Day 5: Festival of The Holidays /  H&H@ TP 2017

Day 5 of Hibiscus & Holly At The Poly 2017, the latest of my Disney Trip Reports, is here! Today we are at Epcot for the Epcot International Festival of The Holidays in World Showcase. We spend most of the day here before heading back to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to watch the Happily Every After fireworks from the beach.

The Trip Report Index tells you a bit about the planning of this trip, as well as some info about me and my family (the Cast Members!) In short you have me, Michelle; Steve, my husband, and Liam, my son. It also, of course, has the full list of days for Hibiscus & Holly At The Poly 2017.

Epcot International Festival of The Holidays

Day 5: Epcot International Festival Of The Holidays

Epcot / Happily Ever After Fireworks from Poly
December 11, 2017
My trip reports are photo heavy! I include single images, or smaller galleries – either way, pages may take a little longer to load depending on your internet connection speed. You can click on gallery images to enlarge them. I don’t include all the photos I take, but you will be able to find all of the images from Hibiscus & Holly At The Poly 2017 in my Flickr Collection of albums from this trip. To see just today’s extra photos, you can view this Flickr Album.
Hibiscus & Holly At The Poly: Trip Report Index | Pre-Trip Report | About Us
Some days are split into several parts; please use the page numbers at the bottom of the post to continue reading.


We took the Monorail from Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), which is just a quick walk from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, over to Epcot today for the Epcot International Festival of The Holidays.

We were really looking forward to visiting the Pavilions in Epcot World Showcase where the Festival is held. It used to be called Holidays Around The World, but they changed the name this year for some reason. I think maybe to tie in with the other three festivals that they have during the year (Food & Wine, Arts, and Flower & Garden)?

Before catching the Monorail we had to go through security and bag check. I spoke about the security situation at TTC back on Day 2, and when visiting Epcot from TTC. This is where it is mildly annoying as you have to go through security twice – once at the Transportation and Ticket Center, and then again when you get to Epcot. It may be a different set up since our visit, and I hope it is. Who wants to line up twice for the same thing?!

Epcot Monorail

Epcot - Spaceship Earth

Epcot - Spaceship Earth

Epcot Christmas Decorations

After doing security and scanning our Magic Bands at the [not there any more] turnstiles, we were finally in Epcot! We were beginning to really notice the crowd levels by now, and there was quite the line not only getting into the park, but also for Spaceship Earth. I’m sure since they added FastPass+ the line for this ride has gone crazy!

But before getting as far as Spaceship Earth, we stopped to take some photos of the seasonal topiaries in front of it. There was a Disney Photographer taking pictures, but the line was long, so we didn’t bother to wait. I’m pretty sure Memory Maker is included with the park tickets (from the UK at least) these days, and I’m glad we didn’t pay out for it this year as we didn’t make use of the Disney Photographers this year.

The topiaries were Mickey and Minnie, as well as Pluto. There was also Bambi, Thumper and Flower (photos of the latter two I got later in the day) and also Stitch.

Epcot Epcot Christmas Topiaries

Bambi - Epcot Epcot Christmas Topiaries

Bambi - Epcot Epcot Christmas Topiaries

Stitch - Epcot Epcot Christmas Topiaries

Epcot - The Land

Soarin' - Epcot

Before hitting up Epcot World Showcase and the Festival of The Holidays, we made our way into The Land for our FastPass+ for Soarin’. We haven’t been on this ride since 2011 and our very first trip! I can’t believe it’s actually been that long! Since then it has changed to Soarin’ Around The World with a new film. The ride seats are still the same, you sit in three rows and are elevated up to simulate being in a hang glider, soaring (see what they did?) over locations, landscapes, and landmarks across six continents of the world.

Plus-Size Rider Guide: I took a photo of the ride seats so you can see them below. I would estimate that they are about 18″ wide. When sitting down, pull the seat belt all the way out and if you can’t reach round to clip it in place, ask a member of your party to help. Or if you’re flying solo, a Cast Member will be happy to help you. The loop in the centre of the seat is optional – mainly for children to prevent them from slipping.

Ride Seats - Soarin' - Epcot

Bearing in mind I was a solid UK size 34 (US size 32) on this trip, and just about managed. The Cast Member that helped fasten my seat belt in, really yanked it round and into the clip. I would say at my size back then is about the max for fitting on this ride. I carry all of my weight around my middle, making the seat belt the trickiest part of it. The ride is about 5 minutes long so any discomfort felt is only for a short time.

Ultimately if you are smaller than size me at the time of riding this, you’ll be fine with fitting!

Oh, and those baskets underneath are for your loose items – if you have slip-on shoes like flip-flops you might want to take them off!

Back to the ride, which as I said now flies you over six continents across the world. According to Wiki you soar over:

  • Matterhorn in Switzerland
  • Isfjord, Greenland
  • Sydney Harbour in Sydney, Australia
  • Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany
  • Kilimanjaro National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
  • The Great Wall of China in China
  • The Great Pyramids in Egypt
  • Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh, India
  • West and East Mitten Buttes in Monument Valley, Arizona, United States
  • Lau Islands, Fiji
  • Iguazu Falls, Argentina
  • Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
  • Epcot in Florida, USA

Soarin' - Epcot

Soarin' - Epcot

Soarin' - Epcot

Soarin' - Epcot

It was a pretty awesome ride, but just as we were approaching the finale over Epcot, the ride stopped abruptly, the lights came on, and we were brought back down to the ground. No word that there was a malfunction and everyone just kinda sat there waiting for an announcement. Nothing came, so people just unclipped their seat belts and left the ride area.

Steve did ask a Cast Member if there had been a problem with the ride. Apparently yes there had been, and he promptly gave us some FastPass tickets which Liam used later for Test Track.

We then made our way over to World Showcase where you’ll find the Epcot Christmas tree just before the entrance.

Epcot Christmas Tree

Along the way we saw some more topiaries – Goofy and Donald Duck, and a snowman too. There was also a stage set up by the fountains – not sure what that was for, but it had some colourful Christmas trees on it!

I also bought myself a bottle of Cranberry Sprite… it was not very nice – bleh! We also saw a Hidden Mickey (I am not sure where, I thought it was by the Monorail Station, but it doesn’t make sense for it to be there due to where it was in my camera roll) and I’m also popping in a wreath from outside the Mouse Gear store as we must have passed that along the way too!

Epcot Christmas Tree

Epcot Snowman Topiary

Epcot Christmas Trees

Cranberry Sprite

Epcot Hidden Mickey

Mousegears Wreath

Epcot Christmas Garland

The fact that the wreaths and decor in and around Mouse Gear have three gears laid out as Mickey makes me smile. Are they classed as seasonal Hidden Mickeys?!

Okay, back to the Epcot Christmas Tree which was of course huge, (I wonder which is the biggest of all the Disney Park trees?) and very simply (I think) decorated with gold tinsel garlands, bells, colourful baubles, globes, and ornaments with different country flags on them.

There were also pennants with holiday wishes in different languages nestled amongst the other decorations too. Sitting atop the tree was an angel holding the world above her head. A very fitting tree for this Disney Park I think.

Epcot Christmas Tree

Epcot Christmas Tree Angel

Epcot Christmas Tree

Epcot Christmas Tree

Epcot Christmas Tree

Epcot Christmas Tree

Epcot Christmas Tree

Epcot Christmas Tree