As the No. 1 city in the U.S. for Christmas celebrations, according to Wallethub research that compared festive and affordable destinations, Orlando has just unwrapped an incredible lineup of holiday celebrations that spread festive cheer - without the chill. There are 60 days of holiday events across the destination, including, for the first time, celebrations at all seven of Orlando’s theme parks. Beyond the parks, enjoy a variety of local festivities ranging from a Christmas-themed bar, holiday performances and events in charming historic neighborhoods.
Holiday travelers can check out VisitOrlando.com/Christmas for more details to start planning their perfect winter getaway.
Walt Disney World Resort | Select nights Nov. 8 - Jan. 5
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom launches its inaugural holiday celebration this year with festive new entertainment and holiday décor in every land. A multicultural blend of celebrations includes elements of African festivities, India’s annual Diwali festival of lights and even Christmas on an alien moon in Pandora – The World of Avatar. At the center of it all, the Tree of Life awakens each night with wintry tales.
- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party transforms Magic Kingdom into a winter wonderland, as Cinderella’s Castle is covered in glittering ice, the sky lights up with the new Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show, the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade sends toy soldiers and snow flurries dancing on Main Street U.S.A., and lively stage shows feature Disney characters in their holiday finery.
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ firework spectacular, Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! combines festive music with scenes from classic Disney movies stories narrated by Disney characters, while projection and laser effects transform Sunset Boulevard into a winter wonderland of snow and holiday decorations, along with beloved characters ranging from Frozen to Toy Story.
- Epcot International Festival of the Holidays takes guests on a global holiday celebration with costumed performances and seasonal foods throughout 11 World Showcase nations. Each night, The Candlelight Processional shares the story of Christmas as told by a celebrity narrator – such as Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg and Pat Sajak – along with a live choir and 50-piece orchestra.
Universal Orlando Resort | Select nights Nov. 16 - Jan. 5
- At Universal Studios Florida, the Macy’s Holiday Parade fills the streets every evening with the larger-than-life balloons from Macy’s famous annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The Minions and characters from “Shrek,” “Madagascar” and other family favorite films and TV shows join Santa Claus to spread holiday cheer throughout the park.
- At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the Grinch hosts the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular at Seuss Landing, immersing guests into the magic of Dr. Seuss’s Christmas tale with the Whos from Who-ville and an original musical score by Mannheim Steamroller.
- Christmastime magic spreads to Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley for Universal’s Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Kings Cross station is adorned with festive decorations, the Frog Choir carols outside Hogwarts and the nighttime sparkles during the Hogwarts Castle projection light show.
SeaWorld Orlando | Nov. 23 – Dec. 31
- With over 3 million sparkling lights and 100 lit floating Christmas trees, holidays are bright at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. Festivities include live performances, seasonal food and meet and greets with Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer. New this year are the Sesame Street Christmas Parade with fantastic floats and the hilarious Sea Lion High’s Christmas pageant.
Beyond the Theme Parks
Downtown Orlando - Enjoy the seasonal events happening in the heart of downtown Orlando, along with trendy restaurants, bustling nightlife and arts and cultural performances.
- Eola Wonderland Tree - The picturesque Lake Eola park lights up each evening with a 72-foot Christmas tree that comes alive every hour in a festive spectacle of synchronized lights and music. The show runs hourly between 5:45 – 9:45 pm from Dec. 6 - Jan. 5.
- Arts with a Holiday Twist - The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts features a host of holiday shows and concerts this season, from “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” to “Light Has Come: The Angels Story” from Ballet Magnificat!, a national touring ballet company. Younger guests can enjoy the Disney Junior Holiday Party, and families of all ages can celebrate a Hogwarts Christmas with “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” in concert. The Orlando Ballet performs “The Nutcracker,” a Christmas classic, from Dec. 13 – 23.
- Holiday-Themed Bar - Frosty’s Christmastime Lounge in downtown Orlando offers adults 21+ the opportunity to celebrate the Christmas season all year long with snow-cone cocktails, the occasional snowfall and a cozy cabin atmosphere.
Winter Park - A charming, historic neighborhood, Winter Park is a short drive from Downtown Orlando and features long-running holiday traditions infused with arts and culture with plenty of opportunities for Christmas shopping along tree-lined Park Avenue.
- On Dec. 5, the signature turn-of-the-century Tiffany glass windows of The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art serve as a beautiful backdrop as the Bach Festival Choir fills the air with Christmas carols for the 41st Annual Christmas in the Park.
- Winter on the Avenue, a lively holiday street party taking place Dec. 6, features family friendly activities and an annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony.
- On Dec. 7, enjoy Winter Park’s Ye Old Hometown Christmas Parade, the longest-running parade in Central Florida, now in its 67th
- On Dec. 8, enjoy an outdoor performance by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra at the Holiday Pops Concert in Winter Park’s Central Park.
The Orlando Destination
Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, Orlando is the No. 1 family vacation destination, Theme Park Capital of the World®, and most visited destination in the United States. An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife. And, with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world, from expansive resorts to uniquely themed hotels.