Preschooler’s Guide to Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays
Visiting Epcot during the most wonderful time of the year is synonymous with a seasonally perfect Walt Disney World vacation. Decorations aside, Epcot’s World Showcase comes to life in a whirlwind of international celebrations! With themes and offerings tailor-made for an older crowd, preschoolers and their parents too often skip this ‘adult’ Park.
I’m here to tell you that, no matter your age, Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays is for everyone…that is, if you know how to tailor your day to your family’s needs! Epcot is far too often skipped by families with youngsters in their travel party, and I’m here to hopefully prevent you from making that misinformed mistake. There is no better time to visit Epcot than during the Holidays, and here are all the things you need to do if you’re traveling with a preschooler!
I don’t care how old you are…everyone loves to eat! Save for the summer, the outdoor kitchens at Epcot have become almost a year-round staple in the Park. They’ve become so interwoven in the Epcot culture that it’s odd to enter the Park and NOT see them serving up Festival specialties through World Showcase!
Epcot gets a bad rep among families with young kids in large part for the long (read: boring for kids) loop around World Showcase…but not at the Holidays! The menus definitely feature plenty of eclectic and off-putting items for kids, but there are plenty of kid-friendly and dare I say kid-specific sweets and eats at the outdoor kitchens during the Holidays! To avoid any complaints, get your preschooler excited about these food items before you go, and ask for their help in finding the kitchens where they’re located!
- Bavaria Holiday Kitchen- Peppermint sugar cookie
- Feast of the Three Kings- Sugar cookie
- Holiday Sweets and Treats- Red and green Mickey sugar cookie, peppermint ice cream sundae with chocolate ice cream and whipped cream
- Sapphire Holiday Kitchen- Sfenj (warm beignets stuffed with cream and dusted with cinnamon sugar, with chocolate sauce)
- Tuscany Holiday Kitchen- Cavatappi ai Quattro Formaggi: Baked 4-Cheese Pasta, Parmesan Crumble, Mozzarella in Carozza: Golden-Crusted Fried Mozzarella Sandwich and Tomato Sauce
- Yukon Holiday Kitchen- Maple Bûche de Noël: Maple Mousse rolled in Gingerbread Chiffon Cake with Cranberry Sauce and Pecan Crumble, gold chocolate chip cookie
Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree
Let’s be honest with each other; there are few adults who want to breeze through World Showcase solely in search of the kid-friendly Holiday food items I’ve listed above…there is so much more to experience! I understand that leisurely strolling through the Park is easier said than done when you’ve got young kids in tow…and that is why Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree is a must-do for parents looking to taste and sip their way through the Festival!
Chip and Dale need your toddlers’ help in finding the ornaments for their Christmas tree. Pick up a map (for purchase) of World Showcase that’s loaded with ornament stickers that correspond with the hidden ones through World Showcase.
This way, you and the adults in the group can enjoy scavenging World Showcase for your favorite food and drinks while your preschooler is busy with a scavenger hunt of their own! If you find them all, you get a special prize!
The Candlelight Processional Instrument Game
This gorgeous, celebrity-narrated celebration of Christmas shouldn’t be missed if you’re visiting Epcot this Holiday season…but I know from experience it isn’t at the top of most kids’ ‘must-do’ lists! The show is beautiful, but it can seem to drag on forever when you’re young…
I watched the show with very young children last year and predicting boredom was not something I- or their parents- had planned for. Luckily I was able to think on the spot and came up with a game that saved our experience at the show: The Candlelight Processional Instrument Game!
The show features a grand 50-piece live orchestra. With many musicians and seemingly even more instruments, I posed a challenge: who can name the most instruments on the stage? I asked them to silently name as many instruments as they could and, when the show was done, we tallied both their numbers and proclaimed a winner! This was a great way to keep their attention on the show for its entire duration, and they both had a blast participating.
Storytellers, but Specifically Norway Storytellers!
Throughout World Showcase, you’ll find a number of storytellers who recite and sometimes even act out that nations’ Christmastime traditions. It’s almost unfair to expect a preschooler to sit and listen to ALL of these stories…and on the other hand, they shouldn’t be missed!
If you see just one, choose the fun, energetic, and hilarious storytellers of Norway. This Christmas tale features not only a conveyor of the nations’ Holiday traditions (bonus points for a disguised learning experience!) but also a mischievous Christmas gnome who always succeeds in eliciting laughs from the young members of the audience! If you’re planning to visit Epcot this Holiday season with your preschooler, let me know what activities you choose!
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