Merry day after Christmas! (Or, if you’re reading this anytime after the day it was published, Merry future Christmas!) Between finals, vacations, and holiday prep, the last few weeks have been as chaotic as you might expect. Luckily, I was able to spend plenty of time at Disney World to really get in the Christmas spirit! One of my favorite ways to do just that is visiting the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.
The most underrated seasonal festival (in this blogger’s opinion), the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays features specialty drinks and snacks throughout the park as well as plenty of decorations. The highlight of the festival is definitely the holiday storytellers that occupy each country in the World Showcase. I could tell you all of my favorite storytellers—or I could show you instead!
Norway – Julenissen and Sigrid
Sigrid and Julenissen are some of the most popular holiday storytellers at the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, and for good reason. Sigrid doesn’t even believe in Julenissen, so the majority of their performance involves Julenissen’s attempts to prove his existence to her. He even enlists members of the audience to participate in his pranks, and you can imagine the hilarity that ensues. Don’t forget to stop by Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe afterward for a holiday pastry!
Italy – La Befana
Haven’t heard of La Befana? That’s okay, neither had I before I started attending the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays! La Befana is a kindly old witch who delivers gifts to children on the night of the Epiphany. She’s always my favorite holiday storyteller to see, and not just because I’m severely Italian. Her story is much more unique that most of the other
Mexico – Fiesta de Navidad
Although Mexico’s Fiesta de Navidad doesn’t involve as much storytelling as the other countries in the World Showcase, it’s still a blast to listen to the mariachi band and watch the dancers! There’s even a piñata breaking activity for the kids. I was particularly in love with the beautiful outfits worn by the dancers. Mexico’s holiday kitchen is also one of my favorites—I could pretty much always go for shrimp tamales.
Japan – Daruma Doll Seller
I’ve been to the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays countless times over the years, but I’ve somehow never seen the Daruma doll seller in Japan. She tells the story of O-Shogatsu, the traditional Japanese New Year, and how the Daruma doll ties into its celebration. At the beginning of the year, you paint in one pupil of the Daruma doll and make a wish. If it comes true by the end of the year, you can paint in the other pupil of the doll! She’s one of my new favorite holiday storytellers, and I already can’t wait to see her again soon. Here’s to plenty of painted pupils in 2019!
France – Pere Noel
Pere Noel is France’s version of Santa Claus, except he’s a bit skinnier and a little more sentimental. He also leaves gifts in shoes instead of under the tree just to mix things up a bit more. I love listening to Pere Noel because his story really encapsulates the holiday spirit for me. He reads a letter from a little girl, Babette, who wants him to know that she still believes in him even though her brother has grown out of the Christmas spirit. It always brings a tear to Pere Noel’s eye, and it may or may not bring one to mine occasionally as well.
Haven’t made it out to the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays yet? That’s okay—you still have until December 30 to visit! It’s included in your park admission, and you can easily see most of the storytellers (and eat most of the food) in a single visit if you plan ahead. If you can’t make it, hopefully this photo diary will suffice until next year!
2019 is right around the corner, which means a whole new year of blog posts is just waiting to be written. I hope your new year is filled with exciting and wonderful things. (And I hope stopping by this blog every now and then is one of them!) Until the next post!