Walt Disney World’s annual Candlelight Processional returns for its 17th year at EPCOT. The beloved holiday program will be presented from November 26, 2010 – December 30, 2010, at EPCOT’s American Gardens Theatre.
Candlelight Processional History
Walt Disney began the Candlelight Processional and Massed Choir tradition at Disneyland in California in 1958. It moved to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in 1971. Rock Hudson was the first guest narrator at Walt Disney World. Since 1994, the Candlelight Processional’s home has been the American Gardens Theatre in EPCOT’s World Showcase.
Candlelight Processional Performance
The Candlelight Processional presents the story of the birth of Jesus as told in Luke 2 of the Bible. Guest narrators read directly from the Scriptures.
In addition to the reading of Luke 2, the narrator also reads One Solitary Life, a well-known holiday poem, often attributed to Dr. James Allen Francis, honoring the impact Jesus’ life has had on the world.
Intermingled with the readings, three choirs join to present a spectacular display of Christmas music. The gold-robed massed choir is comprised of visiting groups from around the nation. Chosen through a taped audition process, this group consists of several school, church, and civic choirs.
The living Christmas tree at center stage is made up of Disney employees who have also auditioned for the privilege of performing during the Candlelight Processional. At the base of the tree are the Voices of Liberty.
Familiar to those who have visited the American Adventure in EPCOT, the Voices of Liberty are an 8-part a cappella group which entertains guests in the American Adventure Pavilion before entering the American Adventure Theater.
Aptly, choir members enter the American Gardens Theatre in a spectacular processional, holding candles.
Backed by a full 50-piece orchestra, the massed choir of nearly 400 voices presents a masterpiece of musical entertainment. The stage, flanked by Herald Trumpeters, is regal and elegant, befitting the arrival of the King. It’s a beautiful contrast to the humble arrival of King Jesus as presented in Luke 2.
Admission to the Candlelight Processional is included with an EPCOT park ticket. However, general seating is first come, first served, and lines form early.
Candlelight Dinner Packages
Candlelight Dinner Package tickets are available each evening. Cost varies depending on restaurant choice.
Tickets for the 5:00 p.m. Candlelight Processional include lunch. Dinner seatings are included with the 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. performances. In addition to a three-course meal and preferred seating to a specific Candlelight Processional performance, Candlelight Dinner Packages include admittance to a pre-arranged viewing area for EPCOT’s nightly IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks presentation.
$32.99 lunch; $46.99 dinner
Biergarten in Germany
Garden Grill at The Land (Dinner Only)
$38.99 lunch; $46.99 Dinner
Nine Dragons Restaurant in China
Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco
Rose and Crown Pub in the United Kingdom
San Angel Inn in Mexico
$51.99 lunch; $61.99 dinner
Chefs de France in France
Coral Reef at The Living Seas
Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada
Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining in Japan
Tutto Italia in Italy
Children’s prices are available for those 3 – 9 years old. Package prices do not include gratuity, taxes, or lobster entrée.
Candlelight Processional Guest Narrators
Announced guest narrators for the 2010 Candlelight Processional season are:
11/26 – 11/28: Isabella Rossellini
11/29 – 12/01: John O’Hurley
12/02 – 12/04: Corbin Bernsen
12/05 – 12/06: Susan Lucci
12/07 – 12/09: Jodi Benson (Ariel in The Little Mermaid)
12/10 – 12/11: Whoopi Goldberg
12/12- 12/15: Steven Curtis Chapman
12/16 – 12/18: Thomas Gibson
12/19 – 12/21: Trace Adkins
12/22 – 12/23: Brad Garrett
12/24 – 12/27: Edward James Olmos
12/28 – 12/30: Marlee Matlin (Jack Jason interpreting)
Reservations for the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package can be made by contacting Walt Disney World Dining Reservations at 404-939-3467.
Sources: Personal Experience
Walt Disney World Candlelight Processional Press Releases