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“Dashing through the snow…” WAIT! There might not be snow to dash through in Orlando, Florida during the winter holidays, but that doesn’t mean the holidays aren’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 2019!
We Floridians long 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.
The town Disney built, Celebration, hosts Florida’s Now Snowing in Celebration. 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 thebest places to stay in Orlando.
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.
Over at LEGOLAND Florida in Winterpark, the holidays are celebrated in bricktastic fashion. There will be two holiday-themed shows, 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.
From December 26-31, the Kids’ New Year’s Party takes place. It features nightly fireworks, special building activities, and dance parties. If you stay at LEGOLAND Beach Retreat 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.
Don’t head to LEGOLAND Florida without reading our ultimate LEGOLAND Florida tips first!
SeaWorld Orlando is the home to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and his friends during the Christmas season. The park is transformed by over three million lights and there are special shows and performances to enjoy. It is all capped off by a special New Year Eve celebration, come with fireworks.
No, we didn’t forget about the mouse! We have an entire guide to dedicated to Christmas at Walt Disney World, including Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in Magic Kingdom.
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. There are special holiday activities and events taking place throughout the season.
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 and have breakfast with Santa 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.
The Orlando Ballet will perform The Nutcracker at the Dr. Phillips Center in Downtown Orlando during December. There will be special family-centric 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.
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 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.)
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.