Originally called “Holidays around the World”, the last festival in the calendar year at Disney’s Epcot has been called the “Epcot International Festival of the Holidays” since 2016.
In 2019 it runs every day from November 29 until after Christmas on December 30, just a few days after the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival ends.
Like all Epcot festivals, basic admission is included with a standard admission ticket and includes food, merchandise and entertainment in the shape of the festive Candlelight Processional where celebrity narrators tell the story of Christmas accompanied by a mass choir.
Don’t forget to pick up a Festival Passport at the Epcot Entrance as it will give you details of all the entertainments including times, merchandise and more importantly all the food options and where you can find them.
The theme is still holidays around the world and the festival gives guests a chance to savour how other cultures celebrate the holiday season.
All around the World Showcase, you will find native Holiday Storytellers in traditional costumes sharing the traditions of their countries around the holiday time. Performance times vary.
If you want to get a photo with both Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, head for the right hand side of the American Pavilion.
Also at the American Pavilion, the Voices of Liberty perform Christmas songs.
Over a dozen themed holiday kitchens are located around the World Showcase and offer festive sampler sized portions of food and treats plus a range of drinks (both non-alcoholic and alcoholic). Some of the food dishes are nearer to meal size portions.
Prices are typically around $4 to $8 per dish and $5 to $16 for speciality drinks.
The kitchens are open from noon until around 8:00 p.m. As well as the standalone kitchens you will also find a number of carts selling festive food items and many of the existing eateries have special festive additions to their menus.
Holiday Cookie Stroll
Grab your Festival Passport and then take part in the Holiday Cookie Stroll. There are five different stamps to collect when you purchase holiday cookies from five select locations. Cookie prices are around the $2 mark.
Stick them in your passport and then you can redeem them for a complimentary “completer” cookie and glass of milk from Holiday Sweets and Treats.
One of the highlights of the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is the Candlelight Processional which takes place three times each evening at the American Gardens Theatre.
At each performance a celebrity narrator tells the biblical Christmas story accompanied by a 50 piece live orchestra and massed choirs.
Some perennial favourite narrators like Neil Patrick Harris draw a large crowd.
Admission to the concerts is free but by purchasing a Candlelight Processional Dining Package] you get a guaranteed same day reserved seat.
Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season
Each day at the Future World Fountain Stage, you can listen to D’Vine Voices performing “Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season” holiday melodies including gospel, jazz and R&B styles.
The performances also include African-American Kwanzaa celebrations and they take place several times a day.
Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree Scavenger Hunt
There is the Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree Scavenger Hunt which takes place around the World Showcase.
As you walk around the World Showcase look out for Chip & Dale’s Christmas tree ornaments, put the corresponding ornament sticker onto your scavenger map and once you have completed the hunt, take your map to Disney Traders for a festive gift.
You can purchase a map and set of stickers for $6.99 plus tax at several locations including Pin Central, Disney Traders and World Traveler at the International Gateway.
Epcot Forever Fireworks
New for 2019 is the “Epcot Forever Fireworks” display which replaces “Illuminations: Reflections of Earth”.
In past years, the show was interspersed with classic holiday music, holiday greetings in the native language of the countries throughout the World Showcase and ending with a message of peace on earth and goodwill to men.
To get the best view you will need to arrive early at the Showcase Lagoon and find a spot that is not obstructed by trees or light poles. Alternatively you can:
- grab a Fastpass+ for a reserved spot at the World Showcase Plaza Viewing Area between the Tower gift shops
- purchase a ticket to the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party which includes reserved viewing of the fireworks
- take an Epcot Fireworks Cruise and watch the fireworks from on the water near the International Gateway; prices start at $299 plus tax for up to 8 guests
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Merchandise
No festival would be complete without merchandise and the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is no different!
You will find a range of themed clothing, backpacks, Christmas plush toys and festive MagicBands.
Annual Passholders may also find complimentary gifts like fridge magnets and the option to buy exclusive passholder gifts.
In previous years, Epcot used to be decorated with the Lights of Winter lighted canopy that danced to holiday music over the walkway linking Future World and the World Showcase.