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~Hoppin'~ Good Guide to EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

by Mommy Frog on December 2, 2020 25 Orlando

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - PinterestThe holidays bring out what we think is best about EPCOT — the celebration of different cultural traditions from around the globe. EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays gives you a taste (literally!) of different holiday customs from every corner of the world, from delish dishes to unique festivities. While this year will look a little different due to COVID-19, EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays is hoppening Nov. 27 through Dec. 31, 2020!

Similar to Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, certain experiences have been modified to keep health and safety procedures in place. We recently hopped over to the park to check out these modified changes, so you know what to expect! With the absence of the Holiday Storytellers (we missed them!), the Holiday Kitchens take control of the spotlight this year. We tried some new yummy dishes and devoured our returning favorites. Aside from the food, we also enjoyed the holiday promenades around World Showcase and the musical performances!

While some people have made the decision not to go this year, after a year plus of planning, many others are now wondering, "What are we going to do for Christmas this year?" The answer may very well now be Disney! Unlike in years' past when you needed to book months and months in advance, the silver lining this year is you don't have to. That said, time is running out on visiting this year, so we highly recommend you get a hop on purchasing tickets and your hotel now!

Formerly Holidays Around the World, EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays toadally immerses you in the sights, sounds, flavors and stories of celebration to remind you of the reason for the season ... no matter what your frog fam's traditions are! The EPCOT festival starts at the end of November and runs through December, providing plenty of time to spread Christmas cheer. This festival typically includes the entertaining (and educational) Holiday Storytellers, star-studded Candlelight Processional (canceled this year), delectable Holiday Kitchens and characters in festive outfits. Best of all, EPCOT Festival of the Holidays is included with regular park admission!

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - Queen Anna

In addition to new details for 2020, you'll also find that we've left in details from last year so that you can get an idea of what to expect if you're planning ahead for future years. (The core structure of the festival is very similar year after year.) We won't judge if you're playing Christmas music as you read this guide. Petition to play "All I Want for Christmas is You" year round, anyone?

Holiday Storytellers, Candlelight Processional & Entertainment | Holiday Kitchens & Treats | Tips

Entertainment at EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

Holiday Storytellers and World Holiday Traditions

Performers bring local holiday traditions to life in their respective countries around World Showcase during EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. These storytellers share the history of their unique, time-honored celebrations from various countries through fun performances. Leap and I jump at any chance to educate our tadpoles while at Walt Disney World, and these performances are an enjoyable way to teach them about other cultures. Sadly, the storytellers did not return in 2020, and their absence was felt. But it's worth noting that the traditions of Las Posadas were featured in Mariachi Cobre's performances at the America Gardens Theatre.

The storytellers are usually something we enjoy in passing, rather than planning specific times to visit them since they take place intermittently throughout the day during the festival. It is nearly impossible to see them all in one day without hopping all over the place! However, it can be fun to seek out a certain country from your heritage to learn more about its traditions. You can find showtimes in the Festival Passport for those that you just can't miss! We find that most of the storytellers have at least one performance every hour or so. Generally, the storytellers can be found in:

  • Mexico: Las Posadas presents dancers, piñatas and Mariachi music.

Epcot Festival of the Holidays - Norway Holiday Storyteller

  • Norway: A hilarious-yet-mischievous Barn Santa visits Sigrid, an unsuspecting Christmas storyteller.
  • China: A colorful performance from Chinese lion dancers captures the happiness of celebrating the Lunar New Year.

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays - Germany Vocal Group

  • Germany: Chilli da Mur, a vocal group who was new to EPCOT at last year's event, filled the holiday marketplace with merriment.

