The holiday season is in full swing at EPCOT!
We’ve shown you all of the tasty festival booths at EPCOT’s Festival of the Holidays, and gingerbread structures to hunt, and enjoyed spotting Olaf around the World Showcase, but even some of the most longstanding traditions at Disney World can see unexpected change from time to time.
There are lots of folks who plan their Disney World vacations around seeing their favorite narrators each year at the Candlelight Processional during EPCOT’s Festival of the Holidays. What we tend to forget though is that these lineups are always subject to change — it doesn’t happen often, but it can. Recently, we saw just this very scenario happen.
Ann-Margret was originally scheduled to perform narrations on both November 28th and 29th this season, however, unexpectedly she had to drop out on short notice after completing all 3 performances on the 28th.
Fortunately, Star Wars fan favorite and Her Universe founder, Ashley Eckstein, was available to step in for each of the performances scheduled for November 29th.
In her post on Instagram she wrote, “My dream came true tonight and I cannot thank the amazing team @DisneyParks enough for giving me this opportunity! I also want to thank all of my family and friends who dropped everything to come and support me tonight at the last minute and to the incredible audiences and Disney Cast Members for making tonight SO special!”
Interestingly, Simu Liu (who you may know from films like Shang Chi and the 10 Rings and Barbie) was also scheduled to perform for this year’s lineup as a new celebrity narrator and also dropped out of the narration lineup. He was quickly replaced on Disney World’s website and Bart Millard (singer/songwriter and lead vocalist for MercyMe) narrated on the days he was originally scheduled to perform.
We’re not completely sure of the circumstances surrounding the switch in the lineup of narrators, however, it seems that when these changes occur Disney is ready to quickly bring in someone else who can step in their place to cover the performances.
UPDATE: Simu Liu shared with Entertainment Weekly that he dropped out due to a health scare. Read the full statement below.
“For those who were looking forward to seeing me, know that I was equally looking forward to be a part of your holidays. The health of myself and my family are of paramount importance to me. After all, that’s the spirit of this season! And so, after some health scares I’ve made the difficult decision to stay at home. Something tells me this isn’t the last you’ve seen of me at Candlelight though… let’s all keep fingers crossed for 2024!”
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Who would you add to the list of celebrity narrators for this year’s Candlelight Processional line up? Tell us all of your picks in the comments below!