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Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, previously called Holidays Around the World runs daily from November 18th through December 30th.  This newly reimagined festival favorite is full of old favorites and some new and exciting additions this year!!!

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How to Best Enjoy the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

Table of Contents

  1. Have an idea of which of the 12 Holiday Showcase performances you can’t miss.
  2. Don’t miss the Candlelight Processional which happens 3 times nightly at the American Garden Theater.
  3. Know which foods and drinks you’d like to try at the holiday kitchens ahead of time.
  4. Make Candlelight Processional dining reservations if you want a reserved seat at the show.
  5. Make a plan for entertaining the kids. I use Chip & Dales Christmas Tree Spree game to keep them wanting to explore the world.
  6. Use the touring plan below to plan your day.

Decorations for the Holidays

Epcot is home to quite a few great holiday displays including one of the 9 iconic large trees.  This tree sits at the entrance of World Showcase and shows holiday greetings in many languages.  Stop here for your picture with this huge tree and you stroll into the World Showcase and get ready to fill your tummy with holiday goodness from around the world!

epcot international festival of holidaysThroughout Epcot, many of the attractions will have nods to the holidays as well.  One of my most favorite is the additions to Living with the Land!epcot international festival of holidays

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Holiday Kitchens for the International Festival of the Holidays

In 2016 Epcot expanded the Holidays Around the World to include Holidays Kitchens.  These kitchens operate the same as the other festivals throughout the year, offering guests small bites around the World Showcase that are traditional to the country you’re visiting.

There are 16 Holiday Kitchens to try out.

Future World East

Taste Track

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  • Croissant Doughnut with chocolate and holiday sprinkles
  • Croissant Doughnut with eggnog pastry cream and gingersnap cups
  • Pancake Milkshake (non-alcoholic)
  • Banfi Rosa Regale Sparkling Red

Showcase Plaza

Holiday Sweets and Treats Booth

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Refreshment Port – Near Canada

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Feast of the Three Kings

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World Showcase

Yukon Holiday Kitchen – Canada

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Le Marche De Noel Holiday Kitchen – France

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L’Chaim! – Between Morocco and France

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Sapphire Holiday Kitchen – Morocco

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Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen – Japan

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American Holiday Table

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Fife & Drum Tavern – The American Adventure

  • Holiday Apple Pie Sundae with soft-serve ice cream caramel sauce and crunchy streusel topping
  • Budweiser Reserve Collection Copper Lager

Tuscany Holiday Kitchen – Italy

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Bavaria Holiday Kitchen – Germany

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Refreshment Outpost – Near Africa Outpost

  • Warm Caramel Stuffed Salted Pretzel with soft-serve ice cream and chocolate sauce
  • Shipyard Eggnog White Porter

Shanghai Holiday Kitchen – China

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Las Posadas – México

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Festival Food Extras

Joffery’s Coffee & Tea Company

  • Showcase Plaza Kiosk – Rum Rudolph
  • Canada Kiosk – Naughty and Nice
  • The American Adventure- Cheerful Elf
  • Future World East: Mistletoe Mileepcot international festival of holidays

France

  • L’Artisan Des Glaces – Gingerbread Ice Cream with gingerbread pieces
  • Boulangerie Patisserie Les Halles – Buche de Noel au Chocolate – Chocolate Log with chocolate mint cream mousse and chocolate crunch biscuit

Fountain View Cafe

  • Mickey Santa Hat Cupcake

Norway

  • Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe -Traditional Holiday Rice Cream

UK Beer Cart

  • TG. Lee Eggnog non-alcoholic
  • T.G. Lee Eggnog with Irish Whiskey

UK Tea Caddy

  • Twinnings Iced Christmas Toddy: Twinnings Iced Christmas Tea with Honey non-alcoholic

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Canada

  • Popcorn Cart – Pecan Maple Bark featuring Crown Maple Sugar

Gluten-Free options by country

Disney does an amazing job of providing options that are food allergy-friendly and GOOD!

Unfortunately, the Festival of the Holidays lacks very many gluten-free options around the World Showcase.  Most of the options will be as you enter the World Showcase at Feast of the Three Kings which isn’t as much fun when you have to consume it all in one place!

  • American: Hand-carved Smoked Ham with green beans and sweet potato casserole
  • Holiday Sweets and Treats: Peppermint Sundae – Chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, and peppermint candy
  • Feast of the Three Kings: Pastelon – Sofrito-marinated beef with sweet plantains and olives
  • Feast of the Three Kings: Queso Fresco-stuffed Arepa topped with shrimp, crushed avocado aioli and tomato sauce
  • Feast of the Three Kings: Arepas topped with melted queso fresco
  • Feast of the Three Kings: Tres Leches Rice Pudding with pumpkin seeds

Festival Entertainment

The Candlelight Processional

The Candlelight Processional takes place nightly at the American Garden Theater and is one of my most favorite Epcot Holiday traditions.

