Guest blog post written by Kasey Knows Orlando
Around Christmas, Walt Disney World guests generally flock to The Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios to celebrate – not realizing that theyre missing some of the most unique celebrations at Epcots World Showcase!
All 11 countries in the World Showcase have their own special celebrations of the Holiday season. This year they are celebrating Holidays Around the World, with an ambassador from each countrys holiday to tell guests about the history of their traditions.
Also new this year, some of the countries will have stands featuring festive food and drinks from around the world. In preparation (and of course excitement!) for the celebrations I will take you on a tour around the World Showcase to see the beautiful decorations and tell you whats in store during the Holiday Around The World celebrations!
The inside of the Aztec temple is dressed in its holiday best during this season. Stop by the Kidcot station and children will be able to write letters to the Three Kings to ask for gifts! Outside of the temple you can meet with the Three Kings and hear the stories of how the Mexican holiday traditions came to be.
Hear the tales of Julenissen, a gnome known to Norwegian farm towns as the barn Santa. Julenissen is the guardian of the farm animals and the farms family. Look through the pavilion in order to find many holiday decorations that dress the country for the holiday!
Learn about Chinas many traditional holiday tales including the tale of the Monkey King. This country offers many stories of traditions and the history of this beautiful holiday season.
Meet the creator of the very first Nutcracker and enjoy the legend of the Christmas tree tradition as well as the story behind hiding the pickle on the tree. They also have a food and snack stand in this pavilion to try some of Germanys favorite holiday specialties! Theres also a gift shop called Glaskugel with beautiful handmade glass Christmas decorations. Also, visit the quaint little Christmas shop in the pavilion that is open 365 days a year for a genuine German Nutcracker and some very fun ornaments. Make a stop to visit the little train town near Germany to see their holiday decorations as well!
Meet the Christmas gift-giver, La Befana , the Italian Christmas witch who brings all the good children sweets and gifts and presents the naughty children with black coal! During her visits to Epcot she will be telling the children how to stay on the good list and receive sweets and gifts for the holidays. This pavilion also has a stand for authentic holiday drinks and snacks from Italy.
In the American pavilion they will be celebrating three different holidays; Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas! Guests can learn from the Hanukkah ambassador the story of the Menorah as well as the history of the Hanukkah celebration. The Kwanzaa ambassador will be telling the story of the celebration of The Seven Principles known as Nguzo Saba as well as the history of how the celebration of Kwanzaa began. Guests can meet Santa and his Mrs. while visiting Santas village in the American pavilion. There are shops and snacks available in this area for guests to enjoy a true American Christmas!
Returning this year is the Candlelight Processional featuring Celebrity narrators of the story of Christmas. This will show three times a night during the Holiday Around The World celebrations.
The Japanese ambassador will tell you how how the Japanese New Year is celebrated and why it is such a special holiday for the Japanese culture. Learn about the Daruma doll tradition and what it teaches Japanese children.
There are two major holidays that Morocco celebrates during this season; Eid al-fitr and Eid al-Adha. In the Moroccan pavilion guests will be able to hear the stories of how these holiday celebrations began as well as what traditions are upheld during the holiday season.
Hear the story of Le Pere Noel (Father Christmas) and the many historical traditions of this country. It is decorated beautifully so make sure to venture into the pavilion to enjoy the many Christmas decorations!
In the UK you can meet Father Christmas! Stick around to hear of the Christmas carols and traditions that actually originated here and went on to become known as traditions worldwide. Did you know that the tradition of a kiss under the mistletoe actually originated in the United Kingdom?
According to Canadian folklore, Father Christmas will enlist the help of Belsnicklers to determine whether children have been naughty or nice. Nice children are rewarded with presents and sweets. These are just a few of the varying holiday traditions celebrated throughout Canada. Learn about all of the holiday traditions within Canadian culture from their holiday ambassador before venturing into the pavilion to see the holiday decorations!
Check out my photo tour of Epcots Christmas Celebrations from around the world!
Kasey has been enjoying the Orlando theme parks like Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios for most of her life. She has had ample time to enjoy the parks and would love to share those opportunities and experiences with you. Her blog Kasey Knows Orlando specialises in tips and guides to best enjoy your Orlando vacation! You can also find Kasey on Twitter @KaseyKnows and on Pinterest Kasey Knows Orlando.