David and I don’t normally go to the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. It’s not because we don’t love it, and think its a fantastic show, but because we don’t enjoy the massive lines we see people standing in, in an attempt to get into the show. We have a huge aversion to lines, and will do almost anything to avoid standing in them. We usually just listen to the show from the back of the American Pavilion, and try to catch glimpses of the performers from over the trees. This year, our travel dates happened to correspond with the dates that Neil Patrick Harris was the celebrity narrator for the show, and as huge How I Met Your Mother fans, we felt obligated to get proper seats for the Processional. Because of our aversion to long lines, we decided the best way to do this, would be to book a dining package. Most of the restaurants in Epcot offer a Dining Package in correspondence to the Candlelight Processional, in which you can book either a lunch or dinner package. At sit down restaurants, you get a appetizer, entree, and dessert for a set price. At a buffet, you get the buffet, but at a premium price. Different restaurants vary in price, and availability.
We chose to eat at Biergarten in Germany for our dining package, mainly because it was still available at the last minute when we made our decision, and also because we had yet to do a Biergarten review for the blog. For those that have not been in Biergarten in the Germany Pavilion, it’s Oktoberfest all year long. This hearty buffet features a replica German village, a band of singer and entertainers, and communal, family style dining. A note about this last thing – this can either be fun, or a downer depending on who you get sat with. We’ve had great table mates, and terrible table mates. It’s kind of luck of the draw. The food is good, but not fantastic. We like to think that it’s as good as they can make traditional German food, which is not known for being the best cuisine in the world. Our tickets to the Candlelight Processional where presented to us when we payed the check. The tickets were actually a sticker that you wear on your clothing, to make it easy for Cast Members to see, and distinguish between people who have a dining package, and those who don’t.
After dinner, we were told that people with dining packages should go to the Japan Pavilion, and line up there. The Cast Member told us that lining up 45 minutes before the show would be plenty of time, but we decided to head there early, just to see what the line was like. We ended up getting in line about an hour and a half early, but only because we wanted to have our pick of the seats for photography. We were probably the 15th person in line, and would have still gotten a fantastic seat if we had headed the Cast Members warning about showing up 45 minutes early. It seemed that very few people from the stand-by line were able to get in, because so many people had booked dining packages.
The Candlelight Processional was fantastic, and if you’ve never seen it, we highly recommend booking a dining package for your first time experiencing it. You will have a nice, relaxing meal at a good restaurant, and won’t spend multiple hours of precious vacation time, hoping you might get a seat. Reservations can be booked for a dining package online! Enjoy the Processional, and try not to be too disappointed that Neil Patrick Harris (aka Barney Stinson) doesn’t high-five anyone.