Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Magical Blogorail - Holidays Around the World at EPCOT

Welcome to those of you joining me from Home is Where the Mouse Is and those of you just hoping aboard.  This is the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail.

As Halloween fades into the past for 2014, Disney World is already in full swing for the Christmas Season.  At the parks, there is no big Thanksgiving celebration.  It is out with jack-o-lanterns and in with christmas trees in a matter of days.  I personally have never been to Disney World during November or December (an issue I hope to remedy someday), but I do know a bit about enjoying the hoiday offerings at Disney Word.  This week's Magical Blogorail focuses on celebrating the holiday season at EPCOT and there is really no better place than World Showcase to do it.  I want to not only share some of my favorite holiday happenings in World Showcase (that I have never seen!), but I also will share a few ways to bring these moments to your own home.

So if I was going to sum up the holiday entertainment into a top 3 at World Showcase I would say:

1. Candlelight Processional
2. Illuminations with Holiday Ending Tag
3. Holiday Storytellers

The candlelight processional will be discussed on the next stop on the Magical Blogorail so I will let you read about it there.  

Illuminations is arguably my favorite fireworks show at Disney World.  It has always inspired me and the music is equally as incredible as the actual show.  During the holiday season, Illuminations adds a "tag" to the end of the show.  This involves of course more fireworks and also special holiday music to synchronize with the show.  I have never seen this tag in person, but have heard this show many times on various podcasts and other media outlets such as YouTube.  I will include some links at the end of my blog that will allow you to see or listen to the holiday tag at EPCOT.

A very intriguing part of World Showcase is that you have 11 countries within about 25 minutes of walking between all of them.  So you have 11 different ways of celebrating the holidays.  Each country in World Showcase is decorated for the season while trying to mimick the traditions of its homeland.  I think this is really cool, but Disney takes a step beyond decorations by adding Holiday Storytellers to each country.  These Storytellers are live actors that use entertainment, humor, and knowledge to tell the traditions of the country they are in.  I have heard a few of these performances again by way of podcasts.  Here are a few examples:  In Mexico the three kings tell about Mary and Joseph traveling and Mexican traditions during the holidays, in Norway there is the mischeivious elf, Julenissen, in China the Monkey King talks to guests, in America there are separate Hannukah and Kwanzaa storytellers, and towards the right side of World Showcase you have a few Santas, Pere Noel in France and Father Christmas in the UK.  Each tale is entertaining and informative, but I have always heard that the storyteller and elf in Norway is not to be missed by families with children.

So those are the best holiday happenings that I have never seen at World Showcase, but I must say there has to be SOME way for me to bring home the magic of the holidays at World Showcase.  And there is!  Here are a few ways my family has done it.

When my wife, Carly, and I were traveling on our honeymoon to Disney World in October of 2011, Disney was wrapping up the Halloween season and revving up the holidays.  So naturally we wanted to find something holiday-ish to put in our first home together.  That is when my wife found the perfect addition to our decorations.  Here I am holding it:

As you can see it is a felt wreath with a calendar that counts from 1-25 days to get to Christmas.  Each day has a holiday shape or Disney character that you remove from the day and stick on the wreath with velcro.  This was perfect for us because at my parents house we have a very similar calendar that I grew up with every Christmas.  We also of course purchased an ornament or two.  Now we enjoy our holiday decor every season and not only does it remind us of our honeymoon, but it is also a reminder of the parks.  And probably the most "Disney Enthusiast" way to bring the holidays home is to download Disney fan podcasts during the holiday season.  There are hundreds of Disney fans out there creating free media for you the fans at home to enjoy.  There are some great shows that I personally enjoy weekly and they have done great episodes covering Disney during the holiday season.  Some of the best are Inside the Magic, Window to the Magic, WDW Today, WDW Radio, and WEDway Radio.  And if you are a big fan of the Muppets, The Muppetcast has some incredible holiday shows that you can listen to every year.  I will include some of my favorite holiday podcast shows with inks below.  

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Window to the Magic - Find episode 218
Inside the Magic Christmas 2013
Voices of Liberty Christmas on YouTube

Thank you for joining me today.  Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Mommy to All Girls.

Here is a map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Rolling with the Magic -Germany Pavillion
2nd Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney - Mexico Pavillion
3rd Stop ~ Home is Where the Mouse Is - EPCOT Holiday Treats
4th Stop ~ Journeys from a Follower - Holiday Happenings at EPCOT
Final Stop ~ Mommy to All Girls - Candlelight Processional