While the day after Thanksgiving is a shopping day for many, I prefer to get into the holiday spirit by enjoying the wondrous sights, sounds and flavors of the season. And what better place to meet up with family and friends than at the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth, which opens Nov. 25 and runs through Dec. 30.
This year, a brand-new light show debuts at Spaceship Earth. Our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering say the light display will invoke some of the sights of winter, including snowflakes, northern lights and warm candles.
Guests can also take a peaceful cruise through twinkling holiday light displays at Living with the Land – Glimmering Greenhouses. Topping off the Yuletide cheer, guests on Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind can experience an all-new holiday remix with a Guardians twist on this intergalactic chase through space and time from Nov. 25 through Dec. 30.
EPCOT once again welcomes back “Candlelight Processional,” a Disney Parks tradition. This heartwarming production takes place nightly at America Gardens Theatre and features celebrity narrators retelling the Christmas story accompanied by the Voices of Liberty a cappella ensemble, a 50-piece live orchestra with herald trumpets, and glorious massed choirs comprised of Disney cast members and local community groups.
Celebrity narrators making their debut this year include Gloria Estefan, Josh Gad, Simu Liu, Mariska Hargitay, Raúl Esparza and Daymond John. To see the full lineup of artists, performance dates and dining package availability, guests can visit EPCOTholidays.com.
Other exciting festival offerings include:
- “JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season,” a stirring and uplifting performance of music in celebration of Christmas and Kwanzaa, returns to the World Showcase Plaza Stage with multiple performances daily.
- Holiday traditions of the world come to life around World Showcase with storytellers, musical acts and other performers. Unique presentations include Las Posadas Celebration featuring Mariachi Cobre at the Mexico pavilion, the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs in the Canada pavilion, a Hanukkah storyteller along the promenade between Morocco and France, and other delightful holiday storytellers in France, Italy, Japan, Norway and United Kingdom.
- Holiday Kitchens will cook up treasured recipes and festive drinks from around the globe—from spiced pumpkin punch and cranberry mimosas to slow-roasted turkey with stuffing and pork schnitzel with braised red cabbage. An eye-popping selection of sweets and treats ranging from traditional linzer cookies and maple bûche de noël to chocolate-peppermint donuts will surely satisfy any sweet tooth.
- Latin-American heritage will be celebrated and savored at the all-new Nochebuena Cocina Holiday Kitchen featuring traditional dishes served throughout the holiday season, including Pernil: Mojo Pork with Tostones and Alfajores: Vanilla Shortbread Cookies with Dulce de Leche and Coconut.
- The Holiday Cookie Stroll offers guests the opportunity to embark on a sweet adventure. When guests purchase any five cookies from the official Cookie Stroll locations and collect matching stamps in their Festival Passport, they can bring it to Holiday Sweets & Treats to receive a specialty cookie.
- Guests of all ages can take part in Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt to search for holiday traditions Olaf has gathered from around the world—and lost along the way!
- For those who want to check off items on their holiday gift list, EPCOT offers shopping around the world. From designer French fragrances and handmade treats to festive holiday wines and teas from around the world, there is something for everyone.
- No holiday celebration is complete without Jolly Old St. Nick himself. From Nov. 25 through Dec. 24, Santa Claus pays a visit to The Odyssey, giving guests the opportunity to say hello, pose for a photo and share their fondest Christmas wish.
To experience the 2022 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, guests need both a valid park admission and a park reservation for EPCOT on the same date. Events and entertainment are subject to change without notice. For more details on this year’s festival, guests may visit EPCOTholidays.com.