Epcot Holidays Around the World Kicks off for 2015: Holiday Decor, Entertainment & Candlelight Processional

Hi everyone!

Epcot’s Holidays Around the World kicked off Friday at Walt Disney World, with entertainment that spans Future World and World Showcase. Topiaries can be found at the front of Epcot, with other decorations around the park! Holidays Around the World runs through December 30th, 2015, with the popular Candlelight Processional topping off each evening. We have over 100 photos, along with video to give an overview – but because there is so much to see, we didn’t get to everything we wanted to on our first day. You can find previous videos from previous years on our YouTube channel.

Mickey, Minnie and Pluto are the first topiaries that guests will see upon entering the park.

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Pluto enjoys the warm Florida day. We haven’t had much of a cold spell yet this season!

We have many videos to share in this article, beginning with an overview of the decorations.

Thumper and Flower are the topiaries to the right of the display.

And Bambi can be found on the left. Guests will recognize the topiaries from the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival!

Stitch in a Santa hat is at the back of the entrance display.

Guests can pick up a Holiday Passport, which is a handy pocket guide for Holidays Around the World. Guests can get the passport stamped if they wish.

Stitch is always a favorite of mine here!

Goofy and Donald are on the breezeway to World Showcase.

Goofy and Donald are placed among a pile of presents. It is a great photo spot!

Donald wears a bow tie as he gets ready to go skating.

It’s a lovely view looking back as well.

Snowflakes look pretty with Spaceship Earth in the background both during the day and night.

Later we’ll show a few pictures from the American Music Machine and Joyful! They share the fountain stage this year, alternating between acapella music and Gospel music. Guests can enjoy two terrific shows in less than an hour timespan (except if watching the noon American Music Machine show).

The festive trees are back on the stage.

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

An angel holds the earth.

Ornaments with decorations from the countries of World Showcase can be found on the tree.

Looking back to the Christmas tree and Spaceship Earth.

From this location I can also see one of my favorite views at Epcot, the Eiffel Tower and France pavilion.

The Port of Entry shop is decked out for the holidays, both inside and outside.

Nutcracker soldiers stand guard at this decorative fireplace.

Christmas soda can be purchased here.

A small Christmas tree features Disney characters.

The Promenade is one location featuring some holiday food items.

This is the menu for the Promenade for Holidays Around the World.

We wanted to try the special turkey sandwich. I wish we hadn’t. There is a lot of terrific food in World Showcase, I would recommend passing this one by.

The Holiday Voyageurs are back again this year. I didn’t take any photos because they weren’t playing any of the times I walked by. There are upwards of 20 entertainment options – including the storytellers and Candlelight Processional – that are part of Holidays Around the World. I saw at least half, but missed some I wanted to catch. If you enjoy music, storytelling and such, there is a lot to see once World Showcase opens (with Joyful! and The American Music Machine in Future World beginning at noon). Some storytellers and entertainment do begin early, like Père Noël always begins his day in France just after World Showcase opens – but other storytellers don’t begin until the afternoon.

Moose stand in the grass in Canada.

This one looks a little like a dog, at least from this angle.

The Northwest Mercantile in Canada has had merchandise shifted around the store, but you can still find some sleepwear here.

Ornaments can be found in several of the countries, including Canada.

Knotty & Nice sleep shirt.

The United Kingdom always looks so festive!

Garland climbs a pole.

There are fun ornaments inside the garland.

Windows in the UK also reflect the season, including a couple of mailboxes.

I found this stamp on a postcard very interesting because Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort has a window pane on the gingerbread house with this design.

I believe I recognize this one as well.

And in a different window, this adorable mouse is ready to open a gift.

Father Christmas shows up to tell his holiday story.

Here is our video of Father Christmas.

A Spode teapot was added a couple of years ago as a decoration here.

Here is the back of the teapot.

The Christmas tree can now be seen beyond a Friendship Boat.

This walk is available beginning at 9:00 a.m. due to France being open for a quick service breakfast in Les Halles Boulangerie.

Peppermints and peppermint sticks were added 2 or 3 years ago to the bridge.

We arrived close to 11:00 a.m., so it was busier than other times when we are here earlier. But the day after Thanksgiving was overall not bad for crowds in the park.

These three large ornaments were added here also about 2 or 3 years ago. The Arc de Triomphe is one of the themes.

Here is a closer look at it.

The Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) is here as well, but too close to have the Epcot Eiffel Tower easily behind it.

Snowflakes hang near Les Halles Boulangerie.

The garland also features the iconic landmark.

We visited L’Artisan Des Glaces for a Macaron Peppermint Holiday Ice Cream Sandwich. Definitely check it out!

The Eiffel Tower is in a heart on the garland here.

The Holiday Peppermint Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich is worth stopping for.

Decor sits above Impressions de France.

Père Noël was the first storyteller we visited.

Père Noël is one of our favorites, but he also begins early in the day. We always go to France first. He tells the story of Babette.

Each storyteller has a scroll nearby that tells about the holiday customs of the country.

Morocco and Japan storytellers were not out when we passed by. Next up is America, which has quite a lot going on. There is a large Christmas tree, shopping, several storytellers and the Voices of Liberty. Santa and Mrs. Claus meet here too.

