What is the Candlelight Processional?
The Candlelight Processional is a Christmas-time event retelling the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by music from a huge choir and live orchestra. Hosted within the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot, the show is an outdoors event and takes place three times a night, with the final performance immediately followed by Epcot’s Illuminations fireworks display.
Who are the Candlelight Processional 2013 celebrity narrators?
The Candlelight Processional would undoubtedly be a hugely popular event without the pull of a celebrity narrator, but the impressive line up of big names each year is a hotly anticipated announcement. The line up is often chopped and changed as the celebrities get a better offer or work throws up other commitments, but to get the ball rolling, here’s what Disney announced earlier this week:
12/4-12/5: Ashley Judd
12/6-12/7: Whoopi Goldberg
12/8-12/10: Sigourney Weaver (tbc)
12/11-12/13: Dennis Haysbert
12/14-12/16: James Denton
12/17-12/19: Edward James Olmos
12/20-12/22: Trace Adkins
12/26-12/28: Blair Underwood
12/29-12/30: Amy Grant
When is the Candlelight Processional?
There are three performances each night at 5pm, 6:45pm and 8:15pm, each one lasts for around 40 minutes in duration.
I want to see the Candlelight Processional!
Me too! You don’t need additional tickets to see the Candlelight Processional, just your regular entry ticket to Epcot to get you in the park. However, this event is hugely popular with very limited seating, and a must-do for most visitors to Disney World at Christmas, so follow these Candlelight Processional tips to bag a seat:
Tip 1: Book the Candlelight Processional Dining Package
The dining package is the only way to get guaranteed seats for the show of your choice, though remember to get in the queue at least 30 minutes before the show begins, as any spaces in “reserved” seating opens up to Joe Public from this point. Included in the dining package is also reserved seating in a special VIP area on the other side of the World Showcase lagoon to watch the Illuminations fireworks later in the evening. Reservations for the dining package are very limited, and booking online is a bit of a drag, so call UK: 001 407 939 3463 // US: (407) WDW-DINE to get through to a super nice real person who will be able to tell you what restaurants have dining package reservations available to book. The Dining Package is available at specific restaurants within the World Showcase at Epcot and includes a starter, main course, dessert plus a non-alcoholic/speciality drink. Or one full buffet entitlement. Check out Disney Food Blog’s run down of the restaurants and prices of participating restaurants.
Tip 2: View the middle show of the evening
The first showing at 5pm is the one most likely to be popular with families with young children that won’t stay up late enough for the other shows or fireworks display later on. It’s also unlikely to be dark at this point, so you’ll loose a little of the atmosphere of the evening shows. The final performance of the night at 8pm is typically the most popular since you’ll have the Jonny-come-latelys arriving in the evening expecting to grab a seat for the Candlelight Processional and not have to hang around for too long waiting for the Illuminations fireworks to begin. The middle show at 6:45pm is your sweet spot, as this gives you the chance to see the Processional after sunset and gives you plenty of time to make your way over to the special VIP seating area on the other side of the World Showcase lagoon to watch the Illuminations fireworks display from. Thanks to Josh at easyWDW for this excellent tip.
Tip 3: Get there early, on a weekday, for a celebrity you’ve never heard of
Good things come to those who wait, right? As with anything of this nature, if you want to get in there bad enough and can compromise on some of the experience then aim for the 5pm showing and expect an hour queuing minimum. Weeknights are always going to be less crowded than weekends, and (perhaps this is more for non-US travellers) but big name acts will always draw bigger crowds, so opt for someone you’ve not heard of. Compromising on a few details should help make sure you get to experience the Candlelight Processional.
I am super stoked about this. There is so much awesome stuff like this that only happens at Christmas, I don’t want to miss a thing! I wonder what the choir are like… if it’s gospel then I’ll be a blubbering wreck, I can’t contain myself – I blame Sister Act.
Candlelight Processional at the Official Disney site
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Check out who we’re seeing and where we’re eating at my update here.