EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Itinerary Plan: Your Guide to a Festive Adventure

EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Itinerary Plan: Your Guide to a Festive Adventure

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The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays is a seasonal celebration that transforms EPCOT into a global spectacle of holiday traditions, culinary delights, and joyful entertainment. As the festive season approaches, you might wonder how to maximize your experience at this enchanting event. With so much to see and do, crafting the perfect itinerary is essential to immerse yourself fully in the holiday spirit.

But what about the specifics of the itinerary plan?

  • What experiences await drawing on the unique cultural celebrations at each pavilion?
  • What culinary masterpieces will the Holiday Kitchens serve up this year?
  • Which signature events and entertainment options should top your must-see list?
  • Where can you find exclusive festival merchandise to commemorate your holiday adventure?
  • Is there a strategy to conquer the Holiday Cookie Stroll while savoring every sweet bite?
  • What special tours and scavenger hunts will add an extra layer of fun to your visit?

As we get ready for the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, we’ll answer these questions and more. Whether you’re a Disney enthusiast, a foodie in search of seasonal flavors, or a family creating new holiday traditions, this guide is your essential companion. Prepare to embark on a festive journey around the world showcase, filled with holiday cheer and magical memories waiting to be made.

Overview of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays is a seasonal celebration at Walt Disney World Resort. You experience holiday traditions from around the globe through special entertainment, merchandise, and cuisine at this event. The festival typically runs from late November through December, culminating around New Year’s.

Each country’s pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase features holiday decor and offers a unique cultural experience. You can enjoy:

  1. Holiday Kitchens: Savor traditional holiday dishes from various nations which are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
  2. Candlelight Processional: Listen to the Christmas story narrated by a celebrity accompanied by a magnificent choir and orchestra.
  3. Entertainment: Watch live performances celebrating international yuletide traditions that are both captivating and educational.

Additionally, you’ll find exclusive festival merchandise, ranging from apparel and ornaments to collectibles, perfect for holiday gifting. EPCOT’s seasonal decor is both festive and picturesque, making it an ideal backdrop for your holiday photos.

In terms of holiday activities, you can also participate in the Holiday Cookie Stroll, where you collect stamps for sampling cookies around the World Showcase. Upon completion, you are rewarded with a complimentary treat.

Remember, the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays is included with regular park admission, but some experiences may require a separate purchase or reservation. Check the My Disney Experience app or the official Walt Disney World website for the latest event details and scheduling during your visit.

Cultural Celebrations and Storytellers

The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays showcases traditional festivities and holiday storytellers across various World Showcase pavilions. This diverse array of cultural tales captures the essence of the season from around the globe.

American Adventure

Celebrate American yuletide traditions in this pavilion, where you’ll meet holiday storytellers sharing tales of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. The American Adventure embodies the spirit of the United States with Santa Claus recounting classic Christmas stories.

Japan Pavilion

Discover Japan’s New Year customs with storytellers illustrating the traditions of Oshogatsu. In the Japan Pavilion, you will encounter Daruma dolls and learn about the Japanese custom of setting goals for the New Year.

Mexico Pavilion

Participate in Las Posadas, the Mexican holiday celebration within the Mexico Pavilion. Here, storytellers depict the journey of Mary and Joseph, filling the air with music and traditional decor unique to this festive time.

China Pavilion

Experience the joy of the Chinese New Year with storytellers at the China Pavilion explaining the importance of the dragon and lion dances. The presentations here tell of legends and the significance of family reunions during the holiday.

Norway Pavilion

In the Norway Pavilion, get immersed in Scandinavian celebrations as holiday storytellers convey the story of Julenissen, the Christmas gnome. Norway’s festive lore brings a magical touch to the Pavilion with its tales of nisse and other Christmas customs.

France Pavilion

Engage with Père Noël, the French Santa, at the France Pavilion. The holiday storyteller here recounts the touching story of a little girl’s Christmas Eve. You’ll learn about French holiday traditions, including the shoes left out by children to be filled with gifts.

Canada Pavilion

Visit the Canada Pavilion to hear the holiday storytellers share Canadian Christmas and seasonal traditions. From tales of the icy north to Eartha Kitt’s famous “Santa Baby,” originating from Canadian songwriter Joan Javits, the storytellers here capture Canada’s rich multicultural holiday spirit.

