My favorite Christmas activity at Disney World is the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. For 2012 it starts on November 23 and goes through December 30.
The event is held at the American Garden’s Theatre at the American Pavilion. It is the telling of the Christmas Story accompanied by a choir and orchestra. They have celebrity narrators to do the story telling, the night I went it was Edward James Olmos here is a youtube link for one of his performances in 2009, he was really wonderful and brought the story to life. The choir was fabuous too! In high school I sang Hallelujah Chorus a gazillion times, but I never appreciated it until that night.
I did the event as part of the dinner package, an expensive way to guarantee a seat without waiting on line for a long time. Terye and I ate at Via Napoli, which was delicious and then headed onto the line about 45 minutes to an hour before. The line was already pretty long, but the seating wasn’t bad. I wouldn’t recommend getting there any later then that if you can help it.
For those who do not participate in the dining package you must get there very early, particularly if there is a big name doing the narration, like Neil Patrick Harris. Although the pavilion is large, you may have to wait through full performances to get in.
For 2011 (and it appears that for 2012 too), in addition to the guaranteed seating for the Candlelight Processional you also got access to a special area to view Illuminations. This was a nice perk, but not great. Terye and I got there about an hour early and all the “front row” standing was taken and then we still had to wait an hour. But it was better then fighting for a spot too. Plus the area is closer to the front of the park so you can beat the rush out of the park.
If this is a must do activity, I recommend doing the dinner package. And I do think this is a must do event if you are at Disney during the Holidays.
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