Celebrate a Magical Holiday Season at Orlando’s Theme Parks

Theme Park Holiday Festivals 2017 Header

Character meet-and-greets, exclusive desserts, special shows and more await holiday revelers at Orlando's theme parks in 2017.

By Erin Connett

Spending the holidays in Orlando is always magical. What's more, our world-famous theme parks go the extra mile to create an unparalleled experience for you and your family by transforming into dazzling winter wonderlands complete with seasonal decorations and festivities. Have your happiest holidays yet with these can't-miss events taking place at Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Legoland Florida throughout the season!

Walt Disney World Resort

Theme Park Holiday Festivals 2017 Mickey's Very Merry

The Magic Kingdom — Disney's original Florida park plays host to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party on select nights from Nov. 9 to Dec. 22. Enjoy live entertainment, spectacular fireworks and a jolly holiday parade with Mickey, other Disney characters and Santa Claus. You'll also marvel at Cinderella's Castle sparkling in white lights, as well as a magical snowfall on Main Street, a Frozen show, and Holiday Wishes dessert packages. This event requires an entry ticket.

Running concurrently, the Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace provides an unparalleled view of the Magic Kingdom's holiday fireworks plus exclusive desserts. Park admission is required and is not included in the price of party tickets.

Epcot — Starting in 2017, the park's "Holidays Around the World" celebration transforms into the all-new Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. From Nov. 19 –Dec. 30, Epcot will feature 15 Holiday Kitchens serving more seasonal sweets than ever before. Some holiday traditions will remain, such as the "Candlelight Processional" and "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" fireworks show. Other features include daily gospel performances and an interactive group performing Hanukkah music with modern influences. The festival is included with regular park admission.

Held on select nights throughout the year, Epcot's Frozen Ever After Dessert Party is the best way to see IllumiNations' special holiday edition. Eleven different seasonal desserts will be included, but park admission is required and is not included in the price of party tickets.

Disney's Hollywood Studios — Beginning Nov. 9, the multifaceted Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! celebration is included with your regular park admission.First, join the stars of ABC's Prep & Landing every night as they track down Kris Kringle. Also new this year is Sunset Seasons Greetings, featuring snow on Sunset Boulevard, billboards come to life and the magical transformation of Hollywood Tower Hotel. Finally, the event's nighttime spectacular brings the music of the season to all-new heights.

The main event will be complemented by the Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! Holiday Dessert Party. Requiring a separate event ticket, it features holiday-inspired snacks, desserts and beverages, a VIP Disney character meet-and-greet, and a special viewing area for the "Disney Movie Magic" and "Jingle Bell, Jingle Jam!" shows.

Universal Orlando Resort

Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Running from Nov. 18 to Jan. 6, this magical party encompasses Harry Potter attractions at Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure, transforming Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade for the holidays. Special features include shows from the Frog Choir and Celestina Warbeck, seasonal treats and drinks, and a stunning projection wrap for Hogwarts. These festivities are included with regular park admission.

Universal Studios Florida — Join the Minions and Santa Claus for the latest incarnation of the park's long-running Universal's Holiday Parade Featuring Macy's. Running each day from Nov. 18 to Jan. 6, it also features characters from Madagascar and Shrek.

Plus, Mannheim Steamroller performs its best-selling holiday hits as part of a seasonal live-concert series that's included with regular park admission on select days from Nov. 18 to Dec. 17.

Universal's Islands of Adventure — Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure is transformed into the world of Grinchmas for The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, included with regular park admission. From Nov. 18 to Jan. 6, enjoy a live, musical stage show and meet the Grinch in his lair, which is outfitted with authentic props and gadgets from the Oscar-winning movie based on Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Additionally, enjoy the The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast at Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous in Islands of Adventure. It takes place on select mornings from Nov. 18 through Dec. 25. Regular park admission and reservations are required.

SeaWorld Orlando

Theme Park Holiday Festivals 2017 SeaWorld Rudolph

Create yuletide memories with your family at SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration, which is included with regular park admission. Experience the magical "Sea of Trees" and special shows, including "Shamu Christmas Miracles," "Clyde and Seamore's Countdown to Christmas," "Winter Wonderland on Ice" and "Elmo's Christmas Wish." Little ones will have an opportunity to meet Santa Claus and, for an additional cost, have dinner with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The celebration runs on select nights from Nov. 24 to Dec. 31.

Legoland Florida Resort

Theme Park Holiday Festivals 2017 Legoland Bricktacular

If you're trying to build a fun holiday season for the younger members of your family, head to Legoland's Christmas Bricktacular. This celebration, which is included with regular park admission and takes place on select days from Dec. 2–25, features a 30-foot Christmas tree made with 270,000 Lego and Duplo blocks. Kids can also enjoy holiday-themed scavenger hunts with prizes and building activities with Master Model Builders, plus meet-and-greets with a life-sized Lego Santa and Lego Toy Soldier.

More Holiday Cheer in Orlando

Each year, Orlando hosts numerous holiday events catering to just about every taste and age group. But no matter when you'll be in town, you can find fun things to do on our Events page. If this will be your first trip to Orlando, or if you're looking for tips to maximize your time here, refer to our planning tools.

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Related Categories: Attractions & Theme Parks , Restaurants & Nightlife , Orlando with Toddlers , Inside Orlando , Orlando for Kids