United Kingdom Pavilion

At the United Kingdom Pavilion, delve into tales of Father Christmas, who shares stories spanning from Victorian times to modern day. United Kingdom’s holiday storytelling tradition is filled with Christmas carols and an ambiance reflecting the charm of a classic British Christmas.

Holiday Kitchens and Culinary Delights

EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays features an array of specialty food items served at Holiday Kitchens scattered throughout the World Showcase. These kitchens offer a range of seasonal dishes and desserts reflective of traditions from around the globe.

American Holiday Table

Your plate can be filled with classic American holiday fare here. Indulge in a tender slow-roasted turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce.

Bavaria Holiday Kitchen

Savor the flavors of Germany with dishes like pork schnitzel and apple strudel accompanied by vanilla sauce at this kitchen.

Yukon Holiday Kitchen

Enjoy hearty offerings from Canada, including seared salmon with crown maple syrup glaze or the traditional Canadian wild rice and ham soup.

L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen

Experience Jewish delicacies such as pastrami on rye and potato knishes, followed by black and white cookies for a sweet finish.

Holiday Hearth Desserts

Delight in an assortment of desserts like peppermint bark and gingerbread cookies. These sweet treats pair perfectly with a warm cup of cocoa.

Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen

Discover French holiday desserts like Bûche de Noël au chocolat (Christmas log) alongside savory classics like a turkey with bacon stuffling roll.

Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen

Embark on a journey to Mexico with flavors like tamale de pollo and dulce de leche rice pudding that bring warmth and festive spirit to your taste buds.

Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen

Sample traditional Japanese holiday dishes such as grilled chicken skewers with teriyaki sauce or sushi tree delights, beautifully presented with attention to detail.

Tangierine Café: Flavors of the Medina

Tangierine Café transforms with holiday offerings that incorporate traditional Moroccan flavors, with dishes like lamb kefte and Sfenj (Moroccan doughnuts).

Tuscany Holiday Kitchen

Treat yourself to Italian holiday cooking with favorites such as cotechino with polenta and cannoli filled with ricotta, chocolate and candied fruit.

Refreshment Outpost

Refreshment Outpost serves festive snacks and beverages that add a global twist to holiday cheer, like warm spiced wine and a specialty holiday beer.

Refreshment Port

The Refreshment Port offers holiday poutine and eggnog-based cocktails, combining comfort food with a festive twist for a quick yet memorable culinary experience.

Signature Events and Entertainment

EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays is renowned for its blend of traditional festivities and inspiring performances. These experiences transform the park, celebrating the season with music, narratives, and decorations.

Candlelight Processional

Candlelight Processional is a holiday highlight at the America Gardens Theatre. You can witness the stirring retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by an orchestra and the Voices of Liberty. Performances are held nightly throughout the festival, offering a memorable mix of holiday songs and the timeless tale.

Celebrity Narrator Performance Dates
Whoopi Goldberg November 27-28
Pat Sajak November 29-30
Steven Curtis Chapman December 1-3
Edward James Olmos December 4-6

Joyful! A Celebration of the Season

Encounter the uplifting Joyful! A Celebration of the Season near the Future World Fountain Stage. This performance combines gospel, R&B, and traditional holiday music to create an exuberant showcase. Let your spirit soar as you enjoy the dynamic renditions of songs from an ensemble of gifted musicians and vocalists.

Living With the Land: Seasonal Decorations

Journey through Living With the Land: Seasonal Decorations to appreciate how agriculture and the holiday season intersect. The greenhouse exudes festive charm with twinkling lights and nature-inspired decor. This tranquil boat ride offers an enlightening perspective on sustainable practices flourishing amid the holiday festivity.

Exclusive Festival Merchandise and Shopping

During the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, unique merchandise that celebrates the season is available for purchase. These specialty items often include apparel, decorative goods, collectibles, and more, embodying the spirit of the festival. Your shopping experience will be highlighted by exclusive merchandise that you can only find during this event.

  • Locate festival-specific merchandise at the festive markets scattered around the World Showcase.
  • Look for limited-edition pins to commemorate your visit, which make for great collectibles or gifts.
  • Discover holiday-themed decorations such as ornaments and wreaths, each often infused with cultural representations from different countries around the showcase.

