Every year you can find a live reading of the Christmas Nativity Story at Epcot. As part of the International Festival of Holidays at Walt Disney World, this holiday tradition features a full chorus, a celebrity speaker, and an orchestra. Complete with festive lights, crisp evening air, and even a dining package option. The Candlelight Processional is a must-do holiday event at Walt Disney World. But with celebrity speakers, some evenings can get crowded, and the lines long. Here are our Top 5 Tips for the Candlelight Processional at Festival of Holidays.
Choose Your Showtime Wisely
The Candlelight Processional is offered at 5 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:15 pm at the American Gardens Theatre, in the America Pavilion of the World Showcase. If hoping to see a popular celebrity speaker, plan to be in line a few hours ahead of your time. Personally, we love the latest showtime at 8:15 pm for the lowest crowds and late-night mood. Otherwise, plan to arrive mid-afternoon, as the most popular celebrities will draw a crowd.
Prepare for the Show
We love making an event out of the Candlelight Processional. And if you’re going later in the season, or even just catching the latest show, remember that Florida does get a little colder at night. Since American Gardens Theatre is outside, it’s best to plan to wear an extra layer, have a small blanket or grab cocoa as you settle in to listen to the story and music.
Pick Your Celebrity
If you have chosen a popular celebrity speaker, like Neil Patrick Harris, you may spend your day waiting in line! Lines for the more popular celebrities often start hours ahead of time. Luckily with three showtimes, each line just overflows into the next, but using our Epcot day waiting in line is not our idea of a good time. The best tip to avoid this is to either pick a less popular speaker or grab the dining package for reserved seating. We recently saw Warwick Davis, mostly by accident, at the latest show without any waiting in line. As one of our favorite actors, it was amazing to see Warwick Davis read this story. Because we’ve been fans of Warwick Davis since Willow, and Star Wars and Harry Potter, we were thrilled to see him in person. He did a phenomenal job.
New Celebrity Narrators
2021 welcomes back the Candlelight Processional with new Celebrity Speakers in 2021. This retelling of the Nativity Story takes place at the America Garden’s Theater throughout the festival. This year’s celebrity narrators include the following actors. Available through certain dates during the season.
- Auli’i Cravalho
November 26 through November 28
- Chita Rivera
November 29 through December 1
- Jodi Benson
December 2 through December 4
- Alton Fitzgerald White
December 5 through December 7
- Bart Millard
December 8 through December 10
- Lisa Ling
December 11 through December 13
- Andy Garcia
December 14 through December 16
- Ana Gasteyer
December 17 through December 19
- Courtney B. Vance
December 20 through December 22
- Steven Curtis Chapman
December 23 through December 25
- Blair Underwood
December 26 through December 28
- Pat Sajak
December 29 through December 30
Additional celebrities will be shared on Disney’s website as they sign on. Check out the lineup of celebrity readers for Disney’s Candlelight Processional in 2021.
Put down the Camera
We are as guilty as anyone for wanting to capture every single moment of the event on film. It’s so amazing, so emotional, so spectacular that we just want to share it with everyone we know. But this event really is about being absorbed in the experience of this magical story that signifies the holiday season. Grab a picture or two, and let yourself enjoy it in person, not through the lens. You can always share one of many Candlelight Processional videos found on YouTube later.
Book the Dining Package for the Best Seating
A Candlelight Processional dining package is available for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at select restaurants across Epcot. The benefit of this package is that it gets you reserved seating at the Candlelight Processional and can make the most of your time at Epcot during the Festival of Holidays. With a range of pricing for all three meals check out the dining package page for details. Candlelight Processional Dining Packages are available to be booked on Oct. 26.