In 2011 I had my first Disney World Christmas experience, and one of the treats of the season are the Storytellers Around the World. In 2011 I saw about half of them and when I returned this past December I saw a few more. This is a review of the news ones I experienced. I will give one disclaimer though. I had gotten sick at the end of this trip and was at my best when I saw some of these.
I did revisit the Los Tres Reyes Magos (Three Kings) in Mexico and La Befana in Italy. Los Tres Magos seemed to be the same as the year before, still not my favorite, but still very good. La Befana also seemed good, but not quite as good as I remembered from the year before, but I was feeling pretty sick at that time and I had just seen another really good one that day too.
Germany – Helga
With a name like Helga I expected an older woman, but I was wrong, Helga is a pretty young woman and this was a nice story. Here we learned about the tradition of Christmas Trees and the first Nutcracker. Even with German heritage I didn’t think this was the best one, but it’s a bit more contemporary then many of the others. I think it did have the best setting though, at least in terms of atmosphere.
The American Adventure – Hanukkah
This show has the best setting, it’s inside. No dealing with hot or cold or sun in your eyes. As for the show, it was just ok. The woman was nice and the story had an intimate feel to it. But, I grew up with a lot of Jews around me and I felt like I knew more about Hanaukkah then I learned here. I suspect if you’ve had little contact with Jews this would be more interesting. I did think it was a nice touch that the story teller played with dreidel with the kids after.
France – Pere Noel
Pere Noel tells the story of Christmas in France through a letter from a girl. It’s a sweet story about believing in Pere Noel and santa figures. But Pere Noel is too skinny!
Canada – Nowell
Nowell is a lumberjack, what? How can you make all those gifts if your cutting down trees. Or maybe you need the wood for all those toys? I don’t know. But this was another good story, reminds me a lot of how Christmas in the US, as much as it’s the same for many, it can also be quite different depending on your heritage.
Norway – Sigrid and Christmas Gnome, Julenissen
This was my absolute favorite and you can tell the word is out, this story had the largest crowd of all the ones I have seen. Sigrid tells the story of Julenissen, which she doesn’t believe. Julenissen is a gnome who plays tricks on boys and girls. And so Julenissen plays tricks on Sigrid, but since she doesn’t believe in him she doesn’t understand what is going on. It’s quite entertaining.
Even though Christmas is 6 months away, it is time to start planning your trips there!
I thought I would provide a complete listing of all my posts about Christmas at Walt Disney World. I wrote these last summer as a planning tool and thought I would provide a quick reference guide as you get ready to leave for your Christmas trips.
A Christmas Carol at Epcot’s UK Pavilion
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at the Hollywood Studios
Candlelight Processional at Epcot
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom
During the holiday season one of the special events is that each country pavillion has a storyteller who tells the story of their holiday. Most are Christmas centered stories, but a few are not related to Christmas. Terye and I went to the shows in Mexico, United Kingdom, China, Morocco, and Italy.
In China we saw the story of the Monkey King, as I write this months later, I don’t remember much aside from it was the story of new years. But, I do remember it was hot sitting in the sun and the actor was sweating a lot. But you wouldn’t have known it from his performance, it was excellent. Very lively and passionate.
Next up was the Three Kings in Mexico, this performance had 3 performers – the 3 kings and the story of Epiphany. This was another great performance.
In the United Kingdom there was Father Christmas. He was very sweet and even brought a child up to help him ring his bells.
In Italy we learned the story of La Befana, a witch and about Epiphany. This was probably my favorite of the performances, La Befana was very animated and her story was fun.
The show I enjoyed the least was in Morocco. I’m not sure if the actor was maybe a little less intense then the others, if i was just tired and seated too far away or if it’s because I already knew about Ramadan. It wasn’t a bad show, but so many of the other story tellers were so good thatt this paled in comparison.
To find out about show times check the times guide for Epcot. If would not be possible to see all the shows in one day, but they are often spaced that you could see 2 or 3 in a row. There was not much seating at the spots where the shows are done, so be prepared to stand or sit on the ground for the show.
I do think these are a nice way to learn about holiday traditions, the shows are typically only about 10 minutes, well performed and even the ones revolving around Christmas talk about traditions that may not be celebrated by all Christians. My suggestion would be to see at least one or two that are non-Christmas related, so as to branch out and learn about a whole different culture.
This year I hope to see a few more of these shows.