9 Delightful Holiday Experiences Not To Miss At Epcot
Epcot during the holiday season is a true delight, overflowing with festive spirit. The experience blends Disney magic with a rich blend of cultural traditions, and tops it off with enough tasty treats to satisfy Santa and his elves. Here are nine experiences you can’t miss when visiting Epcot during the holiday season.
1. Journey Into Imagination With Figment
Journey Into Imagination with Figment is a year round favorite. After all, who doesn’t love to take a little trip with the Figment of Imagination? It’s how I learned that Imagination works best when it’s set free! Just turn your imagination loose, and anything can happen! This year, Journey Into Imagination with Figment received an extra helping of Holiday cheer. Take a ride on the attraction and you’ll spot Figment wearing a delightfully tacky Holiday sweater.
2. Food! Food! And More Food!
I am a man particularly enamored of good food, and the food at Epcot’s Holiday Kitchens brings out some of the best offerings you’ll find in the parks all year. There are kiosks spread throughout the World Showcase where you can get tasty treats. You’ll also find kiosks in the World Showplace and the Showcase Plaza. If you want to get a “traditional” American holiday meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and more, you can stop by the American Holiday Table. Some other offerings from around the globe include the Blackened Bass with White Cheddar Grits and Okra with Tomato and Onion Stew at the World Showplace, Kālua Pork with Okinawa Purple Sweet Potatoes, and Mango Salad at Mele Kalikimaka Holiday Kitchen in the Showcase Plaza, Sfenj (Warm Beignets with Cream, Cinnamon-Sugar, and Chocolate Sauce) at Sapphire Holiday Kitchen in Morocco, and the Maple Bûche de Noël: Maple Mousse and Cranberry rolled in Gingerbread Chiffon Cake at the Yukon Holiday Kitchen in Canada. There are a ton more offerings, but those are a few popular favorites.
3. The Cookie Stroll
Okay, so this could technically have gone under “Food! Food! And More Food!” but I think Christmas and Holiday cookies deserve their own category. As a wise man named George Strait once said, “Now, Christmas cookies are a special treat. The more she bakes the more I eat and sometimes I can’t get myself to stop.”
To take part in the Cookie Stroll, you simply need to pick up a Festival Passport. It will guide you to five stop throughout the World Showcase where you’ll find scrumptious cookies. There are Linzer cookies at the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen, chocolate crinkle cookies at the American Holiday Table, peppermint pinwheel cookies at Yukon Holiday Kitchen, gingerbread cookies at Festival Favorites in World Showplace, and black and white cookies at the L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen between Morocco and France. You’ll collect a stamp at each stop and when you are done you can take your passport to the Sweet & Treats Holiday Kitchen. Your prize? A peppermint Minnie cookie! Once you’re done, you can float around the park for hours on your sugar rush.
4. Holiday Cavalcades
For Guests who are anxious to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrities, just hang around the World Showcase and you’re sure to see a character cavalcade pass by. Characters you may spot include Mickey and Friends (dressed in holiday clothing), Anna and Elsa, and even the man himself: Santa Claus.
5. America Gardens Theatre Performances
While 2020 has necessitated some changes in the holiday entertainment, that doesn’t mean that it is gone completely. Mariachi Cobre and The Voices of Liberty can be seen performing at the America Gardens Theatre where they will perform a variety of holiday tunes.
6. The JAMMitors
The JAMMitors have been entertaining Guests at Epcot since 1996. When it isn’t the holidays, these percussion loving custodians perform at Future World East near the Innoventions Breezeway. During the holiday season, you can catch their fun loving show at the Mill Stage near the Canada pavilion in the World Showcase. The group performs using “found” instruments like trash cans, brooms and tin cans. You’re sure to be tapping your feet and clapping before the performance is over.
Next to good food, nothing quite says the holidays like good music. Singing carols and holiday favorites with friends and family is always one of my favorite activities. If you want to have a particularly soulful experience, stop by “JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season” where the vocal group Joyful will lead a celebration of Christmas and Kwanzaa through a mix of gospel, R&B, and holiday songs.
8. The Candlelight Processional
Though it isn’t available this year, the annual Candlelight Processional is one of the most spectacular holiday events in all of Walt Disney World. Taking place in the America Gardens Theatre, the show features a choir, a live 50-piece orchestra, and a celebrity narrator who recites the Biblical Nativity story. Past narrators have included people like Neil Patrick Harris, Marlee Matlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Edward James Olmos, and many others.
Guests who want an extra special experience (and guaranteed seating) can book the Candlelight Dinner Package. The meal includes an appetizer, entree, desert, and a nonalcoholic beverage.
9. Holiday Storytellers and Performers
Like the Candlelight Processional, this offering is not available in 2020. However, it is sure to return and is, by far, my favorite holiday experience at Epcot. Throughout the World Showcase, you’ll find storytellers sharing the holiday traditions of their country. In Norway, you’ll see the mischievous Julenisse, a barn elf who visits Sigrid, the storyteller. In China, the lion dancers celebrate the Lunar New Year and in Italy you can stop and listen to La Befana, a gentle witch who visits children on the Eve of Epiphany. Father Christmas shares traditions from the United Kingdom, and Pere Noel in France shares a letter written to him by a young French child. Santa and Mrs. Claus appear at the America pavilion and, if you travel to Japan, you can learn all about the Daruma Doll and Japanese New Year. There are musical acts in Germany, Canada and Morocco. Near the L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen, you can also listen to Zachary as he shares the legends and songs of Hanukkah.
It’s easy to miss the storytellers if you rush from pavilion to pavilion, but more than worth the time if you slow down to listen. My favorite way to enjoy the storytellers is to listen while eating a snack from their country. One of my favorite memories is of sharing a potato knish with my wife and kids while listening to Zachary play a song on his fiddle. It was a late, chilly night, but the festive spirit warmed us right down to our bones. What are some of your favorite Holiday memories of Epcot?