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays - Italy Holiday Storyteller

  • Italy: La Befana, the kind-hearted witch who visits children on the Eve of the Epiphany, shares her story.
  • America: Santa and Mrs. Claus travel from the North Pole to meet all the good boys and girls. (This year, Santa is not meeting individually, but he has his own promenade!) Be sure to check out the Voices of Liberty as Dickens Carolers at the America Gardens Theatre.
  • Japan: You can ring in the Japanese New Year with the story behind its good luck charm, the Daruma doll.
  • Morocco: A lively band brings the fun of street festivals and Moroccan holidays to life.
  • Hanukkah: Storyteller Zachary shares the legends and songs of Hanukkah celebrations worldwide.
  • France: Père Noël shares the letter of an adorable child as he explains his own Christmas tradition.

Epcot Festival of the Holidays - Father Christmas

  • United Kingdom: Father Christmas shares the traditions of the United Kingdom in his lush holiday garb.
  • Canada: The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs will have you rockin' around the Christmas tree.

Candlelight Processional

Epcot Festival of the Holidays - Candlelight Processional

Unfortunately, Candlelight Processional will not be taking place in 2020, though we are hopful it will return again in future years.

The most popular entertainment at the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays is the Candlelight Processional. In 2019, performances were held each night at 5 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. at America Gardens Theatre, with a celebrity narrator retelling the biblical tale of Christmas. This is the perfect way to remind your tadpoles the reason for the season as you enjoy gorgeous choral pieces from a 50-piece orchestra, the Voices of Liberty and the Walt Disney Cast Choir, performing inspirational songs of hope and joy.

The 2019 narrators were:

  • November 29 to December 1: Ming-Na Wen
  • December 2 to 5: Neil Patrick Harris
  • December 6 to 7: Whoopi Goldberg
  • December 8 to 10: Isabella Rossellini
  • December 11 to 12: Alton Fitzgerald White
  • December 13 to 15: Gary Sinise
  • December 16 to 18: Pat Sajak
  • December 19 to 21: Geena Davis
  • December 22 to 24: Steven Curtis Chapman
  • December 25 to 26: Edward James Olmos
  • December 27 to 28: Marlee Matlin
  • December 29 to 30: Lisa Ling

The musical pieces are beautifully woven between the narration. You'll recognize some tunes, such as "Silent Night," during which the conductor encourages the crowd to join in singing. We won't spoil the specifics, but we love the beginning and how it starts off with the orchestra, then introduces the Voices of Liberty, followed by the grand entrance of the choir and finally, the narrator.

Seating is first come, first served and can fill up fast. To secure a spot at the Candlelight Processional event of your choice, try booking a dining package in advance. When you reserve a Candlelight Dining Package, you can enjoy a full meal with your frog squad at almost any table-service restaurant in EPCOT, as well as guaranteed priority seating at one of the evening Processional showings. Note that most discounts, including Annual Passholder and Tables in Wonderland, do not apply to these packages.

Musical Entertainment

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - JOYFUL!

JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season concerts celebrate the joy of Christmas and Kwanzaa. In 2020, JOYFUL! concerts take place at World Showplace. Check the daily park guide or My Disney Experience for times, and stop by to enjoy a seasonal blend of inspiring gospel, jazz, R&B and more. This wonderful performance is sure to get your family in the holiday spirit in no time!

Likewise, the Voices of Liberty performs favorite carols and songs of the season at America Gardens Theatre in 2020. The a cappella group alternates showtimes with Mariachi Cobre. You can also catch the JAMMitors at the Mill Stage over in the Canada pavilion. There is plenty of room at these locations and the music can be heard from all around, so don’t worry about posting up early for a spot. This is the perfect entertainment to enjoy with your family (and a perfect place for the tadpoles to get those winter wiggles out!).

Living with the Land Holiday Overlay

In 2019, the ride received a new holiday transformation with sparkling Christmas lights and decor. As we cruised through the EPCOT greenhouses, we spotted a family of snowmen, colorful wreaths and twinkling lights, including a Mickey reindeer head. Our favorite part was traveling through the final tunnel with all of the festive lights on both sides! While the decorations were up during the day, we thought it was better to ride at night for the full effect. This fun overlay has returned in 2020.

