Day 14 of Hibiscus & Holly At The Poly 2017, the latest of my Disney Trip Reports, is here! Today is our last full day in Walt Disney World and we spent the day at Epcot where we had lunch, as well as watching the Candlelight Processional with Neil Patrick Harris.
The Hibiscus & Holly at The Poly 2017 Trip Report Index tells you a bit about the planning of this trip, as well as some info about me and my family (the Cast Members!) In short you have me, Michelle; Steve, my husband; and Liam, my son. It also, of course, has the full list of days for the trip.
Day 14: Candlelight Processional
Epcot / Lunch at Biergarten / Candlelight Processional with Neil Patrick Harris
December 20, 2017
You will be able to find all of the images from Hibiscus & Holly At The Poly 2017 in my Flickr Collection of albums from this trip.
To see just today’s photos, you can view this Flickr Album.
Hibiscus & Holly At The Poly: Trip Report Index | Pre-Trip Report
The last full day of any trip is always tinged with a little sadness as it’s that realization that we will have to leave all of the magic behind and head home to boring stuff like work.
Fortunately, while we still had the end of holiday blues, we were going home for Christmas, so it’s all good!
One of the seasonal events at Walt Disney World is the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. In short, it is the telling of the Christmas Story (narrated by a celebrity) accompanied by a choir and 50-piece orchestra.
It is free to watch, but the seating is somewhat limited at the America Gardens Theatre where the show takes place. People will line up for a good couple of hours before the start of the performance so if this is something you want to see you need to get in line!
Alternatively, you can purchase the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package which has limited availability at a variety (16 at the time of writing) of restaurants around Epcot, as well as at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s BoardWalk.
This is the route we went down and booked lunch at the Biergarten Restaurant in the Germany Pavilion in Epcot World Showcase. This would also provide us with guaranteed seats at the 5pm performance.
More on all of this later in the report.
We spent the morning packing our suitcases and then headed over to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) to catch the Monorail over to Epcot.
The TTC is just a short walk from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (where we stayed on this trip) and is so handy to have on our doorstep, as it were!
The Monorail journey to Epcot from TTC is about 10 minutes and so convenient, especially if you are staying at one of the Monorail Resorts.
Once through security at Epcot, we went straight through to World Showcase to make our way around to the Germany Pavilion for our Advance Dining Reservation (ADR).
Epcot is known for its festivals and during the holiday season is Festival of The Holidays is going on. You can experience holiday food, activities, entertainment and traditions in each of the pavilions. We had seen a lot of stuff already, but one thing we had missed was the Lion Dance in the China Pavilion.
There is a scroll in each area telling you about the traditions in that country which is always a fascinating read (for me at least!)
I’ve typed out what the scroll says amongst the photos of the Lion Dance that I took.
The Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, is tied to the Chinese Lunar calendar and takes place at the end of the 12th lunar month. Traditionally, the Lunar New Year is the most important holiday and is celebrated through cleaning, dances, music, fireworks and feasts, all designed to ensure good fortune, luck, and happiness in the next year.
Dating back to the Han Dynasty, over two thousand years ago, villages have presented Lion Dances as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations. The Lion has come to symbolize courage, boldness, strength, stability, and superiority, a hero that protects communities from monsters, ghosts, evil spirits, and giants.
The Lion, which is typically made of papier-mâché, bamboo, burlap, and silk, is brought to life with two performers: one controls the head while the other controls the back. They work together to create realistic movements that are based in martial arts.
The constant movement of the lion’s eyelids, head, and mouth enhances the Lion’s vitality and longevity, while the movement of the tail sweeps away last year’s bad fortune. A mirror placed on the Lions’ head is thought to help expel negative energy and evil spirit through reflection.
The music of drums and cymbals provides not only sounds for the Lion to dance to, but loud noises which also help drive away evil spirits.
At the end of the dance, the Lion unfurls a blessing for the New Year.
Watching a Lion Dance is always exciting, and I’ve not seen one live for decades… since I was a child probably! If you can watch any of the holiday entertainment around World Showcase, make sure you pencil in seeing this one in China!
It was straight round to the Germany Pavilion next as our ADR time was approaching. We had skipped breakfast for an early lunch (as it was the only time available!) but our ticket for the Candlelight Processional wasn’t until the 5pm show.
Depending on the restaurant you can book an ADR for breakfast, lunch or dinner. With the latter being able to be booked for before or after showtime.
The cost is fixed and will depend on the time you dine, along with the restaurant you dine at. If you are using the Disney Dining Plan or Deluxe Disney Dining Plan, it is two table-service credits.
The Candlelight Dining Package is prepaid in advance, and gratuity is not included in the price. As with most popular dining options at Walt Disney World, Advance Dining Reservations are highly recommended and can be booked 180 days in advance.
Check the Disney website for the most up to date information.
Now, I’ll be honest, I can’t remember now if we could choose the time, or if we were just given it with our reservation, or if later shows were “sold out” for the dinner packages.
I’m guessing that it may have been that the later shows were not available, leaving us with the 5pm slot.
I only mention it because I had wanted to see the Candlelight Processional when it was nighttime and 5pm was still a little on the early side. However, it doesn’t really matter, does it?
We were given our tickets – which were stickers – when we paid for our meal.
With all that info out of the way – onto our lunch at Biergarten!
Celebrate Oktoberfest all year long at Biergarten in the Germany Pavilion in Epcot World Showcase!
Authentic German cuisine is served as an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet, and you sit at communal tables with other people. Depending on your party size of course – I think the tables seat up to 8 people.
The restaurant itself is set up as a traditional German village and is very low light too. The tables are different levels surrounding a stage where the oompah band performs live throughout your meal.
We’ve dined here before and enjoyed it then. The food was good, with a variety of tasty options (which I’ll go into more detail below) and the entertainment is fun too. We were happy to re-visit Biergarten and had a great time once again.
Disney’s description of the food is “enjoy such rotating buffet selections as bratwurst, rotisserie chicken, pork schnitzel and a variety of salads. Save room for Bavarian cheesecake and hand-pulled apple strudel, made fresh daily!”
So this means that some of the dishes I list when we visited, may not be there when you do. But to be fair, I think many were the same as our previous visit – especially foods like bratwurst and schnitzel (among others). In our experience of visiting Walt Disney World over the years, menus do not change that much!