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Credit: PaulaK

The 2021 Candlelight Processional at EPCOT

In 2020, the holiday season was scaled back at Walt Disney World. One of the casualties was the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT. This beloved classic did not run last year, and it was missed.

Credit: PaulaK

The Candlelight Processional is back in 2021. I was hosted by Disney to attend on December 1. There are changes to the Candlelight Processional this year, but it still holds all the magic of Christmas, as always.

Credit: PaulaK

Related: EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Merchandise for 2021

If you’ve seen the Candlelight Processional in the past, you’ll notice the first change right away. There are no green robes in the Christmas tree. Instead, Voices of Liberty fill the structure, wearing red. This puts the group front and center.

There are no local high school students in the choir this year. The rest of the singers are Cast Members, who auditioned to be included. This isn’t new; a good part of the choir has always been made up of Cast Members.

Credit: PaulaK

While the choir was noticeably smaller, the sound was the same. If the orchestra was smaller, I didn’t notice.

The celebrity narrator for my show was Chita Rivera. My daughter and I were supposed to see her a couple of years ago but there was a last minute replacement. That’s always a possibility with the Candlelight Processional as well as all the other acts in the  America Gardens Theater, replacements are sometimes necessary.

Credit: PaulaK

Ms. Rivera was an absolute delight. She held a strong presence, without taking away from the choir or the orchestra. She sang along with each song and knew all of the arrangements. She was obviously having a wonderful time.

Related: The Living with the Land 2021 Holiday Overlay

If you’re not familiar with Chita Rivera, the 88 year old actress has been a staple on Broadway for decades. She is a Tony Award winner, and also has numerous movie and television credits. Her most recent appearance is a cameo in the film ‘Tick, Tick… Boom!’.

Credit: PaulaK

While there are some minor changes to the 2021 Candlelight Processional, it is still must-see. The classic show dates back over 60 years to Disneyland. I’m so glad that it’s part of The World’s Most Magical Celebration.

The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays runs until December 30, and is included with your Theme Park admission.

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.