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2023 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays – Kitchens, Storytellers, and Tips

2023 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays  – Kitchens, Storytellers, and Tips

The holidays at Walt Disney World are one of the most popular times of the year to visit, and for good reason!

Epcot brings its own special touch to the season with the popular Festival of the Holidays.

The shortest of the Epcot festivals, this special celebration transforms Epcot into a yuletide spectacular.

Ready to learn more? Check out our overview below!

When is the Festival of the Holidays at Epcot?

This year, the Festival of the Holidays runs from November 24 – December 30, 2023.

Like other festivals at Epcot, it is included with the price of your admission.

Candlelight Processional

Probably the most well-known piece of the Festival of Holidays, the Candlelight Processional is one of those traditions that many families return to see year-after-year.

Candlelight Processional stage

You’ll find the Candlelight Processional in the outdoor American Gardens Theatre, which is located in the American Adventure section of the World Showcase.

There, celebrity narrators read a presentation of the Christmas Story while joined by a huge choir and a fantastic 50-piece orchestra.

Trust us: the entire thing is quite moving.

This 40 minute show usually takes place 3 times a day (5:15, 7:00 and 8:30 p.m.).

There is no cost to attend, although it is very popular, so securing a seat can be a challenge.

Candlelight Processional stage

Our favorite way to guarantee a seat is to book a Candlelight Processional Dining Package which pairs a meal with a ticket for a seat at the Candlelight Processional.

Depending on which of the restaurants you choose, prices usually range between $64-$100 for an adult and $28-$46 for a child. Booking for 2023 Candlelight Processional Dining Packages opened on October 17, 2023.

Keep in mind that prices below exclude tax and gratuity:

RESTAURANTADULT (AGES 10 & UP)CHILD (Ages 3 TO 9)
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
Norway Pavilion
$71.00 (B)
$83.00 (L/D)
$45.00 (B)
$53.00 (L/D)
Biergarten Restaurant
Germany Pavilion
$65.00$37.00
Coral Reef Restaurant
The Living Seas
$78.00$32.00
Garden Grill Restaurant
The Land Pavilion
$63.00 (B)
$78.00 (L/D)
$40.00 (B)
$50.00 (L/D)
Le Cellier Steakhouse
Canada Pavilion
$104.00$42.00
Rose & Crown Dining Room
United Kingdom Pavilion
$66.00$29.00
Spice Road Table
Morocco Pavilion
$55.00$24.00
B = Breakfast, L/D = Lunch & Dinner

If you aren’t able to snag one of the packages before you arrive, there are sometimes limited spots for day-of dining packages. These are available at Regal Eagle Smokehouse (Quick Service).

If you are interested in one of these, you’ll need to sign up at the restaurant as soon as possible on the day of the performance.

Here is pricing:

RESTAURANTADULT (AGES 10 & UP)CHILD (Ages 3 TO 9)
Regal Eagle Smokehouse
American Adventure Pavilion
$41.00N/A

Without a Dining Package ticket, your only option to see the Candlelight Processional is to try for a standby seat, which for some performers can mean standing in line for 2 hours (or more). 

And even if you DO have a dining package, for the busiest times of the year (or the most popular narrators like Neil Patrick Harris), since your seat isn’t assigned with the dining package, you’ll still want to get there early. 

candlelight processional dining package entrance

Arriving 45 minutes ahead of the performance is generally fine (except for NPH if he’s performing; you’ll want to get there earlier for him!), unless you are extra particular about your seat. 

candlelight processional dining package

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

Take a look at a sampling of some shows from a few years ago – including one that was hosted by our pretend BFF, Neil Patrick Harris, who normally narrates CP for a couple of nights.

Holiday Kitchens

holiday sweets and treats booth

For most people, a trip to Epcot and the Festival of the Holidays isn’t complete without sampling food and drink from around the World Showcase.

And, just like the other festivals at Epcot, the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays also serves up sweet and savory treats (and beverages) in kiosks scattered throughout the World Showcase section of the park.

