People love to come to Orlando for the holidays–whether it’s for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, or Fourth of July, Orlando is a popular destination that embraces the holidays. This Christmas, Orlando is peppered with things that you can do with friends, family, or even on your own (we all need some zen time after this year). I’ve found that living in Orlando makes me take for granted everything this great city has to offer, so I’m challenging myself to find a way to celebrate the holidays here in Orlando from December 1st to December 25th, and I challenge you to do the same. Let’s take a look at 25 ways you can celebrate the holidays in Orlando.
- Theme Parks are great destinations. Walt Disney World celebrates with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom and Holidays Around the World at Epcot. Universal celebrates with Grinchmas and the Macy’s Holiday Parade. SeaWorld has several holiday experiences to visit. If you have some cash to spare, check out one of the theme parks.
- Christmas at the Leu House. The botanical gardens have the whole place decked out for the holidays, and it’s a truly beautiful sight!
- The Festival of Trees. The Orlando Museum of Art has several decorated trees on display, and the cool part is you can purchase them and take them home!
- ICE! At Gaylord Palms. If you live in Orlando and haven’t experienced ICE!, you’re missing out. This experience, located at Gaylord Palms, showcases more than two million pounds of hand-carved sculptures, four ice slides, and a live, ice-carving station. Wear some warm clothes because it is COLD.
- Light Up UCF. In its ninth season, Light Up UCF is a family-friendly attraction featuring ice skating, rides, and holiday attractions. It’s open all the way through Saturday, January 7th.
- Winter in the Park. Go ice skating in the heart of Winter Park where you can find holiday music, games, carolers, and more fun that will get you into the holiday spirit.
- Annual Wekiva Island Boat Parade. While this is only the second year for the Wekiva Island Boat Parade, it’s definitely not something you should miss out on. On Saturday, December 17th, head out to Wekiva Island and watch the boats roll through all decked out in the holiday spirit. Get there early for a good spot–the parade is from 5:00pm – 10:00pm.
- The Great Christmas Light Adventure. This fun adventure for the whole family takes place out on Green Meadows Farm in Kissimmee on the weekends. Take in the light displays and check out Santas from all around the world!
- The 56th Annual Mount Dora Christmas Parade. Come down to Mount Dora on Saturday, December 3rd to see the Christmas Parade, located in the heart of Downtown Mount Dora.
- Light Up the Holidays. Another option for Saturday, December 3rd is to head on down to Light Up the Holidays at Cranes Roost Park. You can experience fireworks, a giant ice slide, Santa and Mrs. Claus, train rides, and holiday performances. Fireworks are between 6:30pm – 7:00pm so plan accordingly!
- Cannonball Christmas Express. The Cannonball Christmas Express by Orange Blossom Cannonball Train is departing on selected dates until December 23rd. Get on board Santa’s Cannonball Christmas Express and enjoy singing, storytelling, and a rare chance to meet Santa!
- A Family Night Celebration of Christmas at San Pedro Center. Come check out the amazing living nativity out at San Pedro Center on December 21st from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. There is also food, holiday treats, and more!
- Breakfast with Santa at the Sanford Zoo. Come out to the Sanford Zoo on December 10th from 9:00am – 12:30pm to have Breakfast with Santa! Register online before space runs out. Registration ends on December 9, 2016.
- See the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at The Amway Center. This amazing orchestral experience is held on December 17th with two showings (3:30pm and 8:00pm) at The Amway Center. Buy tickets soon as they run out fast!
- See the Nutcracker by the Orlando Ballet at the Dr. Phillips Center. A beautiful, Christmas tradition, The Nutcracker is put on by the company of the Orlando Ballet at Dr. Phillip’s Center in the Walt Disney World Theater. There are several showings from December 8th – December 11th.
- Visit Santa at the Mall at Millenia. If you’re looking for a unique mall Santa experience like no other, visit The Santa Photo Experience at The Mall at Millenia from now until December 24, 2016.
- Get Under the Falling Snow in Celebration. It’s now snowing in Celebration Town Center all the way through Saturday, December 31st. There are nightly snow falls between 6pm and 9pm. There are definitely more holiday-related activities to keep the whole family entertained!
- 39th Annual Cracker Christmas. Come out to Fort Christmas on December 3rd and 4th to experience Cracker Christmas, 39 years in the making. Watch pioneer demonstrations for weaving, spinning, broom making, and more
- Sanford’s Annual Illuminated “Parade of Lights.” Join everyone in downtown Sanford for a free event on Saturday, December 10th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm to experience lights, floats, Santa, and more!
- 7th Annual Holiday Concert at Lake Eola. News 6 is presenting the 7th Annual Holiday Concert at Lake Eola on Saturday, December 3rd at 6pm. It’s free admission, but the Salvation Army will be there taking monetary donations.
- Watch Elf at Winter Garden Village. Come out to Winter Garden Village at Fowler Groves Mall to catch a FREE showing of ELF on Monday, December 19th.
- 5th Annual Christmas Light Ride. The 5th Annual Christmas Light Ride is on Saturday, December 19th at 7pm. Bikes, decorated in Christmas lights, will be going through Ivanhoe Village and College Park to take in the light displays.
- The Great Latke Cook-Off. For those of you who celebrate Hanukkah, come out to the Rosen JCC on Apopka-Vineland Road for yummy latkes and Hanukkah festivities starting at 1pm on December 15th.
- Donate Toys to the Holiday Heroes Toy Drive. Mayor Teresa Jacobs hosts this annual toy drive with multiple locations through December 14th.
- Violectric Holiday Show. This is a free concert at Lake Eola Park that features local electric string quintet band Violectric playing a mash-up of rock, pop, and holiday favorites on Saturday, December 10th at 7:00pm.
Take some time to enjoy the community and all of the holidays activities Orlando has to offer. I know our team will! No matter what you decide to do for the holidays, if you have any Orlando digital marketing needs, make sure to give On Target a ring!