Holly Jolly Christmas and Holiday Events in Orlando
Every holiday season, Orlando’s world-famous theme parks and resort hotels dazzle with jubilant cheer along with miles of garland and twinkling lights. Holiday traditions and joyful celebrations transform Orlando — Theme Park Capital of the World® — into a magical wonderland guaranteed to have your family singing “fa-la-la-la” all the way home.
Celebrate this holiday season with our list of events, parades and lights, including several options at low or no cost, or included with theme park admission. Because the holidays are a joyous time — and no destination is more joyous than Orlando!
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Holiday Celebrations at Orlando Theme Parks
Walt Disney World® Resort
Who needs elves when you have Walt Disney World Resort’s Imagineers? All four of Disney’s Orlando theme parks have something special on tap for the holiday season, including the following.
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Magic Kingdom®: On select nights from Nov. 8 to Dec. 21, Disney’s Magic Kingdom hosts the all-ages, separate-ticketed Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Marvel at Cinderella Castle sparkling in white lights, magical snowfall on Main Street, a Frozen show, and the Holiday Wishes dessert packages. You’ll also enjoy live entertainment, fireworks and a holiday parade.
Disney’s Magic Kingdom also hosts the Holiday Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace. Requiring paid entry in addition to regular park admission, the festivities include exclusive desserts and a fantastic view of the park’s holiday fireworks.
Epcot®: From Nov. 18 to Dec. 30, the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, which is included with regular admission, features numerous Holiday Kitchens serving seasonal sweets. You can also look forward to the nightly Candlelight Processional, the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show, and live musical performances.
On select nights during the Festival of the Holidays, you can also opt for the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party, which provides an unparalleled view of the park’s IllumiNations holiday fireworks, plus seasonal desserts. Paid entry is required in addition to regular park admission.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios®: This park is including a flurry of fun with regular admission from Nov. 8 through Jan. 6, 2020. First, the stars of ABC’s Prep & Landing lead the merrymaking in Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, which features fireworks, music and incredible projections.
Also, Sunset Boulevard will become a winter wonderland courtesy of Sunset Seasons Greetings. And for an additional cost, you can join the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party, with exclusive sweets and an unbeatable view of the fireworks.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom®: Celebrate Diwali, India’s famous Festival of Lights, courtesy of a special edition of UP! A Great Bird Adventure, running from Nov. 8 to Jan. 1, 2020.
Universal Orlando Resort™
Between Harry Potter, The Grinch and a world-famous holiday parade, Universal Orlando Resort has many ways to make the holidays awesome.
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Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™: From Nov. 17 through Jan. 6, 2020, this magical party gives a holiday makeover to Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida™ and Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure™, which together comprise The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Included with regular admission, the festivities feature live performances, the option to buy seasonal food and drinks (hot Butterbeer!), and a stunning projection wrap for Hogwarts.
Universal Studios Florida: Join Santa Claus, the Minions and other beloved characters for Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s, which is included with regular admission from Nov. 17 through Jan. 6, 2020. Also included are live performances by Mannheim Steamroller, who will perform their best-selling holiday hits on select days.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure: The “mean one” himself takes over Seuss Landing for The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, running from Nov. 17 through Jan. 6, 2020, complete with a live, musical stage show and the chance to meet The Grinch. It’s complemented by The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast, which requires reservations and regular park admission.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is included with regular admission to SeaWorld Orlando from Nov. 17 through Dec. 31. It includes the joyous Sea of Trees, special performances, and seasonal food, drinks and merchandise at the lakeside Christmas Market.
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What’s more, kids will have the chance to meet Santa Claus and characters from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. And for an additional cost, the whole family can dine with Santa at Shamu Stadium and get reserved seating for the Winter Wonderland on Ice live show.
LEGOLAND® Florida Resort
LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s Christmas Bricktacular will feature a 30-foot Christmas tree made with LEGO and DUPLO blocks, a holiday-themed scavenger hunt with prizes for kids, building activities with Master Model Builders, and LEGO character meet-and-greets. It’s included with regular admission on select days from Dec. 1-25.
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Holiday Celebrations Throughout Orlando
Even without setting foot inside Orlando’s theme parks, you’ll find plenty of unique ways to celebrate the holidays in Orlando.
Central Florida Ballet’s Pyrotechnic Nutcracker: The Central Florida Ballet’s fire-enhanced, Cirque du Soleil-influenced take on The Nutcracker returns to the Orange County Convention Center’s Linda Chapin Theater on Dec. 15-16.
Learn more: Orlando Arts, Culture & History
Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens: Gorgeous and historical, Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, about an hour south of downtown Orlando, offers an annual Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate from Nov. 23 through Jan. 6, 2020. Other festivities include carillon concerts, garden tours and poinsettia displays.
Eola Wonderland Christmas Tree Show: Taking place nightly at Lake Eola Park’s Walt Disney Amphitheater in downtown Orlando from Dec. 1 through Jan. 6, 2020, marvel at a 72-foot Christmas tree that comes alive with synchronized light and music while the Lake Eola fountain displays seasonal lights. The event will kick off with an official tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 1.
Festival of Trees: This event fills the Orlando Museum of Art (OMART) with sparkling trees and hand-designed holiday décor from Nov. 10-18, and each piece is available for purchase. OMART is in Loch Haven Park, about 10 minutes from downtown Orlando.
ICE! Featuring A Christmas Story: From Nov. 16 through Jan. 6, 2020, the Gaylord Palm Resort & Convention Center’s annual holiday celebration will feature more than 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures based on A Christmas Story, as well as two-story ice slides.
Holiday on the Drive: Featuring a visit from Santa Claus, this family-friendly event will take place from 5-9 p.m. on Dec. 6 in the heart of the charming College Park neighborhood, about 10 minutes from downtown Orlando.
Light Up the Holidays: Starting at 5 p.m. on Dec. 1, Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs, about 20 minutes north of downtown Orlando, kicks off the holiday season with this free event. Enjoy train rides, holiday performances and an evening fireworks display.
Now Snowing: Hosted by the town of Celebration, just minutes from Walt Disney World and based on a concept from Walt Disney himself, this event features nightly faux snow, train and carriage rides, seasonal entertainment, and photo opportunities with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Running from Nov. 24 through Dec. 31, it also offers free admission.
Santa Photo Experience at The Mall at Millenia: Starting at 6 p.m. on Nov. 2 through closing on Dec. 24, The Mall at Millenia, which is close to Universal Orlando Resort, will host one of the area’s most popular Santa Claus meet-and-greets. Admission is free and guests are invited to take their own photos, but professional photography sessions are also available.