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Recently there have been quite a few changes that impact the cost of a Walt Disney World vacation, including price increases in the Magic Your Way ticket program. Sometimes lost amid the big changes are the subtle tweaks, the ones that you don't notice until it's too late. Such is the focus of our discussion today as we will look at the recent changes in how the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package for 2006 has been altered.


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It's important to look at this now, because as we enter the month of September, we want to start thinking about that holiday trip to Walt Disney World. If you hope to attend a Candlelight Processional performance and want to book a Candlelight Processional Dinner Package, you should do it as soon as possible.

The shining star for Epcot's holiday celebration is the Candlelight Processional, a 45-minute show performed three times nightly, at 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. from November 24 through December 30.

Held at the American Gardens Theater across from the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, this amazing presentation includes guest narrators who tell the Christmas story in between Christmas carols sung by an amazing choir accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra. Among those serving as narrators for 2006 include Rita Moreno, Steven Curtis Chapman, Maureen McGovern, and Gary Sinise.

There is no charge to attend the Candlelight Processional, but guests who have purchased the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package for that performance are guaranteed seating for that performance. With limited seating on a first-come, first-served basis for the rest, those who want to attend should line up as early as 45 minutes before the performance.

The Candlelight Processional Dinner Package includes reserved seating for a specified performance and dinner at a World Showcase restaurant. Both the performance time and restaurant seating time are selected at booking.

You need a credit card to book the package, which guarantees seating for the performance and seating for the meal. This year, all dining will now be prior to the guest's preferred Candlelight Processional show time. This will allow you to go directly to the restaurant at their meal time, and get your show seating badge during their meal.

At the time of the booking, you declare your preferred performance date and time plus the restaurant of choice. Your meal time window is based on which performance time you choose.

You pay for your meal in full at the restaurant where you receive your seating name badges. Unlike in previous years, you do not have to pick up your package voucher/badge in advance. Instead you go to your restaurant for your meal before the show. [Note: The show takes place rain or shine.]

The Candlelight Processional narrators for 2006 are:

  • Nov 24, 25, 26 – David Robinson
  • Nov 27, 28, 29 – John O'Hurley
  • Nov 30; Dec 01, 02 – Rita Moreno
  • Dec 03, 04, 05 – Not yet announced
  • Dec 06, 07, 08 – Not yet announced
  • Dec 09, 10, 11 – Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Dec 12, 13, 14 – Maureen McGovern
  • Dec 15, 16, 17 – Kirk Cameron
  • Dec 18, 19, 20 – Lou Diamond Phillips
  • Dec 21, 22, 23 – Cuba Gooding Jr.
  • Dec 24, 25, 26 – Gary Sinise
  • Dec 27, 28, 29, 30 – Marlee Matlin

[Note: Narrators are subject to change without notice.]

Dining Packages are not available for the Sunday, December 3, 5:00 performance.

  • 5:00 pm Performance – Dining seating occurs between 1:45-2:45.
  • 6:45 pm Performance – Dining seating occurs between 3:30-4:30.
  • 8:30 pm Performances – Dining seating occurs between 5:00-6:00.

Participating World Showcase restaurants and their Candlelight Processional Dinner package prices are:

Tier 1 Restaurants (includes full buffet, dessert & non-alcoholic beverage):

  • Biergarten – Germany Pavilion
  • The Garden Grill Restaurant – The Land

5:00 p.m. Candlelight Processional

  • Adult (age 10+) 27.99 plus tax and gratuity
  • Child (ages 3-9) 11.99 plus tax and gratuity

6:45 p.m. & 8:15 p.m. Candlelight Processional

  • Adult (age 10+) 29.99 plus tax and gratuity
  • Child (ages 3-9) 12.99 plus tax and gratuity

Tier 2 Restaurants (includes appetizer, entrée, dessert & non-alcoholic beverage):

  • Nine Dragons – China Pavilion
  • Rose & Crown – United Kingdom Pavilion
  • Restaurant Marrakesh – Morocco Pavilion
  • San Angel Inn – Mexico Pavilion

5:00 p.m. Candlelight Processional

  • Adult (age 10+) 34.99 plus tax and gratuity
  • Child (ages 3-9) 11.99 plus tax and gratuity

6:45 p.m. & 8:15 p.m. Candlelight Processional

  • Adult (age 10+) 39.99 plus tax and gratuity
  • Child (ages 3-9) 12.99 plus tax and gratuity

Tier 3 Restaurants (includes appetizer, entrée, dessert & non-alcoholic beverage)

  • Chefs de France – France Pavilion
  • Coral Reef – The Living Seas
  • L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante – Italy Pavilion
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse – Canada Pavilion
  • Mitsukoshi Teppanyaki Dining Room – Japan Pavilion (excludes lobster entrées)

5:00 p.m. Candlelight Processional

  • Adult (age 10+) 39.99 plus tax and gratuity
  • Child (ages 3-9) 11.99 plus tax and gratuity

6:45 p.m. & 8:15 p.m. Candlelight Processional

  • Adult (age 10+) 45.99 plus tax and gratuity
  • Child (ages 3-9) 12.99 plus tax and gratuity

Mike's thoughts and recommendations

The most frequently asked questions regarding the Candlelight Processional and the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package are "What performance time is best to book?" "What are the best deals regarding the package?" and "Is it worth it?" Let's address these one at a time.

