The Candlelight Processional is a Disney tradition that began in Disneyland in 1954. But what exactly is the Candlelight Processional?
Well, it is live retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator accompanied by a 51-piece orchestra and mass choir.
Each evening during the holiday season, nearly 400 performers fill the stage to create this mainstay of Disney’s holiday festivities.
The orchestra consists of 51 professional musicians from the central Florida area.
The choir members dressed in gold represent high school groups from 30 states. A total of 21,000 amateur vocalists participate in this massed choir during the five weeks of performances.
The performers dressed in green, who make up the “tree”, are Walt Disney World cast members from all departments and areas throughout the Company.The singers in red and black, who make up the base of the “tree”, are the nationally acclaimed Voices of Liberty. The centerpiece of the cast is a guest celebrity who narrates the story of the Nativity.
Click here to learn more about and even purchase the recording of the Candlelight Processional and Massed Choir As Presented At Epcot. We have a copy of the soundtrack in our house and it makes a nice addition to our Christmas music collection!
2012 Candlelight Processional Narrators:
- 11/23 – 11/25 Geena Davis
- 11/26 – 11/29 Neil Patrick Harris
- 11/30 – 12/01 Whoopi Goldberg
- 12/02 – 12/04 Andy Garcia
- 12/05 – 12/07 Blair Underwood
- 12/08 – 12/09 James Denton
- 12/10 – 12/13 Jodi Benson
- 12/14 – 12/16 TBA
- 12/17 – 12/19 TBA
- 12/20 – 12/22 Trace Adkins
- 12/23 – 12/25 Gary Sinise
- 12/26 – 12/28 Amy Grant
- 12/29 – 12/30 Marlee Matlin (interpreter: Jack Jason)
NOTE: Disney may change the schedule of performers without notice.
This event takes place in the America Gardens Theatre, which is an outdoor venue. It is not fully covered, and it does not have heat. Note that the show is not cancelled due to bad weather.
Epcot can get pretty cool and breezy at night due to the wide open World Showcase Lagoon, so please dress appropriately. I knows this sounds funny, but I went prepared with gloves for my kids! Plus they all wore their custom Disney Santa Hats.
For 2012, the Candlelight Processional will be held every night from
November 23 until December 30.
There are three shows each evening:
5:00pm, 6:45pm, and 8:15pm.
The show lasts about 40 minutes.
There is no charge or fee to see the show, it is simply included in your admission to Epcot.
Disney does offer a Dinner Package (see below for more info) which, in addition to dinner at an Epcot restaurant, guarantees you a seat for a particular performance. The CP dinner package also includes access to a special viewing area for Illuminations!!
For those who do not have a dinner package, show seating is opened up 15 minutes before the show and is assigned on a first come, first serve basis. Keep in mind that many people may be turned away when the theater reaches capacity – which it does at almost every performance!
Because the theater is open-air, you always have the option of standing outside the theater to enjoys the sounds of the show – you can hear it from a couple of the World Showcase countries!
Candlelight Processional Dinner Package
As I said before, you can purchase a CP dining package, which in addition to dinner at an Epcot restaurant, guarantees you seating in a reserved section for a particular performance of the show, as well as access to a special viewing area for Illuminations!!
Be prepared when booking, Disney requires the meal portion of the package to be scheduled before the performance. So, you will have to have a lunch time reservation for the 5:00 pm show.
I highly recommend purchasing this dinner package because otherwise you may not even get a seat due to the enormous crowds and the popularity of the package.
To book the Candlelight Processional Dining package you can call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463). You must use a credit card when booking. You will not be charged until you actually dine at your selected restaurant. There is a 48 hour cancellation policy. If you are using one of the Disney Dining Plans, you will use 2 table service dining credits regardless of which restaurant you choose.
After your meal, you will be given a badge with your show time displayed right on it. Prior to your show, simply stand in the reserved seating line and show your badge for admittance. The photo at the right is of a page from one of our scrapbooks. The red Candlelight Processional badge is shown.
- The Dinner Package price includes a non-alcoholic beverage, but does NOT include tax, gratuity.
The Epcot restaurants are divided into tiers for the Candlelight Dinner Package:
- The Garden Grill Restaurant
- San Angel Inn
- Restaurant Marrakesh
- Nine Dragons
- Rose & Crown
- Chefs de France
- Tutto Italia
- Le Cellier Steakhouse
- Teppan Edo Dining Room
- Coral Reef
The Disney Dining Plans are accepted for the package and require two table service credit to be redeemed per person as payment.
Note that the gratuity is not included in the Dining Plan any longer.