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Is the Candlelight Processional Enjoyable with Kids?

Is the Candlelight Processional Enjoyable with Kids?

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The Candlelight Processional is a classic Disney tradition, but is it enjoyable with small children?

Candlelight Processional

Credit: Jaelyn W.

The Candlelight Processional has such a rich history and is truly one of the most festive ways to celebrate the holidays in the Disney parks. The original iteration of this great offering came from Disneyland. The first Christmas celebration was in 1955 with a small choir and then grew larger and larger until it became the spectacle it is today with many vocalists, musicians, and celebrity narrators.

To learn more about the Candlelight Processional’s history, read this great article by Marisol here. What exactly goes into a performance of the Candlelight Processional? Read on to find out more.

The Candlelight Processional at Walt Disney World runs each night in EPCOT’s World Showcase starting at the end of November through the end of December. According to the official Disney website:

“Each night, a celebrity narrator tells the story of Christmas, recounting the biblical tale of a savior born in Bethlehem. Woven into the production are stirring songs of hope and joy performed by the orchestra and massed choir.”

Walt Disney World Website
Credit: Jaelyn W.

Various celebrity narrators provide the narration for the performance throughout the season. Each performer participates for roughly 2-3 nights as the lead narrator. For the 2022 season, narrators include voices such as Whoopi Goldberg, Josh Gad, Gloria Estefan, Neil Patrick Harris, Marie Osmond, Angela Bassett, and more.

The processional includes an orchestra, the Voices of Liberty, and junior choirs of students who all perform together, singing Christmas carols and other holiday tunes that accompany the story of Christmas.

While this is a fabulous experience, is it great for young children?

My Experience

Credit: Jaelyn W.

I (Jaelyn) attended the Candlelight Processional this year on Saturday, December 3rd with my husband, mother, and two young boys ages 5 and 2. We had never before attended this event and knew it was a “must do” for us on our trip. Whoopi Goldberg was the narrator and we knew it would be a popular evening, so we decided to capitalize on the Candlelight Processional Dining Package to attend the event.

There are many reasons why you might book a dining package for the Candlelight Processional (and also reasons why you shouldn’t!). Check out Maggie’s review of her experience with the package at Garden Grille here and Monica’s thoughts on booking the package here.

For us, we decided the package was the right move because it would guarantee us a seat at the show without waiting in the standby line for hours at a time. Additionally, my boys love character dining, so we decided Garden Grille was our best option.

Credit: KtP

I also knew we wanted to attend the first performance of the Candlelight Processional at 5:15. I wanted to build in enough time after the performance to get back to our resort, eat a quick service dinner, and get all organized and ready for the next day. We were attending the Christmas party the following day and I wanted my kids to be well rested. Snagging the Garden Grill reservation allowed us to intentionally schedule our viewing of the performance.

Our Garden Grille reservation was for right at 1 p.m. After eating, we spent some time enjoying Living with the Land and its holiday overlay, visited some festival booths along World Showcase, and even redeemed a scheduled lightning lane for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. We didn’t head to the queue to enter the Processional seating until close to 4:45 p.m. and we were in our seats by 5 p.m.

Consider this ONE thing before booking a dining package for the Candlelight Processional
Credit: Maggie

Though we didn’t have front row seats, we still had great seats for the show and only spent around half an hour total waiting for the performance to begin. This was great since I had small children to entertain!

While we certainly enjoyed the Candlelight Processional, I would not say that it is a “must do” every trip, especially with children. My boys liked the performance and enjoyed the live music but definitely had a much better time watching the entertainment at the Christmas party the following night. The adults, however, really enjoyed the Candlelight Processional.

Tips for a Successful Experience with Small Children

Credit: Jaelyn W.

While this performance wasn’t necessarily the highlight of the trip for my children, I did do several things to make the experience more enjoyable for us all. If you plan to bring small children to the Candlelight Processional, consider these tips:

  • Consider booking a dining package. This allows you to build in something fun for your children like character dining while also securing yourself seats for the performance of your choice without waiting in line forever. We waited no more than 30 minutes from the moment we entered the queue to the moment the performance began.
  • Be willing to accept that you will not have front row seats. While we wanted good seats for the performance, having a front row seat the Candlelight Processional wasn’t one of our top needs. We were able to spend more time in the park doing things we like to do instead of waiting for hours in line and still got good seats for the show.
  • Break out the snacks or entertainment as needed. I happened to have caramel corn from Karamell-Kuche in my bag and ended up getting it out for my kids to eat about halfway through the performance. This kept them busy and entertained (and quiet!) during the show.

Is it Worth it?

Credit: Maggie

Overall, I would say that the Candlelight Experience was worth it for the adults, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that my kids loved it. I am glad we were able to experience it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to make sure I scheduled to see it again until my kids are a little older and/or the narrator is one that I really wanted to see.

It certainly was enjoyable, but it wasn’t the highlight of our trip. While I also believe the dining package was crucial to our ability to enjoy the show as it allowed us to wait minimally for the performance, it was very expensive.

Have you taken toddlers or young children to the Candlelight Processional? What was your experience? Do you think it was enjoyable or worth it? Comment below or continue the conversation on our Facebook page!

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