Epcot Holidays Around the World 2014 Kicks Off w/New Entertainment & Illuminations Changes (Photos, Video)

Hi everyone!

Epcot kicked off Holidays Around the World on Friday, and we have photos from the first day! New entertainment has been added, along with an updated holiday tag for Illuminations.

There are a handful of photos I took in the days leading up to Holidays Around the World as well. The decorations began earlier than the celebration. We have over 100 photos here as well as video, though we couldn’t get to every storyteller yet.

This year, Mickey and Minnie join Pluto at the front of the park. In past years, Goofy and Donald have been front and center – but they are still in topiary form elsewhere.

Mickey and Minnie wear their Santa hats and are great for photo opportunities!

Pluto with his dog house.

Thumper and Flower are on this side, Bambi is on the other.

Stitch again returns to take a bite out of the Epcot sign.

Spaceship Earth.

The Joyful! stage is always festive.

Donald and Goofy now are on the walkway to World Showcase.

I really like the topiaries on a stick, especially at night.

Santa Mickey ears on sticks.

The large Christmas tree is at the entrance to World Showcase.

Ornaments always signify different countries.

My favorite time to visit Epcot usually is first thing in the morning. While World Showcase doesn’t open until 11 a.m., Les Halles Boulangerie opens at 9:00 a.m., and it is a nice, quiet walk at that time.

Fast forwarding to after 11:00 a.m., the above Port of Entry shop includes merchandise selected from many World Showcase countries.

Christmas Toblerone.

Soft Gingerbread Cookies from Germany.

Rizzo the Rat is one of the ornaments here.

The table here is set for Christmas, as it was before for the autumn.

The Promenade features a delicious Savory Turkey Waffle. There are a few other items as part of a special menu for Holidays Around the World, although I don’t think the Hot Dog is one of them.

This is a Sweet Potato Waffle, and the meal is like a turkey dinner on a waffle. I’m not really a sweet potato fan, but it works well.

These moose are new to the Canada pavilion.

Garland and wreaths give a joyful look to the Le Cellier Steakhouse sign.

Victoria Gardens doesn’t look particularly festive, but it is still one of my favorite spots in Epcot.

The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs include some members of the band Off Kilter, which is no longer at Epcot.

The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs take over from the Canadian Lumberjack show for the holiday season.

Here is the intro for the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs.

Shops around World Showcase carry some fun holiday merchandise!

Christmas decorations inside the Northwest Mercantile.

“Lighten Up” shirt.

“Lighten Up” mug.

Don’t open until Christmas!

Wreath in Canada.

The United Kingdom includes poinsettia plants here near the bathrooms.

Inside the Tea Caddy, Christmas goodies can be found – like this Matthew Walker Classic Christmas Pudding.

Sportsman’s Shoppe decorations outside.

The Spode teapot was very popular on our Instagram account! I had never heard of Spode before.

Here is a look from behind it, with the United Kingdom pavilion in view.

Poinsettia plants.

This is a colorful view of the bridge between France and the United Kingdom.

Candy decorations frame the France pavilion nicely.

A butterfly enjoys the morning in France.

Early morning in the France pavilion.

Eiffel Tower decorative ornament with Epcot’s Eiffel Tower in the background.

Arc de Triomphe ornament.

Snowflakes were added here last year.

A wreath and garland above Impressions de France.

Chocolate sardines.

In Les Halles Boulangerie, the Chocolate Christmas Log is sure to be popular (Buche de Noel au Chocolat).

It looks decadent! But we ended up going for the Peppermint Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich instead this time, also a holiday item.

Père Noël is one of the storytellers around World Showcase, telling the story of Babette. He is one that we never miss!

Here is our video of Père Noël.

Gingerbread ice cream is available at Artisan des Glaces.

All the ice cream is made here, as are the macarons.

The Peppermint Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich is really terrific, as we expected.

Gingerbread ice cream.

We split this Peppermint Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich.

Candy decoration on the light pole with a Friendship Boat in view.

