(Article last updated: December 9, 2018)
Formerly known as "Holidays around the World," the new Epcot International Festival of the Holidays will run from November 18 - December 30, 2018. Like other festivals at Epcot, it is included with the price of your admission.
During the Epcot International Festival of the holidays you can expect to see the items listed below.
In the outdoor American Gardens Theater in the American section of the World Showcase, celebrity narrators read a presentation of the Christmas story. A huge choir and 50-piece orchestra are also a part of this very moving event.
This 40 minute show takes place 3 times a day and for the first time, you'll be able to catch the magic over the Thanksgiving holiday. The dates for the Candlelight Processional in 2018 will be from November 22 through December 30th with show times at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.
There is no cost to attend, although it is very popular so securing a seat can be a challenge.
One way to guarantee a seat is to book a Candlelight Dining Package. For 2018 guests can book breakfast, lunch, or dinner at select restaurants both inside and outside of Epcot.
Breakfast and dinner:
- Trattoria Al Forno (Boardwalk)
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner:
- Ale and Compass (Yacht Club)
Lunch and dinner:
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Norway pavilion)
- Biergarten Restaurant (Germany pavilion)
- Chefs de France (France pavilion)
- Coral Reef Restaurant (The Seas pavilion)
- The Garden Grill Restaurant (The Land pavilion)
- Nine Dragons Restaurant (China pavilion)
- Restaurant Marrakesh and Spice Road Table (Morocco pavilion)
- Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room (United Kingdom pavilion)
- Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining (Japan pavilion)
- Tutto Italia Ristorante & Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria (Italy pavilion)
- La Hacienda de San Angel & San Angel Inn Restaurante (Mexico pavilion)
Prices will vary (depending on the restaurant) but in 2018 you can expect the Candlelight Processional Dining Packages to start at:
- Breakfast: $38 adults / $22 kids (plus tax)
- Lunch: $50 adults ' $16.99 kids (plus tax)
- Dinner: $55 adults/ $16.99 kids (plus tax)
For that price you will receive:
- Meal with appetizer (for lunch and dinner), entree, dessert, non-alcoholic beverage (or, if the meal is a buffet, you get 1 buffet meal)
- Reserved section to sit in during Candlelight Processional
- People using the Disney Dining Plan can use 2 Table Service credits to pay for the package.
Here are the narrators for 2018:
- 11/22 – 11/23 – Chita Rivera
- 11/24 – 11/25 – Helen Hunt
- 11/26 – 11/27 – Alfonso Ribeiro
- 11/28 - 11/30 – Robby Benson
- 12/1 - 12/2 - John Stamos
- 12/3 – 12/6 – Neil Patrick Harris
- 12/7 – 12/9 – Whoopi Goldberg
- 12/10 – 12/12 – Bart Millard
- 12/13 – 12/14 – Blair Underwood
- 12/15 – 12/17 – Gary Sinise
- 12/18 – 12/20 – Pat Sajak
- 12/21 – 12/23 – Auli'l Cravalho
- 12/24 – 12/25 – Joey Fatone
- 12/26 – 12/27 – Jodi Benson
- 12/28 – 12/30 – Cal Ripken Jr.
Reservations can be on the Disney World website or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.
Take a look at a sampling of a show that was hosted by my pretend BFF, Neil Patrick Harris, who normally narrates CP for a couple of nights.
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. From late November through the end of December you can find special treats in 12 themed Holiday Kitchens serving up traditional holiday foods and drinks from several different countries and regions of the world.
Chip and Dale's Christmas Tree Spree
Chip and Dale's Christmas Tree Spree invites guests to search out special ornaments as they traverse the World Showcase. To participate, guests simply need to pick up a map (available from many of the shops in Epcot for $6.99) and then keep their eyes open for the ornaments. Once spotted, there are special stickers you can add to your map. After complete you can take your map to Disney Traders to exchange it for a special holiday-themed surprise!
Holiday Cookie Stroll
This fun addition for 2018 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. Collect 5 stamps before the Festival of the Holidays ends and you'll receive a complimentary cookie and a cold glass of milk!
Special ending to Illuminations
The Illuminations nighttime show has a different segment on the end that doesn't play any other time of year. Skip to 13:09 on the video below to see it.
Special entertainment during Festival of the Holidays at Epcot
Enjoy the sights and sounds of the nations of World Showcase, as each country’s holiday heritage comes to life amid joyful music and time-honored traditions. Guests will discover an entertaining celebration of Hanukkah in a new location along World Showcase promenade, where a fun and interactive band interweaves the music of Hanukkah with jazz, Latin, rock and even hip-hop influences. Other returning holiday favorites include JOYFUL! A Gospel Celebration of the Season and Canadian Holiday Voyageurs.