Walt Disney World has released new details for the 2021 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, including Candlelight Processional Narrators & Dining Packages, Storytellers & Santas, Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt, and more. This post covers all the details we know thus far about the Christmas-time event, plus some thoughts about the quick turnaround time.
For starters, the 2021 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays will run from November 26 until December 30, 2021. Unlike other Christmas-time offerings at Walt Disney World, the holiday festivities at Epcot always end before New Year’s Eve to clear space for NYE. It remains to be seen what, if anything, Walt Disney World will do for New Year’s, but Festival of the Holidays ending on December 30 at least leaves that door open.
After being dramatically scaled back last year, Epcot’s 2021 Festival of the Holidays returns as the full event, rather than just a “Taste of” it. This announcement basically fleshes out what is happening, providing new details about the “choirs singing, chestnuts roasting, kitchens cooking, cookies baking or gifts unwrapping” at Epcot from November 26 through December 30….
Let’s start with the full lineup of Holiday Kitchens:
American Holiday Table – American Adventure Pavilion
Enjoy a seasonal salute—dig into traditional dishes reminiscent of grandma’s cooking at the American Adventure Pavilion.
Bavaria Holiday Kitchen – Germany Pavilion
Willkommen—help yourself to heartwarming holiday dishes and refreshing beverages at the Germany Pavilion.
Chestnuts & Good Cheer Holiday Kitchen – Near Port of Entry – NEW!
Join in on the festivities when you visit this new location offering cinnamon-glazed nuts and holiday beverages.
The Donut Box – Near Test Track Presented by Chevrolet
Enjoy a classic dessert dressed up in a little holiday cheer when you try one of our seasonally-themed donuts!
Holiday Hearth Desserts – Near Port of Entry
Discover the hearth you’ll call home, with holly jolly desserts, hot cocoa and so much more.
Holiday Sweets & Treats – Near Port of Entry
Rock around the Christmas tree with tasty desserts and festive sips sure to top the “nice” list.
L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen – Between Morocco and France Pavilions
Propose a toast to life—sink your teeth into classic deli noshes with a side of New York flair.
Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen – France Pavilion
Feast on très magnifique fare, wine and specialty cocktails from the France Pavilion.
Mele Kalikimaka – Near Port Of Entry
Savor the flavor of fabulous, festive food and beverages from the islands of Hawaii.
Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen – Mexico Pavilion
Feliz Navidad—celebrate with mariachi dancing and south-of-the-border fare at the Mexican Pavilion!
Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen – Japan Pavilion
Please your palate with an array of festive dishes and drinks served at the Japan Pavilion.
Tangierine Café: Flavors of the Medina – Morocco Pavilion
Travel to the Morocco Pavilion for delicious kebabs and cocktails.
Tuscany Holiday Kitchen – Italy Pavilion
Mangiare—savor a seasonal take on some of the world’s best-loved food and beverages at the Italy Pavilion!
Yukon Holiday Kitchen – Canada Pavilion
Jingle your bells with delightful dishes and libations from the Great White North—at the Canada Pavilion.
Funnel Cake – Between the American Adventure Pavilion
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a holiday classic: Pumpkin Pie Funnel Cake.
Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company – Throughout EPCOT
Salute the season with the usual selection of coffees, plus a tasty holiday-themed treat!
Refreshment Outpost – Between the China and Germany Pavilions
Chow down on this year’s holiday surprise: Coconut-Pineapple Cake with DOLE Whip. (Sorry, guess it’s not a surprise now.)
Refreshment Port – Showcase Plaza
Savor the flavor of holiday poutine and toast the season with specials like Coquito Soft-serve, also available with Spiced Rum.
On a final food note, the Holiday Cookie Stroll also returns this year, with a cookie as reward for completing the confectionary collection from five different locations throughout the park. (Pro tip: you’re better off going to Publix…or literally any grocery store in Central Florida…or anywhere else in the parks…and just buying cookies.)
In Future World–excuse me, World Nature–Walt Disney World has revealed that Living with the Land: Merry and Bright Nights will return. “During the Festival, ride Living with the Land for a special, sparkling boat tour. Enjoy a peaceful cruise and view twinkling holiday light displays throughout the greenhouses.”
We absolutely love Living with the Land. It’s one of the Walt Disney World attractions we do the most. We also absolutely love Christmas lights. Put those two things together, and we are squarely the target audience for Living with the Land: Merry and Bright Nights. Unsurprisingly, we absolutely love this overlay. I could go on and on about this, gushing about the calming atmosphere, thoroughness, and understated simplicity of it all. Suffice to say, do not miss Living with the Land: Merry and Bright Nights!!!
