The Walt Disney World Resort has so much to offer during the holiday season that we couldn’t just do one article. In part 1 of this series of posts we focused on the Magic Kingdom and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Now it’s time to explore what makes the holidays so special at the other three theme parks at Walt Disney World, especially the Candlelight Processional at Epcot.
We begin this installment of our holiday tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom where you’re immediately greeted at the front entrance by an immense Christmas tree. A fully decorated tree is a common theme at the entrances of all four parks and the various resorts throughout the Disney property. Disney’s legendary attention to detail is on full display as each of these Christmas trees is themed appropriately for each location. The Animal Kingdom tree features an array of animal ornaments inspired by the various creatures found within the park. If you have little ones in your family who love animals then your visit to Animal Kingdom will not be complete without a trek on the Kilimanjaro Safari. The fairly lengthy ride through the African style savanna features numerous wild animals including lions, zebras, and giraffes.
The second stop on our tour is Epcot, home to World Showcase. During the holidays the American Adventure hosts Candlelight Processional, a musical celebration of the story of Jesus’ birth. Candlelight not only features a massed choir backed by a full orchestra but also a celebrity narrator. Whoopi Goldberg provided the honors on our night and told the story with the exuberant humor that one has come to expect from the comedienne.
The 45 minute show may test the attention spans of some small children. That definitely was not the case for one young boy in the theater who felt compelled to dance along and mimic the gestures of the conductor. Candlelight Processional is an immensely popular show for guests of all ages and it is not hard to see why, given the quality and uniqueness of the show amongst all that Walt Disney World has to offer. Accordingly, the standby line to enter the theater can extend past several neighboring countries in World Showcase as early as one hour prior to the show. You will want to plan accordingly to guarantee seating in the theater.
Alternatively, guests can opt for the Candlelight Processional Dining Package which pairs dining reservations at select Epcot restaurants with priority seating at the show. This is an excellent option for those who wish to forgo the lengthy standby line (and potential temper tantrums) while also enjoying top notch Disney dining. Please note that the package’s popularity coincides with that of the show and was in fact sold out the night of our show. We were able to experience the gold badge seating, as Disney calls it, and highly recommend it as a hassle-free experience that provides priority seating at the front of the theater.
With night falling it was now time for the final stop on our tour, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Studios contains quite possibly the quintessential Disney holiday experience, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
Originally the creation of an Arkansas family, the Osborne lights takes over Streets of America in a light show extravaganza that has to be seen to be believed. Accompanied by various holiday tunes, the lights dance indeed and do so in sync with the music. Don’t forget to grab those Glow With the Show Mickey Ears as detailed in our previous installment of Holidays Around the ‘World. They will work here too and further enhance your viewing pleasure. To top it all off there is even snow courtesy of some Disney pixie dust!
And with that our holiday tour around the Walt Disney World Resort comes to an end. Disney has so much to offer during the holidays that several visits are in order to experience virtually everything. Unfortunately many people have limited time in the parks. We hope that we were able to highlight some of the must-see holiday events at Disney.
What Disney holiday event appeals the most to you and your family?
Disclosure: We were provided complimentary tickets to Walt Disney World and a showing of Candlelight Processional at Epcot in order to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
All photos © Ricardo Escobar for modernmami™