The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is a festival event at Epcot during the months of November and December featuring specialty food, entertainment, and merchandise.
While there is a Christmas celebration at Hollywood Studios (Flurry of Fun) and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, there’s no simple “Christmas at Epcot” event.
Instead, Epcot seizes on its international and festival talents to throw together the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, celebrating various holidays (including Christmas) from around the world!
Epcot Christmas Tree
Before we get to the rest of the Festival, let’s show the Epcot Christmas tree!
Festival of the Holidays Food Offerings
Festival of the Holidays offers food booths that are similar in concept to the booths at Food & Wine. In fact, most of the physical structures are exactly the booths from Food & Wine, though they’re re-themed and feature different menus.
If you’re completely unfamiliar with Food & Wine, these are basically pop up booths around the park that offer small portions of food and beverage for around $5 an item. Most of these items count as snacks on the Disney dining plans, and these are one of the best ways to use your snack credits.
Most of these booths are themed to countries, but a few just carry a generic holiday or festival theme. Altogether, there are 14 booths, most of which are around the World Showcase.
For the most part, each booth offers at least one food item, one dessert one alcoholic beverage, and one non-alcoholic beverage. As vegetarians with very little interest in food, we can’t offer much by way of food recommendations.
Festival of the Holidays Entertainment
There are 14 festival-specific performances in Epcot. (NB: The map for the festival also lists Sahara Beat in Morocco as festival entertainment, but to our knowledge this is actually just regularly-scheduled entertainment.)
The performances divide roughly into two groups—musical/dance performances and storytellers. Musical/dance performers put on straightforward holiday-themed performances (sorry this description is wildly unhelpful).
The storytellers are a little more interesting, as they explain the holiday traditions from their countries of origin. Father Christmas in the U.K., Père Noël in France, and Le Befana, the witch of Italy, are some of these storytellers.
The feature performance of the Festival of Holidays is the Candlelight Processional, a 40-ish minute holiday performance featuring a choir and 50-piece orchestra. Besides being a stunning performance, one highlight of the Candlelight Processional is that it features a celebrity host. Some of 2018’s hosts include: John Stamos, Whoppi Goldberg, and Neil Patrick Harris. Hosts vary day by day and week by week.
The Candlelight Processional is held three times each day in the America Gardens Theatre. We recommend Disney Tourist Blog’s tips for how to see the Candlelight Processional. Finally, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, the nightly firework show at Epcot, features a special holiday ending.
Festival of the Holidays Activities
Festival of the Holidays features two notable activities for guests.
Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree ($)
Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree is a park-wide scavenger hunt. Maps cost $6.99+tax. Complete the scavenger hunt for the Chip & Dale figurines, and you’ll earn a prize—a pack of greeting cards.
Holiday Cookie Stroll ($)
To participate in the Holiday Cookie Stroll, purchase five designated cookies and receive a free completer cookie and glass of milk.
Festival of the Holidays Merchandise
Like every other event at Disney World, Epcot International Festival of the Holidays has unique event merchandise. Here’s a slide show of some of the items:
Festival of the Holidays Pavilions & Decorations
As part of the Festival of the Holidays, the pavilions and the park get special decorations. The majority of these are Christmas decorations.
We’re going to break these down by area / pavilion, providing a slideshow of some highlights from around the park. Be prepared, there is a lot of garland, a lot of wreaths, and a lot of trees. We’ll also cover what entertainment each pavilion offers (along with a picture in the slideshow, if we have one).
Christmas Decorations at Epcot United Kingdom
The United Kingdom features storytelling by Father Christmas.
Christmas Decorations at Epcot Canada
Canada features a performance by The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs.
Christmas Decorations at Epcot Mexico
Mexico features performances by Las Posadas Celebration.
Christmas Decorations at Epcot Norway
Norway features storytelling by Sigrid and Julenissen, the Christmas gnome.
Christmas Decorations at Epcot Germany
Germany features performances by rock band Durch & Durch.
Christmas Decorations at Epcot Italy
Italy features storytelling by La Befana, a holiday witch.
Christmas Decorations at Epcot The American Adventure
The American Adventure features both a character greeting with Santa and Mrs. Claus and holiday performances by the Voices of Liberty as the Dickens Carolers. The Candlelight Processional is also held daily at the America Gardens Theatre.
Christmas Decorations at Epcot France
France hosts storytelling by Père Noël.
Non-Christmas Decorations and Entertainment In the Pavilions
Between Morocco and France, you’ll find “L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen” serving Jewish food alongside the Hanukkah Storyteller.
The Morocco Pavilion features performances by Sahara Beat (a regular performer at the pavilion). The Japan Pavilion features storytelling by Daruma Storyteller, who tells the audience about Japanese New Year. Finally, the China Pavilion has performances by the Chinese Lion Dancers.