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Thanks to Disney for inviting us to enjoy Epcot's Holidays Around The World. As always, all opinions are my own.
Epcot is a great experience any time of the year but there's something special about visiting during the holidays! My family and I went recently and had a wonderful time. I always get excited about Epcot because I love being able to travel the world in the World Showcase and Soarin' is seriously one of the best rides ever. However, Epcot's Holidays Around The World add a little something extra during the holidays. Here's why you don't want to miss it.
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The thing we most wanted to see for Epcot's Holidays Around The World was the Candlelight Processional. It sounded like the perfect holiday event...a celebrity narrator is brought in to tell the Christmas story, backed by a 50 piece orchestra and a mass choir. I can't think of a better way to start the Christmas season than an experience like this. Santa and toys are fun but I also want my girls to know the real story of Christmas and understand what it is that we're truly celebrating.
I'll admit, when we were choosing our date, I made my final decision based it on who was narrating. We chose to go when Neil Patrick Harris was there but it was a really tough call...Jodi Benson (the voice of the Little Mermaid) is narrating at the end of December and we are huge Ariel fans! However, we wanted to go sooner than later so Neil won out.
The processional was beautifully done. Neil Patrick Harris was charming and funny but also sincere. It was obvious that being a part of this meant a lot to him (it was his ninth year narrating). The choir sounded amazing, as did the orchestra. They performed all the classic carols and the audience was invited to sing along with the choir. Even Neil joined in.
The lighting was beautiful too, from the star atop the choir's Christmas tree, the snow falling in the background and even the yellow and orange pattern that looked so pretty against the yellow choir robes.
If you're planning to go, be sure to get in line early. This event is hugely popular and the lines were long. If you don't want to have to worry about finding a seat, you can get guaranteed seating by purchasing the dinner package. Upcoming narrators include Robbie Benson (voice of The Beast in Beauty And The Beast), Meredith Viera, Jim Caviezel, Joe Morton, Ming-na Wen (voice of Mulan), Jodi Benson (the voice of Ariel!), and Cal Ripkin Jr.
Celebrations throughout the World Showcase
When you're not at the Candlelight Procession, you can wander though the countries and enjoy a different celebration in each one. Have fun singing Feliz Navidad with the mariachis and dancers in Mexico, listen to the Moroccan holiday storyteller, meet Le Befana, the kind-hearted Italian witch who grants gifts to good children and watch the colorful Chinese lion dancers. Each country celebrates in their own unique way. Don't forget to stop off at The American Adventure for a visit with Santa.
My girls loved the Holiday Passports that we picked up near the pavillion. It included a list of places to visit throughout the World Showcase and after each one, they "stamped" their passports with one of the stickers inside. They had fun trying to visit as many destinations as they could, though next time we'll have to get there a lot earlier if we want to visit all of them.
Disney goes all out with their decor and as expected, Epcot had Christmas topiaries, decoratively strung garland and more. My favorite was the gigantic Christmas tree that could be seen all the way from the other side of the lagoon! I have no idea how tall it is but Keira made it clear that we couldn't have it in our house because it would "break the roof". Maybe the backyard???
We even had a family picture taken! It's quite the rarity for all four of us to be in a shot together but did you know that Disney photographers will take a picture with your camera? All you have to do is ask.
Have you been to Epcot during the holidays? What part of Holidays Around The World would you most like to experience?