Walt Disney World Completes Candlelight Processional Narrator Line-Up

Walt Disney World has completed its line-up for the celebrity narrators for this year’s Candlelight Processional at Epcot.

Disney Legend Kurt Russell, who has starred in Disney films from the 1960s to 2017’s “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” will read the Christmas story this year – as well as gold- and silver-medal-winning gymnast Laurie Hernandez. Two veterans of the event – actress/comedienne Ana Gasteyer and Jodi Benson, voice of Ariel in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” – complete this year’s list.

As previously announced, new narrators for this year’s lineup include Matt Bomer (“White Collar,” “The Last Tycoon,”); Star Wars fan favorite Warwick Davis, who played Wicket the Ewok in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi;” Daytime Television Legend Pat Sajak and TV star CCH Pounder, who was recently at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the grand opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar.

And returning this year are everyone’s favorite hard-driving Dr. Bailey from “Grey’s Anatomy,” Chandra Wilson – and newly-named Disney Legend Whoopi Goldberg, co-host of ABC’s “The View.”

Below is the full list of narrators:

  • Nov. 24 – 26 – Laurie Hernandez
  • Nov. 27 – 28 – Matt Bomer
  • Nov. 29 – 30 – Ana Gasteyer
  • Dec. 1-3 – Whoopi Goldberg
  • Dec. 4-5 – Pat Sajak
  • Dec. 6-8 – Jodi Benson
  • Dec. 9-11 – Kurt Russell
  • Dec. 12-14 – Warwick Davis
  • Dec. 15-17 – Trace Adkins
  • Dec. 18-21 – Neil Patrick Harris
  • Dec. 22-24 – CCH Pounder
  • Dec. 25-27 – Jaci Velasquez
  • Dec. 28-30 – Chandra Wilson

The Candlelight Processional is performed three times every night (5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 PM) during the holiday season at the America Gardens Theatre. Dinner packages are available which include meal and a guaranteed seat for one of the Candlelight Processional performances.

In addition to the lunch and dinner packages, breakfast options are again available at some restaurants in and near Epcot such as Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and The Garden Grill. Breakfast, lunch and dinner options are also available this year at Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, with breakfast and dinner options being offered at Trattoria Al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk.

Candlelight Dining Packages for breakfast start at $35 plus tax per person for adults and $21 plus tax per person for children, ages 3-9. Candlelight Dining Packages for lunch and dinner start at $44 plus tax per person for adults and $15.50 plus tax per person for children, ages 3-9.

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays which includes the Candlelight Processional, takes place in 2017 from November 24 – December 30 at Epcot.

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Celebrate Epcot’s 35th With Exclusive Merchandise, Special Fireworks Finale & More

Are you planning to visit Epcot for the park’s 35th anniversary on October 1st?

With the anniversary falling on a weekend – not to mention during the popular Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, there’s sure to be a ton of fun for all!

Here are a few highlights of what’s planned for this year’s anniversary celebration.

Commemorative Guide Map – Be sure to pick up a commemorative Epcot Guidemap and Times Guide on your way into the park. They’ll be available at the park’s Main Entrance, at International Gateway and Guest Relations.

Anniversary Celebration – A special celebration will be held at the Fountain View stage at 10:01 a.m. Gather to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Epcot with Mariachi Cobre and Voices of Liberty.

Exclusive Anniversary Merchandise – Guests visiting Epcot on October 1st will have the chance to grab anniversary merchandise as a part of the “I Was There” collection, which has been specifically designed for this year’s milestone. Items in the collection will be available only at a “pop-up” shop (which will be open for one day only/while supplies last), located just past the Art of Disney location at Epcot on October 1. Additional Epcot 35th Anniversary logo merchandise (not a part of the “I Was There” line) will be available in select merchandise locations at the park, such as Mouse Gear and on the Shop Disney Parks app.

Special Edition: IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth – Conclude your day at the park by attending a special edition of the park’s nighttime fireworks show, “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” which begins at 9 p.m.

Epcot Resort Area Friendship Boats Have Resumed Service

The Friendship Boat service on Crescent Lake resumed yesterday according to reports.