Here are the 17 festival Holiday Kitchens that are available in 2023:

  • American Holiday Table – American Adventure Pavilion
    Enjoy a seasonal salute—dig into traditional dishes reminiscent of grandma’s cooking at the American Adventure Pavilion.
  • Bavaria Holiday Kitchen – Germany Pavilion
    Willkommen—help yourself to heartwarming holiday dishes and refreshing beverages at the Germany Pavilion.
  • Bubbles & Brine – Near Port of Entry
    Indulge in succulent seafood that pairs beautifully with Champagne.
  • Char & Chop Near Disney Traders
    Stop by this butchery-inspired holiday kitchen for gourmet meats.
  • Nochebuena Cucina – Near Test Track Presented by Chevrolet
    Spice up your holiday with delicious dishes packed with bold Latin flavors.
  • Holiday Hearth Desserts – The Odyssey Pavilion
    Discover the hearth you’ll call home, with holly jolly desserts, hot cocoa and so much more.
  • Holiday Sweets & Treats – Near Port of Entry
    Rock around the Christmas tree with tasty desserts and festive sips sure to top the “nice” list.
  • L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen – Between Morocco and France Pavilions
    Propose a toast to life—sink your teeth into classic deli noshes with a side of New York flair.
  • Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen – France Pavilion
    Feast on très magnifique fare, wine and specialty cocktails from the France Pavilion.
  • Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen – Mexico Pavilion
    Feliz Navidad—celebrate with mariachi dancing and south-of-the-border fare at the Mexican Pavilion!
  • Shanghai Holiday Kitchen – China Pavilion
    Have yourself a merry little meal—tempt taste buds with popular plates and potables from the China Pavilion!
  • Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen – Japan Pavilion
    Please your palate with an array of festive dishes and drinks served at the Japan Pavilion.
  • Swirled Showcase – Near Port of Entry
    Cool off with whimsical frozen treats and chilled beverages.
  • Tangierine Café: Flavors of the Medina – Morocco Pavilion
    Travel to the Morocco Pavilion for delicious kebabs and cocktails.
  • Tuscany Holiday Kitchen – Italy Pavilion
    Mangiare—savor a seasonal take on some of the world’s best-loved food and beverages at the Italy Pavilion!
  • Wine & Wedge – Near Disney Traders
    Snack on artisanal cheeses and accoutrements—which pair well with wine, port and more.
  • Yukon Holiday Kitchen – Canada Pavilion
    Jingle your bells with delightful dishes and libations from the Great White North—at the Canada Pavilion.

Additional Locations

  • Funnel Cake – Between the American Adventure Pavilion
  • Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company – Throughout EPCOT
  • Refreshment Outpost – Between the China and Germany Pavilions
  • Refreshment Port – Showcase Plaza
  • Connections Café and Eatery – World Celebration
  • Sunshine Seasons – World Nature in The Land pavilion

World Showcase Storytellers

Back again for 2023 are the World Showcase Storytellers. These storytellers share holiday traditions from around the world and are a definite highlight for the Festival of the Holidays.

If there is a particular storyteller you want to see, make sure you note that. Otherwise, we simply enjoy taking our time wandering through the World Showcase, snacking on treats from the festival kitchens and taking in whatever performances we happen to see along the way.

