The holiday season is a very exciting (and beautiful!) time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort.
In addition to all of the decorations at both the parks and resorts, there are also several special events occurring at Disney World during this time of the year.
One of the most popular of these events is the Candlelight Processional at Epcot.
So what exactly is the Candlelight Processional and do you need to book a Candlelight Processional Dining Package to see it?
2023 Candlelight Processional Narrators
Lots of new names on the 2023 list for the Epcot Candlelight Processional Narrators:
- Chrissy Metz (NEW): Nov. 24-25
- Luis Fonsi (NEW): Nov. 26-27
- Ann-Margret (NEW): Nov. 28-29
- Simu Liu: Nov. 30-Dec. 2
- John Stamos: Dec. 3-5
- Neil Patrick Harris: Dec. 6-8
- Marlee Matlin: Dec. 9-11
- Brendan Fraser (NEW): Dec. 12-14
- Eva Longoria (NEW): Dec. 15-16
- Joey McIntyre (NEW): Dec. 17-18
- Sterling K. Brown (NEW): Dec. 19-20
- Jordan Fisher (NEW): Dec. 21-23
- Steven Curtis Chapman: Dec. 24-26
- Audra McDonald (NEW): Dec. 27-28
- Lisa Ling: Dec. 29-30
What is the Candlelight Processional?
The Candlelight Processional (which takes place during Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays) is a presentation of the Christmas Story that is read by various celebrity narrators.
Accompanying the narrators are a 50-piece orchestra and a huge choir which, as you can imagine, creates a truly lovely experience.
The show lasts 40 minutes and takes place 3 times a day (5:15 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.) at Epcot in the outdoor America Gardens Theatre, which is located in the American Adventure Pavilion of the World Showcase.
What makes getting a seat for the Candlelight Processional so difficult?
There is no cost to attend the Candlelight Processional.
That’s right – it is free.
But, the popularity of the show and the small size of the theater means securing a seat can be a challenge since a large number (well over half) of seats available for the performances are reserved for guests that have booked the dining package.
So, while booking a Candlelight Processional Dining Package is not required, it is the best way to guarantee your seat.
What do you get with the package?
Each Candlelight Processional Dining Package includes:
- Meal with appetizer, entree, dessert, non-alcoholic beverage (or, if the meal is a buffet, you get 1 buffet meal and there is no appetizer for breakfast)
- Reserved section to sit in during Candlelight Processional
2023 Candlelight Processional Dining Package restaurants and prices
Keep your eye on the calendar, because packages for the Candlelight Processional open up on October 17th, and spots go FAST.
In 2023 you’ll have 8 options for the Candlelight Processional Dining Packages, including 2 options for breakfast and one that you can book same-day.
Depending on the restaurant, prices for adults range from $55.00 all the way up to $104.00 per person.
Which performance your guaranteed seating will be for is determined by the time of day of your reservation, and you aren’t able to use your guaranteed seating privileged at any show other than the one assigned to you.
Standard Candlelight Processional Dining Packages
The following prices exclude tax and gratuity.
|RESTAURANT||ADULT (AGES 10 & UP)||CHILD (Ages 3 TO 9)|
|Akershus Royal Banquet Hall|
|Coral Reef Restaurant|
The Living Seas
|Garden Grill Restaurant|
The Land Pavilion
|Le Cellier Steakhouse|
|Rose & Crown Dining Room|
United Kingdom Pavilion
|Spice Road Table|
You’ll know which performance you are assigned when you make the reservation, which makes it easier for you to plan out the rest of your day.
Same-Day Candlelight Processional Dining Packages Only
In addition to the packages that you can book ahead, there are a limited number of dining packages that can be booked same day. The following prices exclude tax and gratuity.
|RESTAURANT||ADULT (AGES 10 & UP)||CHILD (Ages 3 TO 9)|
|Regal Eagle Smokehouse|
American Adventure Pavilion
If you are interested in one of the same-day dining packages for the Candlelight Processional, we recommend you visit the participating restaurant of your choice as soon as possible, as the number of these packages are very limited.
