It’s the most magical time of the year at Walt Disney World and all the parks are dressed up in their holiday finest. The media were recently invited to experience the 2017 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, the renamed and expanded version of the park’s old Holiday celebration. We spoke with the team who put the whole show together to get the best inside information we could.
Don’t miss the new Holiday Kitchens. The Alsace Holiday Kitchen will feature French Cuisine in the France Pavilion. The Cookie Nook joins the Festive Center with cookies and hot cocoa for those chilly nights, Japan gets a Hokkaido Holiday Kitchen with a Soba Noodle Soup or Mochi Cake, Los Posadas in Mexico will help you Feliz Navidad, Tuscany in Italy, Tarabaki in Morocco, and Shanghai welcomes a holiday kitchen to the China Pavilion. Everyone’s favorite seems to be the Yukon Pavilion in Canada with its mouthwatering Salmon whisky glaze.
Our top tips for the festival
1) Pick up a Holiday Passport. It’s your guide to all the food booths and entertainment around the World Showcase. Be sure to fill in the stamps as you walk around for a unique souvenir of your trip.
2) Stay late. Can’t get a Candlelight Processional Dinner Package? Consider waiting until the third show of the evening. Crowds are usually lighter then and you should be able to get in via the standby line.
3) Stay later. The holiday ending for Illuminations is a great addition to the show.
4) Bring a Camera. Not only does EPCOT look its best at this time of year, there are great photo pass opportunities throughout the park (which technically you don’t need your camera for, I guess). We love photographing all the unique holiday decorations in each pavilion, especially the gingerbread displays in American Adventure. I guess I could alternately call this ‘stop and smell the garland.’
5) Eat Dessert First. The “Festive Center” is the home of the cookie nook where you can sample seven different holiday cookies. This was our favorite stop of the day. The Festive Center is also home to a place to make holiday crafts and some unique merchandise items.
We can also recommend going on the Chip and Dale Christmas Tree Spree treasure hunt. For a low cost you get a fun collectible ornament and incentive to keep the kids (young or old) entertained as you walk around the world.
EPCOT’s Festival of the Holidays runs through December 30th. We hope these tips help you have a great time and that you’ll come back and leave your tips in the comments below.