If you’re at Walt Disney World during the holidays, be sure to include a stop at EPCOT where you can experience the traditions of how the winter holidays are celebrated around the world at the International Festival of the Holidays.
The Disney Blog was invited to a media preview for this year’s event and we sent Jared & Molly to enjoy and pick up all the details. Judging by the video they sent back, I think they had a good time taking it all in.
The Festival of the Holidays starts November 29th and runs through December 30th.
We love to visit the pavilions of the World Showcase and take in each cultures unique storytelling and music around the winter holidays. Along the way we enjoy holiday treats and tastes from the 13 Holiday Kitchens serving more than 50 bites from around the world and over 60 specialty beverages. This activity takes some time, so we recommend getting started when the first storyteller begins for the day and give yourself extra time in each land to enjoy the country specific holiday decorations.
Note that due to the construction going on around Future World, some of the traditional event entertainment and food offerings have been relocated. Be sure to check out “JoyFul! A celebration of the Season” located by the World Showcase lagoon this year. The show is a gospel take on holiday music that I guarantee will have you dancing in the aisles.
The Candlelight Processional has a long tradition all its own and many families book travel this time of year just to coincide with their favorite narrator. If you’ve never been you’ll be wowed by the 50-piece orchestra, mass choir and 12 different celebrity narrators. The show is performed three times a night and celebrates the christian story of Christmas. We recommend purchasing the dining package to avoid waiting in line and getting the closer seats. If you want to do stand-by seating, the third show is usually our best bet, except for the really popular celebrity narrators.
While you work your way around the World Showcase, we suggest participating in one of two fun activities (or both)!
In Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree Scavenger Hunt, you help the chipmunks gathering ornaments for their Christmas tree. To join in, purchase a map and stickers from select merchandise outlets and scout World Showcase locations looking for the famous chipmunks and their ornaments. Completed maps are returned for a special festive surprise, courtesy of the chipmunk duo.
The other fun activity is the Holiday Cookie Stroll. Use an event passport and the adorable Chip & Dale themed cookie jar to collect 5 cookies from the Holiday Markets around World Showcase, then redeem your stamped passport for a free 6th cookie.
Official Cookie Stroll 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
Finally, don’t forget to stop Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet guests at The American Adventure pavilion. It’s the only location to get them together and always the highlight of any trip.