Seasonal Character Greetings

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - Mickey and Friends Holiday World Tour

Since Walt Disney World Resort reopened, EPCOT has hosted some adorable character promenades, allowing guests to interact with their faves from a safe distance. This year, expect those promenades to take on a holiday spin — and look out for pop-up visits from Santa Claus (from Nov. 27 to Dec. 24) too! Mickey, Minnie and friends will be in their holiday finest, and Queen Anna and Elsa will help ring in the season between Nov. 27 and Dec. 31. The promenades end at sunset.

Gingerbread Capital City

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - Gingerbread Capital City

The Deluxe Resort hotels will not have their typical gingerbread displays this year, BUT you will be able to marvel at a realistic gingerbread city created by Disney chefs. This patriotic display pays homage to some of the country's greatest landmarks, including the United States Capitol Building, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and a five-foot-tall Washington Monument! Lily and Tad were up for the challenge of finding all 13 hidden Mickeys within the display. Typically, it can be found at The American Adventure pavilion, but it's in a brand-new spot this year: World Showplace.

Holiday Cookie Stroll

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - Gingerbread Cookie

EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays has an assortment of different cookies at various locations around the park. If you purchase any five cookies from the Holiday Cookie Stroll locations, collect a stamp for each one in your Festival Passport. Once you have all five, bring the stamped passport to the Sweets & Treats Holiday Kitchen for a complimentary Peppermint Minnie cookie! With stops located across World Showcase and cookies at about $2.50 a pop, it is a pretty sweet deal, and sweet fun for the tadpoles. Plus, you don't have to get all five in one visit — you can always come back at a later date to complete the stroll if you're able to.

This year's Holiday Cookie Stroll locations are:

  • Bavaria Holiday Kitchen (Germany): Linzer Cookie
  • American Holiday Table (The American Adventure): Chocolate Crinkle Cookie
  • Yukon Holiday Kitchen (Canada): Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie
  • Festival Favorites (World Showplace): Gingerbread Cookie
  • L'Chaim! Holiday Kitchen (between Morocco and France): Black and White Cookie

Olaf's Holiday Tradition Expedition

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - Olaf's Holiday Tradition Expedition

If your tadpoles are fans of Ratatouille’s Hide and Squeak at the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, be sure to check out this scavenger hunt. This activity is a great way to keep little ones entertained while you sip and savor your way around World Showcase. Simply purchase a map and sticker set for $7.99 from Disney Traders, Mouse Gear, Port of Entry or World Traveler on International Gateway. (You can also find them at select Holiday Markets around World Showcase, but these stops are on your way in so you won’t miss a moment of the magic!)

Olaf has been sledding around World Showcase, collecting new and interesting holiday traditions to share with Anna and Elsa, but he has experienced a bit of a bumpy ride. Your tadpoles can help Olaf find his misplaced traditions in each World Showcase pavilion. When they spot Olaf, they have to match the tradition on his sleigh to the corresponding sticker on their maps. Once completed, return the map to Disney Traders, Mouse Gear or World Traveler in exchange for a gift worth melting for! We didn't love the prizes as much as those from Remy's Hide and Squeak Scavenger Hunt at Food and Wine, but if you have some big "Frozen" fans, they won't be disappointed!

Holiday Kitchens at EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

EPCOT Festival of Holidays - Mele Kalikimaka Holiday Kitchen

Leap and I can’t be the only frogs whose favorite part of EPCOT festivals is the food, right? EPCOT Festival of the Holidays is loaded with tasty treats sure to delight your taste buds. The wide selection of Holiday Kitchens is our favorite addition to the past Holidays Around the World. This year, the Mele Kalikimaka Holiday Kitchen and Holiday Hearth join the lineup of food booths for the first time.

With 16 Holiday Kitchens to choose from in 2020, there is something for everyone among the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays menus!

