Epcot Christmas Candlelight Processional ~ By Michael Johnson

This is my first attempt at writing a blog. 

I have been a huge Disney fan for as long as I can remember.  Growing up, my mom would always take me to the Disney movies when they would hit the local theatres. 

My first trip to Walt Disney World was in the summer of 1972.  It is amazing how it has grown and changed since that time.  I have been many times since that first visit in 1972.  Back then, we would only go during the summer because I was in school.  But these days, my favorite time of year to go is Christmas.  I already love Christmas and the decorations that go along with it.  Combine that with my love for all things Disney, and you have the perfect couple.  Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of year to visit WDW.  They do a great job of decorating the parks and resorts.

All this being said, one of the things my family loves to do when we visit WDW in December is to attend the Christmas Candlelight Processional at EPCOT.  I have had the honor of attending it three times.  Now for those of you who do not know what it is, I’ll do my best to describe it.

The processional is held at the America Gardens Theatre, right in front of the American Adventure in World Showcase.  It starts in late November, usually right around Thanksgiving.  This year, the first day was actually the day after Thanksgiving, and the last show is on December 30th.  Show times are at 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:15 p.m.  You don’t need a special event ticket to attend the show, but I highly recommend purchasing the Candlelight Dining Package.  You are already going to be eating in EPCOT with all those wonderful World Showcase restaurants, so why not guarantee yourself a great seat to see the concert?  Prices for the dining package range from $40 for lunch to $80 dollars for dinner for adults, and $15.50 for lunch to $42 for dinner for kids ages 3-9.  I know this might seem a little expensive, but if you do it as a lunch package, you can save money and guarantee yourself a great seat.  If you decide to pass on the dining package, there is a standby line that you can wait in before the show.

Each year, Disney brings in celebrity narrators to help tell the Christmas story of Jesus born to the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem.  Backing up the narrator is a 50-piece orchestra, a massive choir, and the Voices of Liberty.  The music is amazing, and every time I have seen it I’ve found myself with tears in my eyes celebrating the birth of Jesus through scripture and music.  I have had the honor of seeing LaVar Burton (Geordi La Forge) from Star Trek the Next Generation, Christian music artist Steven Curtis Chapman, and in 2017, I was able to see Anthony Mackie (Falcon from Avengers: Age of Ultron).

Each time I have seen the processional, they have made minor changes in song selection.  But, each one has been very moving to me emotionally.  In December of 2016, I was able to take my mom, aunt, and girlfriend (my girlfriend’s first visit ever) to see it.  While my mom had seen it before, my aunt and girlfriend had not, and I would think if they were asked, they would say it was one of the highlights of our trip.  I can’t wait until 2018 and my next trip.

In closing, I would again recommend doing the dining package if you go.  And this is a MUST SEE for anyone who loves Christmas, music, and the Christmas story.  Disney does offer a copy of the Candlelight Processional on CD with actress Phylicia Rashad as the narrator, and she does a great job.  As for me, I would love to see Patrick Stewart do it.  He has an incredible reading voice. 

Thanks for reading, and I hope if you get a chance to see it, you enjoy it as much as I do.  Merry Christmas!




Michael Johnson is the Coordinator for the Sports and Recreation Department for the local Kroc Center.  In his free time, he enjoys coaching and officiating volleyball.  Michael has been an avid Disney fan for as long as he can remember.  Michael’s favorite theme park is EPCOT, and his favorite nighttime show is Illuminations.  Michael has a girlfriend named Kim and a Chihuahua named Nala.  His favorite animated movie is The Lion King and live action movie is Mary Poppins.

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