Christmas in Orlando 2024: The Most Festive Things to Do

The theme park capital of the U.S. might not conjure up images of a winter wonderland, but locals know that this palm tree populated paradise is just bursting with holiday cheer.

Follow along to discover the best Christmas things to do in Orlando 2022.

Visitors will delight in the wealth of family-friendly festive attractions, entertainment, and holiday traditions that can be discovered in Orlando at Christmas time. 

Whether you have your sights set on attending Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show or decorating a village of gingerbread houses, we have an epic array of Holiday celebrations, shows, and festivals for you.

So hang those stockings, clap along to a Christmas parade, or cozy up with a mug of cocoa as we bring you the ultimate roundup of Christmas in Orlando events.

Orlando Florida in December

Balmy days sans a puffy jacket? Sign us up for an Orlando getaway in December! In addition to ideal temperatures, you’ll never have to wonder what to do in Orlando in December. From millions of majestic twinkling lights to scrumptious Disney seasonal treats, there’s mistletoe and magic around every corner.

Try to spot gators on a windswept Wild Florida Airboat Ride or ring in Christmas eve with the acrobatics of Cirque du Soleil. You’ll never run out of epic things to do in Orlando in December. 

Psst.. planning your Yuletide getaway a little early? If you are searching for things to do in November in Orlando, check out our Orlando Thanksgiving guide.

girl hugging Lego character at LEGOLAND breakfastOrlando Christmas Hotels

Why not kick off the season of sugar plums and Santa Claus with a night or two away? Make the most of your Floridian getaway by staying in one of our many Orlando Hotels and Resorts.

Whether you are craving modern and minimalist lodgings just minutes from downtown Orlando or want to schedule some R&R at a Disney Springs resort, we have options for every budget and taste. Many of our accommodations even provide priority access and perks to your preferred theme park.

Preserve your peace of mind when you book your accommodations with Tripster, as we always offer the guaranteed lowest rates online.

photo credit: Waldorf Astoria Orlando via Facebook

Christmas Events in Orlando

Disney Very Merriest After Hours, Disney World, Orlando

When: Select Nights November 9-December 22nd

It’s sure to be a holly jolly holiday season when Mickey and the gang are involved! What would Orlando in Christmas be without a visit to Walt Disney World? Get ready to celebrate all things merry and bright with Mickey’s Very Mery Christmas Party.

This specially ticketed event takes place all winter long at the Magic Kingdom and promises to dazzle Disney addicts all evening long with the following:

  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
  • Club Tinsel Dance Party
  • Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show
  • Groovy dance moves from Disney Junior Jingle Jam
  • A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas
  • Holiday-theme decor throughout the park and on classic rides, such as ‘Jingle Cruise.’
  • Mouth-watering seasonal goodies and novelty items available for purchase
  • Shorter wait times on over 20 popular Magic Kingdom rides and attractions 

Pro Tip: Want to hit up the classic Disneyworld highlights during the day? Make sure to buy a general admission ticket to not miss out on all of the Orlando Christmas fun to be had as the sun shines.

close up of minnie and mickey mouse mascots on float with large christmas tree at night at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in Orlando, Florida, USA
photo credit: Disneysnapshots1 via Facebook

EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays – Fun for All Ages

When: November 24th – December 30th

Cookie monsters unite! Scurry over to EPCOT to indulge your sweet tooth with the Holiday Cookie Stroll. From buttery vanilla shortbread to Linzers and chocolate crinkle, munchkins of all ages will ride a sugar high as they sample 5 cookies from various official stroll locations.

Taste traditional sweets from around the world as you collect stamps. Bring your completed passport to Holiday Sweets & Treats to receive a special surprise. 

Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort

When: November 18-January 9th, 2024

Faster than you can summon your favorite Wizarding robes, the festive season will be upon us. Universal Studios Orlando is turning up the charm and cheer with one-of-a-kind experiences in both the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios, and Islands of Adventure.  

