Celebrate The Season At Epcot’s International Festival Of The Holidays

With Christmas just a little over five weeks away, the holiday season is in full swing at Walt Disney World. This weekend kicks off the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays with even more seasonal delights in store for us this year. Here’s everything you need to know courtesy of Disney!


Holidays Around the World is transforming into the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays from November 19 – December 30, surrounding guests once again in the wondrous sights, sounds and flavors of the season.

  • NEW! Holiday Kitchens – The number of holiday kitchens doubles in size this year to a total of 15, each bringing the flavors of the season to life. New this year, guests can indulge in cookies and desserts at the Cookie Nook located inside the Odyssey complex. Sweet treats include snowflake sugar cookies and a warm apple fritter with cinnamon ice cream and caramel sauce. Over at the Canada pavilion, dazzling delicacies like the Maple Buche de Noel (maple mousse rolled in gingerbread chiffon cake with cranberry sauce and pecan crumble) celebrate holiday traditions from the Great White North.
  • NEW! Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree – Chip and Dale are collecting ornaments for their Christmas tree. Guests can purchase a map and stickers from select merchandise locations and travel around World Showcase looking for the famous chipmunks with their ornaments. Guests can return their completed maps for a festive surprise, courtesy of Chip and Dale. Maps are available for $5.99 plus tax.
  • Candlelight ProcessionalNEW! Candlelight Processional Narrators – One of the most popular Epcot traditions returns with new celebrity narrators in 2017. Disney legend Kurt Russell is among the newcomers along with Pat Sajak, Matt Bomer and CCH Pounder who join the lineup of returning favorites like Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg and Jaci Velasquez. The Candlelight Processional is a retelling of the Christmas story as told by a celebrity narrator accompanied by 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir. The show takes place at the America Gardens Theatre each evening at 5:00pm, 6:45pm and 8:15pm November 24 – December 30. Candlelight dinner packages can be reserved by clicking here.
  • NEW! Holiday Entertainment – Enjoy the sights and sounds of the nations of World Showcase, as each country’s holiday heritage comes to life amid joyful music and time-honored traditions. Guests will discover an entertaining celebration of Hanukkah in a new location along World Showcase promenade, where a fun and interactive band interweaves the music of Hanukkah with jazz, Latin, rock and even hip-hop influences. Other returning holiday favorites include JOYFUL! A Gospel Celebration of the Season and Canadian Holiday Voyageurs.
  • Fireworks Finale – The nightly fireworks display, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, will feature a special holiday ending.

501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

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Will you be visiting Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays?
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Retro-Inspired Merchandise For Epcot’s 35th Anniversary

On October 1, 2017, Epcot will celebrate its 35th anniversary and in honor of this event, Disney Parks Merchandise Team has created some nostalgic retro-inspired souvenirs.

“Many of the artists on my team are long-time Epcot fans,” explained Eric Caszatt, Creative Manager with the Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media Creative Group. “We wanted the art to have a distinct vintage feeling, and take its cues from artwork, logos, signage, and in-park graphics found in the early 1980s. We also referenced actual merchandise released during the first few years of operation. Many products then did not incorporate Disney characters into the artwork with the exception of Figment from the Journey Into Imagination attraction. I’m excited to see several products being released this fall can trace their heritage back to those original items.”

Not only do these awesome commemorative items have the look and feel of the 1980s, many are also in the color palette used by “Epcot Center” back in its early days – purple, pink, red, orange, and gold.

I’m kicking myself now for not holding onto my classic Epcot t-shirts from back in the day, but I’m hoping to get my hands on one of those adorable blue and white Epcot Center short sleeve shirts while I’m visiting in October!

The Epcot 35th Anniversary collection will be available in late September in select locations throughout Epcot and you may also find select items via the Shop Disney Parks app once they’re released.

501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

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Celebrate The Magic This Holiday Season At Walt Disney World

Disney guests will have a fantastic festive experience wherever they choose to play, dine, relax or celebrate the magic at Walt Disney World this holiday season. Here’s everything you need to know, courtesy of Disney:


Walt Disney World Resort is the place to be this holiday season as theme parks and resort hotels sparkle with jolly decorations that bring the spirit of the season to life. Here’s a sampling of the holiday fun in store for guests:

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Guests can get wrapped up in a Flurry of Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from November 9 – December 31, with exciting new holiday happenings around the park and the return of the nighttime projection and fireworks show “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!”