The 2020 Holiday Kitchens are:

  • American Holiday Table (The American Adventure)
    • Food:
      • Slow-roasted Turkey with Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans and Cranberry Sauce
      • Holiday Pot Pie with Jackfruit, Mushrooms, Carrots, Peas, Onions and Puff Pastry (Plant-based item) (New)
      • Pumpkin Gingerbread Cheesecake with Cranberry Whipped Cream and Candied Pumpkin Seeds (New)
      • Chocolate Crinkle Cookie (Cookie Stroll)
    • Beverages:
      • Bell’s Bright White Ale, Comstock, MI
      • Shipyard Eggnog White Porter, Clearwater, FL
      • Playalinda Brewing Co. Peppermint Chocolate Stout, Titusville, FL
      • Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
      • Martin Bay Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - Turkey Dish from American Adventure

  • Bavaria Holiday Kitchen (Germany)
    • Food:
      • Pork Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce, Spätzle and Braised Red Cabbage
      • Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl with Steamed Baby Vegetables and Marble Potatoes
      • Linzer Cookie (Cookie Stroll) 
    • Beverages:
      • Possmann Pure Hard Apple Cider, Frankfurt, Germany 
      • Ayinger Brewery Celebrator Doppelbock, Bavaria, Germany (New)
      • Regional Riesling
      • Glühwein: House-made Hot Spiced Wine
  • Citrus Blossom (Showcase Plaza)
    • Beverages:
      • Orange Cream Shake in a Souvenir Orange Bird Sipper Cup (nonalcoholic)
      • 81Bay Brewing Co. Cinnamon Cranberry Orange Wheat Ale, Tampa, FL (New)
      • Florida Orange Groves Winery Selections
  • Festival Favorites (World Showplace)
    • Food:
      • Blackened Bass, White Cheddar Grits and Okra with Tomato and Onion Stew, Seasonal Southern Delights
      • Duck Confit and Dumplings with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Fig Reduction, Alpine Haus
      • Gingerbread Cookie (Cookie Stroll) 
    • Beverages:
      • Coquito: Tropical Eggnog (nonalcoholic)
      • Frozen S’mores (nonalcoholic)
      • Coquito: Tropical Eggnog with Bacardi Gold Dark Rum
      • Frozen S’mores with Whipped Cream Vodka
  • Holiday Hearth (World Showplace)
    • Food:
      • Red Velvet Mini Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Icing (New)
      • Salted Caramel Spaceship Earth Cookie (New)
      • Snowball Cookies (New)
      • Peppermint Bark
      • Stollen: Holiday Fruit Cake
      • Mouse Crunch (New)
    • Beverages:
      • Gingerbread Milkshake (nonalcoholic) (New)
      • Hot Cocoa (nonalcoholic)
      • Gingerbread Milkshake with Whipped Cream Vodka (New)
      • Cocoa Candy Cane: Hot Cocoa with Peppermint Schnapps
  • Holiday Sweets and Treats (Showcase Plaza)
    • Food:
      • Peppermint Sundae: Chocolate Ice Cream, Whipped Cream and Peppermint Candy (Gluten/Wheat Friendly)
      • Minnie Peppermint Cookie (Cookie Stroll)
    • Beverages:
      • Hot Cocoa (nonalcoholic)
      • Chocolate Peppermint Shake featuring Twinings Peppermint Cheer Tea (nonalcoholic)
      • Shipyard Eggnog White Porter, Clearwater, FL
      • M.I.A. Beer Company Coquito Beer, Doral, FL (New)
      • Hot Cocoa with Assorted Alcoholic Cordials (Baileys Irish Cream, Frangelico Liqueur or Fireball Cinnamon Whisky)
      • Chocolate Peppermint Shake featuring Twinings Peppermint Cheer Tea and Whipped Cream Vodka
  • L'Chaim! Holiday Kitchen (between Morocco and France)
    • Food: 
      • Pastrami on Rye with House-made Pickles and Deli Mustard
      • Smoked Salmon Potato Latke
      • Potato Latkes (Plant-based item)
      • Sufganiyot: Mini Jelly-filled Donuts
      • Black and White Cookie (Plant-based item) (Cookie Stroll) 
    • Beverages:
      • Shmaltz Brewing Company Hanukkah Beer: Golden Jelly Doughnut Pastry Ale, Clifton Park, NY
      • Blue Cosmo Cocktail

