festival and want a little challenge, then check out Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree scavenger hunt! Guests can assist the mischevious chipmunk pair as they try to collect ornaments for their Christmas tree. Guests can purchase a map and stickers from select merchandise locations, including Pin Central, Disney Traders and World Traveler at International Gateway. As you travel around World Showcase, be on the lookout for Chip & Dale as they gather ornaments from holiday decorations in each pavilion. Once you spot them, add the corresponding ornament sticker to your map. Then, take your completed map to Disney Traders or World Traveler and exchange it for a festive surprise, courtesy of Chip & Dale! Maps are $6.99 plus tax and are available throughout Epcot while supplies last.
Of course, Disney wouldn’t forget about the merchandise and this year guests can purchase special holiday items just for the festival. Holiday souvenirs, apparel, and accessories can be purchased at Mousegear and the Holiday Market stops scattered throughout World Showcase. There are also some special items for Annual Passholders featuring Chip & Dale. Holiday Markets can be found in the following areas:
- The American Adventure
- Canada: Northwest Mercantile
- France: Plum et Palette and La Signature
- Germany: Der Teddy Bear and Die Weihnachts Ecke
- Italy: Il Bel Cristallo
- Mexico: Plaza de Los Amigos
- Norway: The Fjording
- Outpost: Reinhard Herzog
- United Kingdom: Tea Caddy
If you need help planning your perfect holiday escape, contact our friends at Key to the World Travel® for a free, no-obligation quote for your next trip. Click here.
Photos Courtesy Disney