Epcot is a great park that celebrates many different cultures year-round. However, the Festival of the Holidays, formerly Holidays Around the World, is a special opportunity to explore Holiday customs and traditions from around the globe. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays runs now through December 30 and immerses guests in the wondrous sights, sounds and flavors of the season. Read below to discover everything this newly expanded holiday festival has to offer.
7 – Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree
Chip and Dale are collecting ornaments for their Christmas tree. To get started, simply purchase a map and sticker book 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 and Dale as they gather ornaments from holiday decorations in each World Showcase pavilion. Once you spot them, add the corresponding ornament sticker to your map. Then, take your completed map to Disney Traders and exchange it for a festive surprise, courtesy of Chip and Dale!
6 – Holiday Kitchens
Over the past few years, Epcot has expanded its culinary holiday offerings during Holidays Around the World from single dishes to holiday kitchens with multiple choices of food and drink. This year, the number of holiday kitchens doubles in size to a total of 15, each bringing the flavors of the season to life. Kitchens are open daily now through December 30, 2017 from noon to 8:00 pm. New this year, you can indulge in cookies and desserts at the Cookie Nook located inside the Odyssey complex. Sweet treats include snowflake sugar cookies and a warm apple fritter with cinnamon ice cream and caramel sauce. We highly recommend stopping by the new Yukon Holiday Kitchen in the Canada. We really enjoyed the Maple Buche de Noel (maple mousse rolled in gingerbread chiffon cake with cranberry sauce and pecan crumble) and the Traditional French Canadian Touterie. Please note that availability of some holiday kitchen offerings may be limited. All menu items are subject to change without notice.
5 – Holiday Storytellers
Epcot’s Holiday Storytellers are a wonderful way to learn about the Holiday customs and stories from around the world. In Norway, you can meet Sigrid as she tells the Christmas story, but is interrupted by Julenlssen, a sneaky and mischievous Christmas gnome. Italy presents La Befana, a witch who comes on the Eve of epiphany to give gifts to good children. In Japan, you will learn the customs of Japanese New Year and the story of the Daruma doll. France’s Storyteller is Père Noël who shares the joy of Christmas with a story from a child. In the United Kingdom, you will meet Father Christmas who shares the traditions of the United Kingdom. Storytellers appear throughout the day and performance times can be found on the times guide.
4 – Holiday Entertainment
Enjoy the sights and sounds of the nations of World Showcase, as each country’s holiday heritage comes to life amid joyful music and time-honored traditions. New this year, you can discover an entertaining celebration of Hanukkah in a new location along World Showcase promenade, where a fun and interactive band interweaves the music of Hanukkah with jazz, Latin, rock and even hip-hop influences. Also returning is JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season. This performance features a blend of soul, Gospel, Jazz and R&B Music to celebrate the holiday season like no other! Located at the Fountains of Nations Stage between Mouse Gear and Club Cool, there are several show times daily, check your times guide for performance times. In Germany, you’ll enjoy a German Christmas with yodeling and a live band featuring Margret Almer and the Bavarian Band. In Mexico, you’ll find Las Posadas Celebration featuring dancers, piñata, and the music of Mariachi Cobre. New this year is Mostly Kosher, which celebrates the joy of Hanukkah and Klezmer music. You’ll find this unique band in between Morocco and France. Finally, The Voices of Liberty is an a cappella group that has been performing at the American Adventure pavilion for decades. Join them as they sing holiday favorites while dressed in their Dickens costumes. Check your times guide for exact performance times.
3 – Santa and Mrs. Claus
Children and adults alike have the chance to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the American Adventure pavilion. They are available throughout the day at specific times so be sure to check your times guide for when they will be appearing. This is a very popular spot, so be sure to line up early!
2 – Candlelight Processional
One of the most popular Epcot traditions returns with new celebrity narrators in 2017. Disney legend Kurt Russell is among the newcomers along with Pat Sajak, Matt Bomer and CCH Pounder who join the lineup of returning favorites like Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg and Jaci Velasquez. The Candlelight Processional is a retelling of the Christmas story as told by a celebrity narrator accompanied by 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir. The show takes place at the America Gardens Theatre each evening at 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Nov. 24-Dec. 30.
1 – A Magical Holiday Finale to IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
Don’t miss a special seasonal conclusion to IllumiNations, taking place from November 24 – December 30, 2017! Featuring holiday greetings in native languages from the countries of World Showcase, along with the beloved sounds of the classic song “Let There be Peace on Earth,” this festive finish is sure to fill your heart with comfort and joy—and leave you with a message of “peace on earth and goodwill to men.”
Whether you are interested in learning about the customs and traditions of another country, or trying out some traditional holiday foods from around the world, Epcot’s Holidays Around the World has something for everyone. With so many great storytellers, entertainment offerings, food, and the Candlelight Processional, you might need to visit more than once to fit in everything you want to see and do!
DisneyLists author Jenn S. also contributed to this article.
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