If you are spending any part of your holiday season in Disney World, this is a not to be missed event that will have you wishing you could come back to Disney every year at Christmas time. This is a very popular, celebrity hosted event, and there are two ways to get in to see it. Anyone who purchases a ticket (any ticket – annual pass, seasonal pass, park hopper, single day ticket) into EPCOT center, can go to see one of the three nightly performances that takes place from the day after Thanksgiving up until the day before New Year’s Eve. There is no extra charge to go and see this spectacular holiday event. HOWEVER…
Disney sells what are called Candlelight Processional Dining Packages. These packages include your dinner at one of the participating restaurants and reserved general seating for one of the three shows. The packages are sold at three different price levels, depending on the restaurant you choose. For example, Tier I is about $30 per adult (not including tax or gratuity), and you are limited to the Garden Grill restaurant or the Biergarten. Tier II is about $39, and includes restaurants like the San Angel Inn and the Rose and Crown Pub. Tier III, the most expensive at about $46 per adult, includes the most restaurants. With that package, you can dine at Chefs de France, the Coral Reef, and Le Cellier, and a few others. The meal includes an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. Alcoholic beverages are not included, and park admission is still required – this price does not include your admission to EPCOT.
With the package, you will be able to enter the American Gardens theater, and everyone who has purchased a package is escorted in first. There are no reserved seats, just the guarantee that you will have a seat in the theater. As the line of package purchasers begins to dwindle, they then allow those people who have not purchased packages to file in to the theater. People line up at least 30 minutes prior to the start of each show to get standby seating, and closer to Christmas, I have seen people waiting an hour or more. You are NOT guaranteed a seat if you do not purchase the dinner package. If you have your heart set on seeing a particular celebrity perform this event, I HIGHLY recommend the package.
The show itself is a 150 member choir, providing the music that weaves together a retelling of the story of Christmas. The story is told by a celebrity narrator, and in the past, the narrators have included Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump, CSI:NY); James Caviezel (Passion of the Christ); Rita Moreno (Broadway); and other stars of stage, screen, TV and music. The music is beautiful, the story is, of course, beautiful, and the experience is one of the best for your money at Disney World.
If you plan on doing a dinner package, book it as soon as possible once the packages are available. They do sell out, as the restaurants book up quickly. You DO need to make an advanced dining reservation when you purchase the package.
And look for the CD of the Candlelight Processional when you leave. We find ourselves listening to it at all times of the year!