The processional starts each year on Thanksgiving evening and runs through December 30th.  The lineup of narrators varies from well-know beloved artists like Whoopi Goldberg and Neil Patrick Harris.  But no matter who narrates the Candlelight Processional, while you’re visiting, you won’t’ want to miss it.

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The Candlelight Processional tells the Christmas Story while a 50 piece orchestra and choir (made up of Cast Members) accompany the narrator in telling the story of the coming of our savior.

Show Times: 5:00 pm, 6:45 pm, 8:15 pm each evening

Location: American Garden Theater, World Showcase

Schedule of Artists

  • 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

What is “Candlelight Processional Dining Package”

When you make a reservation with a Candlelight Processional Dining Package each person in the dining party will be allowed a guaranteed spot at one of the nightly shows. The reserved showtime is based on the dining time selected.

If you don’t have a dining package you’ll look for these standby entrance signs to line up for your showtime of choice.  You will need to get in line 30-45 minutes prior to showtime to be admitted to the show.  For the most popular narrators like Whoopi Goldberg, Neil Patrick Harris and John Stamos, I’ve seen guests line-up more than 2 hours in advance.

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What you need to know about the Candlelight Processional Dining Package:

  • Dining plans are accepted and are 2 table credits per person.
  • Out of pocket expense varies by restaurant.
  • Reservations should be made on your My Disney Experience account.
  • Make sure to choose the Candlelight Processional Dining Package at your desired restaurant NOT a regular dining reservation.
  • Breakfast: Buffet or family-style meal
  • Lunch/Dinner: Appetizer, entrees, and dessert or buffet/family-style in some restaurants.
  • For more information on Candlelight Processional Dining packages go here.

Participating Restaurants:

  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: Norway
    • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Ale & Compass Restaurant
  • Disney’s Yacht Club:
    • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Biergarten Restaurant: Germany
    • Lunch and dinner
  • Coral Reef Restaurant: The Seas
    • Lunch and dinner
  • The Garden Grill Restaurant: The Land
    • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • La Hacienda de San Angel: Mexico
    • Dinner
  • Les Chefs de France: 
    • Lunch and dinner
  • Nine Dragons Restaurant: China
    • Lunch and dinner
  • Restaurant Marrakesh: Morocco Pavilion
    • Lunch and dinner
  • Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room: United Kingdom
    • Lunch and dinner
  • San Angel Inn Restaurante: Mexico
    • Lunch and dinner
  • Spice Road Table: Morocco
    • Lunch and dinner
  • Teppan Edo: Japan
    • Lunch and dinner
  • Tokyo Dining: Japan
    • Lunch and dinner
  • Trattoria al Forno – Disney’s Boardwalk
    • Breakfast and Dinner
  • Tutto Italia Ristorante: Italy
    • Lunch and dinner
  • Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria: Italy
    • Lunch and dinner

Holiday Cookie Stroll Continues This Year

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Nothing says Christmas like cookies!  This year at the International Festival of the Holidays you can participate in the NEW Holiday Cookie Stroll!

Purchase five select holiday cookies and mark your passport with a stamp for each one.  When you’ve collected all five stop by Holiday Sweets and Treats to receive a special complimentary Santa Mickey cookie.

Locations:

  • Bavaria Holiday Kitchen at the Germany Pavilion Linzer Cookie
  • American Holiday Table at the America Pavilion Gingerbread Cookie
  • Yukon Holiday Kitchen at the Canada Pavilion Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie
  • Feast of the Three Kings near the Mexico Pavilion Chocolate Crinkle Cookie
  • L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen between the Morocco and France Pavilions Black-and-White Cookie

Don’t forget to collect your Disney holiday cookie jar!

Live music daily on the Foutain Stage

Joyful!

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  • A Gospel Celebration of the Season performs daily at 1:25, 2:25, 3:25 and 4:25 pm.

Holiday IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

  • This popular nighttime fireworks show grows bigger for the holidays with a special holiday ending that lights up the sky bigger than you’d imagine!

Holiday Storytellers & Holiday Traditions Around the World

Each country shares the holiday traditions and culture of their county.  It’s a fun way to learn more about how holidays are celebrated around the world.

*Times are subject to change.  Please check the times guide upon entrance to Epcot.

