Epcot Holiday Storytellers

holiday arch at world showcaseObviously, the resorts aren't the only area of Walt Disney World to celebrate the season. It's well-known that Epcot not only has beautiful holiday displays, but also acknowledges the multicultural diversity that makes up our planet by sponsoring "holiday storytellers" in each pavilion around World Showcase. WDWIG photographer Linda Eckwerth recently had the chance to enjoy these storytellers for the first time:

 


Within the past year, I've been very fortunate. I have made several trips to Walt Disney World and have had the opportunity to see and experience many of the major highlights that each of the parks, hotels and restaurants have to offer. In a phrase, I have been spoiled! On my recent trip, Deb asked if I would be willing to take photos of the Holiday Storytellers around World Showcase. At first, I gave her a funny, "Bah, humbug!" look, but when I thought about how lucky I have been this past year with my many visits, I reluctantly said, "Sure." When I met up with some other friends, Tod and Sue, and explained what was on the agenda for the day, they gave me the same look as I had given Deb. Then they laughed and admitted it would be something different. All we really needed to do was take the photo and go on our way. Well, what a surprise we were in for!



mexico 3 kingsThe three of us made our way to Epcot for the 11 a.m. rope drop to World Showcase and immediately headed for Mexico. As the Mexican storytellers, The Three Kings, approached their stage, we were told to move closer. We were the only audience! The entire story took about 10 minutes and the Three Kings were more than willing to pose for photos afterwards.

 




norway julenissenUpon consulting our guide map, we found that the shows were timed so that we could get to each country just in time to see the storytellers in succession.

 

On we went to Norway. There we encountered a most delightful Gnome, Julenissen. He was very funny and interacted with the audience the whole time.

 





monkey kingAfter Norway, we strolled to China and had to wait for the Monkey King to appear -- for some reason he was running late. Tod and Sue went looking for a cold beverage, while I waited for the Monkey King to show.



Was I glad I did! Again, I was his only audience for the first few minutes, until Tod and Sue returned. He kept us in stitches with laughter the entire time -- his story made the wait worthwhile. In fact, the three of us talked about him for the rest of the trip.


japan daruma doll sellerAlthough the Santa in Germany was not very talkative, we did get some photos and he wished us Merry Christmas -- perhaps we missed his story. By the time we got to Japan, though, we once again had our own private show. The Daruma Doll seller was very entertaining, and talked about how the Japanese celebrate the New Year. Part of the celebration involves the Daruma doll, which has no eyes. You make a wish and paint one eye; if your wish comes true before the end of the year, you get to paint the other eye.


We continued our journey around the World, through Morocco, Italy, America, France, the United Kingdom, Canada -- taking photos and listening to each of the storytellers describe the holidays in their country. What I thought might be a ho-hum morning, ended up being a delightful experience that resulted in big smiles on our faces. I would recommend taking a few minutes and catching each of the storytellers if you ever get the chance to visit Epcot during the holiday season. It was more than just educational -- it brought several good belly laughs, too!