The Best of EPCOT’s Festival of the Holidays 2021

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The Best of EPCOT's Festival of the Holidays 2021

The best EPCOT festival of the year has arrived. There are multiple festivals at EPCOT throughout the year, the most famous of which is the International Food and Wine Festival. But for many Disney fans, myself included, EPCOT's best festival is the Festival of the Holidays.

Through December 30, 2021, you can enjoy enthralling live entertainment, traditional decorations everywhere, storytellers sharing holiday traditions, and delicious holiday food and drink. If you and your sweetheart love the holiday season, this festival absolutely needs to be on your list.

The Best Live Entertainment at the EPCOT Festival of the Holidays

Live entertainment at EPCOT is usually abundant and although there were some cutbacks in 2020, things are basically back to normal with the holiday festival in full swing.

Each World Showcase pavilion has a Holiday Storyteller, sharing the history and origin of international holiday traditions, in many entertaining ways.

This is perhaps my favorite part of the festival. Not only is each Holiday Storyteller entertaining, but they also share their traditions in such a way that can't help but inspire a feeling of joy. Each performance lasts about fifteen minutes, and the storytellers perform on a small stage not far from the main promenade. This makes it easy to grab something to eat or drink from a nearby Holiday Kitchen while you watch the storyteller.

Norway Holiday Storyteller at EPCOT is presented by two storytellers, a male dressed in an elfish looking costume of green shorts, red and white striped socks, and a red sweater, with a white beard and wooden staff. The female storyteller has blonde hair with braids, a red and white sweater, and a long green skirt. They stand on a wooden stage with a Christmas tree on the back with white lights and red ornaments
Norway Holiday Storyteller at EPCOT

There is also an incredible vocal group singing holiday favorites and carols, with a Gospel spin. Joyful! A Celebration of the Season is an energetic and heartfelt performance. It's hard to resist putting your hands in the air or dancing along. Showtimes are usually at 1:15pm, 2:20pm, 3:25pm, and 4:30pm. The stage is at the World Showcase Plaza, essentially the entrance to World Showcase. There isn't much shade in this area so plan accordingly.

Be sure to download the MyDisneyExperience app to look up showtimes for all of the entertainment in EPCOT, including the Holiday Storytellers. Generally, you can time it out to catch 2-3 storytellers one after another at neighboring World Showcase pavilions.

Is the Candlelight Processional Dining Package Worth It?

The Candlelight Processional, the hallmark of entertainment at EPCOT during the holidays, has returned for 2021! For many Disney fans, the Candlelight Processional is a time-honored tradition. It features a live orchestra, the incredible vocal choir Voices of Liberty, and a larger choir comprised of Disney Cast Members. Each night a celebrity narrator shares the biblical story of Christmas. It's a beautiful show.

Some guests wait an hour or more in line to get their seats. Others book a Candlelight Processional Dining Package. Depending on the restaurant, packages are generally $55 – $65 per person, and include a three-course meal along with guaranteed seating at the Processional.

This package may be worth it if you both really want to see the Candlelight Processional, or want to see a particular celebrity narrator. The downside of the package is that while the participating restaurants are good, they're not necessarily EPCOT's best. I would recommend selecting the Biergarten buffet in the Germany Pavilion, or the Rose and Crown Dining Room in the United Kingdom Pavilion.


The Best Eats of EPCOT's Festival of the Holidays

I love the food that is available during the EPCOT Festival of the Holidays. The weather is usually brisk enough to enjoy the hearty holiday favorites. And I love tasting traditional holiday foods from around the world.

Based on what my husband and I have tried so far this year, here are our picks for the best eats of EPCOT's Festival of the Holidays:

American Holiday Table

  • Holiday Pot Pie with Jackfruit, Mushrooms, Carrots, Peas, Onions, and Puff Pastry (Plant-based)
  • Pumpkin Gingerbread Cheesecake with Cranberry Whipped Cream and Candied Pumpkin Seeds

L'Chaim Holiday Kitchen

  • Pastrami on Rye with House-made Pickles and Deli Mustard 
  • Smoked Salmon Potato Latke (Gluten/Wheat Friendly) 
  • Potato Latkes (Gluten/Wheat Friendly; Plant-based)
Pastrami on Rye and Smoked Salmon Potato Latke - L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen are served on small white paper plates and placed on a black table. The World Showcase promenade is in the background
Pastrami on Rye and Smoked Salmon Potato Latke – L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen

