Holidays Around the World at Epcot is a celebration of the Season as it is recognized around the globe!
Holiday traditions from various cultures are expressed through decorations, stories, music and food, while additional events include the nightly Candlelight Processional and a holiday version of the evening spectacular IllumiNations — Reflections of Earth.
As in years past, this special event will run through December 30th. What’s different this year, though, is the addition of new and enhanced Marketplace Booths serving up tastes of the season…not unlike another festival that’s near and dear to our hearts — the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. (Yep — I keep saying they’ll eventually make the festival a year-round thing; and they’re getting closer and closer… .)
Wanna see all the food? Visit our Holidays Around the World Page for pictures of every food item, PLUS prices and menus!
Well… almost. The similarities to the Food and Wine Festival are probably obvious — additional food kiosks are set up around World Showcase serving food and drinks themed to the booth (though there are only seven in comparison to the Festival’s thirty-plus).
However — now pay attentch!! — there is a pretty significant difference at this particular event. The Food and Wine Festival booths are known for serving tapas-sized dishes ranging from about $3.00 – $7.00. As it turns out, the booths for Holidays Around the World are serving portions that in many cases are closer to full meals (and by full meals, we mean you can barely hold the dish it comes in ’cause it’s so full!) — and you’ll see that reflected in the prices (though there are still snack-sized items as well — mostly in the form of desserts — in case you’d rather snack your way around). Whew. That’s a lot of parentheses.
In general, though, the focus here — for the sake of both your tummy and your wallet — might be more on selecting an item or two that you’d really like to try (perhaps even in place of a Counter Service meal) instead of sampling several as you might at the Food and Wine Festival if you decide on trying the headliner items. THAT’S why we’ve tried ALL of them for you! (Now, for those of you who don’t have time to read and just want to see the food…)
Be sure to visit our Holidays Around the World Page for pictures of every food item, PLUS prices and menus!
But in the meantime, you can check out our favorite item (or two!) at each booth! Hold onto your Santa Hats, because even though there are just a few booths, there’s LOTS of great stuff. And we’ve just GOTTA start with…
You’ll find Alpine Haus tucked between the Morocco and France Pavilions. And it’s important to know where it is, because otherwise you might miss this enormous bowl of CHEESE FONDUE!
And you do NOT want to miss the Cheese Fondue! OR the bread bowl it’s served in. OR the way it even makes the steamed veggies that come with it taste downright fantastic. (By the way, those veggies are carrots, potatoes, and zucchini, mostly.)
The Duck Confit (who doesn’t love meat cooked in its own fat?!?) served with dumplings and roasted Brussels sprouts (Wha?!? So good!) with a fig reduction also impresses with its terrific flavor and tenderness. The thing I didn’t love about this one was the somewhat gummy dumplings. But stick to the duck and the sprouts and yummo!
They’re also serving a truly decadent, rich dark chocolate Sachertorte as well as a spiked Chocolate Apple Shake (you can see pics of all these items here). So Alpine Haus is really a booth full of winners, but I think you can see why we just had to hand it to the Cheese Fondue at the top of the list. Ohmigosh, so good!
American Holiday Table
Stop by American Holiday Table to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal with (almost!) all the trimmings!
This dish of Slow-Roasted Turkey served with stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce probably gives you a better idea of what we mean about the portion size for this event. Seriously, this dish is HUGE. (And, honestly, the second time we got it, it was even bigger!!!)
The turkey was very well-prepared; not dry at all. And the gravy accompanying the whole thing was nicely seasoned (we preferred this dish to the Pork Tenderloin that’s also served here). Served up near Santa’s Village in the American Adventure Pavilion, everything about this says “Happy Holidays.”
That’s even MORE true when you pair it with this terrific find: the Shipyard Eggnog White Porter Aged on Bourbon.
Oh, my. This Epcot exclusive (Yep! You can only get it here, folks!) is a sweet brew that tastes just like eggnog-meets-beer. It’s not your typical porter (it’s not very dark, and is a little more carbonated than most), but it was a very pleasant surprise, nonetheless.
Oh, and speaking of eggnog, don’t forget that this is also the place where you can get the FIRENOG!!! Yes, that is fireball and eggnog. So get on it.
Oh, and don’t forget to step inside the American Pavilion’s main building after your meal to check out the annual Gingerbread Display featuring Washington, D.C., where the Lincoln Memorial is new this year!
For real?!?! Check it out!
Seasonal Southern Delights
Next up: keep an eye out for this flock of flamingos to find Seasonal Southern Delights!
Though we also thought the Hoppin’ John here was great, with the ham and cornbread crumbles lending some sweetness to the Black-eyed Pea dish, we ultimately chose the Blackened Catfish with White Cheddar Grits and Okra, Tomato and Onion Stew as the favorite.
The catfish was great, and had a really nice, spicy kick that was balanced out by the grits. If you’re on more of a snack search, though, we also recommend the Chocolate Pecan Tart.
Even though it’s one of the event’s smaller items, it’s still larger than most tarts sold around Disney World (PLUS: caramel drizzle!!).
Feast of the Three Kings
Feast of the Three Kings celebrates the traditions of Three Kings Day, and you’ll find it at the World Showcase Plaza.
Stop by to try the Shredded Beef Tamale with Avocado Crema and Cilantro Rice!
Not only did we love the texture and flavor of the tamale itself, but the avocado cream is out of this world. (OK, AJ’s not up for the cilantro rice, but the rest of the team loved it!)
