Epcot’s Lights of Winter

As I’m sure most of you have heard, Disney decided not to put up the Lights of Winter arches at Epcot this year. This is one of our very favorite things about the holidays at Walt Disney World, so Lee and I were both very disappointed to hear this. We always ended at least one evening of our holiday visits by sitting on the planters near the arches and watching a full set of the light choreography, which took about 20 minutes.

So, in memory of the Lights of Winter, I found some of my favorite Lights of Winter photographs over the last few years and thought I’d share. I wish I had video, but this is the first year Lee would have had the HD camera there, so I guess that is not to be. Sigh.

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Laura Gilbreath is a native of San Diego, CA. She has been making the trek up Interstate 5 to Disneyland since she was a small child and terrified of talking tikis and hitchhiking ghosts. She and her husband Lee enjoy trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as sailings on the Disney Cruise Line.

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6 Replies to “Epcot’s Lights of Winter”

  1. My boyfriend and I were very sad to hear of Disney’s terrible decision to retire the Lights of Winter. They made a huge impression on us during our first WDW Christmas trip two years ago. We flew in on Christmas Day, and both being huge Gary Sinise fans, we really wanted to make the 8:15 Candlelight Processional he was narrating. However, with our flight due to land just after 6:00, we knew time would be very tight.

    Amazingly, everything worked out: our Magical Express bus left shortly after we boarded, we were first in line to check in at Caribbean Beach, then rushed over to the bus stop, and guess which bus pulled up — Epcot! We had to stop at Guest Relations to process our annual passes, then started power walking through Future World, knowing we’d have to make it all the way to the other side of World Showcase. We kept saying, “We’ll stop and look at decorations later!”

    Then we got to the Lights of Winter. Our power walk simultaneously halted, our jaws dropped and we both stood there in absolute awe and wonder. We agreed it was one of the most beautiful things we’d ever seen, and slowly walked through the archway, as if in a daze…

    Upon reaching the other side, the urgency of our task returned, and we continued our power walk through World Showcase. We didn’t make it into the seating area, but were among the first to line up for standing room behind the amphitheater! We had a terrific view, and were near a speaker, so we heard every word, every note! Later we returned to the Lights of Winter and took many wonderful photographs. We consider it right up there with the Osborne Spectacle and Castle Dreamlights, and cannot fathom why Disney would discontinue this beautiful display.

    Laura replies: Hi Beth. Thank you for sharing that memory with us! I really miss the Lights of Winter this year.

  2. I have the entire thing recorded on my Digital8 at home, when I get there I’ll be mastering a copy. I was far more than just underwhelmed with Epcot this year. Basically the *only* decor is the tree and the stages the storytellers use. 🙁

  3. The path does look empty without our Lights of Winter. We just returned from a wonderful trip — and had many great photopass pictures taken — but couldn’t get our traditional Lights of Winter shot 🙁

    They have added shiny aluminum Christmas trees (in blue and purple) on the stage in front ofthe fountain. They are used for the new choir.

    But, little else was added to the area.

    “Marianela” asked about the tree lighting ceremony — sadly, it too has been cancelled. (It was taken out last year.) Strangly, as of Monday, there was no stage or presents or the like around the base of the tree — just other small, undecorated trees.

    Still, it was a magical vacation — and the other areas are well decorated.

  4. laura ! thank you for the photos . is it me or does it seem that disney is always taking something away every year. starting with country bear jamboree christmas overlay and flower & garden concerts only being weekends . what next no SANTA.

    Laura replies: I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I know I’m really going to miss the Lights on my trip next week!

  5. What?!?!
    I expected to see Lights of Winter this year (my last Disney/Christmas trip was on 2005)…
    What a pity!! It was such a beautiful “show”…

    But the Tree Lightning ceremony is still schedule??? O_o

  6. I agree that this is a sad change. Hopefully they’ll replace the lights with something else, however in the meantime the entire area there around the gateway looked kind of bleak. We were at Epcot on Thanksgiving day and maybe they simply weren’t done decorating yet, but the lighted doves or even the giant gifts under the tree weren’t out, either. Just the tree itself stood there at the entrance to World Showcase, which in comparison seemed kind of unimpressive… 🙁

    Laura replies: Oh no…that’s what I was afraid of – that it would look very bare. Thanks for preparing me…I’ll see it for myself next week. 🙁