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - Buche de Noel au Caramel

  • Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen (France)
    • Food: 
      • Rillette de Saumon: Salmon Spread with House-made Bread
      • Dinde Forestière, Pommes Dauphines: Turkey with Bacon, Mushrooms and Onions in a Mustard Cream Sauce with Puffed Potatoes (New)
      • Bûche de Noël au Caramel: Christmas Log with Chocolate Cake and Dark Chocolate Caramel Ganache
    • Beverages:
      • Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc Fruits Rouges Draft
      • Rosé Pétillant Méthode Traditionnelle Champenoise: Rosé Sparkling Wine, Pink Flamingo
      • Cabernet Sauvignon, Village de France
      • Frozen Hot Chocolate Martini: Grey Goose Vanilla, Vodka and Chocolate Milk
  • Mele Kalikimaka (Showcase Plaza)
    • Food: 
      • Kālua Pork with Okinawa Purple Sweet Potatoes and Mango Salad (New)
      • Lomi Lomi Salmon with Tomatoes, Onions, Salmon Roe, Yuzu Mayonnaise and Yucca Chips (New)
      • Haupia: Hawaiian Coconut Pudding with Candied Macadamia Nuts and Coconut (New)
    • Beverages:
      • Kona Brewing Co. Big Wave Golden Ale, Kailua-Kona, HI
      • Florida Orange Groves Sparkling Pineapple Wine, St. Petersburg, FL
      • Melon Breeze with Spiced Rum (New)
  • Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen (Mexico)
    • Food: 
      • Giant Tostada de Chorizo: Chorizo served on a Giant Tostada with Chipotle Black Bean Purée, Salsa Verde, Queso Cotija, Crema Mexicana and Pickled Onion (Gluten/Wheat Friendly) (New)
      • Tamal de Pollo: Braised Chipotle Chicken served in a Corn Masa topped with Mole Verde, Queso Cotija, Crema Mexicana and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (Gluten/Wheat Friendly)
      • Dulce de Leche Churros: Dulce de Leche filled Churros sprinkled with Cinnamon-Sugar (New)
    • Beverages:
      • Tulum Mexican Craft Beer with a Blackcurrant and Ginger Liqueur Floater
      • Pumpkin Spice Margarita: Tomba Blanco Tequila, Ojo de Tigre Mezcal, Nixta Corn Liqueur, Pumpkin Spice Purée and Lime-Agave Juice with Cinnamon-Sugar Rim (New)
      • Horchata Margarita: Casa Noble Blanco Tequila, Abasolo Corn Whiskey, Horchata Rum, Agua de Horchata and a hint of Cinnamon-infused Mezcal Liqueur
  • Prost! (World Showplace)
    • Food: 
      • Charcuterie and Cheese Plate
    • M.I.A. Beer Company White Christmas IPA, Doral, FL
    • 3 Daughters Brewing 70 Degree Winter Weizen, St. Petersburg, FL
    • Playlalinda Brewing Co. Gingerblonde House Ale, Titusville, FL (New)
    • Ciderboys Mad Bark Apple Cinnamon Hard Cider, Stevens Point, WI (New)
    • 3 Daughters Brewing Blueberry Peppercorn Hard Cider, St. Petersburg, FL (New)
    • Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards 1911 Honey Crisp Hard Cider, Lafayette, NY (New)
  • Sapphire Holiday Kitchen (Morocco)
    • Food: 
      • Grilled Lamb Kefta Kebab and Grapes with Euro Cucumber, Red Pepper, Pickled Pearl Onions and Harissa-Cilantro Dressing
      • Confit of Chermoula Chicken Drum with Cinnamon Granny Smith Apple, Toasted Almonds, Brussels Sprouts and Pinot Noir Glaze
      • Sfenj: Warm Beignets with Cream, Cinnamon-Sugar and Chocolate Sauce
    • Beverages: 
      • Mediterranean Beer
      • Kasbah Prestige Red Wine
      • The Andalusian “Poinsettia” Cocktail: Sparking Wine, Orange Liqueur and Cranberry Juice topped with Orange Blossom Water

