I love Epcot at Christmas time! The Holidays Around the World celebration is fun and educational and Candlelight Processional is inspirational. We spent Saturday 12-12-09 at Epcot and had a wonderful time.
We arrived bright and early, picked up our park tickets and gold badges for the Candlelight Processional and hit the park. As always, we got fastpasses for Soarin’ and then headed to the single rider line for Test Track. We love riding single rider because we often get to ride with people who have never ridden Test Track and it is fun to experience the ride through a newbies eyes. We spent time in Innoventions-Ron and the boys were all chosen to participate in the game show “What’s Your Problem”
We visited The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Journey Into Imagination with Figment before it was time for our Soarin’ Fastpasses! Crowds were very light for a Saturday.
After Soarin’ we were heading to World Showcase when we saw a crowd gathering at the Fountain of Nations stage. It was almost time for “Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season featuring D’Vine Voices”. Being a family of musicians, we had to stick around for this show-and we were glad we did. It was a wonderful, upbeat gospel celebration!
Next we headed towards World Showcase and Aaron noticed the Lights of Winter archway was missing. I told him Disney had retired the archway saying the technology was obsolete. We all disagreed with Disney as we would often sit under the archway and relax to the lights and music, we are very sad that it is gone. As we traveled throughout World Showcase we all felt that there were fewer decorations than in years past and that left a melancholy feeling around the rest of our day. We were excited that we would be seeing Vanessa Williams as the Candlelight Processional narrator later in the evening; that is until we arrived at the America Gardens Theatre to find out that Chita Rivera would be narrating instead. Granted, Chita Rivera is a stage and screen icon it just wasn’t who we had planned on seeing. I understand that changes happen-I also noticed that Whoopi Goldberg was replacing Kirk Cameron the following weekend and immediately sent a message to a friend of mine who had been going on and on about seeing Kirk Cameron-it is just a bummer when they happen to you.
We had a few hours before it was time for the 6:45 Candlelight Processional so we listened to the Voices of Liberty sing Christmas carols in the rotunda before viewing the American Adventure. Then we traveled though the other countries in World Showcase checking out their holiday traditions. At about 6pm we made our way back to the American Gardens Theatre to get in line with all of the other people with reserved seating. This is when our magic began. A cast member came up and said,”You have a gold badge, you don’t have to stand in this long line. Go to the rope at the center rear of the theatre.” So we got out of the line and went to where we were told where we were met by another cast member who said,”Oh, you have gold badges I’ll be seating you in about 20 minutes so you can come back then, you don’t need to wait here.” Well, we chose to wait anyway and as soon as the theatre was emptied from the previous performance we were escorted to our seats-the best in the house we were told-row 5 just right of center.
They were wonderful seats! We have seen the Candlelight Processional many times and we have sat all over the American Gardens Theatre but we have never had such a wonderful view of the narrator. The great seats were an added bonus because my digital camera decided it didn’t want to take any photos with the flash so I had to rely on the camera on my Blackberry to get this shot of Chita Rivera.
For me it just isn’t Christmas until I see the Candlelight Processional (one of my Disney dreams is to sing in the Processional). Even though I own the CD and listen to it regularly from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, nothing can compare to the thrill of being there in person.
Thanks to Walt Disney World Event Services-Charles Stovall, Laura Spencer and Leanne Jakabowski for inviting our family to celebrate the Christmas season at Epcot. Merry Christmas!
Disclosure-We received four 1 day 1 park passes and four gold badges for Candlelight Processional from Walt Disney World Event Services. All opinions in this post are 100% mine. If you have any questions please refer to my disclosure statement at the bottom of this page.