The Candlelight Processional at EPCOT is a celebration of Christmas. Each night, a celebrity narrator will proudly tell the tale of how Christmas came to be during the Festival of Holidays celebration at EPCOT. You can find this show at the America Gardens Theater in World Showcase. Keep reading for our full guide to EPCOT’s long-held tradition.
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Understanding the History of EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional
The tradition of the Candlelight Processional started in 1958 at Disneyland, with Dennis Morgan being the first narrator for the show in 1961. Fun Fact: Walt Disney attended his last Candlelight Processional in 1965, with the narrator being Dick Van Dyke! Over 30 years later, in 1994, the event was brought to Walt Disney World. Phylicia Rashad was the first narrator of the east coast shows!
A grand choir accompanies the narrator, proceeding onto the stage wearing beautiful choir robes and holding (fake) candles. An orchestra group plays along to the wonderful music of the holidays. The stage is adorned in lavish decor, with a podium front and center for the celebrity guest.
While Disneyland tends to keep its celebrity guest narrator a secret until the day of the show, Walt Disney World will list out the full guest list, usually months in advance. This makes planning to attend easy, as you can book your EPCOT park day around the celebrity guest that you want to see!
The Candlelight Processional is part of the International Festival of the Holidays at EPCOT. This festival usually runs from mid/late November to the end of December. It is a cultural celebration of holidays across the globe. Culinary wonders, storytellers, and more will be sure to entertain all. Enjoy hearing tales of the holidays while completing the Cookie Stroll, then end your night with a beautiful processional.
Celebrity Guest Narrators of the Past
EPCOT has seen a ton of familiar faces and very notable people for The Candlelight Processional. No matter how big or small the guest list is, you are sure to see a popular celebrity that you like on one of the nights.
Some big celebrities that EPCOT has seen in the past include Gary Sinise, Mario Lopez, Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, and many, many more.
2023 EPCOT Celebrity Narrators
- Chrissy Metz (NEW): Nov. 24-25
- Luis Fonsi (NEW): Nov. 26-27
- Ann-Margret (NEW): Nov. 28-29
- Simu Liu: Nov. 30-Dec. 2
- John Stamos: Dec. 3-5
- Neil Patrick Harris: Dec. 6-8
- Marlee Matlin: Dec. 9-11
- Brendan Fraser (NEW): Dec. 12-14
- Eva Longoria (NEW): Dec. 15-16 [AWAITING FINAL; PLEASE CONFIRM WITH BROOKE]
- Joey McIntyre (NEW): Dec. 17-18
- Sterling K. Brown (NEW): Dec. 19-20
- Jordan Fisher (NEW): Dec. 21-23
- Steven Curtis Chapman: Dec. 24-26
- Audra McDonald (NEW): Dec. 27-28
- Lisa Ling: Dec. 29-30
If you couldn’t tell, EPCOT really brings it on heavily with the celebrity guests they invite to narrate. They all make the night really special and tell the tales perfectly.
While the celebrity guest list for 2023 hasn’t been announced yet, guests can expect to see it soon. Disney World has been announcing many events lately, especially those having to do with the International Festival of the Holidays. Any day now, we could get more details on who might be seen narrating this year’s shows!
A Guide to Seeing EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional
One thing that has been announced for this year’s festival is the dates. The International Festival of the Holidays will run from November 18th to December 30th, 2023. As stated earlier, more announcements should be coming soon.
The processional as a whole will run about forty minutes to an hour. There is seating in the theater, as well as dining packages (we’ll get there!) to ensure you have the best view. However, even if you cannot get a seat in the theater, you can still witness the show from various spots in the America pavilion of World Showcase.
There is no separate ticket required for this show unless you plan on purchasing a package. Your park ticket is enough to get you in!
With that being said, you want to make sure you reserve EPCOT as your park choice, or park-hop after 1:30pm. Park reservations can be made after buying your ticket. For a full guide, visit Disney’s official website.
Guests will crowd the area pretty early on, especially if that night’s celebrity guest narrator is someone big. It is recommended that you and your party arrive to the theater early, that way you can ensure that you get a seat!
There are three shows offered nightly. They run at 5:15pm, 7pm, and 8:30pm. That said, you have multiple opportunities to see the spectacular event.
EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional Dining Packages
Like most special events that take place in the America Gardens Theater, the Candlelight Processional offers dining packages to enjoy the show!
When you book a dining package for an event, you are making a dining reservation (for lunch or dinner) in advance for select restaurants in the park, and then are granted access to good seating for the show. This is great for busy nights, good seating, or just guaranteeing that you get a spot for the celebrity guest that you desire to see.
