By Jessica C. Northey
Every holiday season, Orlando overflows with dazzling decorations and joyful events, even beyond our world famous theme parks. There are many events in local communities around Orlando that offer great experiences and great value for the entire family. From singing Christmas Trees to window shopping at Disney Springs, nothing beats an Orlando Christmas.
Check out our list of holiday events beyond Orlando's theme parks including tips for events that are free to attend.
The Santa Photo Experience! One of the most sought after photo ops with Santa, be sure to plan ahead for long lines on the weekends by grabbing a Line Entry Ticket. There are three photo package options to include professional photography session, instant package or candid CD, and options to use your personal camera or phone with props! Watch video for more details.
Only in Orlando can you find a unique twist of the Nutcracker at the Central Florida Ballet's 16th Anniversary Nutcracker. It's a merged production the Nutcracker fairytale with a touch of Cirque style pyrotechnics to create an unforgettable experience for the entire family. Located at the Linda Chapin Theater at the Orange County Convention Center on December 17-18, 2016.
Christmas Tree Trail - NEW! Transformed Disney Springs into an enchanted wonderland with a stunning collection of custom-decorated trees, each with a popular Disney theme. Looking for Santa? Come out to meet the jolly man himself now through December 24th at Santa's Chalet with your wish list in hand. Guests can even meet Santa Goofy from December 25-30, 2016. And last but not least, a must-see experience; Starbright Holiday Show - An Intel Collaboration! Featuring over 300 illuminated show drones seen at the Disney Springs waterfront for a visual and audio with orchestral arrangement of classic holiday music now to January 8, 2017!
Featuring a huge choir, full orchestra, worshipful dance, powerful drama and a beautiful display of 250,000 lights, The Singing Christmas Trees is an exciting presentation of Christmas classics and the pageantry of our two 40-foot-tall Christmas Trees for the last three decades. Located at First Baptist Orlando on John Young Pkwy on select dates: December 9-11th and December 15-18th.
Celebrating the holidays now through January 8, 2017. Festive events include the 22nd annual Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate, special carillon concerts, winter garden tours, poinsettia displays lining the River of Stone, and more. Be sure to visit their website to see the full list of holiday events!
University of Central Florida decks the halls with 50 nights of music, lights, and ice now to January 7, 2017. If you're in the area during this time, this is a must stop to see the affordable family, winter wonderland with holiday attractions, rides, ice skating, and much more holiday festivities for the entire family!
A Christmas Spectacular holiday home tour at the Stetson Mansion in Deland, Florida. Reservations available now until January 15, 2017. "Layers of elegant, thoughtful detail made me smile and cry. You can't help having an emotional experience." - Tripadvisor. Discover the history of Christmas at the Victorian style home such as how the Stetson Mansion had one of the first trees ever illuminated with electrical lights inspired by Stetson's best friend Thomas Edison! Watch video for a teaser of the tour and make reservations today!
Come skate at the holiday ice rink in Central Park West Meadow located at the corner of New York Avenue and Morse Boulevard in Winter Park, FL. General admission is $12 and includes skates. Ice rink in sunny Florida available now to January 8, 2017. Hurry and get to Winter in the Park holiday ice rink before all of the ice melts!
Transforming Winter Garden, Florida into a Winter Wonderland with events such as the Merry Winter Garden Light Show and Holiday Music by Dickens classic Carolers at the plaza on December 16. The next day, on Saturday, December 17, Santa comes to visit, horse-drawn carriages rides, sing-along concert, golf car parade, movie and golf cart drive-in, and the light show! The following week on December 23 come back for the light show and holiday music by Paint it Black Quartet and on Saturday the 24th Santa visits again at the Very Merry Farmers Market!
Located in Altamonte Springs, FL. The Holiday Lights & Fountain Show up through Jan. 1, 2017. Holiday Train Rides at Cranes Roost Park - Amphitheater, and other holiday events throughout the week such as Let it Snow, Santa Tuesday, Santa's Elves, meet and take photos with the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales, and Dicken's Carolers!
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Written by Jessica C. Northey, Multimedia Content Producer for Visit Orlando. She enjoys the arts culture, photography, and creative writing about entertainment and travel destinations.