What performance time is best to book?

That could be a matter of individual choice but let's look at it more closely.

Prior to this year's changes in the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package, I always attended the first performance of the evening. There were many reasons for this choice. The main reason was that I liked to schedule that evening with three main events: The Candlelight Processional, a very relaxing dinner, and Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.

In previous years, I would book the 5:00 performance and a 6:30 reservation at my choice restaurant. That gave me plenty of time to stroll over to my favorite spot to watch Illuminations. Some have pointed out that the 5:00 performance lacks charm because the early performance begins at dusk. I never noticed it as being a problem and I've seen the 5:00 p.m. performance three times. Daylight is not a factor.

What are the best deals regarding the package?

What is a factor this year is the connection between the performance time and your meal time; that's where you have to be careful. If I book the 5 p.m. performance now I am limited to lunch, and not dinner, because the dining hours for the 5 p.m. performance are now between 1:45 and 2:45 in the afternoon—then shouldn't we call it the Candlelight Processional Luncheon Package? That means I'm eating lunch. But am I eating lunch at lunch prices?

Take a look at the following list of all the tiered restaurants and the average cost for lunch or dinner at the restaurants. Notice the difference in price when you book the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package.

Note that all prices are based on average prices of the appetizers, entrees, and deserts for each restaurant. The same tax and gratuity percentage was applied for each meal. Again these are average meal costs; your individual cost may vary. The numbers inside the parentheses indicate the cost difference with the dinner package.

CoL = Average cost of a lunch consisting of an appetizer, entree, and dessert at this restaurant. Plus tax and tip.
L+Candlelight = Cost of flat-fee package of lunch at restaurant plus guaranteed seating at 5:00 performance of Candlelight Processional. In parentheses, the difference in cost between CoL and L+Candlelight.
CoD = Average cost of a dinner consisting of an appetizer, entree, and dessert at this restaurant. Plus tax and tip.
D+Candlelight = Cost of flat-fee package of dinner at restaurant plus guaranteed seating at 6:45 or 8:15 performance of Candlelight Processional. In parentheses, the difference in cost between CoD and D+Candlelight.

RestaurantCoLL+CandlelightCoDD+Candlelight
Tier 1 Restaurants
Biergarten$25$35 (+10)$30$38 (+8)
Garden Grill$27$35 (+8)$35$38 (+3)
Tier 2 Restaurants
Nine Dragons$30$44 (+14)$39$50 (+11)
Rose and Crown$33$44 (+11)$38$50 (+12)
Restaurant Marakesh$39$44 (+5)$49$50 (+1)
San Angel Inn$32$44 (+12)$40$50 (+10)
Tier 2 Restaurants
Chefs du France$35$50 (+15)$44$57 (+13)
Coral Reef$36$50 (+14)$53$57 (+4)
Alfredo's$36$50 (+14)$46$57 (+11)
Le Cellier$41$50 (+9)$51$57 (+6)
Teppanyaki$43$50 (+7)$45$57 (+12)

As you can see, the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package adds a bit to the cost of lunch (between $5 and $15) or dinner (between $1 and $13) just for the privilege of a guaranteed seat at a preferred performance. The worse deals are lunch, especially at Nine Dragons, Chefs du France, Coral Reef, and Alfredo's. The least expensive deals are dinner at Garden Grill, Restaurant Marakesh, and Coral Reef.

You might ask, "Is it coincidence that the most expensive prices for the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package have been placed within the hours most people dine?" Of course not. But what is more disturbing is that guests will be charged dinner prices for lunch times.

Is it worth it? The changes for 2006, guests will pay higher prices for meals just for the privilege of a guaranteed seat at a specified performance. If that is important to you then by all means, go for the Candlelight Processional Package. As for me, I'll gladly wait in line with my trusty Disney Dining Experience card in my wallet; that is, unless I'm on the Disney Dining Plan.

Next Time

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party comes early this year. We'll take a look at the cost, how to save money on the tickets, what to expect, and how to do the party right.

Class dismissed.



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(Send an email to Mike Scopa)

Mike Scopa first visited Walt Disney World almost 30 years ago. Planning a trip was simple back in the 1970s, with only the Magic Kingdom and a few Disney-owned resorts in Orlando.
Over the past 11 years, Mike has been perfecting his WDW trip-planning skills as he has hosted chats and bulletin boards about Disney for a Fortune 100 company.