A Guide to the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

EpcotChristmasEntrance2021

When it’s the season to be jolly and joyous, Epcot is the perfect holiday setting! You can read an overview of all of the seasonal fun throughout the year in our Epcot festivals guide. Let’s take a closer look at the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays and what you can expect at this annual event.

Festival of the Holidays: What is Epcot Like at Christmas?

OlafsHolidayTraditionExpedition
There is usually a special scavenger hunt or challenge at the Epcot festival of the holidays.

Walt Disney World’s second theme park is known for its unique celebration of culture in World Showcase and the exciting promise of imagination, technology and the future in its other attractions. Epcot now has a festival every season with Epcot Festival of the Arts, Flower and Garden Festival, Food and Wine Festival and Festival of the Holidays.

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays follows the usual Epcot festival formula of additional small plate food offerings by way of grab and go kiosks and added entertainment inspired by the theme. Epcot is filled with holiday decorations, themed and seasonal entertainment and a variety of savory bites and sweet treats to please everyone.

In addition to the following topics we go over thoroughly, you should also know about the Holiday Cookie Stroll, a type of cookie eating challenge, and Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt with hidden Olaf statues to find throughout World Showcase. The Living with the Land slow boat ride attraction has a holiday light overlay as well.

For trip planning purposes, you may want to allocate more than one day for this park if you want to experience all the festival has to offer along with standard attractions and day time fun. There’s just that much to do! And, of course, you’ll find all of the information you need to have the best time in the festival passport. This is a complimentary guide book available at any of the holiday kitchens and around the park.

Tip: You may want to bring a pen to circle snacks you want in your passport or check off ones you’ve enjoyed.

When is the Epcot Holiday Festival?

The Epcot holiday event usually starts soon after Thanksgiving and runs through December 30th. This is because New Year’s Eve has its own special celebration in the park.

Back in 2021, the event was from November 26th through December 30th.

In 2022, the dates were November 25th through December 30th.

In 2023, the Epcot holiday festival went from November 24th to December 30th.

The 2024 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays dates have not been announced yet. Details of holiday offerings at Disney World are typically released in the summer.

If the Epcot holiday festival dates follow the years prior, it would run November 29th through December 30th in 2024.

Holiday Kitchens at Epcot

EpcotLatkes2021
Celebrate the season with latkes at Epcot.

Epcot food festivals seem to take over as World Showcase is turned into a themed, small plate dining experience each season. For the holidays, the food booths at Epcot are called Holiday Kitchens and serve up cultural and seasonal favorites. Think of rich, classic flavors like a turkey dinner plate, gingerbread man cookies, schnitzel, peppermint bark, latkes, and more! There are also special and unique twists on favorites like a gingerbread milkshake and turkey poutine.

EpcotChestnuts2021
You may find seasonal favorites like chestnuts at the Epcot holiday festival.

In 2021, Epcot debuted the Chestnuts and Good Cheer Holiday Kitchen with freshly roasted chestnuts on the grille! Chestnuts are actually less like nuts and more like a starchy vegetable in texture. What a neat experience to get to try this little treat that’s famously remembered in the popular holiday number The Christmas Song. Not all booths and treats come back every year so try what you’re interested in while you can.

EpcotHolidayPotPie2021
Savory delights are all around World Showcase at the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.

Epcot Holiday Storytellers and Entertainment

EpcotSanta2021
Meet Santa at Epcot.

You can absolutely make a full day out of enjoying all of these short outdoor shows. You’ll learn how people celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and more around the world. There is a traditional Christmas presence at this festival but in true Epcot fashion more of the world’s celebrations are included and in entertaining ways. All of it is fun and heartwarming. Prepare for some classic Disney edutainment.

You can find showtimes for the Epcot Holiday Storytellers and other entertainment in the My Disney Experience app.

Here’s a list of the live holiday entertainment in years past.

EpcotJoyful2021
Joyful! is a popular seasonal entertainment offering.

What is the Epcot holiday entertainment?

Joyful! A Celebration of the Season | World Showcase Plaza between the two shops

An energetic display of gospel music with incredibly talented singers on a beautifully decorated stage.

Canadian Holiday Voyageurs | Canada on The Mill Stage

Take a musical journey with this rockin’ band that introduces you to Canadian holiday customs.

Father Christmas | United Kingdom

Father Christmas shares traditions and classic songs from around the United Kingdom.

Pere Noel | France

The good spirit of the season delivers the magic of Christmas through a child’s letter.

Hanukkah Storyteller | Between France and Morocco

This singing musician tells the story of Hanukkah and how people celebrate it around the world.

Daruma Storyteller | Japan

A telling of the New Year customs of Japan.

Santa Claus | America

Enjoy a distanced yet personal outdoor visit and photo with Santa!

La Befana | Italy

A holiday tale of the friendly witch.

EpcotLunarNewYear2021
Seasonal decor added to China at Epcot.

Chinese Lion Dancer | China

Celebrate the Lunar New Year with this traditional performance.

A Mischievous Magical Barn Santa | Norway

Two performers share a Norway Christmas tale with humor.

Las Posadas Celebration | Mexico

Join the celebrated band Mariachi Cobre and dancers for a colorful, cultural experience.

EpcotWDW50Christmas

Candlelight Processional Narrators

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays has the most sentimental and traditional Christmas show at Walt Disney World. Large choirs, including one made up of cast members, professional singers, a live orchestra and a celebrity narrator tell the story of Christmas through word and song. Here is an example line up, though the celebrities change each year.

