Orlando is pure magic during the holiday season when this sunny spot is transformed into a wintry dreamland with shows, snow and Santa. The festivities kick off after Thanksgiving and continue until early January around the various theme parks and resorts. Learn more about Christmas in Orlando and check out our top 5 holiday picks.
The Magic Kingdom gets a little more magical during the holidays. Main Street is decked out for the holidays with a glowing Christmas tree, lights and characters in holiday costume, and Cinderella's castle is draped with twinkling lights. For more holiday fun, splurge on a ticket to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party with hot cocoa and cookies to put you in the mood for Mickey's Christmas-themed parade complete with Santa, holiday fireworks and a snow shower on Main Street.
For a more traditional spin on the holidays, enjoy worldwide Yuletide traditions at Epcot's Holidays Around the World program. Meet Santa's counterparts from other cultures and celebrate Kwanza, Hanukkah and other seasonal holidays from around the world. Then take in the retelling of the Christmas story during the Candlelight Processional complete with a 50-piece orchestra, choir and a celebrity narrator like Whoopi Goldberg or Brad Garrett.
Who-ville is decked out for the holidays at Islands of Adventure for the annual Grinchmas event. Watch the beloved Dr. Seuss characters come to life in a musical show and dance around the Who-ville tree before getting a holiday picture with Mr. Grinch. Next door at Universal Studio, balloons and floats from the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade wind their way through the streets in a nightly parade celebrating the season. Even the Grinch must have caught the holiday bug as both events are free with admission to the parks.
Ride the Polar Express Experience right to the North Pole by way of Orlando at SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration. The park's Wild Arctic ride is transformed into a multisensory experience simulating the train ride from the beloved holiday book and movie. Disembark from the train in the frozen North Pole and meet Santa alongside beluga whales, walruses and, of course, polar bears. After your train ride, you can celebrate with park's residents, including the Christmas-themed sea lion show "Clyde and Seamore's Countdown to Christmas" and :A Sesame Street Christmas" with Elmo and friends. Then watch the ice skaters spin and twirl during the "Winter Wonderland on Ice" show.
Defying normal weather conditions, snow and ice are in the forecast in Orlando. Gaylord Palms Resort creates a winter wonderland during ICE! And SNOW! from late November through the new year. Master ice sculptors craft a 14,000-square-foot snowy dreamscape celebrating the holiday classic "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." Don your warmest winter gear and brave the 9-degree temperatures to slide down the duel 30-foot slides and admire the sculptures before building a snowman and staging a snowball fight at the neighboring SNOW! North Pole Carnival play area.