The holidays are a magical time at Disney, and Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays ushers in even more of the magical spirit. With festive food, decorations and more there are many reasons to visit Disney during the holiday season, here are 10 reasons to visit Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays, which runs November 29 – December 30, 2019.
This post was sponsored by Disney, but the enjoyment of the merriment is all mine.
10 Reasons To Visit Epcot Festival Of The Holidays
Call me a giant sap, but the only thing better than a visit to Disney is a visit to Disney during the holiday season. No one celebrates the magic of the season quite like Disney with colorful lights, exciting performances, tasty treats and, of course, all the holiday gift ideas.
Epcot has become known for being a foodie’s paradise and the special eats and drinks continue at various Holiday Kitchens during Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays. Each Holiday Kitchen has a unique seasonal flavor. Some of the highlights include the Canadian Wild Rice and Ham Soup with a Pretzel Roll (at Yukon Holiday Kitchen), Potato Latkes with Sour Cream (at L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen) and the Chocolate Peppermint Shake with or without alcohol (at Holiday Sweets and Treats).
2019 Holiday Kitchens:
- Feast of the Three Kings (Showcase Plaza)
- Holiday Sweets and Treats (Showcase Plaza)
- Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen (Mexico)
- Shanghai Holiday Kitchen (China)
- Bavaria Holiday Kitchen (Germany)
- Prost! (Germany)
- Tuscany Holiday Kitchen (Italy)
- American Holiday Table (The American Adventure)
- Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen (Japan)
- Sapphire Holiday Kitchen (Morocco)
- L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen (between Morocco and France)
- Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen (France)
- Yukon Holiday Kitchen (Canada)
Epcot’s Candlelight Processional has long been one of our favorite ways to celebrate the season. We’ve even had the special pleasure of seeing family members perform in the choir on more than one occasion. It truly is a magical performance with all those beautiful voices singing while the story of Christmas is told by the celebrity narrator. Performances are at 5:00 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:15 PM nightly from November 29 through December 30, 2019.
- Ming-Na Wen – November 29 – December 1
- Neil Patrick Harris – December 2 – 5
- Whoopi Goldberg – December 6 – 7
- Isabella Rossellini – December 8 – 10
- Alton Fitzgerald White – December 11 – 12
- Gary Sinise – December 13 – 15
- Pat Sajak – December 16 – 18
- Warwick Davis – December 19 – 21
- Steven Curtis Chapman – December 22 – 24
- Edward James Olmos – December 25 – 26
- Marlee Matlin – December 27 – 28
- Lisa Ling – December 29 – 30
Christmas Lights On The Land Ride
One of my new favorite trends is the addition of a holiday makeover to some of the rides. New for this year, The Land is decked out in Christmas lights. Only the greenhouse portion of the ride received the light treatment, so this ride is best seen at night when you can appreciate the lights. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we boarded the ride, but we quite enjoyed the lights.
Holiday Decorations Around The World
Like the other Disney parks (now including Animal Kingdom), Epcot is decorated from top to bottom for the holidays. Colorful displays during the day and twinkling lights at night make the part equally festival all day long. Lots of photo opps to discover as you travel around the World Showcase.
Holiday Cookie Stroll
It’s not the holidays without cookies, and Epcot has you covered. With five cookie stations located throughout the World Showcase, the cookie stroll is a bit like an eating scavenger hunt. Inside your Festival Passport (free) you will find a cookie stroll page. Purchase a cookie at each of the five locations to receive a stamp in your passport.
- 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 Morocco and France Pavilions – Black-and-White Cookie
Once you collect all five stamps, you can redeem them at the Sweets & Treats Holiday Kitchen to receive a complimentary Santa Mickey Sugar Cookie.
Meet Santa And Mrs. Claus
Skip the mall Santa and make time to visit the big man himself while at Epcot. You will find Santa alongside Mrs. Claus at the American Pavillion. Santa and Mrs. Claus sit in beautiful gold chairs in front of Christmas trees for some fantastic pictures, and typically the line at Epcot is not quite as long as it is at the Magic Kingdom. And, of course, don’t miss out on Disney characters dressed up in their holiday finest including Mickey and Minnie.
Chip and Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree
Epcot’s around-the-world scavenger hunts are an exciting way to explore the World Showcase. We’ve completed many Kidcot scavenger hunts, Epcot World Showcase Passport To Fun and Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak. For some extra holiday cheer, during the Festival of the Holidays, you can join Chip and Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree ($6.99 per map). After hunting for Chip and Dale’s wreaths around the world, you can redeem the completed map for your choice of one of three double-sided Christmas ornaments. The hardest decision you will make all day is which ornament to choose.
As you make your way around the World Showcase, be sure to visit the various Holiday Storytellers. Each country is represented with its own storytellers. Some stories are spoken, while others are in the form of music, but each is as unique as the country it represents. Because the Holiday Storytellers perform at intervals throughout the day, it is something you should plan to stop and see when you happen upon them versus trying to see them all in one visit.
Earlier this year Epcot said goodbye to Illuminations, which lit up the night sky for +20 years, and hello to Epcot Forever. Unlike the lengthy run of Illuminations, Epcot Forever won’t last forever (or even very long) as a more permanent nighttime show is already expected to arrive in 2020. Since the clock is already ticking on this show, the Epcot Festival of the Holidays is the perfect time to check out the new fireworks show. (The kites were our favorite part!)
Epcot Festival of the Holidays Merchandise
To commemorate your visit to Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays be sure to pick up some festival merchandise. Featuring Chip and Dale, the 2019 Festival of the Holidays merchandise includes shirts, ornaments, a cookie jar and more. Passholders also have access to limited-edition passholder merchandise.
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