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Holidays at Orlando Theme Parks

Holidays at Orlando theme parks are special (and warm). Orlando may not be able to supply a white Christmas, but there sure are a lot of other things it has to offer come wintertime! As the reigning theme park capital of the world, there is certainly no shortage of family-friendly holiday fun! Each park offers their own unique holiday celebration, filled with lights, music, decorations, events and more!

General Overview of Holidays at Orlando Theme Parks

holidays at orlando theme parks seaworld

1. Sea World’s Christmas Celebration

Holidays at Orlando theme parks provide an opportunity to enjoy Sea World’s Christmas Celebration as carols fill your ears and the many Christmas lights dazzle your eyes. For young children, Sea World has a show called Elmo’s Christmas Wish, where, with the help of his friends, Elmo searches for his Christmas wish and discovers the true meaning of Christmas! Sea World’s sea of trees is bound to be a family favorite, with over 100 trees that shine to the music and illuminate the water. You will even have an opportunity to visit with Santa Clause himself if you decide to embark on the Polar Express Experience, where the sights, sounds, and scents from the classic holiday story will surround you. This is only a taste of what the park has to offer, with ice skaters and Shamu also getting in on the holiday fun. Remaining dates for Sea World’s Christmas Celebration are Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 18-31.

universal studios holiday events

2. Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Studios also gets in on the holiday fun with a plethora of fun Christmas spectacles and experiences! If you have always wanted to see the Macy’s Holiday Parade in person but haven’t had the chance to get to New York, why not watch it in Orlando? Holidays at Orlando theme parks offer a way to enjoy the holiday parade in a t-shirt and shorts at Universal and enjoy watching the procession of floats straight from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Fans of the classic holiday tale The Grinch will have the opportunity to have breakfast with their favorite folks from Whoville. After, feel free to take a trip to Seuss Landing, which will be transformed into a winter wonderland and the host of the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, a live retelling of the beloved holiday tale which will feature everyone’s favorite Grinch!

disney mickey mouse christmas party

3. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

While Guests don’t have to buy special tickets to enjoy seeing the park shine with dazzling Christmas lights, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is Magic Kingdom’s exclusive, event-ticket-only Christmas event. Holidays at Orlando theme parks encourage tourists to come prepared to be met with tons of holiday cheer as Christmas carol’s and lights fill up the park! Free cookies and hot chocolate are also available at designated park locations. Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas Parade is not to be missed, with Character’s like Jiminy Cricket, Tigger, and Scrooge McDuck all making appearances alongside dancing gingerbread men and elves! Anna, Elsa, and a few other Frozen favorites will also make an appearance in A Frozen Holiday Wish, where Elsa uses her ice powers to present a gift to everyone in Magic Kingdom. Other events include the Celebrate the Season Show, A Totally Tomorrow Land Christmas, and of, course, a special Holiday Wishes Fireworks display to end the night with a dazzling display of Christmas Cheer. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: For fans of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this is the last year for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing lights, so be sure to get tickets!

Busch Gardens Christmas lights

4. Busch Gardens Christmas Town

Busch Gardens put their own spin on the holiday season by transforming the park into Christmas Town for their holiday celebration. Guests will have the opportunity to meet Santa and friends, ride a Christmas train, and be dazzled by the holiday lights (there’s more than one million of them) at this event. Special shows include the We Three Kings Show, which musically tells the story of the tree wise men making the famed journey to Bethlehem. Busch Gardens also offers a Christmas on Ice skating show, which captures the spirit of Christmas in this breath-taking, fun family show. If you have little ones and didn’t make it to Sea World, Busch Gardens offer another opportunity to have fun with Elmo and friends during the Elmo’s Christmas Wish show! This is another great way to celebrate holidays at Orlando theme parks.

Other Holiday Shows & Opportunities

Christmas may not be conventional here in Orlando, but we sure do have a lot to offer! If none of these theme parks offer the holiday experience you are looking for, the Kennedy Space Center, Capone’s Dinner and Show, The Holy Land Experience, and LEGOLAND are all also offering unique holiday experiences! Enjoy the holidays at Orlando theme parks and have a warm and merry Christmas!

Busch Gardens Christmas Town

Busch Gardens has been transformed with lights as far as you can see, and from now until December 23rd, you can purchase discounted evening tickets to experience Busch Gardens Christmas Town. From 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on select evenings, this Tampa-area theme park is transformed into a holiday wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas.

Busch Gardens Lights

Seeing is believing, and there is plenty to see at Christmas Town. What you won’t believe is that kids’ tickets start at just $10! It’s an experience the entire family will enjoy.

Lights, Sights & Nights!

There are different sections you’ll want to experience. A nostalgic area (town) Holiday Hills will remind you of the good ol’ days. New areas such as Christmas Time Terrace and Mistletoe Memories will surprise you with new experiences. Christmas Time Terrace is located in Jungala where a 40-foot Christmas tree comes alive every fifteen minutes with spectacular dancing lights. If you’re at the park with your sweetheart, check out the Mistletoe Memories garden where romantic flowers and sparkling white twinkle lights fill the trees overhead and set the scene for sweet moments with loved ones.

Plenty of other lights are also on display throughout the Central Florida theme park, and the sights from atop many of the rides are spectacular (not all rides are open for this special event). Other sights include a life-size representation of the Holy Nativity, made from nothing but plants! ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Want to step into a larger-than-life-sized greeting card? Head to Jingle Bell Junction, just one of the many perfect photo opportunities that exist for you and your family. Want to play in the snow? Yes! A real snow area is located within Christmas Town and includes eight slides and an area to practice your snow ball accuracy. Other sights not to be missed are the spectacular shows including:

  • Angels of Peace: A Christmas Journey on Ice
  • Carol of the Bells
  • Christmas Time Terrace Light Show
  • Elmo’s Christmas Wish
  • Hallelujah Showcase
  • Madagascar Live! Operation: Christmas Vacation

Of course a night like this just wouldn’t be complete without visiting the ol’ jolly man himself. Kids of all ages will appreciate visiting Santa Claus in his private study and having their photo taken by a professional photographer in this lovely Christmas setting. Mrs. Claus is there too, baking holiday treats for everyone. Where are the elves? Making presents of course! Gift purchases at Busch Gardens are sure to be a hit on everyone’s list. Christmas Town has everything from collectables to toys, apparel and more. If you are a pass member, you’ll save 10% when you shop at the park. Many gifts can be purchased online as well.

Christmas Town has plenty of places to eat at. From snacks to full holiday meals, feast on all of your family’s holiday favorites. Savor traditional holiday turkey and mashed potatoes or enjoy hand-carved ham on a warm pretzel bun and turkey pot pies. Start a new tradition with tasty treats including peppermint cotton candy, and handmade s’mores and Christmas Town’s signature Elf Munch.

An evening in Tampa at Busch Gardens Christmas Town is a great way to spend time with your family.