  • Mexico: Las Posadas Celebration – Feliz Navidad! Join the fun and pageantry of Las Posadas with dancers, piñatas and the music of Mariachi Cobre.
    • Performance Details:
      • Sundays through Thursdays
      • 11:05 AM, 11:55 PM, 12:45 PM, 2:45 PM, 3:50 PM and 4:55 PM
      • 25-minute performances
  • Norway: A Mischievous Magical Barn Santa – Celebrate the season with laughter as a mischievous Barn Santa visits Sigrid, an unsuspecting Christmas storyteller.
    • Performance Details:
      • Daily
      • 11:35 AM, 12:20 PM, 1:10 PM, 2:05 PM, 4:15 PM, 5:20 PM, 6:15 PM and 7:10 PM
      • 15-minute performances
  • China: Chinese Lion Dancer – Catch a glimpse of this colorful performance that brings good fortune and happiness in the Lunar New Year.
    • Performance Details:
      • Daily
      • Noon, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM
      • 15-minute performances
  • Italy: La Befana – Listen to the tale of La Befana, a kind-hearted witch who visits sleeping children on the eve of the Epiphany.
    • Performance Details:
      • Daily
      • 11:15 AM, 12:15 PM, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:30 PM, 4:15 PM, 5:00 PM and 5:50 PM
      • 15-minute performances
  • The Odyssey Pavilion: Santa Claus  – Get ready for Christmas with Santa Claus through December 24. Whether you know him as St. Nick, Père Noël or Father Christmas, a visit with jolly Santa Claus brings good cheer to the season.
    • Performance Details:
      • Daily through December 24
      • 11:00 AM, 12:30 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:30 PM, 5:00 PM and 6:30 PM
      • 60-minute performances
  • Japan: Daruma Storyteller – Hear the fascinating story of the Daruma doll and the Japanese customs of the New Year!
    • Performance Details:
      • Daily
      • 11:35 AM, 12:35 PM, 1:40 PM, 2:40 PM, 4:20 PM, 5:15 PM, 6:00 PM, and 6:45 PM
      • 15-minute performances
  • Between France & Morocco: Hanukkah Storyteller – Guests will discover an entertaining celebration of Hanukkah along World Showcase promenade, where a storyteller recounts traveling abroad to explore the diverse music and traditions of Hanukkah around the world.
    • Performance Details:
      • Daily
      • 10:30 AM, 11:40 AM, 12:40 PM, 1:35 PM, 2:35 PM, 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM and 5:45 PM
      • 15-minute performances
  • France: Père Noël – Visit with Père Noël and rediscover the magic of Christmas through the letter of a delightful child.
    • Performance Details:
      • Daily
      • 10:30 AM, 11:40 AM, 12:40 PM, 1:35 PM, 2:35 PM, 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM and 5:45 PM
      • 15-minute performances
  • United Kingdom: Father Christmas – Join Father Christmas as he rings in the season, sharing the traditions of the United Kingdom and good cheer.
    • Performance Details:
      • Daily
      • 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 1:30 PM, 2:25 PM, 4:00 PM, 5:10 PM, 6:00 PM and 6:45 PM
      • 15-minute performances
  • Canada: Canadian Holiday Voyageurs – Explore holiday customs from the various regions of Canada on a musical tour of the Great White North with the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs.
    • Performance Details:
      • Daily
      • 1:40 PM, 2:45 PM, 3:50 PM, 4:45 PM, 6:00 PM and 6:45 PM
      • 20-minute performances
Epcot France storyteller Festival of the Holidays

Other things to do at Epcot Festival of the Holidays

Although the Festival of the Holidays is one of the shorter festivals at Epcot, it is still packed full of holiday fun and activities.

Here’s what else you’ll find:

Looking for show times? You can check for that in your My Disney Experience app.

Special 100th Decorations

For the 2023 festival, there will be holiday decor at the park entrance commemorating the Disney100 celebration.

Joyful! A Celebration of the Season

JOYFUL! celebrates Kwanzaa and Christmas through spectacular Gospel and R&B vocals. It has been a staple for the Festival of the Holidays for many years, and their location at the entrance to the World Showcase is a perfect spot to get guests fully immersed in the spirit of the holidays.

In 2023, performances begin at 1:15 PM, 2:20 PM, 3:25 PM, and 4:30 PM daily at World Showcase Plaza.

Voices of Liberty

It simply would not be the Festival of the Holidays without Voices of Liberty.

During the holidays, the popular a cappella group becomes the “Dickens Carolers” and can be seen performing charming holiday melodies in the American Adventure rotunda. 

You can usually find showtimes in the My Disney Experience app.

JAMMitors

The JAMMitors are a popular live entertainment act featured at Epcot year-round. They are a percussion group known for their unique and energetic performances that combine music, comedy, and choreography.

Typically, you’ll find them dressed as custodial staff in jumpsuits using everyday janitorial tools like trash cans, buckets, and brooms as musical instruments. But, they sometimes modify their performances during the different seasons to fit whatever festival is currently taking place at EPCOT.

Look for them in World Discovery – but double-check the My Disney Experience app to confirm their location!

Living with the Land: Glimmering Greenhouses

Decorations inside Living with the Land are a relatively new thing, and we are so very excited to see them make a return in 2023.

The overlay for 2023 is even BETTER than what we’ve seen before, with more lights, a custom narration, and tons of decorations sprinkled in throughout the entire attraction.

Living with the Land

Honestly, we weren’t certain this attraction could get any better, but the addition of the beautiful lights is the cherry on top!

Spaceship Earth Holiday Lighting

Spaceship Earth’s beautiful new lights take on a festive feel with every season. For the 2023 Holiday season, a new light show featuring the song “I’m a Star” from the new animated film Wish will be showcased.

Spaceship earth holiday

Figment in his holiday sweater on Journey into Imagination

Every year on the Journey into Imagination attraction, Figment gets dressed up for the holidays by swapping out his regular attire for a holiday sweater. Figment in his ugly sweater can be spotted in the Sound Lab and near his house towards the end of the ride.

