If we lived in Florida, the Walt Disney World Festival of Holidays at Epcot would definitely be a holiday tradition for us. With holiday kitchens, holiday stories across the World Showcase, decorations, merchandise, and the Candlelight Processional, there truly is something for everyone. If you haven’t gotten a chance to attend this holiday festival at Walt Disney World, let us give you the details. Festival of Holidays runs from November 26- December 30, 2021. Here’s our Beginner’s Guide to the International Festival of Holidays at Walt Disney World.
Christmas at Walt Disney World EPCOT
Ok, so let us just share that Christmas at Walt Disney World is amazing. There truly is nothing else like it! When we visited Disney during the holidays for the first time last year we were floored by how extra-magical everything was. Add the fact that we are holiday crazy in general and you can just imagine how excited we were the whole trip.
Of course, you’ll have to deal with the crowds, and probably have a list of things you need to do, but it’s so important to make sure that you make time for Epcot during the holidays. The festival truly does showcase the meaning of Christmas in all its glory and you will leave feeling uplifted, and hopeful, and ready for the New Year.
When is the EPCOT International Festival of Holidays?
Walt Disney World’s Festival of Holidays runs from November 26- December 30, 2021.
Festival of Holidays Activities
The International Festival of Holidays takes place in the Epcot World Showcase. Unlike the other Christmas party over at Magic Kingdom, you don’t need an extra ticket to enjoy the festival. It’s included with your Epcot admission. The Festival of Holidays includes the following:
- Holiday Stories from each culture are shared in each World Showcase country.
- Holiday Kitchens, or food booths, added to the showcase featuring holiday foods from each country.
- Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt Game
- The Candlelight Processional with a celebrity reader
- Joyful! A Celebration of the Season musicians
- Voices of Liberty
- Las Posadas with Mariachi Cobre
- JAMMitors Percussion Players
- Festival of Holidays Cookie Stroll
- Special Festival of Holidays Merchandise
- Holiday Promenades
Holiday Storytellers in the World Showcase
The storytellers at the World Showcase are, in classic Disney fashion, perfectly themed characters that truly transport you to their time and place to share the most meaningful holiday stories. These performances happen throughout the day, so check the time’s guide when you arrive if you’re hoping to see a certain storyteller.
We loved loved loved La Befana in Italy and wished we would have had more time to visit every country’s storytellers. Be sure to build in the time where you can stroll through the showcase and listen to these stories, it really does make the season feel extra special.
Where are the Holiday Storytellers in World Showcase?
Each country gets a storyteller, so be sure to check them out. If you’re toting kids, this experience is so educational we think it could definitely count as school.
America | Santa Claus
While you can find the American Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus in the American Adventure pavilion, complete with luxurious red velvet thrones, there are so many other holiday icons to see! If visiting America first to get your Santa fix, you can also hear Kwanzaa and Hanukkah stories presented throughout the day.
Canada | Canadian Holiday Voyageurs
Music and classic Christmas feelings of the north show up in Canada.
China | Chinese Lion Dancers
And in China, there are dragon dancers preparing for the Chinese New Year.
France | Visit with Père Noël
France is also a must-see storyteller with Pere Noel telling the tale of how they leave out shoes.
Germany | Helga and the Nutcracker
When visiting Germany, you can meet Helga who relays the tale of The Nutcracker.
Italy | La Befana
In Italy, you can visit La Befana and she recaps her tale of the Epiphany.
Japan | Daruma Storyteller
In Japan, you can see how they experience Japanese New Year, O-Shogatsu, and listen as they tell the story of this tradition complete with mochi, bell ringing, and postcards.
Mexico | Las Posadas Celebration
A festive celebration for the holidays with lots of music, dancing and stories.
Morocco | Festive Bands
You can listen to the seasonal music in Morocco and head to the Hanukkah Storyteller found between Morocco and France for more stories of the season.
Norway | The Mischievous Barn Santa visits Sigrid
Sigrid and the Barn Santa share humor and stories throughout the day in Norway.
United Kingdom | Father Christmas
The most classic story of how Christmas arrives in England with Father Christmas. Another must-see Storyteller.
Holiday Kitchens at Festival of Holidays
Ahhhh, holiday food. They don’t call this the most wonderful time of year for nothing. And we have definitely become addicted to all of Disney’s foodie events.
If you haven’t guessed, much like the storytellers, each Holiday Kitchen is themed to its respective country. In America you’ll get a Christmas dinner, in Italy you’ll get fruitcake, and there’s a whole kitchen booth just for cookies. Last year there were 15 Holiday Kitchens at the festival, so plenty of holidays foods to try! Just like with the Food and Wine Festival, you’ll get a little passport book with all the menus and can check out all the Festival of Holiday Menus ahead of time for better planning!
What Holiday Kitchens are at the Festival of Holidays?
We like having a plan of attack for any foodie festival at Epcot, so we try to grab foods as we make our way around the World Showcase. And sometimes, it takes two days to fit it all in. Be sure to check out the Festival of Holidays Menus for all the kitchens this year!
- 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.
