Every holiday season, Orlando dazzles with dozens of joyful holiday celebrations, parades and live entertainment. And beyond our world-famous theme parks, Orlando's jubilant cheer continues with unexpected surprises from snowy pool parties to millions of pounds of carved ice. If you're wishing for extra holly jolly family fun, your dreams are guaranteed to come true with our list of ten holiday events outside Orlando's theme parks.
As if the splendor of 40-foot-tall Christmas trees and sparkling with 250,000 lights aren't enough, look closer: those "ornaments" are singers! A tradition for more than 30 years, a full orchestra accompanies this huge choir presenting Christmas classics.
Classic holiday songs with a modern twist are brought to life on ice this interactive, professional skate show. Also for the holidays, your turn on the ice with the Solar Bears players and mascot, and two chances to meet Santa: cake pop decorating and lunch, and letter writing and dinner.
More than two million pounds of carved ice are transformed into a playground of sculptures and four slides. This year's theme is The Nutcracker. New for 2014: Alpine Rush Snow Tubing - an eight-lane tubing hill covered in real snow. And for some frosting fun: Gingy's Gingerbread Decorating and a sweet chance to meet Gingy.
The new Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts celebrates its first holiday season with Clara, the Mouse King and Sugar Plum Fairy. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra accompanies this full length production.
#5. Light Up UCF
Bigger, Brighter and Brrr-ier - for the seventh year, Light Up UCF includes an 8,000 square foot outdoor ice skating rink, rides, and holiday attractions. Take in the Holiday Film Festival on a huge two-story screen, thousands of twinkles in the choreographed light show, and snow set to a DJ's beat.
At the Oasis Pool Deck at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort, registered guests can dive into a winter wonderland of snow, lights, holiday music and treats. Picture perfect moments feature Nickelodeon characters dressed in their holiday finest. We also hear a special red-suited, white- bearded guest stops by, too!
The main street in picturesque Celebration is blocked to traffic just for that reason: a celebration, featuring nightly snow, strolling Charles Dickens Carolers, and horse drawn carriage rides. Live music each weekend by the lake features performances including a Radio Disney Holiday concert and American Idol finalist Jason Castro.
Every Friday evening, enjoy free admission and live holiday music. The melodies from harps, flutes and guitars set the mood for holiday season programming, which also includes art demos and tours.
Twenty-two Christmas-themed rides from around the world are the main attraction at this annual festival. You're surrounded by holiday lights and displays; Santa even has a workshop here! Parking, admission and entertainment are free.
#10. Winter in the Park
Even without a chill in the air, twirl and glide into the holidays at the outdoor ice rink at the Central Park West Meadow, located on the corner of New York Ave. and Morse Blvd. Shop, snake and then skate - admission is only $12 and includes the ice skates!
Bonus Event: Santa's Workshop at Bass Pro Shops
Get ready for a rugged Christmas celebration where you can get your photo with the big guy, himself for free! Bass Pro Shops at the new Artegon Marketplace also has a variety of free games, crafts, and activities for the entire family.
These must do events are just part of the many holiday events in Orlando happening now through New Year's Day. Contact one of our Official Travel Counselors to help plan holly jolly holiday traditions that will have your family singing "fa-la-la-la" all the way home.