  • NEW! Sunset Seasons Greetings – This new holiday experience features spectacular projections of Mickey, Minnie and other beloved Disney characters sharing their favorite Christmas stories as a snowy Sunset Boulevard twinkles with stunning holiday decorations. Holiday magic brings billboards to life and transforms the famous Hollywood Tower Hotel into scenes of the season – a giant pile of Christmas gifts, a gingerbread house and a frozen winter wonderland! A frosty summer-loving snowman might even make an appearance to share his holiday wish! This fantastic and heartwarming experience runs continuously throughout the night.
  • NEW! Enhanced holiday décor around Echo Lake – Extra-large ornaments, colorful garlands and a giant Christmas tree centered on the water will make Echo Lake the merriest of places this holiday season. Even Dinosaur Gertie will be dressed for the occasion with a dino-sized Santa hat.
  • “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” Returns – The hit holiday show returns November 9 sending beloved Disney animated characters on a spirited yuletide adventure to get Santa back to the North Pole in time for Christmas Eve. “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” combines state-of-the-art projections, fireworks, special effects and Christmas music to create a dazzling, one-of-a-kind holiday experience for guests – capped by a special message from Santa himself.
  • “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” Dessert Party – Guests can wrap up their jolly holiday evenings with reserved viewing of the “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” nighttime spectacular. The nightly party includes holiday-inspired snacks, delicious desserts, wine, beer, and specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. A surprise Disney character will also join the fun, posing for pictures and signing autographs. This fun-filled special event is offered November 9 – December 30, 2017. Book online by clicking here or call 407-WDW-DINE.
  • A new friend joins the cast of ‘For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration’ – Holiday fun continues at the Hyperion Theater as Anna, Elsa and Kristoff welcome Olaf to this popular sing-along celebration. Just for the holidays the show will include all-new songs from Disney’s new animated short “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.”
  • Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine – Meet Minnie, Mickey, Daisy, Donald and Goofy for lunch and dinner celebrations centered on seasonal deliciousness. From November 6 – January 7, the mouse-with-the-mostest will deck the halls for a banquet filled with holiday cheer and the joy of the season! To make a reservation, check availability and book online click here or call 407-WDW-DINE.
  • Santa Claus returns to the Once Upon a Time shop November 9 – December 24 – The beautiful vintage setting of the Once Upon a Time shop recalls bygone days of Santa’s visits to great department stores across the country. Santa will be at the shop daily to greet guests and listen to holiday wishes. Santa Goofy will step in December 25 – December 31 after Old Saint Nick returns to the North Pole.

Epcot

Holidays Around the World is transforming into the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays from November 9 – December 30, surrounding guests once again in the wondrous sights, sounds and flavors of the season.

  • NEW! Holiday Kitchens – The number of holiday kitchens doubles in size this year to a total of 15, each bringing the flavors of the season to life. New this year, guests can indulge in cookies and desserts at the holiday kitchen located inside the Odyssey complex. Sweet treats include snowflake sugar cookies and a warm apple fritter with cinnamon ice cream and caramel sauce. Over at the Canada pavilion, dazzling delicacies like the Maple Buche de Noel (maple mousse rolled in gingerbread chiffon cake with cranberry sauce and pecan crumble) celebrate holiday traditions from the Great White North.
  • NEW! Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree – Chip and Dale are collecting ornaments for their Christmas tree. Guests can purchase a map and stickers from select merchandise locations and travel around World Showcase looking for the famous chipmunks with their ornaments. Guests can return their completed maps for a festive surprise, courtesy of Chip and Dale. Maps are available for $5.99 plus tax.
  • Candlelight ProcessionalNEW! Candlelight Processional Narrators – One of the most popular Epcot traditions returns with new celebrity narrators in 2017. Pat Sajak, Matt Bomer and CCH Pounder will join the lineup of returning favorites like Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg and Jaci Velasquez. The Candlelight Processional is a retelling of the Christmas story as told by a celebrity narrator accompanied by 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir. The show takes place at the America Gardens Theatre each evening at 5:00pm, 6:45pm and 8:15pm November 24 – December 30. Candlelight dinner packages can be reserved by clicking here.
  • NEW! Holiday Entertainment – Enjoy the sights and sounds of the nations of World Showcase, as each country’s holiday heritage comes to life amid joyful music and time-honored traditions. Guests will discover an entertaining celebration of Hanukkah in a new location along World Showcase promenade, where a fun and interactive band interweaves the music of Hanukkah with jazz, Latin, rock and even hip-hop influences. Other returning holiday favorites include JOYFUL! A Gospel Celebration of the Season and Canadian Holiday Voyageurs.
  • Fireworks Finale – The nightly fireworks display, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, will feature a special holiday ending.

