PHOTOS, VIDEOS: Holiday Storytellers Return Around World Showcase for 2023 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

Kyle Silagyi

PHOTOS, VIDEOS: Holiday Storytellers Return Around World Showcase for 2023 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

The 2023 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays commenced on November 24, bringing with it the return of holiday storytellers across the World Showcase neighborhood of the park. The performers, who are a staple of the annual event, invite guests to join them in the festive traditions of their respective cultures, sometimes through spoken word and other times through song and dance.

Holiday Storytellers Return for 2023 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

The vast majority of holiday storytellers appear throughout the park until the end of the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, which this year runs through December 30.

Mexico Pavilion – Las Posadas Celebration

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Mariachi Cobre joins the storytellers in the celebration of Las Posadas.

Las Posadas Celebration EPCOT 2023 2

The dancers act out the story of Mary and Joseph searching for a place to stay.

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Las Posadas Celebration EPCOT 2023 4

The Las Posadas celebration is performed from Sunday through Thursday. Listed showtimes are:

  • 11:05 a.m.
  • 11:55 a.m.
  • 12:45 p.m.
  • 2:45 p.m.
  • 3:50 p.m.
  • 4:55 p.m.

Check out our video of last year’s performance here:

Norway Pavilion – A Mischievous Magical Barn Santa

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Over at the Norway Pavilion, Sigrid tells about her holiday traditions growing up on a farm.

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Even though Sigrid is skeptical that the Barn Santa exists, he shows up to the performance to work his magic and help her through her presentation.

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The mischievous Santa appears daily throughout the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. Listed showtimes are:

  • 11:35 a.m.
  • 12:20 p.m.
  • 1:10 p.m.
  • 2:05 p.m.
  • 4:15 p.m.
  • 5:20 p.m.
  • 6:15 p.m.
  • 7:10 p.m.

Check out our video of a past year’s performance here:

China Pavilion – Chinese Lion Dancer

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To celebrate Lunar New Year, a traditional lion dance is performed as a narrator tells the story of the lion.

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Last year, the lion was red, which symbolizes good fortune in Chinese culture. During the performance we caught this year, the lion was yellow, which represents freedom from worldly cares.

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The Chinese Lion Dancer performs daily throughout the festival.

Check out our video of a past year’s performance here:

Italy Pavilion – La Befana

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Visitors to the Italy Pavilion can encounter La Befana, a good witch who brings gifts on the Eve of the Epiphany in January.

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She energetically tells her story of how she came to deliver gifts, and her own small role in the Nativity.

La Befana Italy Epcot 2023 4

La Befana can be found daily throughout the 2023 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays at the following showtimes:

  • 11:15 a.m.
  • 12:15 p.m.
  • 1 p.m.
  • 2 p.m.
  • 3:30 p.m.
  • 4:15 p.m.
  • 5 p.m.
  • 5:50 p.m.

Check out our video of a past year’s performance here:

Japan Pavilion – Daruma Storyteller

EPCOT FotH 2023 Japan Storyteller 5

The Japan Pavilion plays host to a presentation about the Daruma doll and how the nation traditionally welcomes the new year.

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The Daruma Storyteller performs daily at the following showtimes:

  • 11: 35 a.m.
  • 12:35 p.m.
  • 1:40 p.m.
  • 2:40 p.m.
  • 4:20 p.m.
  • 5:15 p.m.
  • 6 p.m.
  • 6:45 p.m.

Check out our video of a past year’s performance here:

Between Morocco and France Pavilions – Hanukkah Storyteller

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Learn about the Jewish festival of lights by hearing about Hanukkah from a musical Storyteller.

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The Storyteller shares the story and symbols of the holiday — including the hanukiah, or menorah, and the game of dreidel — punctuated by several songs.

Hanukkah Storyteller EPCOT 2023 4

You can find the Hanukkah Storyteller between the France and Morocco Pavilions. They perform daily throughout the festival at the following times:

  • 10:30 a.m.
  • 11:40 a.m.
  • 12;40 p.m.
  • 1:35 p.m.
  • 2:35 p.m.
  • 4 p.m.
  • 5 p.m.
  • 5:45 p.m.

Check out our video of a past year’s performance here:

France Pavilion – Père Noël

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Père Noël visits the France Pavilion to explain some French traditions through a letter from a young child, and how she celebrates Christmas Eve with her family.

Pere Noel EPCOT 2023 4

Père Noël performs daily at these times:

  • 10 a.m.
  • 11:05 a.m.
  • 12:10 p.m.
  • 12:50 p.m.
  • 2:20 p.m.
  • 3:25 p.m.
  • 4:30 p.m.
  • 5:15 p.m.

Check out our video of a past year’s performance here:

United Kingdom Pavilion – Father Christmas

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Clad in a green suit and a wreath of holly on his head, Father Christmas gives a spirited lecture, highlighting many of the holiday traditions we celebrate today that originated in the United Kingdom, like Christmas cards, mistletoe, and the song “Deck the Halls.”

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Father Christmas can be found each day throughout the 2023 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays at these times:

  • 11:30 a.m.
  • 12:30 p.m.
  • 1:30 p.m.
  • 2:25 p.m.
  • 4 p.m.
  • 5:10 p.m.
  • 6 p.m.
  • 6:45 p.m.

Check out our video of a past year’s performance here:

Canada Pavilion – Canadian Holiday Voyageurs

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Last but not least, head over to The Mill Stage to take a jolly musical tour of Canada with the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs, who sing holiday songs from across the country, including a few you might know!

Canadian Holiday Voyageurs 2023 Epcot 1

These holiday storytellers perform daily throughout the festival at these times:

  • 1:40 p.m.
  • 2:45 p.m.
  • 3:50 p.m.
  • 4:55 p.m.
  • 6 p.m.
  • 6:40 p.m.

Check out our video of a past year’s performance here:

Santa Claus Meet and Greet at the Odyssey Pavilion

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Santa Claus is the most unique of the advertised ‘holiday storytellers,’ as not only does he not appear in the World Showcase neighborhood of the park, but he also doesn’t share a story or celebrate cultural traditions. He instead appears as a meet-and-greet character inside the Odyssey Pavilion.

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Santa meets guests from inside his ‘sleigh,’ which is actually a series of spaced pieces that look like a grand sled from a head-on view. The sleigh is situated in front of a cartoonish winter wonderland backdrop, which replaces last year’s photo-realistic snow-lined forest background.

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Santa Claus wears his iconic fur-lined red coat, thick brown belt, and classic hat.

holiday storytellers, including Santa Claus, at International Festival of the Holidays 2023

The Santa Claus meet and greet is available through December 24 (we hear he has plans that night). It takes place daily from 11 p.m.–12 p.m., 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m., 2 p.m.–3 p.m., 3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m., 5 p.m.–6 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.–7 p.m. Guests partaking also receive a complimentary ornament inspired by “The Santa Clauses” Disney+ series.

Which holiday storyteller is your favorite for this year’s EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays? Let us know in the comments.

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