The service was closed Wednesday reportedly due to high water levels associated with Hurricane Irma.

Walt Disney World to Re-Open Theme Parks on Tuesday

At approximately 3:30 PM EDT today, the official website of Walt Disney World updated their park operating hours and revealed that they would be re-opening the parks on Tuesday, September 12th. However, not all of the parks are going to open back up on Tuesday.  This is due to some cast members who evacuated due to the storm and Disney being a little short-staffed.

Both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach will remain closed at least until Wednesday before reopening.

At this time the hours of operation for Walt Disney World tomorrow will be:

  • Magic Kingdom: 9 AM – 7 PM with Extra Magic Hours of 8 AM – 9 AM; Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will take place from 7 PM – Midnight
  • Epcot: 9 AM – 9 PM with Extra Magic Hours of 9 PM – 11 PM
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 9 AM – 9 PM
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 9 AM – 9 PM
  • Typhoon Lagoon: Closed
  • Blizzard Beach: Closed
  • Disney Springs: 10 AM – Midnight

‘Holidays Around the World’ Changing to ‘Epcot International Festival of the Holidays’

In another step toward Epcot making itself the park home to almost year-long festivals, this year will see Epcot’s “Holidays Around the World” becoming “Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.”

Beginning November 19th, fifteen Holiday Kitchens will be serving seasonal food from marketplace kiosks around World Showcase.

New this year will be a “Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree” scavenger hunt, priced at $6.99 for maps.

Starting on November 24th, the Candlelight Processional begins along with the Peace on Earth holiday edition of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Epcot Makes Changes to Music Line-Up

Walt Disney World has announced some new and returning musical acts that will be coming to Epcot’s World Showcase in the near future.

Suroît – New to Epcot, this renowned band hails from Canada’s Magdalen Islands in eastern Quebec. For four decades, their infectious sound has embraced influences from Cajun, Celtic, bluegrass and rock music. Performing on the Mill Stage at the Canada pavilion, August 31 – October 1 2017.

Margret Almer & The Bavarian Band – World-famous yodeler Margret Almer makes an encore appearance at Epcot this fall. She’ll be performing with The Bavarian Band at the Germany pavilion, beginning August 31 and continuing through the holiday season.

Musique Aramenco – Another returning favorite takes the stage at the Morocco pavilion September 1 – December 30 2017. Musique Aramenco presents a fusion of traditional and modern Moroccan music.

Bodh’aktan – Back by popular demand, Bodh’aktan mixes Quebecois, folk and polka to make fantastic rock and dance music. The popular kilted band is returning for an Epcot encore at the Canada pavilion October 2 – 22.

Raffy – This musical quartet makes their Epcot debut October 23 – November 26 2017 on the Mill Stage. Raffy’s infectious energy has been embraced across Canada through a live tour, appearances on television and radio airplay of their first hit single.

More Narrators Added to Candlelight Processional List

New to this year’s lineup include Matt Bomer (“White Collar,” “The Last Tycoon,”) and Star Warsfan favorite Warwick Davis, who played Wicket the Ewok in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.”

And returning this year are everyone’s favorite hard-driving Dr. Bailey from “Grey’s Anatomy,” Chandra Wilson – and newly-named Disney Legend Whoopi Goldberg, co-host of ABC’s “The View.”

The Candlelight Processional presents the traditional story of Christmas in truly spectacular fashion – with a celebrity narrator, a 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir.

Newcomers to the celebrity narrator spotlight this year include Daytime Television Legend Pat Sajak and TV star CCH Pounder, who was recently at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the grand opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar.

Returning favorites include television, film and stage superstar Neil Patrick Harris, country megastar Trace Adkins and Contemporary Christian music artist Jaci Velasquez.