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - Red-stewed Beef Rice Bowl from China

  • Shanghai Holiday Kitchen (China)
    • Food: 
      • Red-stewed Beef Rice Bowl (New)
      • Curry Chicken Rice Bowl (New)
      • House-made Crab and Cheese Wontons
    • Beverages:
      • “Panda” Bubble Tea: Classic Milk Tea with Black and White Bobas (nonalcoholic)
      • Tsigntao Lager
      • Jasmine Draft Beer
      • Dragonfly: Jose Cuervo Tequila Gold, Vodka, Mango Syrup and Orange Juice
      • Marco Boba: Amaretto, Iced Coffee, Milk and Boba
      • The Lucky Mo: Peach Schnapps, Peach Syrup, Orange Juice and Piña Colada Mix
  • Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen (Japan)
    • Food: 
      • New Year Celebration Soba: Buckwheat Soba Noodles in Hot Dashi Soup with Shrimp Tempura, Fish Cake and Chopped Green Onion
      • Chirashi Sushi Tree: Sashimi-grade Tuna, Salmon, Ikura and Yellowtail with Vegetables decorated on a bed of Rice
      • Ichigo Mont Blanc Tart: Strawberry and Bavarian Cream-filled Tart sprinkled with Konpeito (New)
    • Beverages:
      • Ichigo Milk Boba: Cranberry and Yuzu Cream Drink with Japanese Calpico and popping Strawberry Boba Pearls (nonalcoholic)
      • Sapporo Draft Beer
      • Tsubaki Whiskey Sour: Plum Wine with Whiskey, Cranberry Juice, Sugar and Lemon
  • Tuscany Holiday Kitchen (Italy)
    • Food:
      • Biancaneve Italian Flatbread with Mozzarella, Asiago and Parmesan
      • Sacchetti alla Boscaiola: Four-cheese Mini Beggar’s Purses filled with Sweet Sausage, Caramelized Onions, Pancetta and Cremini Mushrooms with a Creamy Sauce (New)
      • Cannoli Siciliani: Crisp Pastry filled with Sweet Ricotta, Chocolate and Candied Orange
    • Beverages:
      • Peroni Nastro Azzurro Pilsner
      • Pinot Grigio
      • Chianti
      • Prosecco
      • Rosa Regale
      • Moscato
      • Italian White Sangria with Prosecco
      • Italian Red Sangria with Cabernet Sauvignon
      • Italian Margarita with Limoncello and Tequila
  • Yukon Holiday Kitchen (Canada)
    • Food: 
      • Seared Scallops with Parsnip Silk, Apple Chutney and Hazelnut Croquant (New)
      • Beef Bourguignon with Crushed Potatoes (New)
      • Maple Bûche de Noël: Maple Mousse and Cranberry rolled in Gingerbread Chiffon Cake
      • Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie (Cookie Stroll) 
    • Beverages:
      • Frozen Coffee (nonalcoholic)
      • 81Bay Brewing Co. Maple Cinnamon Coffee Beer, Tampa, FL (New)
      • Regional Icewine
      • Regional Red Wine
      • Frozen Coffee with Tap 357 Whisky

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - Tostada from Mexico

Hands down, our favorite part of the 2020 festival was all of the food we tried! We shared the new Red-stewed Beef Rice Bowl from Shanghai Holiday Kitchen. Leap really liked the tenderness of the beef — it just seemed to melt in your mouth. Meanwhile, my favorite dish ended up being the new Giant Tostada de Chorizo from Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen. It wasn't extremely spicy, but it had a bit of a kick to it that I loved! Tad and Lily agreed (for once!) on the Bûche de Noël au Caramel from Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen as their top treat.

