One of my favorite Christmas traditions is visiting Walt Disney World with my husband. Whether it’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, or Animal Kingdom, Disney really knows how to go all out for Christmas. Millions of lights, towering Christmas trees with oversized ornaments, and characters decked out in their holiday best inspire Christmas cheer from the moment you swipe your Magic Band. This year we spent the day wandering around the World Showcase and experiencing EPCOT’s Holidays Around the World.
Our first stop was Norway where we stumbled upon Sigrid who proceeded to tell the tale of a badly behaving Christmas gnome, Julenissen. Julenissen lives in the woods and barns where he guards the livelihoods and welfare of the owners. As long as the family whose barn he lives in kept him in good spirits, the family would be rewarded. Julenissen, true to his trickster personality, would freeze Sigrid as she tried to explain how the tradition came to be associated with Christmas in Norway. The seven minute show is worth a pause as you explore World Showcase.
My favorite holiday presentation would have to be Germany where Helga told the story of the first nutcracker and how decorating trees came to be a common symbol of Christmas. According to Helga, the tannenbaum is decorated by parents on Christmas Eve and is a symbol of the giving and goodwill so associated with the Christmas season. Soon after, Helga tells the story of her first nutcracker. Upon conclusion of her story, she asks the children to close their eyes and then a nutcracker comes to life and is available for quick pictures before vanishing.
While the storytelling was fun, the Prost! kiosk is worth checking out as well. Glühwein, a German mulled wine that is warm, sweet, and all kinds of delicious, is fun to sip on as Helga tells her stories. Even though the Glühwein is very good, the Hot Salted Caramel was the highlight of the day. Like drinking liquid Werther’s, the drink is so sweet it’s almost overwhelming.
EPCOT has Christmas storytelling at each of the countries in World Showcase with the times printed on the guide you can pick up at the front of the park. So, if you are headed to EPCOT this Christmas season, be sure to visit the holiday traditions storytelling locations and definitely pause at Prost! for some mulled wine or Hot Salted Caramel.
What are your favorite Disney Christmas traditions?