One of my favorite aspects of the America pavilion this year is this gingerbread display. It is more elaborate than last year, with both the Capitol and Washington monument. The Capitol dome is wrapped in an American flag.

The Washington Monument is new this year.

The flag looks so real, draped over the dome.

Here is a view from another direction.

There are even windows and lights inside.

An American Bald Eagle is on the Capitol.

The Voices of Liberty sing Christmas songs.

There is more at the American Adventure, including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

There is a Candlelight Processional booth nearby, which still said “Coming Soon” on the first day. I expect that has been rectified since.

Information on dining packages and the narrator are here. Dining packages were not available anymore, but we used the Standby Entrance for the last show and had no problem getting in. The first show was much busier.

Gary Sinise was the narrator on opening night.

The Sugar and Spice Holiday Bakery sells holiday treats.

The cookies I saw didn’t look fancy, I didn’t buy anything so I’m not sure how they tasted.

Precious Moments dolls are in the shopping village, some in holiday costumes.

The shopping village is always similar, with Department 56 items, Precious Moments and more.

Santa and Mrs. Claus are paced for about one hour per session.

Here is a view across the lake of Spaceship Earth and the Christmas tree. It was a lovely day.

Next, we went to Germany to see Helga tell about German Christmas traditions.

There is even a “surprise” at the end, with a Nutcracker soldier arriving.

Here is Helga telling the story of Christmas!

Jeff poses with Helga and the Nutcracker.

Mickey heads on sticks are part of the decoration here this year.

Spaceship Earth can be seen above Mickey’s head.

In Italy, there are pretty decorations. I always think of this as Lady and Tramp’s spot since they’ve been in this location for the last few years of the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival.

Garland lines the railing.

La Banafa is a witch, and also the gift giver in Italy.

Here is our video of La Bafana.

Garland can be seen above.

Joffrey’s offers several specialty drinks.

We did stop at Prost! for Stollen Bread at night. I didn’t get a good photo of it, but the portion was decent for the price and it was delicious. I’ve found in the past few years that I really enjoy stollen, it is served during the holidays in the Biergarten. It is nice to have it offered as a single portion size and not just on the buffet.

Here is the menu for Prost!, which includes a Artisinal German Cheese Plate, Caramel S’more, and Stollen.

Guests can purchase ornaments at Glaskugel.

We didn’t see the Lion Dancer yet this year in China, but we have a video to share from 2014.

A Snowman topiary can be found at Norway.

Sigrid and Julenissen are favorites of ours.

Sigrid doesn’t believe in Julenissen.

But of course, we know he is real!

Here are Sigred and Julenissen in our video.

A “No Climbing” sign was added to Mexico, and the poinsettias look pretty and are good blockers.

Last year, the Mariachis and dancers in Mexico were a HUGE hit in their debut year. It is no different this year. When I went to take photos, the crowd was too big to get close. We recommend it!

Decorations look nice above the La Hacienda de San Angel entrance.

We very much enjoyed American Music Machine. All of the performers are ones we recognize, and it was nice having two terrific acts on the fountain stage. The American Music Machine sings acapella Christmas music.

Songs included “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Tennessee Christmas” – at least parts of each song. They run through a medly of favorites!

Here is our short video of American Music Machine.

This is the line for the Candlelight Processional about one hour prior to the first performance. It went back toward Germany, and was pretty packed within the ropes. But for the 3rd show, I think we showed up about 45 minutes early and the line was quite a bit shorter. There was also much more space between guests in the roped-off area.

We ended up with a back-row location, but it offered a great view of Gary Sinise and the talented choir.

This is how our view looked from our seats.

For myself, the Candlelight Processional has been a tradition for about 20 years. We usually see the show a few times per season.

Dr. John Sinclair leads everyone in “Silent Night”.

Gary Sinise has been one of my favorite narrators through the years, and I’ve probably seen him more than any other narrator. First about 15 years ago, and then in the past few years (there were years in between where he wasn’t narrating).

Guests on the dinner package are guaranteed seats for this show, but we’ve usually waited in the standby line. Either way, there is a line. I suggest arriving early if purchasing the dinner package for best seat choice.

Illuminations: Reflections of Earth is at 9:30 p.m. during the holiday season. It also features an explosive holiday tag which wowed many guests near us. Not that we don’t love it, but I enjoy seeing first-timers for the holiday tag see it for the first time.

Here is our video of the Illuminations holiday tag. The lasers looked incredible!

 

The area around the Mickeys on sticks is lit nicely at night.

Goodnight is shown in many languages on Spaceship Earth.

The Norway snowman is also lit up.

The moon shines above Mexico.

Snowflakes and Christmas trees are decorated with lights.

Stitch looks festively lit!

The front topiary has heavy lights on it for easy photos without a tripod.

Mickey, Minnie and Pluto stand at the entrance with Spaceship Earth behind them.

Mickey and Minnie in Santa hats are very popular from morning through night.

Snowflakes are projected on the ground.

Snowflakes can also be found on the monorail station.

We look forward to many days at Epcot this season for Holidays Around the World!