Top 14 Theme Parks for the Holidays
Ring in the season at these festive theme park holiday events.
Photo By: Getty Images, Handout
Photo By: Daniel LeClair, Universal Orlando Resort
Photo By: North Pole Associates
Photo By: Scott K. Brown, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
Photo By: 2017© SeaWorld Parks
Photo By: Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Photo By: Jason Brown, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company
Photo By: Herschend Family Entertainment
Photo By: 2017© SeaWorld Parks
Photo By: Steven Bridges, Dollywood
Photo By: Getty Images, Rodrigo Vaz
Photo By: Europa Park
Photo By: Getty Images, Yoshikazu Tsuno
Magic Kingdom Park
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is a "hard-ticket" (additional cost) event at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., running on select nights Nov. 9 through Dec. 22. Get your family ready for a wonderful evening at the Magic Kingdom, featuring a special holiday parade, a Christmas version of the popular "Wishes" fireworks show, a spectacular Cinderella Castle lighting ceremony with Anna and Elsa from Frozen, and lots of other special entertainment. Plus, guests can enjoy complimentary cookies and hot chocolate.
COST: Starting at $89.00 per event ticket (get information)
Universal Orlando Resorts
During the holiday season, Seuss Landing is decorated with the holiday charm and cheer of Dr. Seuss's Who-ville at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Fla. Enjoy the hilarious hijinks of The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, a live retelling of the classic tale starring the Grinch, featuring music recorded by Mannheim Steamroller. Kids will even have the opportunity to meet the maven of mischief himself. Experience Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are transformed with magical, holiday spirit. Merry and Mayhem combine as the Minions join Santa Claus in the all-new Universal's Holiday Parade.
COST: $110-$165 for one-day general admission tickets (get information)
The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays in Orlando, Fla., is among the most impressive holiday events you'll find at a theme park. From Nov. 19 through Dec. 30, you'll hear the story of Christmas told by a celebrity narrator (Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg or Kurt Russell, to name a few) accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a breathtaking choir. In the World Showcase section of Epcot, indulge in the flavors of the season with scrumptious bites, decadent desserts and merry libations from around the world. At the America Gardens Theatre, you'll hear the story of the babe in the manger like you've never heard it before. The theater comes to life with a massive choir singing inspiring holiday music. This special event is included with the price of park admission, and you can purchase dinner packages for premium seating.
COST: Starting at $99.00 for a one-day ticket (get information)
If you're looking for a true holiday experience summer, fall and winter, then head to Santa's Workshop in North Pole, N.Y. The minute you walk through the gates of Santa's Workshop, you'll be sent back in time to a storybook village where the traditional story of Santa lives. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, enjoy the park's Yuletide Family Weekends with a Trim the Tree Party, visits with Santa, caroling, story-telling and more. And throughout the entire month of December, enjoy the Village of Lights, offering guests a magical way to get into the Christmas spirit. See the park transformed into a Winter Wonderland that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Enjoy caroling, roast marshmallows over the fire pit, visit the shops, feed the reindeer and put in that last request to Santa himself.
COST: $20.95-$22.95 for one-day general admission tickets; $11.95 for Village of Lights; Reservations only for Yuletide Family Weekends (get information)
Holiday traditions come to life at Busch Gardens Christmas Town in Williamsburg, Va. The annual Christmas celebration starts Nov. 24 and runs select days through Jan. 1, 2018. This year's event is bigger and better than ever with a roomier home for Santa, an all-new show called Gift of Harmony and delicious new culinary offerings. Plus, there are more lights than ever—more than eight million across the park. Sesame Street Forest of Fun will be all decked out for the holidays, too. Guests can meet their favorite Sesame Street characters and capture a special holiday photo. Christmas Town also offers an assortment of special dining experiences, including Dine with Rudolph and Friends and Santa's Fireside Feast.
