Christmas at Disney World: EPCOT Center

Every year, thousands of people around the world come to Florida to celebrate the Holiday Season. It’s not because the weather is warmer or the palm trees are simply a nice change from the evergreens of the great and sometimes not-so-white North (snowfall varies, after all). Nope. It’s because Christmas at Walt Disney World has become a time honored tradition among many families and every year, more families join the ranks.

In the last segment on Christmas at Walt Disney World, I focused on the Christmas celebrations at the Magic Kingdom. During this segment, I will be concentrating on the Christmas celebrations that occur at Walt Disney’s pet project park, EPCOT Center.

EPCOT Center is one of the more unique areas of Walt Disney World and even the world, for that matter. Twice the size of the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT is comprised of two areas: Future World and World Showcase.

Though all of EPCOT is decorated for the Holiday Season, it’s World Showcase that brings out the true Christmas Spirit in everyone and also boasts one of the most famous Christmas celebrations at Walt Disney World.

The Annual Candlelight Processional at EPCOT

Every year, thousands of people gather nightly throughout December to see one of Walt Disney World’s most famous spectacles. Narrated by various celebrity speakers (2005′s speakers included Harry Hamlin, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Eartha Kitt among others), this beautiful musical telling of the birth of Christ is accompanied by a full orchestra, choral singing, and the Voices of Liberty, a Walt Disney World based chorus group.

This event takes place in beautiful World Showcase at the America Gardens Theatre. As this is an extremely popular event, seating is limited. However, you can bypass the line by visiting www.waltdisneyworld.com or calling 404-WDW-DINE and buying a dinner package. This dinner package includes a meal at selected restaurants for the evening and reserved seats for the show. While the theatre does seat approximately 1,000 guests, the lines for this event are tremendous. As of 2005, pricing for the dinner packages was as follows:

Tier 1
Adults – $30.99 / Child (3-9) – $12.99 (plus tax)
The Garden Grill Restaurant – The Land
Biergarten – Germany

Tier 2
Adults – $38.99 / Child (3-9) – $12.99 (plus tax)
San Angel Inn – Mexico
Restaurant Marrakesh – Morocco
Nine Dragons – China
Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room – United Kingdom

Tier 3
Adults – $45.99 / Child (3-91) – $12.99 (plus tax)
Chefs de France – France
Coral Reef – Living Seas
L’Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante – Italy
Le Cellier Steakhouse – Canada
Mitsukoshi Teppanyaki Dining Room – Japan

I actually bought the Tier 2 package last year with dinner at the San Angel Inn. If you are planning on having a dinner at World Showcase during your stay, this is an excellent way to have both a wonderful dinner at Epcot and reserved seats for the show. Your dinner includes an appetizer, main course, and dessert as well as non-alcoholic drinks. Gratuity is also included, so you’re really getting a fantastic deal, as well as an enjoyable evening at Epcot.

As the event takes place in late November and December, be aware that temperatures can be somewhat brisk on some nights as Florida weather during the winter is somewhat volatile. Be prepared to travel with warm clothing and jackets for the evening so you can truly enjoy the show as the America Gardens Theatre is an outdoor venue. Also, as World Showcase becomes especially busy around this time of evening with the event in progress, extra restroom facilities are opened just beyond the gate to the side of The American Adventure pavilion.

There are three shows nightly, so check time schedules for the best time for you.

Next time, I will be covering Christmas at Disney-MGM Studios and the most amazing light spectacle you’ll ever lay eyes on.

See ya real soon!

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