The holiday seasons take on extra special meaning when you have the right travel plans. And in 2023, nowhere lets you make more of a splash than SeaWorld parks, especially SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. From winter wonderlands at Christmas to haunted houses at Halloween, adventure is calling, and our guide has the answers...
Mardi Gras at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens
We admit, it could be questioned whether Mardi Gras at SeaWorld or Busch Gardens is an official holiday season. But if you believe that, it's probably just because you haven't been there yet!
Brighten up your visits to the parks with a wave of colour as Mardi Gras fever takes over SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens. Beginning in February and lastly approximately a week, it's time to join the party and let the soulful sounds and dazzling sights transport you across the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans.
Our highlight of Mardi Gras happens at SeaWorld Orlando in the Wild Arctic Plaza, where the temperature begins to heat up with untamed entertainment. Deejays spin the decks, street performers wow the crowds, and stilt walkers bring the weird and wonderful to this wild party. What’s more, a southern feast awaits.
St. Patrick's Day at SeaWorld
As spring fills the air and the days get a little longer and sunnier, join the sea of green for St. Paddy’s Day celebrations. After all, who doesn’t love an excuse to wash down a cold brew? You can toast to the Irish on this very merry holiday at SeaWorld Orlando and, since it coincides with SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival, taste your way around the world with all types of food and drink under the rainbow. And with live music performances, you'll have waves of fun at this foodie fair. For more culinary treats and music shows that get you on your feet, just head over to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, where there's a Food and Wine Festival on select days during spring.
After the entertainment is done delighting crowds, you'll be ready to take the party to new heights on SeaWorld's rollercoasters. Our top pick for St Patrick's Day 2023 is the brand-new Ice Breaker at SeaWorld Orlando. Named after the Arctic summits, the ride is SeaWorld’s first multi-directional roller coaster and boasts the steepest vertical drop in Florida – at 93 feet.
Easter at SeaWorld
SeaWorld is on the Easter Bunny's visit list, leaving a trail of chocolate eggs for children. To be precise, those aged under 12 can have a cracking time hunting for Easter eggs around the parks, and there’s even a golden egg hunt with a special prize.
If you're over 12 years old, don't worry, there's something for every bunny at SeaWorld. Whilst the little ones listen to Sesame Street characters retelling Easter stories, adults can savour all the Easter treats at the popular Food and Wine Festival.
And while you’re chomping on chocolate, Easter still carries on as usual for SeaWorld’s wildlife. In fact, you can observe animal care specialists provide enrichment and special attention to all species. To help you learn more about the animals, a knowledgeable team of experts will be on hand.
4th of July at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens
You can celebrate the stars and stripes at SeaWorld on the 4th of July. And as the holiday coincides with SeaWorld Orlando's Electric Ocean event and Busch Gardens' Summer Nights, you'll be the ones getting the gifts on America's birthday. Better yet, an iconic 4th of July fireworks show will ignite the star-spangled sky.
Also, by summer 2023, guests can experience the world's first Surf Coaster at SeaWorld Orlando. Redefining what’s possible in the world of theme parks, as soon as you take your position on Pipeline: the Surf Coaster, you will know something feels different. This groundbreaking coaster shifts your seat up and down, letting you ride every bank and curve with unparalleled movement at 110 feet, at over 60mph.
Halloween at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens
From holiday cheer by day to scares by night, SeaWorld's new Halloween schedule is making waves. In 2023, you can expect SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay to host not one but two Halloween events.
Spooktacular is a child-friendly affair where little ghouls and gals dress up in fang-tastic costumes. Watch their characters come alive with face painting and stop dead in your tracks as the Sesame Street Parade Party marches down the road.
Next, Howl-O-Scream separates the scaredy cats from the hard-core horror fans. Dare to brave the eerie passageways of the haunted parks? Run for your life as you escape the spine-shivering clutches of zombies, vampires, and witches.
Then after surviving death’s door, spend the evening goblin’ sweets as you trick or treat across the park, before lifting your spirits to the beat of spell-binding DJ parties.
Christmas at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens
You can make it a bright Christmas at SeaWorld Orlando, and marvel at the constellation of 3 million lights illuminating the park. The showstopping Sea of Trees celebrations twinkle to the sound of music and glitter against the water - adding up to a beautiful ambience that lets you soak in the festive feeling.
Then head to Bayside Stadium, where you can ice skate during the day. At night, the performers put on their skates for the Winter Wonderland on Ice extravaganza. Plus, the Sesame Street Christmas Parade deserves attention, where you can watch your favourite characters decked in holly jolly Christmas costumes.
And, of course, what’s Christmas without eggnog, hot cocoa, and cookies? Thankfully, you'll be able to treat yourself to this staple festive diet throughout the park.
Meanwhile, the magic of Christmas Town also infuses the veldt land of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Jump on board the Holly Jolly Express, decked in multi-coloured baubles and bling, for a scenic trip around the 65-acre grassland where giraffes, rhinos, and zebras roam. And if you're looking for reindeer, then why not visit Rudolph's Winter Wonderland, where you can snap a shot with Santa's red-nosed helper?
What's more, you can even meet Santa Claus at Santa's North Pole Experience, where he awaits your arrival with his band of merry elves. Continue the Yuletide celebration by watching show-stopping spectacles, from Christmas on Ice to the Three Kings Journey musical, and then admire the fascinating fireworks.
New Year's Eve at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens
SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's Christmas festivities run until early January, so you can still be swept up in the holiday spirit as you ring in the New Year. You can watch a festive show or even skate on ice.
A special fireworks show signals the start of the New Year, as the sky glitters and explodes with streams of pyrotechnic colour.
Ready to plan your SeaWorld adventure? For travel tales you'll be retelling at every festive get-together, check out our best SeaWorld holiday deals here.