One of the long-standing traditions at Epcot is the Candlelight Procession. It’s become so popular that Disney has added dining packages that include priority seating for the event.
The Candlelight Procession started at Disneyland in 1958. The first narrator was Dennis Morgan, who was a popular film actor in the 1940s and did a lot of television work in the 1950s. The Candlelight Procession debuted at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in 1971. It moved to Epcot in 1994. It’s been performed at the American Garden’s Theater ever since.
Let’s take a look at the dining packages to see if they’re worth the price.
Many visitors choose to book a Dining Package in order to enjoy the Candlelight Processional with a reserved seating area.. The packages are available at most table service restaurants inside Epcot for both lunch or dinner. Your meal consists of your choice of appetizer, entrée, and dessert (or buffet) and includes a non-alcoholic beverage. The meal period you’re booked for correlates with the show you choose to attend. If you opt for the first show, you can dine for a late lunch around 1-2pm and for the second two showings there’s an early dinner at 4-6pm. Once you finish you meal and settle your bill with your server, your “stickers” will magically appear.
Dining packages for shows aren’t new to Walt Disney World. The most popular package many know and love is the Fantasmic! dinner (and also lunch) package. They’re similar because both have a two-day cancellation policy for the credit card guarantee and include appetizer, entrée and dessert (or buffet). However, there are some differences for the Candlelight Dining Package that are important to note.
- The Candlelight Dining Package guarantees seating in the front section of the American Gardens Theater.
- Dining Package guests line up to enter on the West side (where the line forms toward Japan – usually the entrance for those utilizing wheelchairs and not transferring to chairs for other shows.)
- All guests who are not participating in a Dining Package lineup on the East side (where the line forms toward Italy). The seats they load into are roped off in the back portion of the theater. There’s a small chance some of these guests can be placed in the front section. This area is filled if there’s room so that more can see the show.
- A line will still form and easily make its way back toward Morocco prior to each show. They begin to load the theater about 30 minutes prior to show time. Kandy’s Tip: if you really want to see the show and sit close (and you’ve already booked the package), why not head over and queue up for a short bit before the show.
- You also get into a special reserved viewing are for fireworks – IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth (with the special holiday tag).
United Kingdom’s Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room
I went to see the Candlelight Procession at Epcot and chose to use the Dining Package at the United Kingdom’s Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room. This research stuff for MiceChat is a painful burden. But I do it all for you.
- Trio of United Kingdom Cheese – $9.99
- Frisée and Apple Salad – $7.99
featuring Ocean Spray® Crasins® BRAND with Blue Cheese Crumbles, Candied Nuts, and Cranberry Vinaigrette
- Grilled New York Strip Steak – $26.99
with Seasonal Vegetables, Fried Onion Rings, Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Red Wine Sauce
- Queen’s Cake – $6.49
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Seasonal Fruit Compote and an Eggnog Shooter
- Jaffa Tarts – $5.99
Orange Cream-filled Cakes with Chocolate Ganache, Raspberry Sauce, and fresh Oranges
Dessert was amazing. The Queen’s Cake was really enjoyable but, sadly, I didn’t quite go crazy over the eggnogg. Inside the eggnog you see small cookie crisps which might look familiar. (These are in “The Grey Stuff” at Be Our Guest at Magic Kingdom.) I picked the Jaffa Tarts because I can’t turn down ganache. These small cakes were amazing with a wonderful cream filling. Even though I enjoy many fruit desserts (it’s the idea of eating healthy, but still dessert), I felt the raspberry sauce was a bit of overkill. Again looking back, the “fresh oranges” were not on my plate as listed on the menu.
The convenience of the package is something I really enjoy. You can plan your Epcot holiday experience around your meal, the show, and the fireworks viewing. Overall you have to remember you’re really just paying for the food, the dining experience, and the convenience or opportunity for closer seating. If your dining experience isn’t enjoyable, it really won’t make you feel like it was worth the time and money spent.
Kandy’s Tip: Pick somewhere to dine where there are menu items you are interested in and not just because you can get in. For instance, not everyone enjoys Moroccan food so don’t just book a reservation at Restaurant Marrakesh simply because you couldn’t get in to Le Cellier Steakhouse. Paying for food you won’t like probably isn’t worth the price of admission into Candlelight.
The Candlelight Dining Package can be booked as a part of the Disney Dining Plan.
- Disney Dining Plan: 2 Table Service entitlements
- Deluxe Dining Plan: 2 Dining entitlements
- Premium or Platinum Dining Plan: 1 Dining entitlement
The first choice is deciding which celebrity narrator that your most interested in seeing. Kandy’s Tip: Disney usually announces the lineup in Mid-July so you can start planning your Holiday vacation!
Schedule & Narrators
America Gardens Theatre (5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 8:15 p.m.)
December 8 to December 9, 2012 — James Denton
December 10 to December 13, 2012 — Jodi Benson
December 14 to December 16, 2012 — Lea Salonga
December 17 to December 19, 2012 — Alfre Woodard
December 20 to December 22, 2012 — Trace Adkins
December 23 to December 25, 2012 — Gary Sinise
December 26 to December 28, 2012 — Amy Grant
December 29 to December 30, 2012 — Marlee Matlin / Jack Jason
Participating Restaurants are: Biergarten Restaurant, Coral Reef Restaurant, The Garden Grill Restaurant, La Hacienda de San Angel, Le Cellier Steakhouse, Les Chefs de France, Nine Dragons Restaurant, Restaurant Marrakesh, Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room, San Angel Inn, Teppan Edo, Tokyo Dining, Tutto Italia Ristorante and Via Napoli.
Lunch Packages range from $32.99–$55.99 for Guests 10+, and $12.50–$17.99 for Guests 3–9. Dinner Packages range from $49.99–$66.99 for Guests 10+, and $14.50–$26.99 for Guests 3–9.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party offers complimentary holiday treats all night long! Each location offers snickerdoodle and chocolate chip cookies, hot cooca, apple juice, and apples. Additional offerings are available for those with special dietary needs (ie. no sugar added hot cocoa or allergy cookies).
Locations and serving times are listed in the special event map or you can simply look for the cookie balloons.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Time Parade highlights the love many of us have of baking during the holiday season.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is now offering more specialty drinks at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights food stands.
- Non-Alcoholic Egg Nog – $1.75 (DDP)
- Spiced Egg Nog – $7.25
- Souvenir Mug with Hot Cocoa (now also offering Gingerbread or Hazelnut flavored Hot Cocoa) – $5.50
Check out the other offerings at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Have questions about Disney dining? Are you seeking restaurant recommendations? Do you have Disney Dining Plan questions? Please send emails to [email protected]! They will be used in an upcoming article.