The festive bells are ringing, and EPCOT is gearing up to welcome its International Festival of the Holidays. With a rich blend of traditions, entertainment, savory dishes, and exclusive merchandise, the stage is set for an unforgettable holiday experience.
EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional: A Star-Studded Christmas Ensemble
In the heart of EPCOT, where festive spirit intertwines with global traditions, the Candlelight Processional stands out as a beacon of Christmas magic. This annual event, replete with carols and the enchanting narration of the Christmas story, is elevated by its distinguished line-up of celebrity narrators. Each brings its own unique flair, ensuring that the Christmas story resonates with every guest.
2023’s Illustrious Narrators Lighting Up the Festive Stage:
- Chrissy Metz (NEW): Kicking off the season on Nov. 24-25, Chrissy’s emotive narration promises to transport listeners straight to Bethlehem.
- Luis Fonsi (NEW): On Nov. 26-27, experience the Christmas story through the passionate voice of the Latin sensation.
- Ann-Margret (NEW): Gracefully narrating from Nov. 28-29, Ann-Margret’s iconic voice is sure to weave a spellbinding tale.
- Simu Liu: Join the Marvel star from Nov. 30-Dec. 2 as he brings the age-old tale to life.
- John Stamos: EPCOT will be graced by the charm of John Stamos from Dec. 3-5, promising nights of heartfelt storytelling.
- Neil Patrick Harris: The multi-talented Neil will dazzle audiences with his narration from Dec. 6-8.
- Marlee Matlin: Experience the biblical tale through the profound expressiveness of Marlee from Dec. 9-11.
- Brendan Fraser (NEW): Dive into the Christmas spirit with Brendan’s evocative narration from Dec. 12-14.
- Eva Longoria (NEW): The vivacious Eva takes the stage on Dec. 15-16, sure to captivate all in attendance.
- Joey McIntyre (NEW): Relive the timeless tale with Joey’s charismatic narration from Dec. 17-18.
- Sterling K. Brown (NEW): Feel the profound depth of the Christmas story with Sterling from Dec. 19-20.
- Jordan Fisher (NEW): Engage in the festive narrative with Jordan’s melodious voice from Dec. 21-23.
- Steven Curtis Chapman: Celebrate the peak of the festive season as Steven narrates the revered story from Dec. 24-26.
- Audra McDonald (NEW): The spellbinding Audra is set to enchant audiences from Dec. 27-28.
- Lisa Ling: As the year draws to a close, join Lisa on Dec. 29-30 for a mesmerizing rendition of the Christmas narrative.
This stellar ensemble, a blend of new and returning voices, is bound to make the 2023 Candlelight Processional a memorable celebration of the true spirit of Christmas at EPCOT.
Special Tip: The Candlelight Processional Dining Packages open on October 17th. Secure your spot by choosing among seven distinctive dining experiences, from the charming Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Harvest Feast to the luxurious Le Cellier Steakhouse.
Santa’s Joyful Visit to the Odyssey Pavilion
From Nov. 24 to Dec. 24, the iconic Santa Claus graces EPCOT, ensuring merry moments and picturesque photo opportunities at the Odyssey Pavilion.
World Showcase: A Melting Pot of Traditions
The World Showcase at EPCOT is a vibrant tapestry of cultures, each pavilion offering its own unique take on holiday celebrations. Let’s embark on a journey around the world and explore the myriad of traditions that come alive during the festival:
- Norway Pavilion: Revel in the antics of the playful Barn Santa. This mischievous figure from Norwegian folklore brings an air of fun and light-heartedness to the festivities.
- China Pavilion: Marvel at the Chinese Lion Dancer as they commemorate the Lunar New Year. This traditional dance, known for its vibrant colors and rhythmic movements, symbolizes power, wisdom, and good fortune.
- Mexico Pavilion: Dive into the spirit of ‘Las Posadas,’ a nine-night celebration filled with music, food, and the reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
- Germany Pavilion: Listen to stories of the first Christmas tree and indulge in the warmth of ‘Gluhwein,’ a traditional hot spiced wine.
- Italy Pavilion: Learn about ‘La Befana,’ the kind-hearted witch who brings gifts to children on the eve of the Epiphany.
- The American Adventure: Experience the diversity of American holiday traditions, from Christmas to Hanukkah to Kwanzaa, as well as the melodic renditions by the Voices of Liberty.
- Japan Pavilion: Discover the ‘Oshogatsu’ tradition, a significant New Year’s celebration in Japan, marked by joyous ceremonies, traditional foods, and the ringing of bells.
- Morocco Pavilion: Explore the festival of ‘Ashura,’ celebrated with music, fasting, and the giving of gifts.
- France Pavilion: Be enchanted by the tales of Pere Noel as he narrates the sweet words from a child’s letter, shedding light on the magic of Christmas in France.
- United Kingdom Pavilion: Revel in the tales of Father Christmas, dating back to the times of old England.
- Canada Pavilion: Experience the age-old customs of the Great White North, from the sound of carolers echoing through the streets to the stories of holiday traditions passed down through generations.
Each pavilion not only brings forward its unique tales but is also adorned with festive décor that aligns with the traditions of the respective country. As visitors walk through the park, the true essence of global celebration during the holiday season becomes evident, making it a cherished experience for all.
Remember, these are just the highlights of what each pavilion offers. The full experience includes food, music, entertainment, and heartwarming tales told by storytellers who truly bring these traditions to life.
Culinary Delights: From Holiday Kitchens to Cookie Strolls
The essence of the holidays often lies in delightful feasts. At EPCOT, over 15 Holiday Kitchens tantalize your taste buds. While classics like Slow Roasted Turkey remain, there’s a surprise at every corner.
The Holiday Cookie Stroll is an irresistible affair! Travel through the festival, savoring cookies, collecting stamps, and culminating the journey with a specialty cookie treat.
Olaf’s Expedition: An Icy Scavenger Hunt
Join Olaf in a fun-filled scavenger hunt across the World Showcase. Embark on a quest to discover traditions and earn yourself a special festival keepsake.
Festival Merchandise: Treasures of the Season
EPCOT offers an array of exclusive merchandise to encapsulate your holiday memories:
- Cozy up with the Festival of the Holidays Spirit Jersey with its plush shearling touch.
- The Cookie Stroll Cookie Jar is ideal for those festive treats.
- Sip your holiday drinks from the uniquely designed Festival of the Holidays Mug and CORKCICLE Tumbler.
EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays is a symphony of joy, traditions, and global cultures. From celebrity narrations to global tales, from savory kitchens to exclusive keepsakes, there’s something for everyone.
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Remember, in order to partake in the in-park offerings, you must have valid theme park admission and potentially a theme park reservation, depending on the specifics of your visit. Make sure to keep up with the Disney Parks Blog for updates leading up to the festival!
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