Le Marche De Noel Holiday Kitchen

  • Napoleon de Saumon Fumé en Brioche: Smoked salmon napoleon with layers of smoked salmon, dill mousse, and crème fraîche mousse served in brioche  

Mele Kalikimaka

  • Kālua Pork with Okinawa Purple Sweet Potatoes and Mango Salad 

Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen

  • New Year Celebration Soba: Buckwheat soba noodle in a hot dashi soup with shrimp tempura, fish cake, shiitake mushrooms, and chopped green onion

Yukon Holiday Kitchen

  • Beef Bourguignon with Crushed Potatoes

The Best Drinks at the EPCOT Festival of the Holidays

If you're going to EPCOT to celebrate the holidays, you'll certainly want some holiday cheer in a glass. Here are some of the best beers and cocktails:

Yukon Holiday Kitchen

  • Maple Cookie Blonde Ale 

Tangierine Cafe: Flavors of the Medina

  • Fig Cocktail with Sparkling Wine, Fig Vodka, and Cranberry Juice 
  • Cider Flight with Lavender Apple Hard Cider, Ginger Tumeric Hard Cider, Spicy Nutmeg Hard Cider

Mele Kalikimaka

  • Melon Breeze with Spiced Rum 

Le Marche De Noel Holiday Kitchen

  • Cranberry Mimosa: Sparkling wine with orange juice and cranberry syrup 

L'Chaim Holiday Kitchen

  • Shmaltz Brewing Company Hanukkah Beer
  • Important note – everyone I witnessed who had ordered the Blue Cosmo at the L'Chaim Holiday Kitchen was highly disappointed in this drink. You're welcome to order it if you're interested, I just did not see anyone enjoy it.

The Donut Shop

  • Gingerbread Milkshake  (if you are an annual passholder, show your annual pass when ordering to receive a souvenir cup)
Gingerbread Milkshake at The Donut Shop EPCOT Festival of the Holidays is served in a clear plastic cup with Minnie Mouse and the words Walt Disney World Passholder in black and yellow, wrapped around the middle of the cup. The milkshake within is a light brown color and is topped with whipped cream and a mini gingerbread man cookie
Gingerbread Milkshake at The Donut Shop EPCOT Festival of the Holidays

Date Ideas for EPCOT's Festival of the Holidays

Treat your sweetie to the Holiday Cookie Stroll. There are five participating Holiday Kitchens around World Showcase, each with a different specialty cookie for you to purchase. When you order your cookie, present your festival passport to receive a stamp. Once you've enjoyed all five cookies, head to the Holiday Sweets & Treats booth to receive a specialty Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary cookie.

Discuss your family's heritage, like your ancestry or traditions, and enjoy the Holiday Storyteller that most closely represents your heritage. Watch together and discuss anything you learned or anything that you remember from your childhood.

Browse the menus in the Festival Passport. Are there any food items you remember from the holidays of your youth? Try it together and discuss any memories.

Hop aboard the Living with the Land Boat Ride for some festive decorations and narration in the last half of the ride, and a relaxing way to rest your feet.

Grab a cocktail or festive beer at one of the Holiday Booths before claiming your spot for the Haminous fireworks show. World Showcase Plaza is a prime spot.

EPCOT Holiday Cookie Stroll is showcased on a white platter with a red and white peppermint style cookie jar to the right of the platter
EPCOT Holiday Cookie Stroll

Tips and Information for the 2021 EPCOT Festival of the Holidays

  • EPCOT generally opens at 11am on weekdays and 10am on Saturday and Sunday and is open until 10pm, so pace yourself for a long day.
  • Be sure to make your park pass reservation as soon as possible.
  • The closer it gets to Christmas Day the busier the theme parks get.
  • If you want to watch the Haminous fireworks show, pay attention to the wind. Notice any flags around World Showcase, like the American flag atop the American Adventure pavilion. Whatever direction the flag is blowing will show you the direction of the wind, so find a spot on the lagoon with the wind at your back so any firework smoke is blowing away from you.
Living with the Land Boat Ride Holiday Decorations iinclude large prop Christmas presents with custom wrapping paper featuring the living with the land logo. These presents are in the sand of the ride's greenhouse area with tropical plants in the background and a holiday table display in the back as well.
Living with the Land Boat Ride Holiday Decorations

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