Here’s how to optimize your festival merchandise shopping:

  1. Start early in the day to beat the crowds and ensure you have the first pick of exclusive items.
  2. Visit the Festival Center to find the widest variety of Festival of the Holidays merchandise.
  3. Utilize the Shop Disney Parks app for easy browsing and to check availability of items in real-time.

Remember, holiday season items are usually in high demand. Holiday decorations often sell quickly, so make sure to purchase your favorites when you see them. From festive apparel celebrating the season to exclusive EPCOT festivals merchandise, the options are designed to offer a piece of the holiday magic to take home.

Holiday Cookie Stroll and Sweet Treats

EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays allows you to indulge in the decadent Holiday Cookie Stroll, a festive culinary experience with a variety of unique cookies and sweet treats.

Cookie Stroll Challenge

Embark on the Cookie Stroll Challenge by collecting stamps for each cookie you purchase at the designated Holiday Kitchens throughout the World Showcase. After acquiring five cookie stamps, you receive a complimentary specialty cookie as a reward. Featured cookies include the gingerbread cookie at American Holiday Table and the linzer cookie at Bavaria Holiday Kitchen. Complete the challenge at your own pace, savoring each sweet creation.

Seasonal Specialty Bites

In addition to cookies, explore an assortment of Seasonal Specialty Bites during your festival visit. At Sunshine Seasons, find the holiday sugar cookie, a perfect pair for a warm beverage from Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company. Over at Char & Chop, you can try hearty options with a holiday twist, or sample unique offerings such as the peppermint funnel cake at Swirled Showcase. Each location presents a delectable way to enjoy the season’s flavors.

Special Tours and Scavenger Hunts

EPCOT’s International Festival of the Holidays provides a special opportunity for guests to engage in enriching themed activities through its unique tours and scavenger hunts. These adventures encourage exploration and celebration of worldwide holiday traditions.

Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt

Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt is a festival highlight where you search for holiday traditions Olaf has gathered, yet misplaced, around the park.

  1. Acquire a Festival Passport—this is your guide for the scavenger hunt.
  2. Explore different pavilions to locate holiday traditions—each one is a piece of Olaf’s expedition.
  3. Upon discovering each tradition, place the corresponding sticker found in the Festival Passport on Olaf’s map.
  4. After completing the expedition, return to Disney Traders or World Traveler shops.
  5. You can then claim a festive surprise, acknowledging your success in aiding Olaf.

Holiday Traditions Revealed

Holiday Traditions Revealed takes you on an educational journey to uncover the origins of various customs from habitats around the world.

  • Embark on a tour to learn about international holiday customs hosted by EPCOT’s cultural representatives.
  • Discover habitats where holiday traditions took root and understand how they shape today’s celebrations.
  • As you visit each pavilion, your Festival Passport serves as a record of the traditions and stories learned.

By participating in these activities, you delve deeper into holiday cultures across the globe, all within the magic of EPCOT.

Seasonal Attractions and Decor

During the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, you are enveloped in festive decor that celebrates holiday traditions across the globe. The park transforms with twinkling lights, seasonal greenery, and a multitude of Christmas decorations, immersing you in yuletide splendor.

  • Holiday Displays: Every country’s pavilion showcases traditional Christmas decor, reflecting diverse customs and stories.
    • First, visit the American Adventure for a classic red, white, and blue Christmas tree.
    • Next, explore Italy’s La Befana display and relish in the whimsical decorations.
  • Festive Atmosphere: Christmas cheer resonates through the park with:
    • Continuous holiday music to set a joyous tone.
    • Themed topiaries and wreaths that enhance the seasonal ambiance.
  • Illuminations: As dusk falls, witness the enchanting:
    • Brightly lit trees that punctuate the landscape.
    • Various pavilions adopting vibrant light schemes to align with their cultural celebrations.

To maximize your holiday season experience, prioritize certain attractions:

  1. Allocate time to enjoy the impressive Candlelight Processional with its accompanying choir.
  2. Reserve viewing spots early for Holiday IllumiNations, where lights and lasers brighten the sky over World Showcase Lagoon.

By visiting EPCOT during the holidays, you partake in a global celebration draped in ornamental delight, fostering an environment where cultural festivities and holiday decor converge to create a truly spectacular seasonal event.

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