- 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!
- Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen – Japan Pavilion
Please your palate with an array of festive dishes and drinks served at the Japan Pavilion.
- 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!
- 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
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a holiday classic: Pumpkin Pie Funnel Cake.
- Refreshment Outpost – Between the China and Germany Pavilions
Chow down on this year’s holiday surprise: Coconut-Pineapple Cake with DOLE Whip. (Sorry, guess it’s not a surprise now.)
Festival of Holiday Kitchens Near Port of Entry and EPCOT Discovery
- Chestnuts & Good Cheer Holiday Kitchen – Near Port of Entry – NEW!
Join in on the festivities when you visit this new location offering cinnamon-glazed nuts and holiday beverages.
- Holiday Hearth Desserts – Near Port of Entry
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.
- Mele Kalikimaka – Near Port Of Entry
Savor the flavor of fabulous, festive food and beverages from the islands of Hawai‘i.
- Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company – Throughout EPCOT
Salute the season with the usual selection of coffees, plus a tasty holiday-themed treat!
- Refreshment Port – Showcase Plaza
Savor the flavor of holiday poutine and toast the season with specials like Coquito Soft-serve, also available with Spiced Rum.
- The Donut Box – Near Test Track Presented by Chevrolet
Enjoy a classic dessert dressed up in a little holiday cheer when you try one of our seasonally themed donuts!
Cookie Stroll at Epcot Festival of Holidays
New last year the Festival of Holidays Cookie Stroll offers you the opportunity to take on a cookie-eating challenge. You visit all 5 official cookie stroll locations, collect a stamp in your passport at each, and head to the Sweets & Treats Holiday Kitchen to receive a FREE Santa Mickey Sugar Cookie.
- Yukon Holiday Kitchen- SNICKERS®-Doodle Cookie
SNICKERS®-Doodle Cookie made with SNICKERS® bar pieces
- L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen- Black and White Cookie
The L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen between Morocco and France Pavilions Black-and-White Cookie. The black and white cookie has returned this year for this stroll. Not only is it a classic but it’s also delicious! Half white icing, half black, this cookie was a fan favorite last year.
- American Holiday Table- Chocolate Crinkle Cookie
Chocolate Crinkle Cookie made with DOVE® Dark Chocolate. Chocolate Crinkles are one of our favorite classic holiday cookies and we are so excited for it to come to the cookie stroll this year. A soft, chocolate cookie with a fudge center, topped with powdered sugar, this is sure to be a holiday favorite this year.
- Bavaria Holiday Kitchen at the Germany Pavilion Linzer Cookie
Who doesn’t love a good Linzer cookie? This one is filled with raspberry jam and decorated with a gorgeous cut-out snowflake. It doesn’t get more classic than that!
- Holiday Hearth Desserts- Gingerbread Cookie
Visit all 5 official cookie stroll locations, collect a stamp in your passport at each, and head to the Sweets & Treats Holiday Kitchen to receive a FREE specialty cookie decorated for the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World. You can also grab an adorable Holiday Chip and Dale Cookie Jar for the 2020 Festival of Holidays to collect your cookies as you go.
Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition
For this game, players can buy a map ( with stickers), usually about 8 dollars, from the gift shop or kiosk to get started. With your map in tow, you can search for everything Olaf has gathered and lost along the way. Throughout the World Showcase! They are sometimes hard to find. We’ve had to ask for clues before, so be on the lookout! Once found, you can just add the sticker to the map. When the map is filled in you can return it to the gift shop for a prize. Disney has been changing up their prizes lately, but usually, you get a chip and dale inspired pin. We’ve also seen them offer key chains, patches, and cups for the other games, so it could be different each year.
Know that you’ve already paid for the prize technically with the purchase of the map, so even if you don’t find all the Olaf clues you can still collect your prize at the end. And the map is a “free” Disney Souvenir, so treat it well!
Festival of Holidays Entertainment
The Epcot evening show, Epcot Forever is a new addition to the Festival of Holidays replacing Illuminations Peace on Earth. We love the Italy pavilion as a viewing location since it’s pretty central and not as crowded as Japan. In addition to the show on the lake, you also get the Candlelight Processional.
The Candlelight Processional 2021
Ok, so we were absolutely blown away by the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. Blown. Away. The Candlelight Processional is the reading of the Nativity story, by a celebrity reader, but it’s so much more! There are choirs, and an orchestra, and a light show. You really do have to be in the theater, sitting down, to experience how amazing everything feels and sounds. They even have an interpreter for the deaf community. The whole experience is so emotionally overwhelming, when you’re there you just want everyone you love in your life to be there with you. It really is worth it. We recommend celebrity reader, Warwick Davis if you can get him. 🙂 This year’s celebrity narrators include the following actors. Available through certain dates during the 2021 Season.
- Chita Rivera
November 29 through December 1
- Jodi Benson
- December 2 through December 4
- Alton Fitzgerald White
December 5 through December 7
- Lisa Ling
December 11 through December 13
- 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. Candlelight Processional Dining Packages are also returning and are available to be booked on Oct. 26.