9 Merry Must-Dos at 2023’s EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

9 Merry Must-Dos at 2023’s EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays blog header

We’re continuing our holiday fun on the Disney Parks Blog this week with a special look at some can’t-miss experiences at the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth.

As you may know, this popular EPCOT festival is a celebration of the holidays like none other – packed with dazzling live entertainment like the popular Candlelight Processional and Holiday Storytellers along with delicious seasonal treats, family-friendly activities and more. 

 Today, we’ve got nine popular things you need to do before the festivities end on Dec. 30.

Chior members in the EPCOT Candlelight Processional during the EPCOT Festival of the Holidays

Candlelight Processional is Disney Parks Tradition

Our first must-do is the guest favorite EPCOT Candlelight Processional – guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit. This special retelling of the Christmas story by celebrity narrators features an amazing choir of Disney cast members and local community groups and a 50-piece live orchestra with herald trumpets. 

Here’s an updated list of celebrity narrators performing now through to the end of the festival:

  • Brendan Fraser (NEW): Dec. 12-14
  • Eva Longoria (NEW): Dec. 15-16
  • Joey McIntyre (NEW): Dec. 17-18
  • Sterling K. Brown (NEW): Dec. 19-20
  • Jordan Fisher (NEW): Dec. 21-23
  • Steven Curtis Chapman: Dec. 24-26
  • Audra McDonald (NEW): Dec. 27-28
  • Lisa Ling: Dec. 29-30*

Notice the number of NEW celebrity narrators you can still enjoy in the coming weeks. Performances are nightly at America Gardens Theatre at EPCOT with showtimes at 5:15, 7 and 8:30 p.m.

Spaceship Earth Shines Bright for the Holidays

When the sun sets, the iconic Spaceship Earth attraction is a sparkling must-see during the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. The colorful lights can be enjoyed every night and the display is accompanied by the Disney100 anthem, an original version of “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

Holiday Kitchens Cook Up Festive Recipes, Drinks

If you caught our earlier Disney Eats Foodie Guide to the Festival, then you know there are treats too good to miss at more than 15 Holiday Kitchens this year. We’re cooking up recipes and festive drinks from around the world, including favorites like the Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl and Slow Roasted Turkey as well as Spiced Pumpkin Punch and Cranberry Mimosas.    

Nicole’s Foodie Guide masterfully highlights all of the Holiday Kitchens!

Holiday Sugar Cookie from the EPCOT Festival of the Holidays

One-of-a-Kind Holiday Cookie Stroll at EPCOT

The Holiday Cookie Stroll is another must-do festival experience featuring delightful cookies from the Holiday Kitchens. Cookies include:

  • Linzer Cookie
  • Gingerbread Cookie
  • Black and White Cookie (Plant-based)
  • Snickerdoodle Cookie made with SNICKERS bar pieces
  • Spiced Chocolate Cookie
  • Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie
  • Holiday Sugar Cookie
  • Jingle Sugar Cookie made with M&M’S chocolate candies

And at the Holiday Cookie Stroll, when you purchase any five cookies from the official locations and collect matching stamps in their Festival Passport, you can bring it to Holiday Sweets & Treats to receive a specialty cookie.

Visit Santa Claus at EPCOT Until Dec. 24 at EPCOT during the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

Visit Santa Claus at EPCOT Until Dec. 24

At the Odyssey Pavilion at EPCOT during the festival, you can also visit Santa Claus to say hello, pose for a photo and share a Christmas wish. 

The classic tradition of photos with Santa begins each day at 11 a.m. and can also be experienced at 12:30, 2, 3:30, 5 and 6:30 p.m. now through Dec. 24. 

Holiday Storytellers during the EPCOT Festival of the Holidays

Holiday Storytellers Share Traditions from Around World

While exploring World Showcase at EPCOT, there’s also a sleigh full of merry Holiday Storytellers to enjoy as they share each country’s holiday traditions. Here’s the list:

  • Mexico Pavilion – Las Posadas Celebration: Sunday through Thursday
    • Join the fun of Las Posadas with dancers, piñatas and the music of Mariachi Cobre.
  • Norway Pavilion – A Mischievous Magical Barn Santa: Daily
    • Celebrate the season with laughter as a mischievous Barn Santa visits Sigrid, an unsuspecting Christmas storyteller.
  • China Pavilion – Chinese Lion Dancer: Daily
    • Catch a glimpse of a colorful performance that brings good fortune and happiness in the Lunar New Year.
  • Italy Pavilion – La Befana: Daily
    • Come hear the tale of La Befana, the kind hearted witch who visits sleeping young children on the Eve of the Epiphany.
  • Japan Pavilion – Daruma Storyteller: Daily
    • Hear the fascinating story of the Daruma doll and the Japanese customs of the New Year!
  • Between the Morocco and France Pavilions – Hanukkah Storyteller: Daily
    • Witness a storyteller recount traveling abroad to explore the diverse music and traditions of Hanukkah around the world.
  • France Pavilion – Pere Noel: Daily
    • Visit with Père Noël and rediscover the magic of Christmas through the letter of a delightful child.
  • United Kingdom Pavilion – Father Christmas: Daily
    • Join Father Christmas as he rings in the season, sharing the traditions of the United Kingdom with good cheer.
  • Canada Pavilion – Canadian Holiday Voyageurs: Daily
    • Explore holiday customs from the various regions of Canada on a musical tour of the Great White North with the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs.
Watch JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season during the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season Holiday Music

During the festival, you also don’t want to miss an uplifting performance of music in celebration of Christmas and Kwanzaa with JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season. 

Performances are daily (1:15, 2:20, 3:25 and 4:30 p.m.) at the World Showcase Plaza Stage.

Living with the Land decorated for the holidays at EPCOT

Disney Attraction Sparkles with Holiday Decorations

Have you seen the must-see holiday lights sparkling at Living with the Land – Glimmering Greenhouses especially for the EPCOT International Festival of the Holiday?

You can celebrate the most bountiful time of the year with a special journey through the greenhouses decorated for the season while seeing how Walt Disney World horticulturalists are using innovative techniques and cross-breeding crops to help feed a growing planet.

Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt

Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt

Everyone should also try this year’s Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt! Each journey begins with the purchase of a map and stickers, available at various festival merchandise locations, which lead you on a delightful quest for traditions that Olaf has discovered in every pavilion.

Disney Photopass Magic Shot with Sven and Olaf offered during the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

Festival-Exclusive Magic Shots from Disney PhotoPass Service

And whether it’s Olaf and Sven or The Three Caballeros, there are several different Disney PhotoPass Magic Shots that add a memorable Disney touch to your photos exclusively for the festival.  

There’s much more to experience at this year’s EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth. To enjoy it all, you’ll need 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 holiday stories like this, visit our Everything Holidays section here on the Disney Parks Blog.