You are able to book these dining packages on Disney World’s official website, or you can call in at 407-WDW-DINE. While booking online is a bit easier since everything is simply laid out on the website, you are still able to speak with a cast member about exactly which times and restaurants you want!
Pricing, dining spots, and availability can change from year to year, but it stays fairly similar each time. Different restaurants will correspond with which showtime you wind up attending. Remember, you still have to have a park ticket to book one of these, since it will take place inside the park.
For your dining experience, you are able to choose one appetizer, one entree, one dessert, and one non-alcoholic beverage from a set menu. If you are booking a restaurant with buffet-style dining, you have access to the full buffet and non-alcoholic beverages.
There are eight restaurants to book in total! We will be going off of last year’s prices since 2023 has yet to be announced. For this year’s pricing, be sure to look out for any announcements about the event!
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway offers the package for $79 per adult and $51 per child. You have access to the full buffet and your non-alcoholic drink of choice.
- Biergarten Restaurant in Germany costs $65 per adult and $37 per child. You will have all of the buffet offerings available, as well as your non-alcoholic beverage.
- Coral Reef Restaurant in The Seas pavilion is $74 per adult and $30 per child. Here, there is a menu that you can choose your plates from.
- Le Cellier in Canada costs $100 per adult and $39 per child. This restaurant is the most expensive, due to the normal prices to dine being pretty high. There is a normal menu to choose your options from.
- The Garden Grill in The Land pavilion is $71 per adult and $46 per child. This is family-style dining, so platters will be brought to your table with various options!
- Rose & Crown Dining Room in the United Kingdom costs $64 per adult and $28 per child. You will be able to pick options from the menu here.
Quick(er) Service Restaurants:
EPCOT also offers two restaurants with same-day dining packages. Availability is limited, so if you’re interested in one of these restaurants, you want to make sure to put your name on the list early.
- Regal Eagle Smokehouse in America is $40 for both adults and children. You will get one entree, one dessert, and a non-alcoholic beverage. This is a great option for less of a sit-down meal and instead having a quick (yet filling) bite to eat!
- Spice Road Table in Morocco costs $52 per adult and $23 per child. This comes with two small plates, a dessert plate, and a non-alcoholic beverage. While it isn’t as filling of a meal as some of the other places, the food here is delicious and this package is a great value!
How to Access Your Package and Seating:
Once reserving your spot, it will show up in your dining plans. On the day of, you are able to attend your dining reservation at the respected time-slot just like you would any other ADR.
During your meal, you will be given a ticket with your selected show time on it. This ticket will be stamped with that day’s date as well!
When your showtime is approaching, you want to start getting in line. While the dining package guarantees seating, there will still be a line with everyone else that has purchased a package. Since seats are on a first-come, first-serve basis, you want to line up a bit early so that you can get a great view. There is one line for regular seating and one line for guests that have purchased the dining package. Signs and cast members will point you in the right direction.
Tips to Get the Best Seats for EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional
As stated earlier, guests will usually line up pretty early for this event. Here are some of the best ways to get a good seat!
The easiest way to guarantee a good seat is by booking one of the dining packages. However, not every party wants to do that, and that’s okay! If you are interested in this, it’s great to know that you get to pay for a good meal and have an even better seat. Book online on Disney’s website or by calling the dining reservation phone line.
If you do not book a package, consider lining up early. Guests are excited to see the show, and will start getting in line fairly early. Grab a snack, a drink, and be patient! Cast members tend to start letting people in only 15-20 minutes before the show starts, so you might be standing for a while. However, the seat will surely be worth it!
If you find that the theater is full, don’t stress! Even from outside the theater, you can see and hear the show. There are benches in the area, but if you don’t mind standing, the view will be just fine.
Is the EPCOT Candlelight Processional Worth Seeing?
I’m going to answer that question with a simple response; Absolutely!
If you love to celebrate the holidays, there is nothing better than spending the day learning about different traditions and eating and drinking amazing food, and then ending the night with a beautiful show. It really puts you into the holiday spirit and is just visually pleasing to the fullest.
Plus, with your park ticket, it is free to watch. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that? Of course, you can purchase a dining package. However, even if you don’t, you are still more than welcome to stop and watch the show. Having multiple times throughout the night is another perk so that if you can’t make it to one, there are two others you can try and get to.
The celebrity guest narrators that are invited to headline the show are absolute legends. It’s such a special event to witness, especially if a familiar face is the one narrating!
Overall, it’s an event that the entire family is guaranteed to enjoy, with so many memories waiting to be made.
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