Celebrating the Season at Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays

The holiday season is a magical time, especially at Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays. When the park turns into a big celebration. Complete with fun traditions, tasty treats, and joyful music from all around the world.

The Festival of the Holidays is a special event where you can feel the holiday cheer everywhere you go. Imagine sipping on a warm drink while listening to holiday stories. It’s a place where holiday dreams come to life! And one of the best events for Christmas at Walt Disney World.

In this guide, we’ll talk about all the important stuff you want to know about the festival. Like when it happens, what you can see and do, and what makes it different from other festivals at Epcot. So, get comfy and come along as we explore the fun and joy of Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays!

Dates and Duration of Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays

Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays is a cherished celebration that brightens up the winter season. It usually kicks off in late November and spreads its festive cheer all the way through the end of December. Here’s a more detailed look at the timeline:

  • When does it start? The festival typically starts in the last week of November. It’s a time when the Thanksgiving festivities are winding down, and the cheerful holiday spirit begins to fill the air. Disney has announced this year’s event will begin on November 24th.
  • When does it end? The celebration continues through December and wraps up as the year comes to a close. The end of the festival is a beautiful send-off to the holiday season. 2023’s festival will end on Christmas Eve, December 24.
  • How long does it last? The festival lasts for about a month, giving everyone ample time to soak in the holiday spirit. Each day during this period, Epcot bursts into life with festive shows, tasty treats, and joyful gatherings. It’s a month filled with laughter, joy, and the heartwarming essence of the holidays.
  • What are the hours? The festival’s fun begins in the morning and continues till the park closes at night. The hours might vary slightly each day, but there’s always a full day of festive fun waiting for you. It’s a good idea to check Epcot’s official schedule for the exact hours during your visit.
  • Are there special days? Every day is special at the Festival of the Holidays! But there might be additional shows, character meet-and-greets, and other surprises waiting for you as the holidays approach.

Each day of the festival is a chance to explore new traditions. The Festival of the Holidays at Epcot is a season-long celebration that invites everyone to join in the holiday magic.

What to Expect at Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays

Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays is a treasure trove of holiday delights. It’s like stepping into a world where holiday traditions from across the globe come alive. Let’s dig deeper into the festive fun awaiting you:

International Celebration

This festival is a passport to holiday traditions from around the world. As you wander through Epcot, you’ll discover how different cultures celebrate the season.

Each country’s pavilion has its own unique way of spreading holiday cheer, from special shows to beautiful decorations.

It’s a fantastic way to learn about and appreciate different cultural celebrations without hopping on a plane!

Candlelight Processional

This special event is a highlight of the festival. A celebrity narrator, along with a choir and orchestra, tells the story of Christmas in a moving performance.

The music is stunning and creates a heartwarming atmosphere that resonates with people of all ages.

The Candlelight Processional is not just a show, but an experience that captures the essence of the holiday spirit.

Holiday Kitchens

Foodies, rejoice! The “Holiday Kitchens” are a treat for your taste buds.

You can try seasonal dishes and beverages from around the globe. Whether you have a sweet tooth or love savory snacks, there’s something for everyone.

Each kitchen offers a menu of traditional holiday fare from different countries, making it a tasty adventure around the world.

Holiday Storytellers

This is a fun and educational part of the festival. Storytellers from different countries share their holiday tales and traditions. It’s story time but you learn about the rich and diverse holiday customs from around the globe.

Where to Find the Holiday Storytellers at Epcot Festival of the Holidays

  • Hanukkah Storyteller — The World Showcase Promenade (between the Morocco and France pavilions)
  • Canadian Holiday Voyageurs – Canada Pavilion
  • Father Christmas — United Kingdom pavilion
  • Père Noël — France pavilion
  • Learn about the Daruma — Japan pavilion
  • La Befana — Italy pavilion
  • Chinese Lion Dance — China Pavilion
  • Sigrid retells the Mischievous Magical Barn Santa — Norway
  • Las Posadas Celebration — Mexico pavilion
  • Santa Claus — The Odyssey Pavilion

Music and Entertainment

The festival is a melody of holiday tunes and lively performances.

From joyful choirs to rocking bands, the music keeps the holiday spirit high.

The stages across Epcot come alive with music and shows that get everyone into the holiday groove.

Character Meet-and-Greets

Meeting Disney characters is always fun, but it’s extra special during the festival.

Characters dress up in holiday outfits, bringing extra magic to your meet-and-greet moments.

It’s a chance to have a festive encounter with your favorite Disney pals and create memorable photos.

Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition

Join everyone’s favorite snowman, Olaf, on a whimsical adventure around Epcot. Learn about holiday traditions from various countries on Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition. It’s a fun-filled scavenger hunt that is perfect for families and anyone with a love for the holidays and Frozen!

Here’s how it works:

Buy a map and stickers from the Creations shop, World Traveler, or Port of Entry at the International Gateway. Follow the clues as Olaf shares the holiday traditions of each country.

As you find Olaf in each country, place the corresponding tradition sticker on the map. It’s a fun way to track your journey! Once you’ve found all the traditions, return your completed map for a festive surprise! It’s a fun keepsake to remember your holiday adventure.

Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition is a delightful activity that will add extra magic to your Festival of the Holidays experience! And it’s a great way to explore the World Showcase and learn about holiday customs from around the globe. It’s an expedition of fun and learning, rolled into one snowy adventure!

Must-See Attractions at Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays

Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays is brimming with must-see attractions that capture the magic of the season. Here’s a closer look at some of the highlights that you wouldn’t want to miss:

Candlelight Processional

We mentioned this gem earlier, but it’s worth repeating. The Candlelight Processional is a moving retelling of the Christmas story, complete with a live orchestra and choir. The celebrity narration adds a touch of glamour to this heartfelt performance.

Holiday Kitchens

The Holiday Kitchens are a food lover’s paradise. With a smorgasbord of festive foods and drinks from around the world, your taste buds are in for a holiday treat. Don’t miss out on the seasonal specialties that each kitchen offers.

Living with the Land: Merry and Bright Nights:

Take a serene boat ride on “Living with the Land” which gets a festive makeover during the festival. The greenhouses sparkle with twinkling lights, creating a whimsical atmosphere as you learn about agriculture.

Voices of Liberty

Enjoy the angelic voices of this a cappella group as they serenade you with holiday classics. Their performance in the American Adventure Rotunda is a soothing and heartwarming experience.

Festival of the Holidays Merchandise

Get your holiday shopping done at the festival with exclusive merchandise. From ornaments to apparel, find unique gifts and souvenirs to remember your holiday adventure.

Holiday Cookie Stroll

Kids and adults alike will enjoy this sweet scavenger hunt. Collect cookies along a designated path, and earn a complimentary cookie at the end!

Joyful! A Celebration of the Season

This uplifting show features a blend of gospel, R&B, and holiday songs that will have you clapping along. It’s a joyful celebration that embodies the spirit of the season.

These attractions add a sprinkle of holiday magic to Epcot, making the Festival of the Holidays a memorable experience. Each attraction offers a unique taste of the holidays, ensuring a merry and bright visit for everyone!

Tips and Tricks for Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays

Making the most of Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays requires a bit of planning. Here are some tips and tricks to help you have a jolly good time:

  • Arrive Early: The park can get crowded, especially on weekends and as Christmas nears. Arrive early to enjoy the attractions before the crowds pour in.
  • Check the Schedule: There’s a lot happening during the festival. Grab a festival passport or check the schedule online to plan your day.
  • Stay Hydrated and Dress Comfortably: Florida weather can be unpredictable. Dress in layers and keep a water bottle handy to stay comfortable as you explore.
  • Reserve Candlelight Processional Dining Package: If the Candlelight Processional is on your must-see list, consider booking a dining package. You’ll secure a seat without a long wait.
  • Explore All Countries: Each country’s pavilion has something unique to offer. Take your time exploring the different traditions and tasting the global holiday treats.
  • Use Mobile Ordering: Save time by using mobile ordering for food and drinks. It’s a handy way to skip the lines at the Holiday Kitchens.
  • Capture the Moments: Don’t forget your camera! There are endless photo ops with beautiful decorations, character meet-and-greets, and performances.
  • Take Breaks: It’s a festive marathon, not a sprint. Take breaks, enjoy the scenery, and soak in the holiday spirit.
  • Join the Holiday Cookie Stroll: This fun activity is not just for kids. Collect delicious cookies and earn a special one at the end. It’s a sweet adventure!

What Sets Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays Apart

Epcot hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year from Flower and Garden to Food and Wine. Each has its own unique flavor. Festival of the Holidays brings a global celebration of holiday traditions to the heart of Disney. Here’s what sets it apart from other Epcot festivals:

  • Global Holiday Traditions: Unlike other festivals, this one takes you on a holiday journey around the world. You can learn about and experience different cultural celebrations all in one place.
  • Heartwarming Entertainment: The Festival of the Holidays is rich with heartfelt shows like the Candlelight Processional. The storytelling and music aim to touch your heart and uplift your spirit.
  • Festive Atmosphere: The holiday decorations, music, and lights create a magical atmosphere that’s different from other festivals. It’s a time when Epcot becomes a winter wonderland, even in sunny Florida.
  • Delicious Holiday Treats: The Holiday Kitchens offer a chance to taste traditional holiday foods from across the globe. It’s a culinary celebration of the season.
  • Educational and Fun: While having fun, you also get to learn about different holiday customs. It’s a festival that entertains and educates at the same time.

Final Thoughts

The Festival of the Holidays at Epcot is more than just a festival. It’s a heartwarming celebration that brings people together to share and appreciate the diverse holiday traditions from around the globe. It’s a time of joy, learning, and togetherness that stands out in the Epcot festival lineup.

Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays is like a big holiday party with friends from all over the world. Full of the warm and cozy vibes of the holiday season. It’s a place where different cultures come together to share their unique holiday traditions through music, food, and fun stories. highlighting the spirit of unity, joy, and celebration that the holidays bring.

As you walk around Epcot, each step brings something new to discover and learn. The festival is a reminder of the simple joys of the holidays. And how these special days can create a bond between people, no matter where they come from

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