For dessert, or as a small snack, you can also try a traditional Three Kings Cake, which is made of a bread that is mildly sweet on its own, even before the added icing.
(Oh, and the Coquito here was reminiscent of eggnog, only with coconut! Worth a try, spiked or not.)
Holiday Eats and Treats
Holiday Eats and Treats is a “new” booth with a few returning items. (You’ll likely recognize this booth as Promenade Refreshments, which functions as Pineapple Promenade for the Flower and Garden Festival, and Desserts & Champagne for the Food and Wine Festival).
We don’t mind the lack of new items here. Not when it means the return of the Holiday Sandwich!
Though it was called the Warm Turkey Sandwich last year, it’s the same tasty helping of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy all tucked inside a unique and delicious cranberry bread. Check out the other returning treats here.
Prost! has also returned this year, and the the delicious beverages served here every year have become a tradition for us at the DFB. However, in order to match the expanded offerings around World Showcase, Prost features a new food item this year with a Sauerbraten dish. But the best of the bunch is the traditional German holiday fruitcake, Stollen.
Say what you will about fruitcake ;), but it’s not a well-known tradition for nothin’, and it has its place in the holidays… especially when it tastes this good. (And, honestly, I have to say “Pass” on the Sauerbraten, which I found to be a bit dry and SUPER overwhelmed by the vinegar — is that even vinegar? it was crazy strong. — from the cabbage).
And — even though they aren’t new this year — I ALWAYS have to give a shout out to the Caramel Kiss (Werther’s Drinking Caramel, which I can’t even put down…ever) and the hot-spiced Glühwein.
They’re served in hot cups this year as opposed to the clear drinking glasses from years’ past, but fortunately they still taste just as lovely.
Yep, this is the same Mexico booth that has remained open beyond Spring’s Flower and Garden Festival. And while offerings have changed for the holidays, this is the one booth that has stayed true to the smaller tapas-sized dishes from the other Festivals. That said, food here is typically solid (read: good) no matter what time of year, and the Tacos de Carnitas (Crispy Pork Carnitas served with Tomatillo Relish and Corn Tortilla) is pretty great.
Overall, though, I prefer the eats at the other kiosks for this event in particular.
More Festive Treats!
Now, don’t forget… even if you don’t partake of the Marketplace Booths (I’m telling you, though, you totally should!), you’ll still spot additional festive fare all around World Showcase. For instance, the beautiful Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) can be found once again at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion.
And the neighboring L’Artisan des Glaces is serving the seasonal Gingerbread Ice Cream once again.
I bet Pere Noel — one of the event’s Holiday Storytellers — wishes he had some right about now…
Kabuki Cafe in Japan is serving Strawberry Shortcake and a Green Tea au Lait.
Don’t miss your chance to learn about the Daruma dolls by the Pagoda while you’re there (I love this presentation!)!
In Italy, you can try Panettone or sip a glass of Prosecco (find both at the Gelato Stand) while listening to La Befana.
Honestly, the Pai Cha at China’s Joy of Tea was not my favorite of the new offerings this year.
I was thinking, “Fried dough, what’s not to love?”
But it was too crunchy and crumbly. It might have been better served warm and a bit more pliable.
Still, you’ve got to see the amazing dance of the Lion in the Pavilion if you get the chance!
In the Morocco Pavilion, you’ll spy Chocolate Honey Baklava in the bakery case inside Tangierine Cafe as part of the festivities.
All truths told, though, it’s available pretty much year-round these days. Fine by me. It’s delicious! Bring your Baklava outside to munch on while learning about the “Spice of Life” that are the celebrations in Morocco!
But hold onto your hats, because Kringla Bakeri og Kafe in Norway is serving an AWESOME Pumpkin Cheesecake Roulade with Pumpkin Seed Brittle!
No idea how long thing one will be around, but it’s SERIOUS!!! Creamy pumpkin cheesecake (SO amazing) all wrapped up in what really seemed like chocolate to yours truly… . Definitely worth a try!
Watch out, though… it’s so good that the mischievous Julenissen may try to take yours!
He’s sneaky, that one .
Tea lovers, take note: there’s a Twinings Iced Christmas Toddy waiting for you in the United Kingdom Pavilion, but you’ll need to head INSIDE The Tea Caddy shop to find it.
Meanwhile, TG Lee Eggnog with Irish Whiskey (don’t mind if I do!) is available outside at the Rose & Crown Beer Stand.
Speaking of sips, be on the lookout at Joffrey’s Coffee Kiosks all around World Showcase for seasonal beverages with and without alcohol, like the Crazy Elf, the Gingerbread Chai ($9.49 each) and yuletide espresso drinks.
And the Craft Beer Marketplace is carrying over from the Food and Wine Festival, and will remain open on most days through December 30th.
Finally, we have an oldie but a goodie… Pecan Maple Bark is up for grabs once more at the Popcorn Cart in Canada.
And the Holiday Voyageurs are back, too!
No matter where you look in Epcot — and no matter what you choose to eat! — there is no shortage of holiday fun and food to be had! I honestly think they’ve outdone themselves with some of these new offerings, and if you get the chance to attend Holidays Around the World, I think it will truly enhance your yuletide vacation!
Oh, and if you’ve come this far…
Be sure to visit our Holidays Around the World Page for pictures of every food item, PLUS prices and menus!
Pin it for later!
Hee hee! Signing off from Epcot… Prost!
Which item would you most like to try at Holidays Around the World? Please let us know with a comment!