Note: Unfortunately, the Figment you meet at Image Works is not dressed up for the holidays.

“Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition” Scavenger Hunt

Olaf’s Scavenger Hunt, officially known as “Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition,” is one of our favorite ways to explore the World Showcase during the holiday season.

To participate, guests simply need to pick up a map, which is available for $9.99 from many of the shops in Epcot, including Creations Shop, Disney Traders, and World Traveler, and then keep their eyes open for the traditions.

Once spotted, there are special stickers you can add to your map. After you complete it, you can take your map back to Creations Shop, Disney Traders, or World Traveler at the International Gateway to redeem for your prize, which is an adorable cookie cutter!

You’ll have your choice of 4 different options: Anna, Elsa, Olaf or Sven:

And, keep in mind that you don’t have to complete it all in 1 day. As long as you redeem your map by December 30, 2023 you’ll be able to collect your prize.

Santa Claus

In 2023, you’ll once again be able to say hello to Santa Claus in the Odyssey Pavilion from November 24th through December 24th.

Santa will be available every day for 60 minute windows at the following times: 11:00 AM, 12:30 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:30 PM, 5:00 PM, and 6:30 PM.

santa odyssey pavilion epcot

Be sure to check the My Disney Experience app to confirm schedules on the day of your visit.

In 2022, Santa Goofy made appearances here beginning December 25 through the end of the festival. It’s unclear if he will do the same in 2023.

Holiday Cookie Stroll

This fun addition that debuted in 2018 has made a return for 2023.

The Holiday Cookie Stroll invites guests to the Festival of Holidays to try tasty cookies from around the World Showcase.

Cookies are available to purchase at specific “Cookie Stroll” locations and with every cookie you try, you’ll be given a stamp.

Menu items & where to purchase them in 2023:

  • Nochebuena Cocina: Spiced Chocolate Cookie
  • Yukon Holiday Kitchen: Snickerdoodle Cookie made with SNICKERS® bar pieces
  • L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen: Black and White Cookie (plant-based)
  • American Holiday Table: Gingerbread Cookie
  • Bavaria Holiday Kitchen: Linzer Cookie
  • Holiday Hearth Desserts: Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie
  • Sunshine Seasons: Jingle Sugar Cookie made with M&M’S® chocolate candies
  • Connections Café: Holiday Sugar Cookie

Collect 5 stamps before the Festival of the Holidays ends (you don’t have to do them all in 1 day!), and you’ll receive a complimentary specialty cookie after showing your completed passport at the Holiday Sweet & Treats Holiday Kitchen.

Epcot Festival of the Holidays Tips

There is a LOT to see and do during the Festival of the Holidays, but here are some tips that can help ensure you get to see the best of what the festival has to offer:

  • Plan Ahead: Even if you’ve already looked ahead of time, double-check the schedule for performances and activities in the My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit. Times can and do change. Also, consider booking a Candlelight Processional Dining Package if you plan to watch the show on your visit.
  • Get a Festival Passport: Grab a Festival Passport when you arrive; it’s a free guidebook that includes information about the holiday offerings, food menus, and entertainment schedules.
  • Dine at the Holiday Kitchens: Save room for some treats from the Holiday Kitchens. There are tons of options – both savory and sweet – so you can either opt for a full meal or just a snack.
  • Explore Each Country’s Tradition: Take time to explore the holiday traditions in each pavilion of the World Showcase. If you want to make it extra fun, consider purchasing Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt.
  • Special Merchandise: Look out for special festival merchandise, which can be great for souvenirs or gifts.
  • Arrive Early: To avoid crowds and make the most of the day, try to arrive early, especially if you’re visiting on a weekend or close to Christmas. Plan to ride the attractions in the morning, and then you can spend your afternoon exploring the Festival of the Holidays.
  • Ride Living with the Land at night: Living with the Land is great at any time of the day, but if you can ride it at night, the twinkling lights will look even better!
  • Capture the Moments: Don’t forget to take lots of pictures, including PhotoPass pictures and Magic Shots!

Not returning for 2023: Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Overlay

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is known for its music, and during the 2022 holiday season, they switched out their current list for a new song that’s a “mash-up” of all your favorite Christmas hits.

But, guests didn’t really like that little addition, so it looks like Disney has decided to NOT bring it back for 2023.

guardians of the galaxy

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Shannon Albert

V O'keef

Tuesday 4th of June 2019

Festivus? Not hardly at WDW.