While the other three theme parks and Disney Springs have been celebrating the holidays since November 6, Epcot (as always) was late to the party. Instead of the full Festival of the Holidays, this year it is the Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. It’s scaled back; there is no Candlelight Processional and there are no international storytellers. It’s still a great time.
For this modified festival, you can still pick up a Festival Passport. There are paper versions when you walk into the park. If you’re not comfortable with that (or if you forget) you can find all the information on the My Disney Experience App.
One of the main reasons to stop by is the Holiday Kitchens. At these you can purchase snack-sized versions of delights from around the globe. There are savory treats, as well as many that will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Speaking of that sweet tooth, you can really satisfy it with the Holiday Cookie Stroll. Purchase five cookies at specified locations, have your Passport stamped, and you’ll receive a sixth cookie for free. If you can’t eat all six at once, purchase the Holiday Cookie Stroll cookie jar. These sold out fast last year, so don’t take the time to think about it.
World ShowPlace, which is the building in the back between Canada and the United Kingdom, needs to be part of your visit. There are some Holiday Kitchens inside, but there is more. You’ll find live entertainment such as JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season. There are some fun picture opportunities, and there is a popup store. This is also where you’ll find the Gingerbread Capital City. Don’t walk by, make your way inside.
We may not have the Candlelight Processional this year, but the America Gardens Theater does not remain quiet. Voices of Liberty and Mariachi Cobre both perform there throughout the season. You can find the times outside of the theater, or check on the My Disney Experience App.
There are three seasonal Character Cavalcades that you will want to see. They are Mickey and Friends Holiday World Tour, Frozen Holiday Promenade, and Santa Claus Promenade. The cavalcades times are not posted so that crowds won’t gather. Listen for a change in the music, and for it to get pretty loud. That’s usually a sign that a cavalcade is about to go by.
Kids of all ages will want to participate in Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition. It’s a scavenger hunt. Purchase a map for $7.99, look for Olaf around World Showcase, then place the corresponding sticker on the map. When you’re finished, you’ll receive a prize. The prize this year is your choice of one of three Frozen themed cups.
One of my favorite things about Festival of the Holidays has returned this year. Make sure you ride Living with the Land after the sun goes down! That’s when they turn on the holiday lights. A relaxing ride becomes festive as well. It’s something that you need to see for yourself.
These are just a few of the reasons why you will want to experience Epcot this holiday season. The decorations alone are enough to put a smile on your face. Since Epcot is often the easiest park to get a reservation for, I plan to go back often. The festivities run through December 30.