Morocco has a new storyteller, who talks about spices and festivals.

Here is our video of the Morocco presentation at Epcot.

I’ve enjoyed the Epcot Candelight Processional regularly for about 20 years now. Jodi Benson is a terrific narrator! Every few days, a new celebrity narrates.

The Sugar and Spice Holiday Bakery is open for guests, taking the place of what used to be a gingerbread house inside the Liberty Inn (that ended 2 years ago).

Gingerbread cookies, special drinks and other goodies are sold here.

Santa’s Village offers holiday shopping.

Precious Moments dolls by Linda Rick can be found here.

Guests can enjoy photos in front of this beautiful Christmas tree.

Looking across to Spaceship Earth and the Christmas tree at the entrance to World Showcase.

The Voices of Liberty sing Christmas songs in the American Adventure rotunda.

A decadent gingerbread sculpture of the U.S. Capitol stands in front of a quote by Walt Disney.

This is Epcot’s display for 2014. Up until two years ago there was the gingerbread house (that was also a shop) in The Liberty Inn, and last year there was a fantastic display featuring the Walt Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line in The Land.

Looking from the back at the Voices of Liberty entertaining the crowd.

Santa and Mrs. Claus hadn’t yet arrived – but there was a long line already.

Decorations always look lovely in Italy.

Looking toward Spaceship Earth.

Germany is one of my favorite countries for decorations as well.


We always enjoy a lunch at the Biergarten during the holiday season, they put on a wonderful Christmas show.

Snowman topiary in Germany.

We didn’t have a chance to see Helga, but will in the next couple of weeks. There are a few storytellers we make sure to see each year, and she is one of them.

Maelstrom closed in Norway this year to make way for a “Frozen” attraction, but the decorations look as nice as ever.

The waterfall still flows at Maelstrom.

The Fjording.

Shops and dining are still available.

In China, the Monkey King is gone and Lion Dancers have been added. We really enjoyed this new show!

Two dancers are inside the lion, performing a lovely dance.

Here is our video of the Lion Dancers.

In Mexico, the Three Kings presentation is gone, but a new show featuring Mariachi Cobre replaces it.

We had noticed the new decorations a month or so ago, which are quite festive!

The garland includes pinatas and boots.

This is an interactive, fun and colorful holiday presentation that includes two dancers.

The flowing dress makes for lovely photos.

There is a hat dance.

Kids get to try to break a pinata.

Here is our video of the Mexico holiday presentation, which we highly recommend making time for.

We wanted to catch some of Joyful!, which has become quite popular in Epcot.  Joyful! features Christmas music with a Gospel flair (it is like going to church!)

For those who plan to shop this month, Disney is giving out (again) the counter service receipts that include 20% off merchandise. The shops are limited, as are the hours – but it is better than our Annual Pass discount at Walt Disney World.

We had run over to the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel for the Christmas tree lighting and to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus in their vacation outfits, and then headed back to see Epcot’s Candelight Processional.

The big draw for us is the choirs singing Christmas music, which is made up of Cast Members and high schoolers.

Jodi Benson was an enthusiastic narrator, and we would enjoy seeing her again.

Apparently, wrist bands are now given out for 100 standby guests earlier in the day (I don’t know if that is every day), and then there is still another standby line. This was the most Candelight packages I can ever remember seeing being sold, with the package guests taking up much of the theater. Back in the 90’s, package guests tended to take up the first couple of rows! It has changed a lot through the years. We didn’t have a wristband, I don’t know if they gave them out on the first day. We were in the back, center row – which was perfect for us. We rarely buy the package since we live here and can go anytime.

Spaceship Earth and the Christmas tree at night.

The Holiday Illuminations tag is different now too. Walter Cronkite is no longer narrating, and it seemed like less pyrotechnics. But it is still a wonderful ending to the night.

Here is the holiday tag on video!

Goodnight! The Mickey head floral lights up.

Mickey and Minnie at the front of Epcot at night.

Happy Holidays on the monorail station.

Will you be going to Epcot for Holidays Around the World in 2014?