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Epcot celebrates the holidays as only it can with the International Festival of the Holidays!
While this is technically Epcot’s newest festival, many of its elements have been around for years as part of the Epcot Holidays Around the World celebration.
This festival will run from November 29th through December 30th, 2019. Read on to learn more about the Epcot Christmas decorations, food, and special entertainment that are part of the festival!
Epcot Festival of the Holidays Decorations
You will find Epcot fully decorated for the holidays on the first day of the festival! This includes a huge Christmas tree at the entrance to World Showcase.
There are also gorgeous decorations ALL over the park, so take some time to explore each pavilion to see the unique decorations.
I love the special Disney touches the most, of course.
Candlelight Processional Epcot
Each night from Thanksgiving to December 30th there are three nightly performances of the Candlelight Processional. These are the times of the performances (which are free with Epcot admission):
- 5:00 pm
- 6:45 pm
- 8:15 pm
The performances include a massive choir, live orchestra, and celebrity narrator who reads passages from the biblical Christmas story.
The show is tremendously popular (for good reason – it’s amazing!) and many people who wait in line will be turned away due to the limited seating. Even if you can’t get a seat, you can stand and watch the show from behind the theater.
The best way to see the Candlelight Processional is to book a dining package that includes guaranteed preferred seating to the concert. You can read all about the dining packages and my recommendations for the best ones here.
Epcot Holiday Kitchens
Due to the popularity of Food & Wine, it seems that food booths are a permanent feature at Epcot festivals.
Epcot Festival of the Holidays features small portions of traditional fare from around the world at its Holiday Kitchens.
One of my favorite items was the Buche de Noel from the Canada booth (pictured above) for $4.50.
Another standout was the mini turkey dinner (for only $5.25) from the America booth. It was really filling and gave me a taste of the holidays without all of the work!
The tamales from the Feast of the Three Kings (found on the walkway from the Imagination pavilion to World Showcase) was my other favorite item for $5.75.
Everything on this booth’s menu looked good!
The best thing I drank was this Black Currant Apple Cider ($4.25) from the booth by Germany. It was light, crisp, and delicious.
I spent less than $20 and had what felt like a full holiday feast at the Epcot Festival of the Holidays kitchens.
You can also do the fun Epcot Holiday Cookie Stroll and try each of the five cookies. Get your passport stamped at the official cookie stroll locations around World Showcase. Then bring your completed passport to the Sweets & Treats Holiday Kitchen for a free Mickey sugar cookie.
Meet Santa & Mrs. Claus
It’s not an Epcot Christmas if you can’t meet Santa, right?
Don’t pay a bunch of money to meet Santa at your local mall if you are visiting Epcot during the holidays. Santa and Mrs. Claus meet kids (and grownups!) throughout the day in the American Adventure pavilion for free!
You can take pictures yourself or use the PhotoPass pictures – just be sure to scan your MagicBand before you leave (or get a PhotoPass card). You can view all of the pictures for free and download one for $15 – that’s way cheaper than a pro photo package at the mall.
Epcot Christmas Special Entertainment
Holiday storytellers around World Showcase share traditions from their country with guests throughout the day.
There is a schedule of when and where to find each storyteller in the Times Guide, which you can grab when you enter the park. Expect festive live music performances throughout the park during the holiday season as well.
The nighttime entertainment will be new in 2019 at Epcot. The last showing of Illuminations is September 30th so the new show “Epcot Forever” will show nightly during the Epcot Christmas season.
In summary, here’s what to expect at the Epcot Festival of the Holidays:
- Nightly performances of the super-popular Candlelight Processional and dining packages with reserved seating
- Delicious sample-sized food and drink at the Holiday Kitchens & a fun Cookie Stroll
- Lots of bonus entertainment including live music, storytellers, Santa meet and greet, and an incredible special ending to Illuminations
Check out my Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Disney World here for lots of ideas for an affordable holiday trip.
Any questions? Leave a comment below or join the discussion in the Budget Mouse private Facebook group!