Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holidays Around The World

A lot has been made of WDW's recession cutbacks, and in particular the elimination of the Lights of Winter display at Epcot. And while I definitely wasn't happy about that, and a few of the other things I've noticed that are gone (the odd "puff-balls-on-a-stick" display just before the World Showcase breezeway, etc.), I've still gotta say Epcot is incredible when it comes to this time of year.

What's the best part about Epcot during Christmastime and the Holidays? Is it Santa over at the American Pavilion?

Is it Helga telling the story of the Tannenbaum?

Or the life-size nutcracker soldier at Germany?

Is it Pere Noel in France?

Is it Father Christmas in the UK?

Is it Sigrid and Julenissen in Norway?

Is it La Bafana in the Italy pavilion?

Is it the Mickey and Minnie just as you enter the park?

Is it the Fountain of Nations dancing to Christmas music?

Is it the huge tree at the beginning of the World Showcase?

Is it the Candlelight Processional?

Is it the Holiday "Peace On Earth" Illuminations ending (narrated by Walter Cronkite)?

Or is it the great Mickey nutcracker (sorry - they probably sell this at EVERY park now...)???

In fact, it's all of these things, and more. Pound for pound, Epcot offers more Holiday extras to the guest this time of year than any other park, even with the cutbacks. Hollywood Studios has Osbourne Lights (which is incredible), Magic Kingdom has Holiday Wishes on certain nights, Cindy's castle lights, Main Street USA decorations, and of course, the Very Merry Christmas Party (although that's a hard-ticket event, so it really doesn't count when discussing what the parks do to Plus the regular guest experience), and even the Animal Kingdom dresses up their Jammin' Jungle Parade so that it Jingles a little. But none of these 3 parks can touch the total number of holiday-specific offerings that Epcot does that's included in the price of regular admission.

My family especially enjoys the Holiday Storytellers in the countries. It's fascinating to hear about how almost every culture in the World Showcase has traditions that have melded into current and contemporary American Christmas and Holiday tradition. As usual, the offerings at Epcot are unique in Disney - a true Walt-inspired idea of "edutainment" and enrichment. In the vast majority of instances, Epcot doesn't dumb down its entertainment for the masses. It isn't afraid to have high expectations of those who visit and to hope they have a desire to learn something interesting about our past or future. Holidays Around The World honors that Epcot tradition and, as usual, it's well worth our time.

1 comment:

  1. Our favorite Christmas picture spot is at the Nutcrackers in World Showcase.

    I may have to purchase a Mickey nutcracker on our next trip to the World (which I hope will be in November or December, 2010).