Filed under: Trip Planning
For the last several years I’ve made a trip to Walt Disney World in December to take in the sights of the season and meet up with friends. One of the events I’ve never missed is the Candlelight Processional in Epcot. This beautiful nightly performance features an orchestra, a choir, including cast members and community singing groups, and a celebrity narrator telling the story of the birth of Christ. The narrator reads from the Bible between gorgeous arrangements of corresponding songs. While I am not a particularly musical person I can’t help but marvel at the talent of the musicians and singers each time I get to see the show. If this doesn’t put you in the Christmas spirit, I’m not sure what will.
For 2011 the show is performed each night at 5:00, 6:45, and 8:15 from November 25 to December 30 at the America Gardens Theatre in the American Adventure Pavilion. It will go on rain or shine and most of the seats are not covered so be prepared if you are there on a stormy day. I recently experienced the show in the pouring rain and it wasn’t the most comfortable experience, but I’m glad I got to see it anyway. A poncho is a must!
The remainder of this year’s narrators include:
12/19-21: Trace Adkins
12/22-24: Susan Lucci (who made my friends and me cry last year)
12/25-27: Blair Underwood
12/28-30: Marlee Matlin
Seating for the Candlelight Processional is limited so lines form early. The staff here at TouringPlans.com know a few things about queues so I thought I’d offer up some advice. If you would like to see the show via the standby queue I recommend arriving well over an hour in advance, especially if the narrator will draw crowds. This year I got to see Neil Patrick Harris who was very popular with guests; the standby line was huge! While it may seem like a waste of time, arriving early will be your best bet for getting into your desired show time. You can always swing by the American Adventure to see if a queue is forming and go hit an attraction before coming back if it doesn’t look so bad. I’d try to see the Voices of Liberty to put you in the Christmas music mood.
If spending valuable touring time waiting for the Candlelight Processional doesn’t sound appealing to you and your family, you have a couple of options. The easiest one being standing at the back of the theater. Visibility will be limited and you’ll have to stand on your tired theme park feet, but it is an easy solution to the waiting problem. I’ve also grabbed a drink and a snack and sat at a table outside the American Adventure and just listened to the show. This plan is a very relaxed approach to enjoying the show and I recommend it for folks who have seen it before, but still enjoy the music.
If you would still like to sit to see the performance, your family can bypass the standby queue by reserving a Candlelight Processional Dinner Package which allows access to a special line for participating guests. While this may sound great, it is very pricey. For example, it usually costs $32.99 for an adult to eat dinner at Germany’s Biergarten, but the package costs $50.99! If you throw in a couple of beers (as I tend to do at Biergarten) you are looking at a very expensive meal for a family. What’s more is that this restaurant offers one of the least expensive package offerings! Many of the other Epcot restaurants charge $64.99 for an adult who wishes to use the package! You may opt to eat lunch for a slightly more reasonable range of $32.99-$51.99.
Would I recommend this option? If you have never seen the Candlelight Processional before and you want to splurge on something during your trip, I say go for it. Or maybe you plan to use the Disney Dining Plan and have table service credits to burn (the package will cost two credits), then by all means book the package. I certainly don’t do it every year because of the cost, but every few years I say, what the heck? You will need to make your arrangements early by calling (407) WDW-DINE.
For me, the Candlelight Processional is a must do holiday activity at Disney World whether I stand at the back of the theater, book the dinner package, or tough it out in the standby queue. I even listen to a recording of it at home! It warms my heart in ways I cannot explain and it makes me feel ready for all of the Christmas craziness when I return home from my vacation. I can only hope you love it as much as I do and that my tips will help you enjoy it even more!
Happy Holidays to all of our readers no matter what you’re celebrating this season!