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Media Preview of the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays at Walt Disney World

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays will begin on November 29, but on November 22 I was part of a hosted media group that was given a sneak peek at what is to come. Festival of the Holidays used to be called Holidays Around the World, and it looks like this is going to be the best year yet!

Media Pass

 

The Holiday Kitchens are one of the most popular aspects of Festival of the Holidays, and they will return this year. Some old favorites will be back for this year’s festival, and there will be some new choices as well. While sampling different holiday specialties from around the world, make sure you try the Holiday Cookie Stroll. You’ll purchase five different cookies and have your Passport stamped. Once you have all five, you can receive a sixth cookie for free. (In line with recent changes, one of the cookies this year is plant based.) There is a cute Chip ‘n’ Dale cookie jar that you can purchase if you want to save the cookies for later.

Cookies!

Speaking of Chip ‘n’ Dale, you will find their presence all over Festival of the Holidays this year. They’re featured on most of the festival merchandise. You’ll find MagicBands, ornaments, shirts, and more. (I love the Passholder shirt this year!) There is a special green mug that features the festival, you can purchase a similar red one at the Magic Kingdom. We also got to see the new merchandise that features Frozen II. There are ears, clothing items, mugs, toys, costumes, and adorable plush toys that celebrate the new hit movie. Frozen II fans will also want to stop by Royal Sommerhus. Anna and Elsa are now wearing updated outfits.

Passholder Shirt

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The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is full of special entertainment options. The holiday storytellers are back. Kids and adults will enjoy learning holiday traditions from around the world. There is more special entertainment throughout World Showcase. Voices of Liberty will perform favorite carols a cappella. JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season will bring their special soulful twist on Christmas and Kwanzaa classics. Their new stage is located near the entrance to World Showcase. The iconic Candlelight Processional returns this year as well. The Biblical Christmas Story is told by a celebrity narrator, backed up by a mass choir and a 50 piece orchestra. It is a holiday classic that first started at Disneyland. The Candlelight Processional dates all the way back to 1958.

Candlelight Processional

If you’re staying on Walt Disney World property, you might want to add some holiday magic to your room. The easiest way to do that is through Disney Floral & Gifts. You can order flower arrangements, stockings, plush toys, and even a Christmas Tree that is made out of real tree branches. The tree will make your room smell like the holidays! In most cases you can place your order before 2:00pm and have it delivered to your room that evening. If you visit during Christmas Week, you might want to order 48 hours in advance, just to be on the safe side. You can order by calling 407-827-3505, or visit disneyfloralandgifts.com.

Disney Floral Gifts Tree

If your kids have some extra energy that they need to burn off after eating six cookies, take them to the Green Landing – Family Play Zone. This time the play area will feature Wall•E and Eve. For more family fun there will be holiday strolls this year, which will allow the whole family to learn more about the holiday traditions in each country. There will be special picture opportunities within the strolls. Another fun event for kids of all ages is Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree. Purchase a map, look for your favorite chipmunks around World Showcase, and then turn the map in for a prize. This year you will be able to choose one of three ornaments. They are all so cute that you might want to purchase three maps.

Christmas Tree Spree Prizes

A brand new surprise this year is Living with the Land: Merry and Bright Nights. Our group was able to experience this, and it is a must-do! The ride has been given a holiday makeover. Once the sun goes down, the lights go on. It is not overdone, none of it takes away from the educational aspect of the ride. It’s a fun addition that you need to see for yourself.

Living with the Land Merry and Bright Nights

The best way to end the day at Epcot is Epcot Forever. This will be the only holiday season that will feature the nighttime fireworks show. HarmonioUS, the permanent replacement for IllumiNations, will debut sometime next year.

Epcot Forever

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays will begin on November 29, and it will run daily through December 30. It is included with your Epcot theme park admission. There is so much to do that you might want to stay at Epcot from open until close. There are a lot of changes taking place at Epcot right now, but one thing that hasn’t changed is how magical the holidays are, especially in World Showcase.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.