Magic Kingdom

  • Frozen Holiday WishA Frozen Holiday Wish – Behold an enchanting performance to melt a frozen heart. Royal sisters Anna and Elsa lead a celebration on the Castle Forecourt Stage nightly November 9 – December 31. Featuring special appearances by rugged mountain man Kristoff and lovable snowman Olaf, this merry-and-bright seasonal show culminates in Queen Elsa using her incredible powers to present a gift to everyone in the kingdom – transforming Cinderella Castle into a glimmering, shimmering ice palace for the holidays.
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – It’s a Christmas party like no other, with joyous music, a shimmering Cinderella Castle, characters in their festive finery and the Magic Kingdom decked out and made even more magical for merry-making guests of all ages. Each specially ticketed, limited-attendance event features an exclusive performance of Holiday Wishes fireworks and the earliest performances of other spectaculars like Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, the Frozen Holiday Wish castle-lighting ceremony and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration stage show. The special party – complete with cookies, cocoa and snow flurries – begins at 7 p.m., after regular park hours. Parties will be held on November 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26 and 28, and December 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21 and 22. For more information and to purchase tickets for this after-hours party, please click here.
  • ChristmasMickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade – This enchanting holiday pageant sings and dances its way through the Magic Kingdom park daily December 23 – December 31. It also makes a special appearance at each Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Brimming with magic and cheer, the parade features Santa Claus, gingerbread men, elves, reindeer, toy soldiers and other friends from the North Pole. They all join Mickey and friends – including Arendelle favorites Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf – in an over-the-top celebration of the season.
  • Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration – From December 23 – December 31, Mickey and Minnie take to Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage where they host some of their Disney friends for an unforgettable Christmas soiree filled with classic and contemporary holiday songs. Magical holiday projections on Cinderella Castle build to a sensational, snowy finale. Performances are also featured during each Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

It’s a wild holiday time as decorations around the park frame new day-into-nighttime experiences, including Tree of Life transformations, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali Rivers Rapids and Expedition Everest. Guests will be greeted by a dramatic, animal-themed holiday tree, and festive garlands will have the park all a-glow with merriment.

Disney Springs

Every corner of Disney Springs is wrapped and ready for the season with holiday décor and special entertainment, making it the most wonderful place to shop. From top name-brands to cozy one-of-a kind retailers and, of course, all things Disney, there’s something for everyone. Busy shoppers can also take a break and enjoy a quick snack on the go or an unforgettable meal at one of Disney Springs many talked-about restaurants.

Here’s a sampling of what’s new:

  • NEW! An Even Bigger Christmas Tree Trail – To capture the spirit of the season, Marketplace guests can stroll among custom decorated holiday trees, each dedicated to a popular Disney theme. This year, the Christmas Tree Trail will expand to include ten new trees inspired by Disney classics such as Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Snow White and Dumbo.
  • Santa’s Chalet – Santa Claus is accepting Christmas wish lists and welcoming guests to his chalet newly located by the Christmas Tree Trail through December 24.
  • Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt – The mischievous experiment 626 returns to Disney Springs with an expanded scavenger hunt now featuring four new stops, including a special stop at the expanded Christmas Tree Trail.

Holiday Fun beyond the Parks

The warmth of the holiday season brings cheer to more than 25 Disney resorts.

Every resort across Walt Disney World is decked out for the holidays. Entertainment abounds, including carolers performing on select nights at many resorts.

  • At Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, guests can take in the grandeur of quintessential Pacific Northwest yuletide cheer beneath the towering lobby Christmas tree, as they cozy up to the fire and relax with a cup of hot cider and snack on holiday treats. They can also relax lakeside and enjoy a seasonal cocktail at Geyser Point Bar & Grill, then settle around the campfire with s’mores and hot chocolate at nightfall.
  • At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, the Hoop-de-Doo Musical Revue spruces up for the season with live holiday music by the Pioneer Hall Players, including favorites like “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” and “Another Tennessee Christmas.” On select nights, the campground’s beloved carolers arrive by hay wagon spreading holiday cheer to all.

Resort guests can also experience life-sized edible creations at select Walt Disney World Resorts.

