Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays: Half Day Edition
Christmas is in full swing across the Walt Disney World Resort. Pop into the lobbies of the resort hotels and you’ll find adornments and giant Christmas trees surrounding you. Head to Disney Springs and you’ll be able to see an entire trail of Christmas trees decorated in tribute to your favorite Disney films. Heck, even the Animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are celebrating with decorations! Yes, it really is the most wonderful time of the year.
While there is so much to see and do around WDW this time of year, no holiday trip is complete without a trip around the world. Well, around World Showcase that is! But with all of that merriment, it can take a few days to experience everything Epcot has to offer this time of year. And if you only have a half day in the park, you’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed as you attempt to plan to hit each and every entertainment and food offering. No stress here, only holiday smiles…
Each year, Epcot’s World Showcase celebrates the season with the one of a kind celebration titled “Epcot International Festival of the Holidays” (previously “Holidays Around the World”). Each nation represented in the showcase offer something special for the holidays. From live performances to delicious desserts, here is a tried and true list of the things you cannot miss at the International Festival of the Holidays this year!
Passports Required From This Point Forward
Like I said, these are just the highlights, each pavilion has plenty more to offer if you have a full day or two to spend here! Start in France, where you can taste a traditional Bûche de Noël au Chocolat (Yule Log). This dense, chocoatey, French delicatessen is the quintessential holiday dessert in France, so don’t miss your chance to give it a try!
France is one of the hot spots for treats this season, as you can also get a cup or cone of the Cinnamon with Caramelized Apple and Crumble Crunch Ice Cream from L’Artisan des Glaces. This seasonal flavor comes loaded with caramelized apples, delivering the flavor of a fresh baked apple pie to your taste buds. While you’re enjoying these treats, listen to Pere Noël’s story of Christmases past and learn about how the French celebrate the holiday across the pond.
Time is ticking and it’s time to leave Paris if we want to see as many Holiday offerings as we can around the world! Stop off in The American Adventure. Head inside the pavilion to see the gingerbread displays created by the amazingly talented Epcot pastry chefs where replicas of The US Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial are on display…and they’re both completely edible.
Thick slices of turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing smothered in gravy sure sounds just like the holiday meals I grew up eating, and you probably did too if you’re American. And if you’re not, you should try this traditional meal while you’re visiting! Don’t worry; Disney has us all covered at the American Holiday Table where they’re serving up a few traditional Thanksgiving favorites. Time it correctly and you’ll be able to hear the Voices of Liberty sing carols while you’re dining. Take a moment to stop off in Santa’s Village, where young guests can tell their Christmas lists to the big guy before he takes flight…don’t worry he’s still honoring wishes until Christmas Eve!
Whenever I eat a little too much indulgent food, I like to take a nice long walk. After your turkey dinners at American Adventure Pavilion, a walk around the Showcase is just what the doctor ordered!
Take a break when you get to Germany, though. It’s here where you’re able to listen to my favorite of the stories in World Showcase- the tale of the Nutcracker. You won’t be sorry you stopped in Germany, as this story even comes with a surprise ending! This pavilion is of course, known for their great Oktoberfest beer offerings, so be sure to indulge in a pint or two while you’re listening to the Christmas tale.
Cap Off Your Evening With Fireworks
We’ve come to the end of our short time in Epcot. Before you head for the exit gates, stop at the Cookie Nook Holiday Kitchen for one last treat to savor! You should absolutely order the warm apple fritter with cinnamon ice cream.
A wise person once said: ‘a warm apple dessert with ice cream is hard to beat’, and this fritter is further proof. If you want to take a snack to-go instead, the snickerdoodle and gingersnap cookie with frosting are baked well; chewy and dense, and they travel well too.
If you can, you should time your visit so that you’ll be in the park during the evening hours so you can catch performances of the Candlelight Processional and Illuminations. Illuminations adds a special holiday finale this time of year, so be sure to arrive early to get a good spot. One of those cookies would go pretty perfectly with the show…good thing you picked some up earlier!
Don’t forget, there are tons more experiences to be discovered in World Showcase and throughout Epcot during the holidays, so make sure to allot for extra time in Epcot. Are any of your favorite experiences on this list? Let me know what you love to do in the comments.
Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!