Celebrate a Magical Holiday Season in Orlando

Celebrate a Magical Holiday Season in Orlando

Make your holidays shine brighter than ever with one-of-a-kind celebrations in Orlando.

By Nate Shelton

From unforgettable festivities at our world-famous theme parks, to joyous celebrations throughout the area, nobody does the holidays like Orlando. Here's a look at some of the merrymaking we're hosting in 2018 — start making plans now to join the party!

Holiday Celebrations at Orlando Theme Parks

Shamu<sup>®</sup> Christmas Miracles at SeaWorld Orlando
Shamu® Christmas Miracles at SeaWorld Orlando

Walt Disney World® Resort

All four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in Orlando have holiday surprises in store for guests in 2018.

Magic Kingdom: From Nov. 8 – Dec. 21, celebrate the most magical of holidays at Walt Disney World's most magical Orlando theme park courtesy of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Co-hosted by Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus, the festivities include a parade, fireworks, live entertainment and holiday treats, plus a future-facing dance party at Tomorrowland.

Epcot: The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays returns from Nov. 18 – Dec. 30, complete with live music, holiday decorations, a nightly Candlelight Processional, and Holiday Kitchens offering tasty food and beverages.

Disney's Hollywood Studios: Disney's tribute to Hollywood gets a holiday makeover from Nov. 8 – Jan. 6, 2019, including snowfall and décor on Sunset Boulevard as part of Sunset Seasons Greetings. This park will also host the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! live show with the stars of ABC's Prep & Landing.

Disney's Animal Kingdom: India's famous Diwali — aka the Festival of Lights — comes to Disney's zoological theme park thanks to a special holiday edition of UP! A Great Bird Adventure from Nov. 8 – Jan. 1, 2019.

Learn more: Discount Tickets to Walt Disney World Resort

Universal Orlando® Resort

Universal Orlando Resort is going all out for the holidays in 2018, starting with Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade at Universal's Islands of Adventure. From Nov. 17 – Jan. 6, 2019, both locations will be enhanced with festive décor and magical lighting, and holiday treats and drinks will be available. (Hello, hot Butterbeer!)

During the same time period, Universal Studios Florida will host Universal's Holiday Parade Featuring Macy's every evening, as well as live performances from Mannheim Steamroller on select dates. And at Universal's Islands of Adventure, The Grinch hijacks the holidays for The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular and The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast. Best of all, everything except the character breakfast is included with regular admission!

Learn more: Discount Tickets to Universal Orlando Resort

SeaWorld® Orlando

From Nov. 17 – Dec. 31, SeaWorld Orlando makes the holidays brighter — literally — with its annual SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration, which is included with regular admission. The event's centerpiece is the majestic Sea of Trees, featuring more than 100 trees that sparkle in time with music.

There's much more for you to enjoy here, too. Other features include live performances such as O Wondrous Night and Elmo's Christmas Wish, festive food and merchandise from the lakeside Christmas Market, photo opportunities with Santa, and Rudolph's ChristmasTown, where you can meet beloved characters from the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special.

Learn more: Discount Tickets to SeaWorld Orlando

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort

Families can build a memorable Christmas at LEGOLAND Florida Resort's Christmas Bricktacular, which takes place on select dates from Dec. 1-25 and is included with regular admission. In addition to a 30-foot Christmas tree made from thousands of LEGO and DUPLO bricks, the event features other festive decorations, as well as nightly fireworks and a life-sized LEGO Santa, reindeer and sleigh.

LEGOLAND's Christmas Bricktacular also gives kids lots of ways to play, including holiday-themed scavenger hunts with prizes, building sessions with Master Model Builders, and the chance to meet LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier. Plus, get ready to deck the halls during the all-new A LEGO Christmas City live show!

Learn more: Discount Tickets to LEGOLAND Florida Resort

Holiday Celebrations Throughout Orlando

Holiday on the Drive in Orlando’s College Park Neighborhood
Holiday on the Drive in Orlando's College Park Neighborhood

Avalon Aglow: Santa Claus presides over a Christmas parade at this free holiday event in Avalon Park, about 25 minutes east of downtown Orlando. Taking place from 3-9 p.m. on Dec. 1, it also includes community performances, a bounce park for kids, and food trucks.

Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens Holiday Home Tour: From Nov. 23 – Jan. 6, 2019, tour a special holiday edition of the historic Pinewood Estate at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, a little more than an hour south of downtown Orlando. Tickets are $24 for adults and $12 for children ages 5-12, and include admission to the gardens.

Holiday on the Drive: From 5-9 p.m. on Dec. 6, the main drag of Orlando's trendy College Park neighborhood will transform into a winter wonderland for this family-friendly event, which includes a visit from Santa. College Park is about 10 minutes from downtown Orlando.

Light Up the Holidays: Head to Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs, about 20 minutes north of downtown Orlando, for this Christmas celebration, which will take place from 5-9 p.m. on Dec. 1. The party will feature holiday displays, live music, fireworks and train rides, plus a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Now Snowing: Minutes from Walt Disney World, the town of Celebration's annual holiday event returns from Nov. 24 – Dec. 31. Running nightly from 5-9 p.m., it features faux snow, synthetic ice rinks, live performances, horse-drawn carriage rides, train rides and photos with Santa.

Wekiva Island's Winter Wonderland: Starting Nov. 30 and running through Dec. 24, Wekiva Island — a unique recreation spot in Longwood, about 20 minutes north of downtown Orlando — brings snow to the Sunshine State. You can also look forward to appearances by Mr. and Mrs. Claus, movies on the lawn, and train rides for kids.

Cover image taken at Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf by Mariah Wild (© Walt Disney World Resort).

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