Unique Christmas Events in Orlando for 2017

Minion float at Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s in Orlando

A pyrotechnic take on The Nutcracker, two-story ice slides and incredible celebrations at the world's greatest theme parks? No wonder Christmas in Orlando is so magical!

By Nicole Cantore

Orlando pulls out all the stops for the holidays — particularly when it comes to unique Christmas celebrations that can't be found anywhere else. So grab your family and friends and join the festivities throughout the destination, including these standouts at the theme parks and beyond!

Christmas Celebrations at Orlando's Theme Parks

Walt Disney World Resort

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Disney's Magic Kingdom

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at The Magic Kingdom: On select nights through Dec. 22, you can celebrate with Mickey Mouse and other beloved Disney characters, including Santa Claus, at this separate-ticketed event. Festivities include parades, live performances, character meet-and-greets, light and fireworks displays, exclusive treats and merchandise, and even snow on Main Street.

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays at Epcot: Through Dec. 30, this food-focused festival is included with regular park admission. Similar to Epcot's Food & Wine and Flower & Garden festivals, it features 15 Holiday Kitchens, each of which offers seasonal food and beverages.

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! at Disney's Hollywood Studios: This nightly, live spectacular features music, fireworks, special effects and state-of-the-art projections. Included with regular admission, it's complemented by Sunset Seasons Greetings, which brings snow and other holiday extras to Sunset Boulevard.

Universal Orlando Resort

Hogsmeade Decorated for Christmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Hogsmeade decorated for Christmas at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure: Christmas is in full swing at Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley and Hogwarts! You can also enjoy live performances, plus seasonal treats and drinks, but admission to both parks is required to see it all.

Universal's Holiday Parade Featuring Macy's at Universal Studios Florida: This nightly celebration imports Macy's world-famous holiday festivities from New York, with the sort of magical twist only Orlando can provide. It's included with regular park admission through Jan. 6.

The Grinchmas Who-Liday Spectacular at Universal's Islands of Adventure: Included with regular park admission, this Christmas extravaganza transports you to Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas with a live, musical stage show featuring the Grinch himself.

SeaWorld Orlando

“Elmo’s Christmas Wish” at SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration
"Elmo's Christmas Wish" at SeaWorld Orlando's Christmas Celebration

SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration: Included with park admission through Dec. 31, this holiday celebration brings everyone's beloved aquatic animals into the winter season with the beautiful "Sea of Trees" display and multiple live performances. Naturally, you'll find Santa at Wild Arctic.

Legoland Florida Resort

Lego Toy Soldier and Santa at Legoland Florida’s Christmas Bricktacular
Lego Toy Soldier and Santa at Legoland Florida's Christmas Bricktacular

Christmas Bricktacular: Kids can enjoy scavenger hunts and develop their building skills during this daily party, which is included with park admission through Dec. 25. You'll also discover a 30-foot Christmas tree made from Lego and Duplo blocks, plus meet-and-greets with Lego Santa and Lego Toy Soldier.

Christmas Celebrations in Orlando Beyond the Theme Parks

Two-story ice slide at ICE! Featuring Christmas Around the World
Two-story ice slide at Ice! Featuring Christmas Around the World

ICE! Featuring Christmas Around the World at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center: This year's edition of the long-running event incorporates elaborate, hand-carved ice sculptures celebrating Christmas across the globe. You can also have a fast time on two-story ice slides, and watch artisans work in the Frostbite Factory.

Downtown for the Holidays in downtown Orlando

Downtown for the Holidays in Downtown Orlando 

Downtown for the Holidays: From Dec. 1 to Dec. 31, businesses in downtown Orlando will be decked out with festival lights and window decorations. A map of all participating businesses can be found online, or picked up at the Downtown Orlando Information Center. Additionally, starting with the official Tree Lighting Celebration on Dec. 1 through Jan. 6, 2018, Lake Eola Park's Eola Wonderland Christmas Tree comes alive with a synchronized light and music show. Several other holiday celebrations are planned, with a complete list of events and start times available from the Downtown Development Board's website.

Light Up the Holidays at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs
Light Up the Holidays at Cranes Roost Park

Light Up the Holidays at Cranes Roost Park: Starting at 5 p.m. on Dec. 2, this popular park in Altamonte Springs (about 15 minutes from downtown Orlando) rings in the holidays with holiday performances, train rides, an evening fireworks display, and the chance to meet Santa and Mr. Claus. Best of all, it's completely free.

Central Florida Ballet’s “pyrotechnic” rendition of The Nutcracker
Central Florida Ballet's "pyrotechnic" rendition of The Nutcracker

The "Pyrotechnic" Nutcracker: The Central Florida Ballet's version of this classic dance extravaganza features all of your favorite moments with a Cirque du Soleil-style pyrotechnic twist. The show will take place at the Orange County Convention Center's Linda Chapin Theater on Dec. 16–17.

Singing Christmas Trees in Orlando
Singing Christmas Trees in Orlando

Singing Christmas Trees at First Baptist Orlando: On Dec. 8–10 and Dec. 14–17, this event features an orchestra and a choir, dancers, actors and a quarter of a million lights displayed on two, 45-foot Christmas trees. Arrive early for a stroll for the all-new Bethlehem Village, which has a petting zoo. First Baptist Orlando is approximately 15 minutes from Universal Studios.

Holidays Shine Brighter in Orlando

These Christmas celebrations are just a taste of the seasonal events taking place in Orlando for 2017. Visit our events calendar for information on other Orlando festivities to enjoy this holiday season, plus unique ways to ring in the New Year, and get ready for your holly-jolliest Christmas yet!

Cover photo: Minion float at Universal's Holiday Parade Featuring Macy's

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