For me, the Winter holidays are one of the best times to be in the parks. Other than the Food & Wine Festival, Epcot’s Holidays Around the World is my favorite event at all of Walt Disney World. I love sampling the special foods and learning about Christmas traditions from all over the globe. Epcot provides many opportunities for both while strolling through a beautiful and festively decorated environment. If you’ve never been, that’s alright, I’ve got you covered.
As with all Epcot events, Future World had themed topiaries out in full force. This year the display at the entrance featured the woodland creatures from Bambi. Furter into the park they have a more modern look, like the greenery balls framed with snowflakes pictured below. When walking past them, they align into Mickey heads. In the courtyard between the World Showcase and Spaceship Earth, you’ll also find a stage for concerts throughout the day.
We usually enter the World Showcase from the Canadian pavilion, but this time, we chose to go through Mexico. I especially wanted to see the traditional Mexican dancers doing the “bow dance”, so that was our first stop. We arrived just in time to see the entire performance, which was amazing. I know people who can’t tie a bow with both hands, but these people do it with their feet! I filmed the show to share with all of you, but some of my video files were deleted somehow.
The Mexico pavilion had more to offer than just music and dancing, they had FOOD! The Strawberry Sweet Tamales (available inside La Cantina de San Angel) are delicious. Another strawberry flavored holiday treat available during the event, Traditional Rice Cream, is from Norway. In my opinion, this was the best of the limited time foods at Epcot’s Holidays Around The World. It was incredible! To find it for yourself, go inside the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe. Now is a good time to note that many of the special foods are not available in kiosks like at other events. You actually have to go into some of the quick service venues to order them.
Norway’s Kringla Bakeri also has the best holiday decor, so be sure to check that out while you are ordering your Rice Cream! If you are looking for something a little more on the “Christmas cheer” side, the Prost! kiosk has you covered! We purchased a Pure Cider, a Pure Cider Rose’ and the Black Forest Cake. All three were excellent, especially the Black Forest Cake, made with German hot cocoa and cherry liqueur.
If it’s adult beverages that you’re looking for, more can be found outside of the American Adventure. Sugar and Spice Holiday Bakery has mainly cookies and snack items, but the star here is the Buffalo Nog. This fresh eggnog spiked with Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon is amazing. The American pavilion is a great half-way point for taking a break to listen to the carolers inside. In the evenings, if you are lucky enough to be able to see through the crowds, watch the Candlelight Processional as you sip your nog.
The next notable stop on our journey was the France pavilion. While all of the desserts in the cases at Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie look like they are intended for Christmas celebrations, only the Bûche de Noël au Chocolat is offered as a limited time holiday dessert. Y’all know I love chocolate and this shiny shell full of light, creamy chocolate mousse (my absolute favorite) is a must try! If you still have room left in your tummy after leaving Les Halles, turn right into L’Artisan des Glaces. Their holiday menu item is house-made Gingerbread Gelato. The decor for this pavilion is understated and elegant. Located in the fountain courtyard you will find huge ornaments with interior dioramas. Along the alley to Les Halles, lit stars hang overhead and simple wreaths adorn the light poles.
Our final destination, Canada, opted to take a more rustic and country tone when decking their halls. Following this theme, the pavilion’s entertainment performs jazzed-up-yet-folksy versions of traditional holiday favorites that represent the various home cities of the band members. The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs is the most festive and energetic musical performance in the park. You can find them performing several times throughout the day at the transformed Lumberjack Show stage. While you enjoy their show, grab a bag of Pecan Maple Bark from the kiosk by Le Cellier. This chocolatey candy topped with Crown Royal Maple Sugar is the absolute best treat available at Epcot’s Holidays Around the World! See the recipe below.
If you are tempted to leave after all of that walking and eating, please don’t. You have to stick around a little longer! Even if you have seen the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth before, there is an extended version specifically for this event. Every night through the end of December they add several minutes to the show with the special “Let There Be Peace on Earth” finale that will bring you to tears. The world needs a little peace and love, Disney is here to give it to you.
Recipe: Pecan Maple Bark with Crown Maple Sugar
As a special bonus, Disney Parks Blog provided the recipe for the Pecan Maple Bark available at the Canadian Pavilion during Epcot’s Holidays Around the World. You can get it free by clicking HERE.