  • An annual treat, at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, is a life-sized holiday gingerbread house. This eye-filling (and aromatic) sight is in the resort lobby and is home to The Bake Shop that uses a classic gingerbread recipe from Austria for its tasty cookies and ornaments.
  • A life-sized, edible spinning carousel is a holiday tradition at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, while a holiday village with miniature train takes center stage at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.

Three all-new New Year’s Eve Celebrations are coming to Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

  • “Disney Countdown to Midnight” includes delightful dining, live music, libations and more. An interactive band and DJ will fill the dance floor (and we hear that Mickey and Minnie may make a special appearance). Then welcome in 2018 with a flute of bubbly and a viewing of those legendary New Year’s Eve fireworks in Magic Kingdom Park. Hours are 8pm.to 12:15am in the Fantasia Ballroom. This party is designed for guests 18 and older.
  • PIXAR PARTY– A New Year’s Eve Celebration celebrates beginnings with a Disney Pixar-inspired dinner the entire family is sure to enjoy. This unique celebration lets families ring the New Year together. It features a buffet-style dinner, Disney characters, activities for the little ones, a trendy DJ and exclusive viewing of Magic Kingdom fireworks!
  • “Down in New Orleans: A Disney New Year’s Eve Dining Experience” in the Grand Republic Ballroom is a fine-dining experience inspired by the Disney animated film “The Princess and the Frog.” Toward the end of the evening an amazing vocalist, reminiscent of Tiana, joins the band to bring to life the Academy Award-winning classics of legendary composer, Randy Newman. Guests can then slip outside with a glass of bubbly just before midnight to ring in 2018 with a private viewing area for the Magic Kingdom Park fireworks. Hours are 7pm to 12:15am.

No holiday is complete without a special dining experience. Holiday menus that celebrate the season can be found at restaurants throughout Walt Disney World Resort. For holiday dining information and reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE.


501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

What experience are you most looking forward to this holiday season?
Please leave a comment; I would love to hear from you!

Epcot’s 2017 Candlelight Processional Dining Packages Now On Sale

Candlelight Processional

The Candlelight Processional is one of the most beloved holiday traditions at Walt Disney World, with the joyous retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and glorious mass choir. Candlelight performances take place at 5:00pm, 6:45pm and 8:15pm at the America Gardens Theatre in Epcot from November 24 through December 30, 2017.

Narrators

November 24 – November 26: TBD
November 27 – November 28: Matt Bomer
November 29 – November 30: TBD
December 1 – December 3: Whoopi Goldberg
December 4 – December 5: Pat Sajak
December 6 – December 11: TBD
December 12 – December 14: Warwick Davis
December 15 – December 17: Trace Adkins
December 18 – December 21: Neil Patrick Harris
December 22 – December 24: CCH Pounder
December 25 – December 27: Jaci Velasquez
December 28 – December 30: Chandra Wilson

Please note that narrators are subject to change without notice.

Candlelight Dining Packages

Candlelight ProcessionalGuests may purchase Candlelight Dining Packages to reserve a seat at the Candlelight Processional. These packages include a delicious meal and a guaranteed seat for one of the Candlelight Processional performances. There are breakfast, lunch, and dinner packages available. Breakfast starts at $43 for adults and $27 for children, lunch and dinner starts at $44 for adults and $15.50 for children. Each meal includes an appetizer, entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage (or buffet depending on the location selected). Prices do not include tax, gratuity, or the required park admission. Participating restaurants include Akershus Royal BanquetRose & Crown Pub and Dining Room, Coral Reef Restaurant, Biergarten Restaurant, The Garden Grill Restaurant , Nine Dragons Restaurant, Restaurant Marrakesh, Spice Road Table, San Angel Inn Restaurante, Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria, Les Chefs de France, Tokyo Dining, Teppan Edo, Tutto Italia Ristorante, Trattoria al Forno, and La Hacienda de San Angel. Guests may call 407-WDW-DINE for reservations or book online by clicking here. Hurry – Availability is limited!

Heading to Disney World for the holidays?

501 WaysIf you are planning a vacation to Disney World during the holiday season, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Have you attended the Candlelight Processional before? What did you think?
Please leave a comment; I would love to hear from you!