Mexico

  • Las Posadas Celebration – join the fun and pageantry of Las Posadas with dancers, pinata and the music of Mariachi Cobre.
  • 11:20 am, 12:20 pm, 1:05 pm, 2:30 pm, 4 pm, 5 pm

Norway

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  • Sigrid Meets Julenissen the Christmas Gnome – Celebrate the season with laughter as the storyteller encounters a magical, mischievous Christmas gnome.
  • 11 am, 11:45 am, 1:30 pm, 2:15 pm, 3 pm, 3:45 pm, 4:30 pm, 5:30 pm

China

  • Chinese Lion Dancers – Catch a glimpse of this colorful performance that brings good fortune and happiness in the Lunar New year.
  • 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 4:40 pm

Germany

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  • Durch & Durch – Enjoy a German Christmas as a live band fills the holiday marketplace with music and merriment.
  • Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday; 1:05 pm, 2:10 pm, 3:10 pm, 5 pm, 6 pm, 7 pm, 8 pm

Italy

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  • La Befana – Come hear the tale of the kind-hearted witch who visits young sleeping children on the Eve of the Epiphany.
  • 12:15 pm, 12:55 pm, 1:40 pm, 2:35 pm 3:30 pm, 4:15 pm 5:45 pm, 6:30 pm

American Adventure:

  • Santa and Mrs. Claus
    • 11:45 am, 1:45 pm, 3:45 pm, 5:45 pm
  • Voices of Liberty as Dickens Carolers – Embrace the spirit of the season with the festive acapella holiday music of the Dickens Carolers.
    • 11:35 am, 12:20 pm, 1:05 pm, 1:50 pm, 2:35 pm, 3:20 pm, 4:05 pm

Japan

  • Daruma Storyteller – Discover the customs of the Japanese New Year and the fascinating story behind its good luck charm, the Daruma doll.
  • 12 pm, 12:45 pm, 1:45 pm, 3:15 pm, 4:30 pm, 5:05 pm, 5:40 pm 6:15 pm

Morocco

  • Sahara Beat – Join in as the lively Moroccan band recreates the fun of street festivals and holidays across Morocco.
  • Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; 1:20 pm, 2:20 pm, 3:45 pm, 4:45 pm, 5:45 pm 6:30 pm, 7:45 pm

Between Morocco and France – Hanukkah

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  • Hanukkah Storyteller – Storyteller Zachary shares legends, tells tales and sings songs highlighting Hanukkah celebrations.
  • 12:05 pm, 12:45 pm, 1:45 pm, 3 pm, 4:05 pm, 5:05 pm, 6:05 pm, 6:50 pm

France

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  • Pere Noel – Rediscover the magic of Christmas through the letter of a delightful child
  • 11:20 am, 11:55 am, 12:30 pm, 1:20 pm, 2:10 pm, 3:40 pm, 4:30 pm, 5:05 pm

United Kingdom

  • Father Christmas – Ring in the holiday season and traditions of the United Kingdom with good cheer.
  • 1:05 pm, 2 pm, 2:55 pm, 4:30 pm, 5:40 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:30 pm

Canada

  • Canadian Holiday Voyageurs – Take a musical tour of the Great White North and explore Canada’s holiday traditions.
  • 12:25 pm, 1:20 pm, 2:15 pm, 3:10 pm, 4:25 pm, 6 pm

Festival Merchandise

Each year the festival offers endless merchandise to commemorate your experience.

Throughout the World Showcase are Holiday Markets.  They offer some artisan memorabilia as well as Festival-themed merchandise.

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All Festival Merchandise can be found at MouseGears and throughout Epcot and the World Showcase. If you don’t find what you’re looking for ask a Cast Member to look up where else in the park you may find the item. They are generally very good at locating things for you!

Kid-Sized Festival Fun

Kidcot Fun Stops

Kids can stop in each country to pick up their Ziploc brand suitcases and touring cards in each country.  (Not specific to the festival)

New Family Play Zone 

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A new playground inspired by “Ralph Breaks the Internet” located near Test Track.  This is a great place for kids to safely run off some energy while parents sit and relax for a bit.

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Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree

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The festival scavenger hunts are a favorite in our house! It’s a great way to keep the kids interested and moving around the World Showcase!

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The cost of the map with stickers is $6.99 and can be picked up at Pin Central, Disney Traders or World Traveler.  This festival I have even seen them scattered around the World Showcase at various Holiday Markets.

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Get the Festival of the Holidays 2018 Map Here

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Festival Passport

Enjoy checking off your list in your Festival of the Holidays Passport as you make your way around Epcot and the World Showcase.

