By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

The Candlelight Processional (and Candlelight Dinner Package) at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute

(This page is one of a series explicating Walt Disney World lingo, abbreviations, and FAQ for first time family visitors to Walt Disney World.)


The Candlelight Processional is a well-loved part of Disney World’s Christmas season celebrations.

It’s performed in the American Gardens Theater in the American Adventure pavilion at Epcot from the Friday after Thanksgiving until December 30, as part of Epcot’s Holidays Around the World celebration.

The show happens three times each evening–5p, 6.45p, and 8.15p.  (Note that the same Friday after Thanksgiving, the Illuminations showtime and park closing time shifts to 9.30, allowing time between the last Candlelight show and Illuminations.)

It includes an orchestra and mass choir performing traditional and contemporary Christmas carols, and a guest celebrity narrator who presents a gospel-based version of the Christmas story.

A Disney tradition since it debuted at Disneyland in the late 50s, the Candlelight Processional can be a hard show to get in to.

Each show has two lines.  One is reserved for those who bought Candlelight Dinner Packages, and the other for walk-ups.

Those who bought the packages are guaranteed a seat, and seated first.

Walk ups will then be admitted to any available remaining seats–and sometimes there aren’t nearly enough for all those standing in line.


Despite the name, packages are available for both lunch and dinner–the lunch package is required for those intending to see the 5p show.

Purchase of the Candlelight Dinner package–which opened for booking for 2016 on July 1–grants guaranteed seating at the Candlelight Processional–plus a meal!

Prices vary by whether dinner or lunch, by the restaurant reserved, and by age (younger vs. older than 10–kids younger than 3 are free).

2017 prices will likely range for those older than 9 from $40 to over $80.

Users of the Disney Dining Plan can also book this package, at the price of two table service meal credits.

This is a very special show for those for whom it might interest, and hence I recommend the Candlelight Dinner Package as a way to be sure you get a seat!

Those not sure of the appeal of the show should know it isn’t the singing of a bunch of songs like “I’ll be Home for Christmas”–it’s much more like the nativity gospels brought to life through narration and song.  That is, this isn’t a “holiday” show–it’s a Christmas show.

For more, see Disney’s web page on the Candlelight Processional and the Candlelight Dinner Package here.

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1 DisneyDiningAgent { 06.07.12 at 11:33 am }

We start booking for this on 6-26-12…online at at 6:00am edt and over the phone at 7:00am edt over the phone.

2 Dave { 06.07.12 at 5:34 pm }

Thanks! This is very helpful!

3 Bonnie { 06.10.12 at 2:32 pm }

Are regular (non-CP package) ADRs also going to be made available for Coral Reef, Le Cellier, Garden Grill, and Rose & Crown on June 26? (currently no ADRs of any kind can be made for these restuarants from November 23 on)

4 Dave { 06.10.12 at 2:39 pm }

Hey Bonnie, great question…let me see if I can find out…

5 DisneyDiningAgent { 06.10.12 at 3:00 pm }

Hi Bonnie, no word on that as of yet. I anticipate that they will be, when I know for sure I will post here.

6 Dave { 06.10.12 at 3:08 pm }

Thanks, DisneyDiningAgent!

7 Scott { 06.15.12 at 2:06 pm }

How important do you view the Narrator for the Candlelight Processional. Also, do you think it makes sense to use the two credits under the dining plan or pay outright for the Dinner package?

8 Scott { 06.15.12 at 2:08 pm }

**The prior should say How important…

9 Dave { 06.15.12 at 3:10 pm }

Hey Scott. I don’t think the narrator is nearly as important as picking a low-crowd week…but if there’s one that really appeals to your family during a visit, switch your Epcot visit to that night.

The trade off between cash and dining plan depends on how else you would use the dining plan credits. If you have no great use of both, then plan credits are better. If you have delightful options for the credits, then pay cash…

10 Dave { 06.15.12 at 3:10 pm }

Got you, edited it.

11 Scott { 06.15.12 at 7:54 pm }

Dave…..thanks for the information. We are looking at the week of December 9, which you have rated as number one of the year. I see your point about the use of the dining credits. I will have to evaluate this a bit more.

12 Dave { 06.16.12 at 6:53 am }

Scott, that’s a great week!

13 Scott { 06.16.12 at 12:52 pm }

Dave, thanks very much. My family and I are looking forward to it. This will be our first visit at Christmas time.
My wife and I have some figuring to do with regards to the use of the dining credits and the booking of the Candlelight Dinner package. Obviously we want to maximize the use of the credits.

14 Gaylene { 07.17.12 at 12:57 am }

You have been so helpful with the planning of first CHRISTMAS disney trip (December 7 – 16, 2012; WE ARE SO EXCITED!!! We have all of our table service meals booked with the exception of one. We have been holding this one ticket for the “Be our Guest”. However, now I am not sure we want to use the ticket for a table service at the “be our guest” restaurant since it looks like you can have a quick service meal there as well. My concern is: If we use a quick service meal for be our guest will we get to see the ball room or is that only for a table service credit? And, I see on one site that be our guest is not a character meal and then on another I see where it is. Could you clarify?
And my last concern….we are hoping to see the candlelight ceremony, but we have not purchased it as a dinner package. Do you think we will get to see it without purchasing the dinner package? We will have a family member in a wheelchair so we know our seating is limited. Please share your thoughts.
Thank you,

15 Dave { 07.17.12 at 6:45 am }

Hi Gaylene. glad the site has helped! Honestly, I haven’t tracked Be Our Guest closely yet–have been waiting for reservations to open up, which I think they’ll do later this month, so ‘m not sure if quick service guest will see the ballroom. I also don’t think its a character meal. Re the dinner package–without it, you could wait in line for an hour and still not get in, so it’s a question of whether or not you are willing to risk that…

16 Don { 07.18.12 at 10:12 am }

I will be visiting Animal Kingdon the last week in November. How plentiful are the animals for viewing on the Kilimanjaro Safaris in this cooler weather?

17 Dave { 07.18.12 at 3:35 pm }

Don–they are very plentiful! Most of them like the cooler weather…

18 Teresa Reaves { 08.27.12 at 2:41 pm }

Dave, we will be arriving at Disney World on Dec. 1, 2012. is it to late to reserve The Candlelight Dinner Package?

19 Dave { 08.27.12 at 4:36 pm }

Hi Teresa–I don’t know which–if any–are sold out. Check through the phone number or links here:

20 Solomani { 10.08.12 at 5:02 am }

Been reading all the events at Disney and also here and I noticed that Disney seems to have resisted, at least partially, the “happy holiday” PC syndrome. They still have specific Christian things going on in the park. Is this purely due to weight of tradition?

(for context, I am not an American but an Australian. So this maybe obvious to natives apologies if it is!)

21 Dave { 10.08.12 at 6:42 am }

Hey, Solomani, it’s not PC in two ways: in general, it’s about the Christmas season, and not about “the holidays,” and the Processional specifically includes gospel readings and the nativity and such.

I can only speculate about why and I think the only obvious answer is that it works commercially for them!

22 Solomani { 10.08.12 at 8:50 pm }

Thanks for the info. Kudos on your blog. Wealth of information here.

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