We are barely into the Fall season and Disney is making BIG plans for the holidays! After all, the holiday season is right around the corner, right? YIKES!! Personally, I would like to dwell just a little bit longer in Autumn. I find myself sneering at those prematurely displayed holiday decorations on the store shelves around this time of year-Unless…we are talking about The International Festival of the Holidays at Epcot in Walt Disney World!!
Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays 2022 presented by Adventhealth
This year The International Festival of the Holidays at Epcot begins November 25, 2022 and runs through December 30, 2022. It can best be described as a culinary tour of the world’s cultural holiday celebration. Too much? Then how about- you can eat and drink your way around the world at Christmas time!
It’s not just that though! Disney World has much more showmanship than simply tasty offerings. The festival includes a candlelight processional on select nights, celebrity storytelling of the original Christmas, a cookie stroll, scavenger hunt, characters in their most adorable Christmas time attire and much more!
The Holiday Kitchens released for this year’s festival
Recently, some of the “holiday kitchens” for this year’s festival were released on the Disney site. Returning favorites will be there as well as new booths offering inventive twists on holiday classic cuisine. Are you a plant-based eater? Stop at Nochebuena Cocina near the Port of Entry and delight in festive plant-based food and drinks that I bet even meat eaters would enjoy.
Below is a list of the most up to date holiday kitchens for this year’s festival, but be aware that Disney loves to add more and change things up as the season draws closer:
- American Holiday Table: American Pavilion
- Bavarian Holiday Kitchen: Germany
- Chestnuts and Good Cheer: Near Test Track. “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..”
- The Donut Box: Near Test Track
- Holiday Hearth Desserts: Odyssey Pavilion (think hot cocoa!)
- Holiday Sweets and Treats: Near the Port of Entry
- L’chaim! Holiday Kitchen: Between Morocco and France- Deli with a “New York flair” per Disney
- Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen: Mexico
- Mele Kalikimaka- Port of Entry – Hawaiian holiday favorites
- Shanghai Holiday Kitchen: China
- Shi Wasi Holiday Kitchen: Japan
- Tangerine Café: Flavors of Medina: Morocco
- Tuscany Holiday Kitchen: Italy
- Yukon Holiday Kitchen: Canada
The Food we Know
While the menus have not been released yet, some exciting food items have been put out for us to ponder. According to Disney you will find a “sweet potato funnel cake” at the funnel cake booth on the edge of the American pavilion. The Refreshment Outpost (between China and Germany) will have Peanut Stew with mustard greens and roasted peanuts!
The Cookie Stroll at Epcot International Festival of The Holidays
If you are more into deserting around the World Showcase, the Holiday Cookie Stroll is returning this year as well. Grab a festival passport from any holiday kitchen, purchase, and taste test 5 international cookies while touring the booths, collect the stamps for each one you try and get a sweet prize at the end at Holiday Sweets and Treats kitchen. That’s a yummy game!
Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt
That’s a mouthful, right? Kids and adults will enjoy seeking out Olaf as he discovers “holiday traditions” at each pavilion all over the World Showcase. For the price of $9.99 you can purchase a map with Olaf stickers to “check off” when you have found him during your stroll. Then, hand in your map, complete or not, for a seasonal keepsake…READ-souvenir!
Candlelight Processional and Celebrity Narrators
Part of the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays 2022 is the return of the candlelight processional along with celebrity narrators. This moving and beautiful tribute to the classic Christmas story of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus includes an orchestra accompaniment of music that is described to instill hope and joy. Some of the celebrities scheduled to narrate the original story of Christmas include Neil Patrick Harris, Gloria Estefan, Whoopi Goldberg, Josh Gad and more. The schedule of this beautiful ceremony is posted as follows:
- 11/25 – 11/26: TBD
- 11/27 – 11/29: Edward James Olmos
- 11/30 – 12/1: Raul Esparza (NEW)
- 12/2 – 12/3: Whoopi Goldberg
- 12/4 – 12/6: Isabella Rossellini
- 12/7 – 12/9: TBD
- 12/10 – 12/12: Josh Gad (NEW)
- 12/13 – 12/14: Gloria Estefan (NEW)
- 12/15 – 12/18: Neil Patrick Harris
- 12/19 – 12/20: Mariska Hargitay (NEW)
- 12/21 – 12/23: Cal Ripken Jr.
- 12/24 – 12/26: Marie Osmond
- 12/27 – 12/28: Courtney Vance
- 12/29 – 12/30: Angela Bassett
What else can you expect to experience at Epcot’s International Festival of The Holidays? Gospel choirs celebrating both Christmas and Kwanza and more storytellers specific to the nations represented in world showcase including:
- The Las Posadas Celebration in Mexico
- A magical Barn Santa in Norway
- Chinese Lion Dancers in China
- The tale of La Befana in Italy
- The story of Daruma Doll in Japan
This is only naming a few. Almost each pavilion around World Showcase offers guests the opportunity to experience their national culture of celebration for the holiday season.
Lastly, you can meet and greet Santa Claus in the Odyssey Pavilion on select days and times.
Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays combines the world’s cultural differences to create one beautiful experience celebrating the Christmas season. Currently Disney is offering up to 20% off select rooms on most nights for stays between December 11 and December 25, 2022.
Perhaps instead of physical gifts this year you and your loved ones would like to visit this extraordinary festival in the most magical place on Earth and go home with memories to have for a lifetime!
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