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Author: Princess Diva
Photo credit: BestofWDW

There is something magical about Disney during the holidays (although not necessarily recommended because the crowds are CRAZY).

The sights, the sounds, the yummy smells; there are so many new things to see…even for a veteran Disney enthusiast. One of these things is the Candle Light Processional in Epcot (This is one of the many reasons that Nick the Disney Devo gives for returning to Disney).

What is the Candle Light Processional? The CLP is a special seasonal event that takes place annually in Epcot at the America Gardens Theater. There is a special celebrity narrator that tells the Christmas story along with a HUGE choir and orchestra that performs traditional Christmas music (but honestly, I think that anybody would enjoy this, regardless of religious beliefs or holiday celebrated).

When does the CLP take place? The Candle Light Processional takes place usually from the end of November through the end of December and offers up to three shows during the evening. Each show lasts roughly 45 minutes or so.

What does it cost to see the Candle Light Processional? To see the CLP is free with your admission to Epcot. Seating is, however, on a first come, first serve basis. There is a very long line that starts to form close to an hour before the performance (sometimes even earlier than that for the later shows and the closer to Christmas it is). So, you are not guaranteed a seat; there is sort of a way around this…but it’s going to cost you! You can book a Candle Light Processional Dinner Package over the phone or let Megan Biller, our Disney Travel Planner, do it for you!
What is the Candle Light Processional Dinner Package? This is a way to make sure that you get a seat at one of the CLP showings! Usually in late July, CLP dinner packages become available. If you were planning on having dinner in Epcot anyway, taking a look at these packages could totally be worth it (It was for us). Package prices vary by restaurant and not all restaurants offer packages. The lunches are generally less expensive than the dinners and you get your tickets to the first showing of the evening. With your ticket, it includes: a meal, non-alcoholic drink, (or buffet), guaranteed general seating at the America Gardens Theater, and prearranged fireworks viewing for that evening. Pretty good deal! You can also use two credits from your dining plan as well for this!

This sounds awesome, is there a down side? It IS totally awesome, and not a down side, just some things to be aware of. Even if you have paid for the CLP dinner package, you are still going to have to wait in line. A LOOOOOOOOOOOONG line. We planned on a 5:20 dinner (within the recommended time for the 8:15 PM show) and when we found the end of the line, we were standing in Morocco! Tip: Plan your meal as early as you can for the show that you want to see. Also, make sure that wherever you decide to have dinner gives you your actual ticket for the CLP. We had the worst time trying to get our group of 16 into the theatre because we didn’t know we were supposed to get an actual ticket. You can read more about it here. We were finally allowed in, after a phone call was made by a cast member to the Garden Grill, to confirm that our large party had actually eaten there and we weren’t just trying to sneak in!

Is seeing the Candle Light Processional really worth it? Totally! Despite the fact that we had a not so favorable dinner (we wanted a character dinner and there is only one available with the CLP dinner package) and we had a mix up with not getting our tickets, this is something that I would do again in a heartbeat! The night we went, Trace Adkins was our narrator, which was awesome (he has the best voice to narrate…and I may or may not have a tiny crush on him) and the music was amazing. The kids sang along with the songs that they knew and it really was just a nice time to sit back, relax and enjoy something special with the people that I love. Holidays are such a stressful time and sometimes it is easy to forget their true meaning.

Fun Fact: The Disney Diva has been IN the Candle Light Processional. 🙂 Phylicia Rashād, of the Cosby show, was the narrator that year!

In the midst of all of the pushing and shoving and standing in line, this was a great way to put things back into perspective and enjoy the holidays together. Enjoy!