How to book a Candlelight Processional Dining Package
The best way to book your Candlelight Processional Dining Package is online. Here’s how that works:
- Navigate to the Candlelight Processional Dining Package page.
- Select the blue “Check Availability” button.
- You’ll then be able to select the restaurant and time of your choice:
How to get the best seats for the Candlelight Processional at Epcot
Even though guests with the dining package have guaranteed seating, your exact seat isn’t assigned.
Everybody (both those with the dining package and those doing standby) will need to line up in order to enter the theater.
The closer to the front of the line the better your chances are of securing the best seats, but since there is such a large chunk of the theater reserved for guests with Candlelight Processional Dining Packages you don’t have to line up nearly as early as those doing standby.
Getting in line about 45 minutes early is generally good, although, for the most popular narrators (like Neil Patrick Harris) you might want to consider lining up even earlier if you are picky about your seats.
When do Candlelight Processional Dining Packages open up for booking?
The release date for the Candlelight Processional Dining Packages varies from year to year, although they are have generally been released in mid-summer (late June, early July).
Typically, most narrators will be known at this time, but it isn’t uncommon for the narrators for some dates to not be released until later in the year.
In 2023, dining package reservations opened on October 17. Advance reservations are highly recommended and can be made up to 60 days prior to your visit.
Historical release dates for the Candlelight Processional Dining Packages
- 2023 – October 17, 2023
- 2022 – October 6, 2022
- 2021 – October 26, 2021
- 2020 – N/A
- 2019 – Wednesday, July 3, 2019
- 2018 – Wednesday, July 11, 2018
- 2017 – Saturday, June 30, 2017
- 2016 – Thursday, June 30, 2016
- 2015 – Tuesday, July 7, 2015 (although some people were able to book some dates earlier)
What should I do if I don’t book a Candlelight Processional Dining Package?
If you don’t have a dining package you’ll need to use the standby line – so be prepared to wait.
Plan to arrive to the America Gardens Theatre early with the aim of being close to the front of the line. How early you will need to arrive will depend on the popularity of the narrator for that evening.
Candlelight Processional standby tips
- One tip is to check-out how the standby line looks for the first show. If you see a long line forming 2 hours early, you’ll know what you’ll need to do at the later shows in order to get a seat.
- Also, the Cast Members working that area often have a good feel for the popularity of the narrator and politely asking one of them how early they’d recommend lining up can help, too.
- If seeing the Candlelight Processional would be “nice” but you wouldn’t be sad if you didn’t see it, you can also try showing up 15 or so minutes before the show starts to see if there is any seating available.
- Or, if you’re more interested in hearing the music or if you’d just like some festive background ambiance while you relax and eat a snack, since the sound of the theater carries there are several nearby places to sit where you can hear everything (even if you can’t see it).
Is a Candlelight Processional Dining Package necessary to see the show?
More and more, we have found that while the dining package is not required to attend the Candlelight Processional, it is definitely encouraged to guarantee your spot at the performance.
If seeing the Candlelight Processional is a “must do”, book a dining package.
When you factor in the cost of the time you’d spend in the standby line (instead of using your park ticket doing something fun) with no guarantee you’ll get a seat, the value of the dining package is clear.
Read more about Christmas at Disney World
Can’t get enough of the holidays at Walt Disney World? Check out these posts for helpful information and tips!
- All About Christmas at Walt Disney World
- Complete Guide to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
- Overview of Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays
- Why you should consider purchasing a Candlelight Processional Dining Package
- Christmas at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Christmas at Animal Kingdom
- Where to Find Santa Claus at Walt Disney World
- The Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll
- Guide to Storytellers at Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays
- Every gingerbread house at Disney World
Find more information on performance dates, the list of narrators, and Candlelight Processional Dining Package booking on the official Disney World website or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.