Christmas is the most wonderful time of year. And it doesn’t get much more magical than Christmas in Orlando. The Theme Park Capital of the World pulls out all the festive stops – from spectacular street displays to slides made of ice. Better yet, sunshine is near guaranteed, so for those dreaming of a bright Christmas, here’s how to make it a December to remember...
Walt Disney World Resort
Mickey and his pals celebrate Christmas in style at Walt Disney World Resort.
And there aren’t any silent nights around here...
At Magic Kingdom
, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party means you can look forward to live entertainment, musicals and fireworks. The oh-so-popular parades have been given a seasonal makeover for the party, with Mickey joined by gingerbread men, elves and even the big man in red himself, Santa Claus. Plus, Cinderella’s Castle puts on a show after dark, lighting up with festive projections.
Please note this is a special after-hours event at Magic Kingdom, so you’ll need to buy a separate admission ticket.
Over at Epcot
, you can see how others around the globe celebrate at the International Festival of the Holidays. The World Showcase puts on plenty of shows, with the Las Posadas festival in Mexico and Chinese lion dances in China. Plus, you can sample holiday eats, like pumpkin pie, turkey and peppermint sundaes. The special Candlelight Processional, which tells the story of Christmas, runs every night and is one not to miss. Disney doesn’t do anything by halves, so it lines up a 50-piece live orchestra, a choir and celebrity narrators, including Moana star Auli’l Cravalho and actor Andy Garcia.
And Hollywood Studios
gets in on the action, too. Here, Sunset Boulevard’s transformed into a winter wonderland of ornaments and garlands, with a north pole-sized Christmas tree sitting in the middle of the lake. There’s also a projection show with characters from Frozen, the Muppets and Toy Story, or you can book in for a Christmas dinner date with Minnie for a little extra.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party runs from November 8th to December 22nd, on select nights. And Epcot’s Candlelight Processional takes place from November 26th to December 30th.
Universal Orlando Resort™
doesn’t disappoint with its festive offerings, either. After all, its parks are dedicated to the very best of Tinsel Town. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ adds a festive twist to its magic this time of year. You can wander through snow-covered Hogsmeade™ and Diagon Alley™, staring up at the festive garlands and lighting before stopping to watch the Frog Choir sing holiday anthems, all while sipping on a hot Butterbeer™.
As for the parade, you can expect big things – literally. Bright, larger-than-life balloons drift down the streets, featuring characters from Despicable Me, Shrek and the Madagascar films – not forgetting the most famous fella of them all, Father Christmas.
And even bah humbugs have somewhere to go, thanks to Grinchmas™ at Seuss Landing™. The whole of Who-ville’s kitted out with festive decs, but the Grinch™ is still on hand to add a hint of cheeky snark. The Grinchmas™ Who-liday Spectacular is full of his hijinks, and you can even meet the green grump for a photo op after.
All is certainly bright at LEGOLAND® over the festive period. They put on a Christmas Bricktacular – their very own version of a festive spectacular – with seasonal shows, treats and lights, from November 25th to 31st December.
It wouldn’t be LEGOLAND® without a tree made entirely from LEGO® and DUPLO® blocks. And it’s a 30-foot tall one at that. Those aren’t the only LEGO® structures to gawp at, either. There are life-sized models of Santa, his sleigh and his reindeers. And your little ones can join in with scavenger hunts for Santa’s elf, post their lists to Santa in the LEGO® letterbox, and make their own Rudolph ornament.
Beyond the theme parks
Orlando’s theme parks aren’t the only places getting Christmas transformations. The Stetson Mansion, built for famous hat maker John B Stetson in 1886, opens its doors for special holiday tours. All the rooms of the grand Victorian mansion are dressed to the nines with elaborate Christmas decorations from around the world. It’s a festive feast for the eyes, and great for grown-ups too.
It’s also worth swinging by Gaylord Palms, a hotel that’s renowned for its dazzling lights and decorations. The hotel goes all out with its totally cool ICE! experience with brightly coloured sculptures and slides carved from over 2 million pounds of ice.
Leu Gardens also gets into the Christmas spirit with their Dazzling Nights event. From November 25th to January 1st, you can wander through a candy cane tunnel, a laser forest and past neon flowers, as the whole place is illuminated with over a million lights. There’s also an ice castle and yeti play area for little ones.
Nowhere does Christmas lights better than America. And Jeater Bend, in Celebration, is the place to head for the most dazzling of free displays. Here, you can discover a beautifully synchronised music and light display along the whole street. But, it’s best to visit on weekdays to avoid crowds.
It might not be cold outside, but if you’re still dreaming of a White Christmas, look no further than Celebration. This Disney-built town holds a nightly snowfall event, where ‘snoap’ – AKA fake snow – is sprinkled down on Market Street. Not only is it free admission, but parking’s free, too. The snow falls nightly from November 26th until December 31st.
Disney Springs also doesn’t let the tropical Florida heat get in the way of Christmas. Snow falls over the town centre in Disney Springs at timed intervals, so you can still snap those perfect wintry selfies. It’s also a great place to pick up Disney-themed festive eats and ornaments.
Let us take the stress out of Christmas with a festive family holiday in Orlando. Secure your booking today for just £75pp, with guaranteed prices and flexible payment options up to departures in 2025.