Here are the narrators confirmed so far:*

  • Nov. 24- 26 – To Be Announced
  • Nov. 27-28 – Matt Bomer
  • Nov. 29 – 30 – To Be Announced
  • Dec. 1-3 – Whoopi Goldberg
  • Dec. 4-5 – Pat Sajak
  • Dec. 6-11 – To Be Announced
  • Dec. 12-14 – Warwick Davis
  • Dec. 15-17 – Trace Adkins
  • Dec. 18-21 – Neil Patrick Harris
  • Dec. 22-24 – CCH Pounder
  • Dec. 25-27 – Jaci Velasquez
  • Dec. 28-30 – Chandra Wilson

The processional is performed three times per night (5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.) during the holiday season at the America Gardens Theatre. These packages, available on select nights, include a delicious meal and a guaranteed seat for one of the Candlelight Processional performances. Availability is limited.

As with last year, in addition to lunch and dinner packages, breakfast options are available at some favorite restaurants in and near Epcot again this year like Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and The Garden Grill. Breakfast, lunch and dinner options are also available this year at Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort,** with breakfast and dinner options being offered at Trattoria Al Fornoat Disney’s BoardWalk.

Candlelight Dining Packages for breakfast start at $35 plus tax per person for adults and $21 plus tax per person for children, ages 3-9. Candlelight Dining Packages for lunch and dinner start at $44 plus tax per person for adults and $15.50 plus tax per person for children, ages 3-9.

Epcot provides an extravaganza of holiday entertainment, merchandise, food, beverages and festivities where guests can celebrate at Epcot throughout the holiday season. Time-honored traditions come alive through the sights and sounds of the countries of World Showcase, and live performances enliven the park throughout the day.

Click here to book Candlelight Processional dining packages or to find out more information, call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).

*Narrators and entertainment are subject to change without notice. Epcot admission is required and not included in the dining package price.

** (NOTE: Captain’s Grille is currently under refurbishment. Candlelight Packages will be available once it reopens.)

Mobile Order Debuts at Epcot’s Electric Umbrella

Mobile Order is now available to guests at the Electric Umbrella in Epcot’s Future World.

The rollout at Epcot will continue with it being available at the Liberty Inn on August 7th.

Mobile Order allows guest to pay for meals within the My Disney Experience app, bypassing what can be a lone line to order at the restaurant. Using the app, guests can select menu items, customize an order and pre-pay for a meal.

Mobile Order is currently available at Electric Umbrella, Columbia Harbour House, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café, Pinocchio Village Haus, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, Tomorrowland Terrace, Flame Tree Barbecue, Pizzafari, Restaurantosaurus, Satu’li Canteen and D-Luxe Burger.

Mission: SPACE ‘Relaunches’ August 13th With Brand New Experiences

Starting August 13th, Epcot will relaunch Mission: SPACE with a brand new experience and an enhanced version of the “classic” attraction.

  • If you think you’ve got “the right stuff,” take on the Orange Mission for a truly intense experience that lets you feel the force of an actual space launch en route to Mars. On this mission, you’ll dodge meteoroids, slingshot around the moon and attempt a precision landing on the Red Planet’s alien surface. This “mission” has been enhanced with new, HD video to make it even clearer – I can’t imagine!
  • Or, embark on the more family-friendly Green Mission – a new mission that takes you on an exciting orbit around Earth. On this amazing new adventure, you’ll take in sites like the Hawaiian Islands, Italy’s “boot” and the Northern Lights—as seen from space, of course—before finally landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. No matter which mission you choose, it’ll be a journey that’s totally out of this world.

In addition to all the “mission” updates, Walt Disney Imagineering have also made this attraction MORE family-friendly. Younger astronauts can now ride – the height restriction will be changed for the Green Mission side with the addition of new X-2 booster seats allowing children 40-44” to ride.

Mission: SPACE Rumored to be Changing “Orange” and “Green” Mission Names

When Mission: SPACE returns from its lengthy refurbishment later this summer, the rumor is that the missions will no longer be designated at “Green” and “Orange.”

There have been reports that the more intense orange mission will be renamed “Mars” while the less intense family-friendly version will be renamed “Earth.”

It was announced at D23 Expo 2017 recently that a brand new Green mission was coming. According to Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald, it would be like “Soarin’ around the Earth.”

Mission: SPACE is scheduled to re-open in August.