COST: Starting at $25 for a one-day ticket (get information)
Sesame Place, the only theme park in the U.S. based entirely on Sesame Street, brings back its festive, family-friendly holiday celebration, A Very Furry Christmas. Through Dec. 31 (on select dates), the park is transformed into a one-of-a-kind holiday wonderland with millions of twinkling lights and festive decorations all around, including sing-alongs, train rides, parades and more.
COST: $32 per ticket with a second visit free (get information)
The world's ultimate thrill park, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., lights up the nights to magically transform into a winter wonderland for Holiday in the Park Nov. 18 through Jan. 1, 2018. More than a million glittering lights, holiday entertainment, seasonal treats, Santa's village and many of the park's most popular rides provide the perfect setting for memorable holiday moments this winter. This holiday experience features 13 specially-themed areas with sights, sounds, scents and experiences coordinated to provide each section with distinct character. Beyond the seasonal attractions, Six Flags theme parks across the country will host Six Flags Snow Day on December 9 presented by Hallmark Channel, inviting guests to participate in the world's largest snowball fight. Guests will receive soft, indoor snow balls to toss during this family-friendly event. (Participation is limited and free with theme park admission.)
COST: Starting at $46.99 per ticket (one-day general admission ticket special rate) (get information)
Head to Hershey, Pa., for Hersheypark Christmas Candylane Nov. 10 through Jan. 1, 2018. More than four million lights deck the halls of Hersheypark in celebration of the season. Get into the holiday spirit with a choreographed light show, festive live entertainment and more. Visit Santa then stop by the reindeer stables to get an up-close look at his reindeer, including Rudolph. This year, for the first time ever during Hersheypark Christmas Candylane, enjoy Hershey Triple Tower and SidewinderSM, along with more than 50 of your favorite rides.
COST: $21 for one-day general admission tickets (get information)
Silver Dollar City
Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., transforms over the holidays with a park-wide Christmas event, An Old Time Christmas, running Nov. 4 through Dec. 30. Shows include Rudolph's Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade, a live performance of It's a Wonderful Life, a musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol, lunch with Santa and much more.
COST: $51-$62 for one-day general admission tickets (get information)
SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld's prank-loving pinnipeds (including Clyde the California sea lion) put on a hilarious holiday show called Clyde & Seamore's Christmas Special. It's all part of SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration, Nov. 18 through Jan. 6, 2018. You can also meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (and friends!), grab a photo with Santa and take in seasonal shopping, festive treats and more.
COST: Starting at $69.99; event is included in park admission (get information)
Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas has won multiple awards over the years as one of the world's best holiday events. From Nov. 4 through Jan. 3, 2018, the park features four million holiday lights, Dollywood's new signature version of A Christmas Carol, several holiday performances and a chance for kids to meet Rudolph and his friends.
COST: $56-$69 for one-day general admission tickets (get information)
Knott's Berry Farm
Every winter, Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., celebrates the merriest of seasons as the park transforms into Knott's Merry Farm. From Nov. 17 through Jan. 7, 2018, enjoy thrilling attractions, classic shows like the Holiday Ice Show featuring Snoopy, the Peanuts gang and a cast of world-class ice skaters, the nightly tree lighting ceremony and The Christmas Carol. Plus, stroll through the merry streets of Calico for unique seasonal treats, Santa's Christmas Cabin, traditional carolers, a Christmas crafts village, an enchanting Snow and Glow show with nightly falling snow and so much more.
COST: $49 for one-day general admission tickets (get information)
Step into an unforgettable winter wonderland at Europa-Park in Rust, Germany that's packed full of festive charm and seasonal surprises. Thousands of fairy lights and sparkling baubles light up cobble pathways, while thick snowflakes float down upon 2,500 Christmas trees between cozy log fires and magical 3-D projections. Whether you're looking for a snow-covered adventure or just some cozy Christmas comforts, there's something for everyone to enjoy during Europa-Park's winter season from Nov. 25 to Jan. 7, 2018.
COST: $20-26 for a winter evening ticket from 4 p.m., only available during the winter season (get information)