First time going in December- Candlelight Processional Dining Packages

We have been to the parks several times during summer. This year we decided to take a trip down for a few days during the Kids winter break the week after Christmas. I know it is crowded that time of the year but for those of you that have been before. Do you recommend Candlelight Processional Dining Package or is it needed? Want to experience some of the things you can’t the rest of the year.

I think it totally depends on how much you really want to see/hear the CP up close and seated, at that price, spending the time on it and the meal, and be willing to dine at the participating restaurants. How old are your kids?

I am one of the rare ones who is satisfied with a few minutes of listening to it and a few glimpses of the narrator - from the rear when passing by. I would rather spend my limited time and money on other things. Christmas is my favorite season there, but I find so many other holiday things at EP to spend my time on.

We did the CP dining package a couple of years go and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I’m not sure what it will be like this year, but in years past about the only way you got a seat for the CP at all was via the dining package. The non-dining package line was very long hours before the show started. We used this opportunity to eat at one of the less popular restaurants on the list … easier to get in and it was a new adventure for us. My only serious suggestion would be to find a seat in the middle or back, and not up close. We rushed to get in the 2nd row, only to discover the orchestra obstructed our view once they came on stage. Still it was a wonderful experience, and I would do it again in a heart beat.

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Weird question……but is the seating comfortable? I’m going with someone who has a bad back.

The seating at American Gardens Theatre is long outdoor benches with attached long backs. They look like wood, but are probably a composite material. You can find photos online.

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Mostly benches. The benches do have backs. (Edited - I didn’t think they had backs, but found a picture)

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I’ve done the dining package twice. It’s really the only way you’re going to get a seat at the show. And if you’re going to eat anyway, you might as well.


I agree it’s all about whether you want to spend your time watching the whole show. With my kids, we usually watch for a little while from the sidewalk and then move on.
It is a beautiful show. I love that they read the Christmas story and have the full orchestra and choir experience. I read that this year instead of bringing in choirs from around the city, they are expanding the EPCOT cast choir, but it should still be great.
If you want a seat you either have to get in line hours before the show or do the candlelight dining package. I just read that the options are limited this year. ADR’s drop Oct 26 at 6am Eastern, and are expected to sell out right away. Included restaurants are Biergarten, Rose and Crown, Coral Reef and Garden Grill. It looks like the package is $16 more than the fixed price at Biergarten and Garden Grill. If you haven’t done Biergarten at Christmas time, it is really fun and festive!

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I’ve done the dining package several times in the past and plan to again this year. I’m wondering about how it may play out this year with only four restaurants available for the package. I’m sure I’ll need to scramble to get a reservation (and I’ll take whatever I manage to get), but I’m wondering if the limited number of restaurants will mean more standby availability.

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Thank you all! I will definitely take what you all have said to heart.

It has to right?

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I’m reserving (hopefully) tonight for a group of 6…think it is too risky or try for a group of 3 so at least the kids get to see it?

And what is fastest in people’s opinion–app? Website?

Searching “dinner” from all listings or going into the specific candlelight listing and searching there? And under candlelight or by the restaurant? So many questions…sorry! Thank you all for ANY help…and good luck everyone!

Packages are now live but appear to be loading slowly! The only way I have seen availability so far is to search from the main dining page and filter on Epcot. They show up under E, “EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Presented by AdventHealth - Candlelight Processional Dining Packages.” I am only seeing times for Coral Reef and Garden Grill right now.

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Yep. Booked garden grill, but it seems they definitely weren’t holding reservations back like we were hoping

I think they just have to be slow loading. There’s no way Biergarten is booked. I have heard zero reports of a single person booking it for the month of December.

Fingers crossed. Everything is currently gone on Dec 4th except a 3pm coral reef

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I saw biergartan when I was booking, but now I can’t get in at all, each system is broken for me. Luckily I booked what I wanted using a Samsung browser through the main dining search.

Are the show times random? I have a 12:20pm reservation that says 8:30pm and a 1:35pm that says 7pm (both GG). Seems like it would be the other way around?

Oh, that’s super interesting! I thought they correlated.

I kind of got what I wanted–we have a reservation, that will work (and I am grateful to have gotten it) at GG, but was hoping for CR