Have no fear — there are tamer global eats around the world, as well, if you or your tadpoles aren’t quite so daring. American Holiday Table offers some classic Turkey Day faves, or how about Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl with Fresh Steamed Baby Vegetables from the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen? Tadpoles don't notice veggies when they're paired with melted cheese, right? ;) Menus can be found in the Festival Passport, and a kid-approved icon can be found next to tadpole-friendly items.

My favorite conquest of any EPCOT festival is finding a bit more adventurous fare that I can talk Tad and Lily into trying. This year, it was the tostada that I mentioned previously. Lily wasn't a big fan of the spice but Tad gobbled up his portion.

While there’s already so much to feast on at the Holiday Kitchens, don’t miss out on special seasonal grub at standard food and beverage locations this year! These additional food and drink locations include Funnel Cake (featuring a new Sweet Potato Casserole Funnel Cake), Joffrey's Coffee (Caramel Tinsel Latte and Donut), Refreshment Outpost (Warm Brown Sugar Stuffed Pretzel with soft-serve ice cream and chocolate sauce) and Refreshment Port (T.G. Lee Eggnog with Spiced Rum).

Oh, and one last thing ... Leap and I highly suggest you 21+ froggies indulge yourselves at Prost! in World Showplace. That's his go-to spot for a hint of holiday flavors in his beer. This year, you can find a Gingerbread House Ale and a White Christmas IPA. Meanwhile, the Frozen Hot Chocolate Martini was calling my name.

Tips for EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - Couple

  • Use the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Passport to keep track of your adventures! This small booklet lets you know what's hoppening around every corner, from entertainment locations to menu items and every fun activity in between. This is critical to make sure you don't miss anything during your World Showcase stroll and made our lives so much easier. However, be sure to check out the My Disney Experience app for specific showtimes!

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - Santa

  • Keep an eye (and ear!) out for special holiday promenades! If you hear music changing, it's a good indication that characters may be coming, so get your camera ready! The big man himself (Santa, of course) will be making pop-up visits, as well.
  • We found that crowds seemed to grow as the day went on. We arrived right at park opening and enjoyed light crowds for the first couple of hours. By the time the late afternoon rolled around, we experienced longer lines at the Holiday Kitchens. (Though it's important to note that we went on a Tuesday, so it makes sense that more locals likely arrived after work hours.)
  • We recommend arriving close to park opening to make the most of your day with lower crowds and catch the holiday promenades before they end. Once night falls, grab some dinner (if you're still hungry, that is!) and take an evening ride on Living with the Land.
  • For Christmas gift inspiration, check out the Holiday Markets throughout World Showcase. The Chip 'n' Dale collection is too cute!
  • Keep in mind that Thanksgiving week and the last two weeks of December are the busiest times of the year at Walt Disney World, so crowds will be inevitable then. We expect them to be lower this year due to limited park capacity through Disney Park Pass reservations. However, Park Pass reservations are booking up quickly for the holiday season, so be sure to hop to it!
  • There are many photo opportunities throughout the festival. However, you can't miss the iconic tree in the middle of World Showcase Plaza!

EPCOT Festival of the Holidays - Christmas Tree

We hope you've found this guide to EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays hopful as you plan your trip. Drop us a line and share a tip for the festival — or your favorite parts of this annual event!

Related: Complete Guide to Disney World Holiday Events

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments
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Dec 2, 2020 at 6:58 p.m. Jeri M. Says...