In terms of World Showcase entertainment, Walt Disney World has teased that the Holiday Storytellers will return. Specifically, the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs in the Canada pavilion, Chinese Lion Dance celebrating the new year in the China pavilion, and a Hanukkah storyteller along the promenade.
Additionally, there will be “delightful holiday storytellers in France, Italy, Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom.” Outside the American Adventure, you can wave hello to Santa Claus as he gets ready for the big day. Walt Disney World’s official page indicates that additional Storyteller details will be announced at a later date.
Additionally, everyone’s favorite snowman from Frozen (also the *only* snowman from Frozen) invites kids of all ages on the new “Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition,” a festive scavenger hunt around World Showcase to round up holiday traditions that Olaf misplaces.
You can purchase the expedition map at Mouse Gear, Disney Traders or World Traveler at International Gateway, then look for hidden Olafs throughout the World Showcase pavilions. Once you find them all, you’ll receive a gift worth melting for (while supplies last).
Finally, we have a partial lineup of narrators for the 2021 Candlelight Processional at Epcot. This year, the following celebrity lineup will lend their talents to the performance:
- Chita Rivera – November 29 through December 1
- Jodi Benson – December 2 through December 4
- Alton Fitzgerald White – December 5 through December 7
- Lisa Ling – December 11 through December 13
- Steven Curtis Chapman – December 23 through December 25
- Blair Underwood – December 26 through December 28
- Pat Sajak – December 29 through December 30
Celebrity narrators, dates and other entertainment are subject to change or cancellation without notice.
Candlelight Processional Dining Packages are also returning, and can be booked online beginning October 26, 2021.
This year’s dining packages will be scaled back–you can choose from 4 table service restaurants in Epcot offering Candlelight Processional Dining Packages at lunch and dinner. Each package includes:
- An appetizer, entrée and dessert or one (1) full buffet (where applicable), along with a non-alcoholic beverage
- One (1) guaranteed seat per person to the Candlelight Processional held on the same day
Here’s a list of participating restaurants and dining package prices, which exclude tax and gratuity:
(ages 10 and up)
(ages 3 to 9)
|Coral Reef Restaurant
The Living Seas
|Garden Grill Restaurant
The Land Pavilion
|Rose & Crown Dining Room
United Kingdom Pavilion
We’re just happy to see Biergarten Restaurant make the cut. This is always our top recommendation thanks to its jovial Christmas atmosphere, music, and value for money. Read Our Christmas Feast at Biergarten Restaurant for what the holiday time experience is like there.
We would strongly recommend those who want a Candlelight Processional Dining Package be online bright and early on October 26, 2021. These will sell out fast–probably far faster than normal. With fewer options (meaning less total dining capacity) plus pent-up demand due to no Candlelight Processional last year, we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see these sell out for the entire season on opening ADR day.
In terms of other basic info, guests will receive Candlelight Seating badges at the restaurant after their meal. The badge will specify the date and show time they have reserved.
Dining Package participants will enter America Gardens Theatre in a separate queue and will be seated on a first-come, first served basis. Seating is guaranteed for those who purchase the Candlelight Processional Dining Package.
Guests who have not reserved a Candlelight Processional Dining Package will be seated at the Candlelight Processional on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating is based on availability due to limited capacity and is not guaranteed.
If you have other questions, see our Guide to Candlelight Processional at Epcot. While that hasn’t been updated with all of this new info, it should mostly be accurate for 2021. The basics of Candlelight Processional–showtimes, seatings, and more–should be more or less the same this year.
All in all, this is quite the tremendous rebound as compared to last year’s Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. In fact, it’s quite the recovery from what was announced just a couple months ago, which didn’t include Candlelight Processional or the Holiday Storytellers.
Normally, Walt Disney World is very slow moving [insert our go-to comparison to a slow-turning ocean-liner] and unable to make and implement changes quickly. That’s not the case here, as Christmas entertainment and offerings are being expanded upon quickly. Right now, internal planning that would normally occur over several months–starting at the beginning of the year–is happening over the course of weeks. Everything is moving at a way faster pace than normal within Walt Disney World, which is great for those taking trips this holiday season. We can’t wait!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Are you excited to experience the 2021 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays or will you be sitting this one out? Excited for the return of Candlelight Processional or the Holiday Storytellers? Looking forward to the Holiday Kitchens, Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition, the live music, or the character cavalcades? Think there will be any pleasant surprises? Any tips you want to share to make the most of the experience? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!