Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas at Epcot

Yesterday Geoff and I headed up to Epcot for a day full of Christmas cheer!

Epcot decorated for the Holidays
The plan for the day was to essentially enjoy the special Holiday entertainment around Epcot - no rides!  For anyone who is not familiar with what Epcot does at the holidays, they have Storytellers around the World Showcase that tell of the Holiday traditions in that country.

I called earlier in the week and made a reservation for Biergarten that included the Candlelight Processional package for the 5pm show.  We arrived at Epcot just before that and headed straight to the Biergarten for lunch.  I'll do a review on that meal soon.

After lunch, we started in the American Adventure by listening to the story of Kwanzaa.  Hanukkah was inside, but we just missed it.

Kwanzaa Storyteller
I know when Kwanzaa is celebrated, but I didn't know much about it.  It was nice to be able to learn a little more about this celebration.  The Storyteller was wonderful and animated, certainly got our day off to the right start!

Once she was done we went inside to listen to the Voices of Liberty.
Voices of Liberty

I swear you could park me in there and I could listen to them sing all day.  They did my favorite Christmas song (Go Tell it on the Mountain) so I was a happy girl.  I love their costumes for Christmas too, they really hit the mark of a Colonial Christmas.

We just missed La Befana in Italy, so we went back over to Germany to listen to Helga.
Helga in Germany
We only got to listen to the end of her story, but she talked about the Nutcracker.

We finally hit our stride in China where we heard from the Monkey King.
The Monkey King

No lie - the Monkey King is a little creepy.  He was extremely animated, which was fun, but he was a little creepy.  On the other hand, it was interesting to listen to a non-Christmas tale for the Holidays.  The one thing I didn't like about the Monkey King though is that it's not about a Holiday, it's just a story from the country.

Next up was Norway, where we listened to Sigrid tell the story of Julenissen.
Christmas in Norway
This was one of our favorites.  It was fun how they played off of each other to tell the story of how Christmas is celebrated in Rural Norway.  Julenissen, or Barn Santa, is a Christmas Gnome who is mischievous.  He spent a lot of their story trying to make Sigrid believe in him by messing with her.

From there we headed over to Canada and Nowell.
Nowell, a Lumberjack
Nowell is a lumberjack that tells us how the various parts of Canada celebrate Christmas.
Nowell again
Throughout the story he changes boots, puts on his coat and gets his hat.    As he does, he's also talking about Santa, who he's never seen *wink wink.*  I liked this storyteller too.  I think he did a great job of capturing the right spirit of Christmas.

Our next storyteller was Father Christmas in the UK.
Father Christmas
As I'm sure you've guessed, Father Christmas tells you how Christmas is celebrated in the UK.  He was very jolly and had us sing along, which was fun.  He also had a good deal of crowd interaction.

Our next stop was to listen to Pere Noel in France.
Pere Noel
Pere Noel told his story through a letter from a little French girl.  I was not a huge fan of Pere Noel.  He's a little too French I guess.  His coat is pretty though.

Our final storyteller was in Japan.  

New Year's in Japan
This lady was a merchant who sold Daruma dolls.  The tradition is that on New Year's, you color in one eye of the doll and make a wish.  When your wish comes true, you color in the other eye.  This was another one that I found really interesting since it wasn't Christmas, but another holiday in Japan.

We almost listened to the Moroccan storyteller, but the line for the Candlelight Processional started moving, so we decided it was probably a better idea to get our seats.  The line for the package holders was all the way back to France.  It was a little ridiculous.  The package holders also took up most of the theater, I don't know if any of the stand-by were able to get in - if they were, it wasn't a lot of them.  It made me happy I decided to book the package!
Intro to the Processional
We had decent seats - we were the second row of the uncovered portion, but pretty far to the right.  I'm sure if we would have devoted more time to standing in line, we could have gotten better seats, but we were more concerned about just having a seat.

Our narrator that evening was Whoopi Goldberg.  I was a little concerned since she's a comedian how she would present the story.  I shouldn't have worried, she did a great job.

If you're not familiar with the Processional, it is the Biblical story of Christmas with songs mixed in.  There is an orchestra and a choir led by the Voices of Liberty.  The yellow robed choir is made up of High School students - many from schools in Florida, but also from other states.  

 I really enjoy the Processional.  It's very moving and puts me in the Christmas Spirit!

It was quite a nice afternoon/evening.  If you ever get a chance to spend time at Epcot during the holidays, I would recommend taking an afternoon and just enjoying the special Holiday entertainment.  

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