A beloved holiday tradition that dates back to the earliest days of Walt Disney World is returning to EPCOT this year. Disney has announced that the Candlelight Processional will return to EPCOT beginning on November 26th. The holiday show features the retelling of the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus, while a 50-piece orchestra and a choir of cast members perform a variety of Christmas songs. Each year, Disney brings in celebrity guests to narrate the performance, with 2019's list of narrators including Ming-Na Wen, Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, and Pat Sajak. In a blog post announcing the return of the Candlelight Processional, Disney Parks noted that it was still working out the schedule of celebrity narrators for this year's shows.
The Candlelight Processional was first started at Disneyland in 1958 and was first performed at Walt Disney World in 1971. The show moved to EPCOT in 1994 and is currently performed at the America Gardens Theater. Disney World did not host the Candlelight Processional last year due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the show traditionally features both a choir made up of cast members along with guest choirs from various community groups and schools, Disney is changing the show due to its policy of all performers being fully vaccinated from COVID-19. Instead, Disney Parks has announced that it is expanding its cast member choir for this year's shows. Disney noted that it hopes to bring back guest choirs next year for future performances.
This marks the first confirmed holiday event for Walt Disney World this year. Disneyland has already announced several plans for the upcoming holidays, including its Festival of Holidays celebration and Disney Merriest Nites, Disneyland's first after-hours holiday party.
Walt Disney World is currently gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary starting on October 1st. The park has announced two new attractions to kick off the celebration - Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT and a new kite show called KiteTails at Animal Kingdom. Several new restaurants and other attractions are also expected to open throughout the celebration.