We knew that changes would be coming to this year's Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. The announcements regarding the loss of this year's Candlelight Processional and the Eat to the Beat concert series had already been made, and the lack of mention of the Holiday Storytellers, normally prominently featured, helped us prepare for the thought that they might not be a part of the festival this year. It makes sense that groups wouldn't be encouraged to gather to hear a story in spaces that might be congested during the pandemic, but it's definitely a loss. The storytellers brought such charm and offered guests enjoyable moments of edutainment. So what will help fill the entertainment gap at this year's festival? Let's take a closer look.
The Holiday Cookie Stroll will return.
If you haven't already done so, click here and take a few minutes to read up on some of the changes coming to this year's Stroll. It's a delicious and fun way to spend the afternoon at EPCOT, and will set you back roughly $10. That is, if you have any stomach space left after visiting the festival's Holiday Kitchens. Maybe wear stretchy pants.
There's a new scavenger hunt in town.
Chip n' Dale's Christmas Tree Spree will not return to the Festival of the Holidays this year. Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition will take its place, and guests of all ages are invited to take part. Maps and stickers for the hunt will be available for $7.99 at merchandise locations throughout the park. Guests will search through the World Showcase pavilions to find figurines of Olaf and his sleigh. A different holiday tradition will be depicted on each sleigh, and guests will match the correct sticker with the location on their map. Maps can be redeemed at Disney Traders, Mouse Gear or World Traveler for a special prize.
Santa will ride through World Showcase on his sleigh.
Yes, you read that right. Santa will take to a horse-drawn sleigh (perhaps Florida's just a bit too hot for the reindeer) to greet guests in a physically-distanced way. While it might not be the same as meeting and greeting Santa and Mrs. Claus at The American Adventure pavilion, it'll hopefully do the trick for 2020. I'm looking forward to seeing Santa on his sleigh, and I'm hoping it's as magical in reality as it is in my imagination. The Santa Claus Promenade will run through December 24th (he's got places to go, you know).
In addition to the Santa Claus Promenade, the Mickey and Friends Holiday World Tour will make the rounds through World Showcase. Of course, Mickey and the gang will be wearing their most dapper holiday outfits while waving to and welcoming guests. The Frozen Promenade currently taking place daily will take on a holiday theme for the season. Anna and Elsa will greet guests from afar as they make their way through the World Showcase and help usher in the holidays.
EPCOT will feature a gingerbread display!
For guests who love Walt Disney World's gingerbread displays, this is big. Disney has made the announcement that the gingerbread displays normally located in the resorts will not be seen this year. The one display that we now know will be featured is the Washington D.C.-themed display (pictured above) that's normally available in The American Adventure pavilion. This year, the display will include the addition of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and will be located inside World Showplace, an indoor event center located between the United Kingdom and Canada pavilions.
Live musical entertainment will be provided by 4 festival favorites.
Even though we won't have the Eat to the Beat concerts to enjoy, guests at this year's festival will have four different musical groups to stop and listen to while strolling the park. JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season will be entertaining guests inside World Showplace as they sing R&B and Gospel holiday favorites.
The Voices of Liberty, dressed in their Dickensian finest, will help ring in the season in the America Gardens Theatre. Mariachi Cobre will also perform in the America Gardens Theatre, and, as they were last year, will be joined by dancers for Las Posadas.
The JAMMitors will take to Canada's Mill Stage with their creative percussion and fun audience interaction - all with a holiday twist. I'm personally happy that the Mill Stage will be used again.
Will you be adding some of the entertainment options to your must-do festival list?