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. Disney’s EPCOT International Festival of Holidays runs from November 24- December 30, 2023. Here’s our Beginner’s Guide to the International Festival of Holidays at Walt Disney World.
- 1 Christmas at Walt Disney World EPCOT
- 2 Festival of Holidays at EPCOT Activities
- 3 Holiday Storytellers in the World Showcase 2023
- 4 Holiday Kitchens at Festival of Holidays
- 5 Cookie Stroll at Epcot Festival of Holidays
- 6 Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition
- 7 Santa Claus at the Odyssey Pavilion
- 8 Festival of Holidays Entertainment
- 9 Candlelight Processional 2023
- 10 Living with the Land Merry and Bright Nights
- 11 EPCOT Festival of Holidays Merchandise
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 Disney holiday crowds, and have a Christmas at Disney World Checklist, 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, hopeful, and ready for the New Year.
When is the EPCOT International Festival of Holidays?
Disney’s EPCOT International Festival of Holidays runs from November 24- December 30, 2023, featuring outdoor kitchens, the Candlelight Processional, Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition and more. Visiting for Christmas at EPCOT is always a treat. Combining all our favorite cultural traditions and amazing holiday treats EPCOT brings together food and fun throughout all four neighborhoods.
Festival of Holidays at EPCOT Activities
The International Festival of Holidays takes place in the Epcot World Showcase. Unlike the other Christmas Party over at Magic Kingdom and Jollywood Nights at Hollywood Studios, 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, are added throughout the park featuring holiday foods from each country.
- Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt Game
- The Candlelight Processional with a celebrity narrator
- 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 Storytellers in the World Showcase 2023
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 guide when you arrive if you’re hoping to see a certain storyteller. This information is also sometimes found in the My Disney Experience App.
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 when 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. You can gather around and listen to Christmas and Holiday stories from cultures all over the world. It’s a wonderful experience, shared by professional performers across the park, and we highly recommend it!
Canada | Canadian Holiday Voyageurs
Music and classic Christmas feelings of the north show up in Canada. Daily.
China | Chinese Lion Dancers
And in China, there are dragon dancers preparing for the Chinese New Year. Catch a glimpse of a colorful performance that brings good fortune and happiness in the Lunar New Year. Daily.
France | Visit with Père Noël
France is also a must-see storyteller with Pere Noel telling the tale of how they leave out shoes. Daily.
Italy | La Befana
In Italy, you can visit La Befana and she recaps her tale of the Epiphany. Daily.
Japan | Daruma Storyteller
In Japan, you can see how they experience the Japanese New Year, O-Shogatsu, and listen as they tell the story of this tradition complete with mochi, bell ringing, and postcards. Hear the fascinating story of the Daruma doll and the Japanese customs of the New Year! Daily.
Mexico | Las Posadas Celebration
¡Feliz Navidad! Join the fun and pageantry of Las Posadas with dancers, piñatas and the music of Mariachi Cobre. A festive celebration for the holidays with lots of music, dancing, and stories. Sunday through Thursday.
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. Daily
Norway | The Mischievous Barn Santa visits Sigrid
Celebrate the season with laughter as a mischievous Barn Santa visits Sigrid, an unsuspecting Christmas storyteller. Daily.
United Kingdom | Father Christmas
The most classic story of how Christmas arrives in England with Father Christmas. Another must-see Storyteller. Daily.
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 fruitcakes, and there’s a whole kitchen booth just for cookies. There are 15 Holiday Kitchens at the festival, so plenty of holiday 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! There are 4 NEW Festival of Holidays Kitchens this year. Check out the Festival of Holidays Christmas Menus to figure out what to eat next!
Cookie Stroll at Epcot Festival of Holidays
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 a specialty Holiday Kitchen to receive a FREE Cookie. In past years, there is usually a cookie jar that can be purchased for all of your cookies.
- Gingerbread Cookie | American Holiday Table America
- Linzer Cookie | Bavaria Holiday Kitchen Germany
- Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie | Holiday Hearth Desserts The Odyssey Pavilion
- Black and White Cookie (Plant-based) | L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen
- Spiced Chocolate Cookie | Nocehbuena Cucina Port of Entry
- Snickerdoodle Cookie made with SNICKERS | Yukon Holiday Kitchen Canada
- Holiday Sugar Cookie | Connections Cafe World Celebration
- Jingle Sugar Cookie made with M&M’S chocolate candies | Sunshine Seasons The Land
Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition
For this game, players can buy a map ( with stickers), usually less than 10 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!
Santa Claus at the Odyssey Pavilion
Returning to the Odyssey Building, you can visit Santa Claus and get your photo from Nov. 24 through Dec. 24. Get ready for lots of festive, merry, and bright.
Location: The Odyssey Pavilion
Show Times: 11:00 AM, 12:30 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:30 PM, 5:00 PM and 6:30 PM
Dates: Daily – November 24 through December 24, 2024
Festival of Holidays Entertainment
JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season at World Showcase Plaza
To fill your cup up even more, sing along with the exuberant voices of JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season in World Showcase Plaza. With uplifting Gospel and R&B songs celebrating Christmas and Kwanzaa.
Candlelight Processional 2023
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, 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.
- Location: America Gardens Theatre at EPCOT
- Dates: November 24 to December 30, 2023
- Showtimes: 5:15 PM, 7:00 PM and 8:30 PM
This retelling of the Nativity Story takes place at the America Garden’s Theater throughout the festival and features new celebrity speakers throughout the festival. Check out the lineup of celebrity readers for Disney’s Candlelight Processional in 2023.
2023 Candlelight Processional Celebrity 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
2023 Candlelight Processional Dining Package
A Candlelight Processional Dining Package is available for 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 in late October. Choose from seven distinctive eateries, offering everything from character dining at Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Harvest Feast at Garden Grill Restaurant in The Land pavilion to signature dining at Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada pavilion.
Candlelight Processional Same-Day Dining Package
You can also dine without reservations at Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue that day and enjoy guaranteed seats to a Candlelight Processional performance later in the evening.
Living with the Land Merry and Bright Nights
Another amazing thing to add to your EPCOT Christmas Trip is the Living with the Land ride! Decorated special for the holiday season you can see twinkling lights and decorations inside the ride! Perfect for getting out of the crowds and enjoying the light displays!
EPCOT Festival of Holidays Merchandise
Haul out the holly for all the NEW Christmas merchandise at the EPCOT International Festival of Holidays. New Christmas decorations, apparel, and home decor are in the marketplaces and gift shops for this special event.
EPCOT Festival of Holidays Guide
Hopefully, this has helped you get ready for your Festival of Holidays EPCOT trip this holiday season. With so many things to see, do and eat, there is no shortage of ways to fill your days at EPCOT for Christmas.
Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.