“Dashing through the snow…” WAIT! There might not be snow to dash through during Christmas in Orlando, but that doesn’t mean the holiday fun isn’t everywhere you look!
Many of your favorite Orlando vacation spots go all out to help your family create those memories that only can come once each year. Here are our favorite Orlando Christmas events. All are sure ways to help get your family dreaming of sugarplums and singing carols like children again. Updated for 2022!
Christmas in Orlando- The Best Orlando Christmas Events in 2022
Christmas Events at Orlando Theme Parks
If you have always wanted to be in New York City during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, have no fear, Universal Studios Orlando has brought the parade to you! See the larger than life balloons float by just as they do in real life! Expect to see the Minions, characters from Madagascar and Shrek, and Santa himself!
Head to Universal’s Islands of Adventure to enjoy the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss through Grinchmas. Based on the Dr. Seuss story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, watch the “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular” where all your favorite characters come to life and Dr. Seuss’ Landing becomes alive with the holiday spirit being spread by all the Whos from Who-ville, and yes, even the Grinch himself!
You also don’t want to miss the happenings inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The “can’t miss” event is the nightly glistening snow that falls periodically atop Hogwarts. Enjoy holiday treats and drinks, as well as performances by Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees or the Frog Choir.
Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort will take place November 12, 2022 through January 1, 2023. Is this your first trip to Universal Orlando? Don’t visit without first reading these Universal Orlando tips.
Read more about Christmas at Universal Orlando in 2022.
Over at LEGOLAND Florida in Winterpark, the holidays are celebrated in bricktastic fashion. There will be holiday-themed shows, a giant LEGO Christmas Tree, opportunities to take photos with giant LEGO snowmen and a sleigh and reindeer made of bricks. Of course, you also need to make time to say hello to LEGO Santa.
Leading up to the New Year, the Kids’ New Year’s Party takes place. It features nightly fireworks, special building activities, and dance parties.
If you stay at LEGOLAND Florida Resort Hotel during the Christmas season you can book a special package with includes in-room themed surprises, a special gift for children, and a holiday dinner during each night of your stay.
This year’s holiday events take place on select days from November 25 – December 31, 2022.
Don’t head to LEGOLAND Florida without reading our ultimate LEGOLAND Florida tips first!
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Fun
SeaWorld Orlando is the home to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and his friends during the Christmas season. Of course, Santa will be there as well.
The park is transformed by over three million lights and there are special shows and performances to enjoy. There will be a Christmas parade, snow flurries, an expansive Sea of Trees in the SeaWorld lagoon, ice skating, and fireworks throughout the season.
It is all capped off by a special New Year Eve celebration, come with fireworks.
This year’s Christmas event takes place November 11, 2022 through January 3, 2023.
Walt Disney World
No, we didn’t forget about the mouse! We have an entire guide to dedicated to Christmas at Walt Disney World, including Taste of Epcot International Festival for the Holidays.
Long Winter Naps at Orlando Area Hotels
Several Orlando area resorts have special Christmas fun planned this holiday season:
Head to the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee is Christmas central with over 2 million holiday lights and acre upon acre of decorations. Gaylord Palms is known as one best Christmas hotels in the country! This year’s celebration will take place November 18, 2022 – January 3, 2023.
ICE! is back after a two year hiatus and you won’t want to miss it. This is where two million pounds of ice are expertly carved into scenes and characters from Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Guests are given blue parkas as they enter the freezing room (9 degrees to be precise) to enjoy the scene.
There are special holiday activities and events taking place throughout the season. Highlights include the Shine light show, Feast with the Grinch character breakfast, the Wildlife Rescue augmented reality experience, sledding and snow ball making at the Snow Factory, Cirque: Spiri of Christmas acrobatic show, gingerbread decorating, visits with Santa, Elf Training Academy and so much more!
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort has Santa has a nightly tree lighting, carolers, cookie decorating, photo ops with Santa, and more. This resort claims that Santa and his crew have voted it his all-time favorite resort and have a website dedicated to it.
Get tucked in by Santa’s Elves or wake up or compete in the Elf on a Shelf Challenge at the Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate. So many fun ways to make holiday memories this season with a long winter nap at your favorite hotel.
At Orlando World Center Marriott, Thanksgiving weekend will be filled with a full weekend of activities including crafts, competitions, movies and treats. It is no surprise that it made our list of the best Orlando resorts for families.
And during the Christmas season, they will host the 12 Days of Christmas, December 21, 2022-January 1, 2023. Days will be filled with holiday-themed arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, carolers, dive-in holiday movies, S’mores, games, and more!
Outdoor Ice Skating and Special Events
We Floridians like to pretend that our climate can produce frozen ponds, perfect for ice skating. While we may not have ice made by mother nature, Florida does have ice skating!
Thanks to the city of Winter Park, people can enjoy ice skating under the stars as well as Light Up UCF.
At Light Up UCF, families can enjoy lights, snow, and holiday music sett the mood for this annual holiday tradition. This family-friendly event also has holiday rides, holiday movies, and more to enjoy through out the season.
Note: Light Up UCF has been canceled in 2022.
The town Disney built, Celebration, hosts Florida’s Celebration Florida Winter Wonderland November 24 – December 31, 2022.
In addition to ice skating on a synthetic rink, there are train rides, live musical performances, carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, light shows, and visits with Santa Claus. This event is one of the most popular in central Florida.
Check out our guide on the best places to stay in Orlando.
The Orlando Ballet will perform The Nutcracker at the Dr. Phillips Center in Downtown Orlando December 2-18, 2022.
There will be special family-centric and sensory-friendly performances as well. Watch the beautiful ballerinas dance across the stage as you listen to the classical story unfold as Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet story is played.
Sounds of the Season
The Candlelight Processional at Disney’s Epcot is one of the most magical sounds of the season.
Hear the beautiful story of Christmas featuring different celebrity narrators (Whoopi Goldberg, Josh Gad, and Neil Patrick Harris are among those on the schedule for 2022) in addition to the 50-piece orchestra and mass choir. This is a beautiful sight to see with voices that will have you in awe.
Insider Tip: Make reservations for a festive holiday meal at participating Epcot full-service restaurants and enjoy guaranteed seating at the annual Candlelight Processional! (This event is only held on select nights and attendance will be on a first-come, first-served basis.)
Christmas in Orlando- Tree Lighting Events
Disney Springs will be decked in traditional Disney grandiose style. Holiday decor will adorn nearly every store window in the full spirit of the season. A nightly tree lighting ceremony will take place at the Once Upon a Toy fountain play area.
And if you are in search of holiday trees, Disney Springs debuted their Christmas Tree Trail. Fifteen different Disney decorated trees along with a light “snowfall” as you stroll through the trail.
Visit The Orlando Museum of Art for their Festival of Trees as they have decked out their halls with trees that could reach the sky, adorned with twinkling lights and jewels that shine and sparkle. This year’s event takes place November 13 – 21, 2022.