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Touring Plan for the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

Start your day at Epcot by arriving 30 minutes prior to the park opening.  Daily park hours can be found here.

The World Showcase opens daily at 11 am.

Holiday Kitchens are open from 12 pm to 8 pm each day.

You can enter the World Showcase prior to 11 am and go as far as Norway on the left side of France on the right side.  Keep in mind that doing so will result in missing a large part of the festival prior to the Holiday Kitchens and entertainment beginning.

The only reason I suggest entering World Showcase prior to 11 am would be to ride Frozen Ever After in Norway.  The wait times can be long if you don’t’ have a FastPass.  You could skip all of Future World upon entry to Epcot and go straight to Norway to ride Frozen Ever After but keep in mind this will result in a lot of extra walking and backtracking to cover all of Epcot.

In this park touring plan we’re focusing on covering the International Festival of the Holidays and only riding the main attractions at Epcot.  If you’re more focused on the Epcot attractions this is not the touring plan for your day.

See all Epcot touring plans here.

Note about FastPass+ at Epcot:

Epcot operates on a tiered FastPass system meaning the most popular attractions Soarin, Test Track and Frozen Ever After are in Tier One and all of the other Fast Pass attractions are in Tier Two. You can read more about the tiered FastPass system and how it works here.

In this touring plan, I have chosen Frozen Ever After as the tier one FastPass selection simply for ease of moving through the park without much backtracking and additional walking.

  • If you have a Candlelight Processional dining reservation insert it into the touring plan as needed.

At park opening head directly to:

*All FastPass attractions and anything time-sensitive will be noted in red.  This plan is very time-sensitive due to all of the Holiday Storytelling shows and their limited showings.  You will need to make choices and see only some of the shows if you’re only visiting Epcot for one day.

I prefer to enter the World Showcase and head right towards Canada.  I find going towards Mexico is more crowded

Choose which Holiday Storytellers and traditions you’d like to see prior to arrival.  If you have some you don’t want to miss be mindful of the time as you move around the World Showcase.  You won’t be able to see them all and personally, we see most of them in passing rather than stopping to see the whole show in each country.

  • Test Track
  • Soarin
  • FastPass for Mission to Space 10 am to 11 am
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends (if time)
  • FastPass for Spaceship Earth 11 am to 12 pm
  • Pick up a map for Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree at Pin Central prior to entering World Showcase.
  • Canadian Holiday Voyageurs 12:25 pm
  • Father Christmas – United Kingdom 1:05 pm 
  • Pere Noel – France 2:10 pm
  • Hanukkah Storyteller 3:00 pm,  Sahara Beat – Morocco 3:45 pm or Japan Daruma Storyteller 3:15 pm
  • Santa and Mrs. Claus – America 3:45 or 5:45 
  • Voices of Liberty – America (last show of the day 4:05 pm)
  • Candlelight Processional – aim for the 6:45 pm show and depending on the crowd level be in line 30-45 mins prior to the show starting.  For the most popular narrators like Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, and John Stamos you may need to line up 2 hours prior to showtime.
  • Durch & Durch – Germany 8 pm 
  • FastPass for Frozen Ever After 8 pm to 9 pm
  • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth 9 or 9:30

*Check times guide for daily schedule or look at the entertainment guide online to ensure you don’t miss it.  You will want to find a spot 30-45 mins prior to show time to get a spot upfront.  Because the viewing area is so large it’s not hard to get a good viewing location.

For additional information on visiting Disney World during the holidays and help planning your Disney World vacation go here.

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Jamie Rumph
Jamie Rumphhttps://www.loveofthemagic.com
Hi, I'm Jamie, traveling mama, entrepreneur, and travel advisor. I'm addicted to Disney, traveling and exploring the world with my family, and have a passion for helping families experience the magic of travel. My home is filled with love and chaos, 2 crazy girls, 2 large dogs, and the most spectacular architect and Disney Cast Member I call my husband. We live in Florida and spend our weekends playing at Orlando's many theme parks and visiting the beach. In 2015, after helping numerous families plan their vacations to various Disney Destinations, I started a blog to answer all of the many travel questions I received daily. In 2016, the blog grew into a travel agency, and Love of the Magic Vacations was born. With a team of nearly 20, we spend our days creating family vacations around the world. What started as a blog is now a full service, worldwide vacation destination planning service. I create custom itineraries for each of my clients that not only meets but exceeds expectations. There is no greater gift than making memories while sharing the world and its cultures with your kids.
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