Fun Facts About The 2017 Epcot International Food And Wine Festival

Can you believe that later this month the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival kicks off once again? Feeling a little hungry and extremely excited about my upcoming trip to this year’s event, I thought it might be entertaining to take a look at some “Fun Facts” about the mouth-watering festivities coming up this fall. Here’s some tantalizing trivia about the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to get you in the spirit courtesy of Disney:


Epcot International Food & Wine Festival ©DisneyWalt Disney World Resort guests are invited to join the fun when the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival turns 22 from August 31 – November 13, 2017.  On October 1, Epcot will celebrate its 35th anniversary, and this year’s festival will feature, for the first time, 35 global dine-around marketplaces. Guests will discover delicious ethnic and specialty cuisine, refreshing new beverages and more concerts and musical acts than ever.

The record 75-day festival at Disney’s Epcot theme park will include five new Future World marketplaces featuring fresh culinary concepts to pair with select wines, beers, cocktails and other beverages.  ABC’s Emmy Award-winning lifestyle series, “The Chew,” will broadcast from the festival for the third year and will again showcase dishes inspired by “The Chew” show hosts. The festival is believed to be the largest food and wine event of its kind in the world.

Here are some fun facts about the 22nd festival celebration.

  • Now 75 days long, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival began in 1996 with a first run of 30 days
  • At the 2017 festival, 35 global marketplaces will include five new marketplaces to help celebrate 35 years of Epcot –they include Active Eats, Coastal Eats, Flavors from Fire and Light Lab, all expanding into the park’s Future World area. The Almond Orchard, hosted by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, is the fifth new marketplace located along the World Showcase promenade
  • Producers of ABC’s “The Chew” will tape 5 episodes of the show before 5 festival guest audiences numbering in the hundreds for each show October 4 – 6 against a backdrop of the park’s iconic Spaceship Earth
  • The 22nd festival will feature 39 new marketplace dishes and 65 new cocktails, beers, wines and ciders
  • This year, more than 50 domestic and international wines will be offered at global marketplaces
  • More than 50 wineries and more than 35 breweries from around the world, including local craft beer operations, will be represented at festival marketplaces
  • The new “Disney Food and Wine Festivals Coast to Coast Cookbook” by Pam Brandon and the Disney Chefs features 50 irresistible recipes, 26 recipes from the Epcot festival global marketplaces and 24 from Disney’s California Adventure
  • 5 Party for the Senses grand tastings will take place at World Showplace during the festival run. In all, the festival will feature 177 premium events ranging from Signature Dinners and Food & Wine Pairings to “What’s Cookin’ With” and additional festival events in World Showcase pavilions and Walt Disney World resorts
  • Guest chefs and Disney chefs numbering 197 will present culinary demonstrations and will cook for festival events
  • Celebrity chefs and visiting culinarians from 11 countries and 23 U.S. states will participate in the festival at culinary demos, book signings, and special tasting events and dinners
  • 379 culinary demos, beverage and interactive seminars will take place during the 75-day festival. That’s equal to more than 6,360 hours of scheduled seminars at the Festival Center. These include the fun-filled Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It! interactive events, plus more
  • During Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak festival scavenger hunt, guests can help Remy scour the park for the ingredients to make his signature dish, ratatouille. Along the way, they’ll find 15 Remy statuettes hidden throughout World Showcase and the global marketplaces.  Guests can purchase their map and stickers at select merchandise locations, then take their completed maps to Disney Traders at the entrance to World Showcase or World Traveler at International Gateway to choose a new surprise, compliments of Chef Remy
  • 225 Eat to the Beat concerts will be performed; 11 musical acts will appear for the first time at this year’s festival featuring entertainment ranging from rock and soul to funk and blues
  • The Festival Passport (previously called the Marketplace Discovery Passport) was introduced in 2010 for the 15th annual festival; today, the complimentary passport will feature pages with all 35 festival marketplaces and other outdoor food and beverage locations with special festival offerings such as Refreshment Cool Post, Fife & Drum Tavern and Refreshment Port
  • More than 1,200 fireworks will explode each night over World Showcase Lagoon in IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth nightime spectacular
  • 100,000-plus desserts, including Passion Fruit Cheesecake with Toasted Macadamia Nuts (new at Hawaii) and Sweet Olive Oil Cake with Powdered Sugar and Lemon Curd (new at Spain), are expected to be served
  • In 1997, during the festival’s second year, festival planners introduced the first Grand Tasting culinary extravaganza; in 2002, the event was renamed and moved to World Showplace as Party for the Senses, now featuring dozens of food and beverage stations and, in 2017, confirmed seating for all guests plus new and different themed entertainment and surprises for each event

501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Will you be going to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival this year?
What are you most looking forward to? Please leave a comment!