12 Highlights of Epcot International Festival of the Holidays 2021

Hi everyone!

EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays kicked off on November 26th and runs through December 30th, 2021. The festival includes holiday storytellers, specialty food, the return of the longstanding guest favorite Candlelight Processional and more. We have experienced EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays on several days so far this year, here are our 12 highlights of the event!

We will be updating this article throughout December, including with videos as we post them.

1 – Candlelight Processional: The Candlelight Processional has been one of my favorite parts of the holiday season at Walt Disney World for 25 or so years. A guest narrator tells the Christmas story while the Cast choir sings (high school choirs are not part of the event this year). There is a 50 piece orchestra, herald trumpets and the Voices of Liberty.

The Cast Member choir enters the American Gardens Theater while singing.

Dining packages can be purchased and there is also a standby line for the three nightly shows.

2 – Living with the Land: Merry and Bright Nights: Another favorite of mine is the Living with the Land holiday overlay, called Living with the Land: Merry and Bright Nights.

A snowman family can be seen along the way, along with other decorations and holiday lights. Read our article here.

Here is our video of Living with the Land: Merry and Bright Nights.

3: Holiday Storytellers in World Showcase: Holiday Storytellers are a great way to get into the spirit of the season, and learn different stories and customs from around the world. Père Noël is the French Santa, who tells the story of Babette.

Here is our video of Père Noël.

Le Befana is a kind-hearted witch in Italy who tells her story.

The Hanukkah storyteller uses words and song to tell about the traditions of Hanukkah.

Each country has a scroll that tells about the holiday traditions and also suggests activities.

4 – Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition: Each EPCOT Festival offers a scavenger hunt, and for EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, it is Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition. The game costs $9.99 plus tax and there is a small prize at the end.

Disney says about the game, “Using the stickers provided on your map, mark the “tradition” Olaf has found in each pavilion.” Here is one holiday tradition that Olaf found, he’s with the lyrics to “Jingle Bells” in the American Adventure.

5 – See Joy and Pooh: Joy and Pooh alternate character appearances near Journey into Imagination. We have only seen Joy so far (several times). Joy wears her holiday garland. There are other characters around EPCOT to see as well, some with small holiday flourishes.

6 – Meet Santa: Guests can meet Santa until December 24th at the American Adventure. He’s listed with the holiday storytellers but this is a meet and greet.

7 – Holiday Kitchens – There are fourteen Holiday Kitchens this year, with one of the new locations being Chestnuts and Good Cheer (it smelled wonderfully of cinnamon glazed nuts).

We have tried items from a number of booths so far, including the Bûche de Noël at Le Marché de Noël in the France pavilion.

The Salted Caramel Spaceship Earth Cookie was a favorite of mine last year so I had to get one again in 2021. This can be found at Holiday Hearth Desserts near Port of Entry.

There are some special items that are not part of the Holiday Kitchens as well.

At the Tea Caddy in the United Kingdom pavilion, guests can find a hot or iced Christmas Toddy.

8 – Holiday Decorations: There are nice decorations to see throughout some of the pavilions. I really like the France pavilion each year, which includes oversized ornaments that include the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower.

In the new France expansion, there are decorations as well.

9 – Holiday Cookie Stroll: Purchase five of the Holiday Cookie Stroll cookies, and you can bring your stamped festival passport to Holiday Sweets and Treats for a specialty cookie.

We tried the cookies at a media event, my favorites were the Linzer Cookie and Black and White Cookie.

10 – American Adventure Gingerbread Display: The display is smaller this year, but includes several gingerbread creations – The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and a gingerbread American Adventure. Check out our article here.

The miniature American Adventure includes the sign out front and the fountain.

11 – Festival Merchandise: Guests can purchase Olaf festival merchandise.

Merchandise items include a spirit jersey and hat.

12 – Spaceship Earth Holiday Light Show: We enjoy looking at Spaceship Earth across World Showcase Lagoon, but we went to the front of the park for the (short) holiday light show.

Spaceship Earth is one of four Beacons of Magic for the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, but with a permanent lighting package that allows for beautiful light sequences to be included. For the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, there is a holiday light show (a little under 2 minutes long).

The Spaceship Earth lighting is one of my favorite aspects of Walt Disney World’s 50th (so far) and really is quite pretty.

We were given a Disney gift card to try some of the food items at EPCOT as part of the media event. I am partial to the physical gift cards for the fun designs (many are on shopDisney or in the parks).

We were invited to a media event for EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays and have visited on our own a couple of times as well so far this season (we got a bit of a late start due to our Paris trip). All opinions are our own, we are Passholders and will go back to see Candlelight Processional again, pick up more food and beverage items and enjoy holiday storytellers and other entertainment we have not yet seen (I keep missing Joyful! but will change that this week). Check the My Disney Experience app for showtimes and more information, including for the new nighttime spectacular Harmonious to cap off your evening.

 

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