We missed Epcot on our visit. It was out first time to go to Disney and Universal studios. We want to come back and definitely see Epcot.

Reply
Dec 2, 2020 at 4:31 p.m. Mike Says...

Love the updates! Keep em coming!!

Reply
Oct 21, 2020 at 8:19 p.m. Danielle Says...

When will we know if WDW will do the Cookie Stroll for 2020? And if so, how do we get our passports (will they be digital this year)?

Reply
Oct 22, 2020 at 2 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Danielle!

As an update, Walt Disney World has confirmed that the Cookie Stroll will be returning! We've updated this guide with all of the details. The Festival Passport will be a hard copy, like in years past. Have fun!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 20, 2020 at 5:01 p.m. Danielle Says...

Yay! What wonderful news. Thank you for the responses and updates. Hoppy Holidays!

Reply
Nov 20, 2020 at 11:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

You are so welcome - thank you for hopping by! Hoppy holidays! :)

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 21, 2020 at 3:28 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Danielle!

We aren't sure just yet - we'll be sure to update you as soon as we have confirmation one way or the other!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 19, 2019 at 3:45 a.m. Art Collier Says...

My understanding is the Fountain of Nations and stage has been demolished. It certainly was walled off and being torn down when I was there in October. That said, is it known actually where Joyful will perform?

Reply
Nov 19, 2019 at 11:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Art!

Joyful is confirmed for this year's event, but their location hasn't been announced just yet - we'll update as soon as we have this year's confirmed location!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 22, 2019 at 8:44 p.m. Lindsay Ballagray Says...

For the festival food booths, what is an average cost per item?

Reply
Oct 23, 2019 at 10:32 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lindsay!

These are generally about $5-6 per item. Enjoy!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 28, 2019 at 6:58 p.m. Jude Says...

Is there accessible seating at the Candlelight Processional and if so, how early should we get there?

Reply
Oct 1, 2019 at 8:34 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jude,

There are benches that have spaces in between for wheelchairs/ECVs along with reserved companion seating. We think a good rule of thumb is about 45 minutes, but it really depends on the popularity of the celebrity narrator (you may see people in place about 1-1.5 hours early), and what day of the week it is (weekends will be more crowded).

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 29, 2018 at 10:26 p.m. Margaret Wiechman Says...

Is there a special showing of Illuminations for New Years Eve?

Reply
Nov 29, 2018 at 5:36 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Margaret!

There sure is! It includes the special holiday finale and an additional New Years flair :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 25, 2018 at 11:28 p.m. Cheryl Says...

Where do you get a Festival of Holidays Passport (book)?

Reply
Nov 26, 2018 at 2:41 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cheryl!

You can find them at the front of the park with park maps :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 18, 2018 at 4:42 a.m. Janice Says...

Do any of the food booths take snack credits?

Reply
Nov 29, 2018 at 6:13 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Janice!

They sure do! Just keep an eye out for the square, purple dining plan icon next to menu items :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 13, 2018 at 11:38 p.m. Liz Says...

Does Epcot have a daily tree lighting ceremony?

Reply
Nov 13, 2018 at 9:13 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Liz!

We don't believe so, but we'll keep this post updated if we hear differently!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 24, 2018 at 3:20 p.m. Michelle Says...

I’m trying to find out if the Festival of Holidays is included with regular park admission?

Reply
Sep 25, 2018 at 11:13 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michelle!

Yes! All of Epcot's holiday fun is included with regular park admission.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 11, 2018 at 2:57 a.m. Lori Says...

Do you think hearing the stories from around the world will spoil things for those little ones who believe in Santa?

Reply
Aug 14, 2018 at 10:52 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lori!

We never had this problem with our little ones. A majority of the concepts are still "Santa", but tell the stories of different traditions. You can explain to your kiddos that Santa celebrates differently in each country.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
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