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More than 20 ways to celebrate Christmas in Orlando

With an incredible lineup of more than 20 holiday celebrations, it’s no wonder Orlando is one of the most booked destinations for the 2021 holiday season. Exciting theme park happenings complement local festivities ranging from dazzling immersive light displays to sparkling Christmas tree trails. Here’s what to look out for: Festive theme park celebaations Walt Disney World Resort – select nights starting 12 November Disney Very Merriest After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park runs for 24 select nights from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The new separately ticketed, after-hours holiday event will bring festive food and beverage offerings, dance parties, nighttime spectaculars and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays takes guests on a global holiday celebration with costumed performances, seasonal food throughout 11 World Showcase nations, along with sights, sounds and flavors of the season celebrated by cultures near and far. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests can dine with Minnie and friends at Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine, catch a glimpse of old St. Nick as he cruises in his candy-apple red convertible down Hollywood Boulevard and experience a captivating projection show on the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Disney’s Animal Kingdom brings a holiday twist to the magic of nature with festive flotillas featuring Chip n’ Dale, Donald Duck, holiday percussionists and Santa sailing down the Discovery River. As nighttime falls, a holiday edition of the Tree of Life Awakening will begin accompanied by a heartwarming musical score. Universal Orlando Resort – 13 November to 2 January Grinchmas™ at Universal’s Islands of Adventure brings holiday charm to Seuss Landing with The Grinchmas™ Who-liday Spectacular, a live retelling of the classic tale starring the Grinch™ Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ features festive decor in both Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Guests can cap off their evening in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade to enjoy “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” – a spectacular transformation of Hogwarts castle with a stunning projection. Universal’s Holiday Experience featuring Macy’s Balloons offers guests a walk-through experience of larger-than-life Macy’s balloons and colorful Christmas floats, including characters from Shrek, Madagascar and Despicable Me, along with Santa. SeaWorld Orlando – 12 November to 2 January New festivities at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration include Elmo’s Christmas Wish Show and Holiday Reflections: Fireworks and Fountains Finale features soaring fountains, dazzling lights and fireworks. LEGOLAND Florida – weekends from 26 November to 31 December Holidays at LEGOLAND® will feature a giant LEGO Christmas tree, seasonal shows, holiday characters, special treats, LEGO® activities, twinkling lights and more. Fun beyond the theme parks The Santa Workshop Experience ICON Park is home to The Santa Workshop Experience from 5 November to 24 December. Every child who participates receives a free ticket to ride The Wheel (adult guests receive 50% off). ICON Park hosts its first tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 1 with a 40-foot-tall Christmas tree visible from International Drive. The Night of a Million Lights The Night of a Million Lights at Give Kids the World Village holiday spectacular, taking place Nov. 12 – Jan. 2, immerses guests in a sparkling wonderland of millions of lights including a sparkling tree trail, larger-than-life holiday displays and a guided storytelling tour of 100 magnificently lit villas from the comfort of a tram. The Dazzling Nights The Dazzling Nights outdoor holiday event at Harry P. Leu Gardens, running 19 November to 9 January, features a three-quarter-mile interactive holiday experience with epic lighting installations, themed photo moments, live entertainment and more. Crayola Experience’s Colorful Christmas Crayola Experience’s Colorful Christmas, taking place 20 November to 3 January, includes diving into a life-sized snow globe, complete with falling snow, and crafting unique gifts. Downtown for the Holidays Throughout the entire month of December, downtown Orlando is offering nine free holiday events as part of Downtown for the Holidays. Visitors can watch The Nutcracker by the Russian Ballet of Orlando; stroll around Eola Wonderland to see the dazzling holiday décor and lights – including the Eola Wonderland Christmas Tree; or grab a blanket and enjoy a holiday movie on the Lake Eola lawn. The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts hosts holiday-themed performances during its outdoor, socially distanced FrontYard Festival. Holiday performances include Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Wild & Swingin’ Holiday Party and the Big Band Holidays tradition by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. When the children were younger we went to Orlando for Christmas and it was a very magical time.

    Festivity seems to come more easily when the temperatures are in the seventies. It was so magical that the kids persuaded us to go back the next year.

    1. I tend to stay at home for Christmas but I can see the appeal of getting away, and even more so of enjoying some sunshine and getting your fair share of vitamin D at that time of year…

  2. Orlando covers many miles and with all due respect to the writer these are only some of the attractions. Make sure you book a vacation that’s long enough.

  3. I think I probably have a touch of SAD. For me when we are only getting about 7 hours daylight a day Christmas is a depressing time. Escaping to Orlando would transform the season for me.

  4. I can totally 100% recommend Orlando for Christmas. I’d add in a day off from Orlando too. I would have a day out and point the car towards Clearwater. Hard to beat a meal on Florida’s west coast with a cocktail in your hand as the sun sinks down into the Gulf of Mexico. Great to have a Gulf of Mexico / cocktail picture on my Instagram page.

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