Auli’i Cravalho | November 26 through November 28

Chita Rivera | November 29 through December 1

Jodi Benson | December 2 through December 4

Alton Fitzgerald White | December 5 through December 7

Bart Millard | December 8 through December 10

Lisa Ling | December 11 through December 13

Andy Garcia | December 14 through December 16

Ana Gasteyer | December 17 through December 19

Courtney B. Vance | December 20 through December 22

Steven Curtis Chapman | December 23 through December 25

Blair Underwood | December 26 through December 28

Pat Sajak | December 29 through December 30

Dining packages that include reserved seating are available for this experience.

SpaceshipEarthHolidayLights
Spaceship Earth lights up with a special show during the holiday season.

Spaceship Earth Holiday Light Show

Spaceship Earth brings all new seasonal cheer to the front of the park. For the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration this landmark attraction got a special lighting makeover as it became one of the Beacons of Magic. The entire geodesic sphere exterior of Spaceship Earth is now lined with lights in between its many triangular panels. This is not a projection show like we see on other structures like Cinderella Castle or Tower of Terror. The Spaceship Earth Beacon of Magic addition is something different and so incredible to see in person. Light sequences dance around the ball, fade into gradient color palettes and twinkle in view all around the park. Now imagine a holiday version because that’s totally what happens.

Spaceship Earth lights up as soon as the sun sets and dances intermittently throughout the night. There is a short soundtrack that accompanies each sequence. Red and white stripes have danced down the icon, bringing cheer to guests.

SpaceshipEarthBeaconOfMagicHoliday
The Epcot Spaceship Earth holiday show lights up the park each night throughout the season with a short lighting and music sequence.
EpcotHolidaysOlafMerchandise2021
Epcot holiday festival merchandise changes every year.

Epcot Holiday Festival Merchandise

With every Disney festival comes the merchandise. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays 2021 merchandise was themed to Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. The collection featured the happy snowman and his reindeer friend Sven. Every year you can expect items like Spirit Jerseys, mugs, pins with characters, beanie hats and more. You can find it all at Port of Entry, Creations Shop and at different kiosk locations around World Showcase with the best selection usually across from the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen in Germany.

EpcotFestivalOfTheHolidays2021
Epcot is extra festive around the holidays with decorations all around World Showcase.
EpcotChristmasTree2021
A tall Christmas tree greets guests at the entrance of World Showcase at Epcot in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Are there Epcot holiday fireworks?

Epcot has fireworks nightly, even during festivals. The same fireworks are shown every night. The current show is Luminous – The Story of Us.

Discover where to watch fireworks at Epcot in our guide on the topic.

EpcotBavaria2021
A nutcracker display at Epcot.
EpcotInternationalFestivalOfTheHolidays2021
The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is included with park admission.

Disney Vacation Club Resorts Near Epcot

There are a few Disney Vacation Club resorts near Epcot. The closest resort to Epcot is Disney’s Beach Club Villas. Guests of Beach Club can access Epcot via a quick walk to the International Gateway. The International Gateway is the entrance in the back of the park in World Showcase between the France and United Kingdom pavilions. This DVC resort is located on a small body of water that connects to World Showcase Lagoon and also offers boat transport to the back of the park near the International Gateway.

On the same body of water is the neighboring Disney Vacation Club resort Disney’s Boardwalk Villas. Guests can also easily walk to Epcot from Disney’s Boardwalk and the same boat transportation service is available here too. DVC resort Riviera is just one pretty Skyliner ride away from Epcot’s International Gateway entrance.

For more information on becoming a DVC member by purchasing resale DVC points contact DVC Resale Experts today.

EpcotPoinsettas2021
Poinsettias dress up Epcot near the Imagination Pavilion.
Talk to UsFor more information on Disney Vacation Club, its resorts, and the magical vacations you can have at great value by becoming a member through DVC resale, feel free to talk to any of our friendly professionals with DVC Resale Experts at 844-DVC-FANS (382-3267) or email us at Info@DVCResaleExperts.com.
Disney Blogger Nicole and Disney CEO Bob Iger

Sparkly Nicole

Nicole is a native Floridian who attended the University of Central Florida and decided to call the land of theme parks home. She’s been sharing magical tips, tricks and Orlando travel and tourism favorites online for over a decade.

No Comments

Post A Comment

Related Posts

Magic Kingdom fireworks in a dark sky over water
Polynesian

Can You See Fireworks From the Polynesian?

There’s something extra special about monorail loop resorts. These enchanting properties are in the Magic Kingdom resort area. They offer convenient travel to the park via the highway in the sky as the monorail is sometimes called. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is an opening day,

An antique clock face of the character Cogsworth.
Resort Guides

Top Bars at Disney World

As a top family travel destination, Disney may not be the first place you think of when it comes to adult beverages. The vacation kingdom truly does have fun for all ages. That includes delicious drinks around the parks and resorts. Whether you want to

The BoardWalk sign in red lettering on top of a muted yellow and muted red building at the Disney's Vacation Club resort of the same name
Selling DVC

How to Sell Disney Vacation Club Frequently Asked Questions

There are quite a few frequently asked questions from those interested in how to sell Disney Vacation Club points. The average Member doesn’t know how to sell Disney Vacation Club points on their own. Why should they? This is a process licensed real estate professionals