Looking for free admission and free parking? All of these activities are included in your general admission ticket.Plus, don’t even worry about parking! It’s a complimentary treat for all guests staying at Disney Resort Hotels.

And guess what? Universal Studios Orlando joins in on the fun too – offering free parking after 6:00 PM, with a few exceptions like Halloween Horror Nights and select event nights. You definitely have no excuse not to partake in some epic movie-inspired mischief and holiday delights! 

Elves gossiping at Universal Studios Orlando
photo credit: Universal Orlando Resort via Facebook

Universal’s Holiday Experience featuring Macy’s Balloons

When: November 12-January 1st, 2024

Check ‘viewing real Macy’s balloons’ off the bucket list! Make your childhood dreams come true as you get closer than ever to the colorful Christmas floats and balloons from the famed Macy’s day parade. Don’t forget to stop for some grand photo ops with the larger-than-life characters from Shrek, Despicable Me, and of course, Santa.

Experience The Magic of The Holidays in The Wizarding World™

What’s more festive than a snow-covered Hogsmeade or deliciously decadent hot Butterbeer? 

Kick off the holiday season, pretend you are hanging out with Harry and the gang as you meander through both Diagon Alley™ and Hogsmeade™, and enjoy:

  • Merry holiday decor and enchanting lighting
  • The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts™ Castle, featuring fireworks, lights, and more
  • A thematic, seasonal live music show performed by the legendary Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees
  • The lulling lullabies and carols of the Frog Choir
  • All the creamy Butterbeer you can consume

Are you a Potterhead? Check out our magical guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida!

Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure™

When: November 12-January 1st, 2024

Is your heart three sizes too small? Commiserate with Mr. Green and grumpy himself, the Grinch, this Christmas at Seuss-Landing! 

Explore the sparkly decorations and tree-tressed trimmings of Dr. Seuss’s famous Who-ville. Kiddies and adults alike will laugh at the hilarious and heartwarming Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, featuring music by Mannheim Steamroller. But, before you depart, don’t forget to grab an autograph and photo with the man who stole Christmas.

family interacting with Grinch mascot for Grinchmas at Universal Studios Orlando in Orlando, Florida, USA
photo credit: Olga Rodriguez via Facebook

Holidays at LEGOLAND, LEGOLAND Florida

When: Select dates November 24-December 31st

Everything’s coming up awesome this holiday season at LEGOLAND Orlando!

No lumps of coal to be found here, just lots of brick-tacular lego fueled fun. Your favorite lego lover will be thrilled to soak in all of the following:

  • Entertaining live shows
  • Holiday characters
  • Delicious seasonal treats
  • Festive decor
  • Lego building activities
  • A giant Lego tree and rides in a Lego sleigh

And as an early gift to you, all of this jingle bell-worthy joy is included in your general admission ticket!

boy and girl posing with LEGOLAND soldier with snow in background and christmas trees in Orlando, Florida, USASeaworld’s Christmas Celebration, Seaworld, Orlando

When: Select dates November 11-January 3rd

Seeking a yuletide adventure that will take you under the sea? Seaworld Orlando Christmas Celebration is a colorful explosion of winter cheer and festive excitement.

Explore a park lit aglow with the shine of over three million brilliant lights. The Seaworld you know and love transform into a winter wonderland complete with:

  • Dinner with Santa
  • A Sesame Street Christmas Parade
  • Winter Wonderland on Ice
  • Holiday Reflections fireworks and fountains finale 
  • Frozen hot chocolate and eggnog delights
  • An illuminated Sea of Trees
  • Elmo’s Christmas Wish Show
  • And more!

All of this maritime merriment is included in your general admission ticket or annual pass. 

Christmas trees in the water at SeaWorld Orlando with the theme park in the background
photo credit: SeaWorld Orlando via Facebook

Christmas Parades & Shows

The Nutcracker® by the Orlando Ballet, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando

When: December 8-December 24th

Sit back, relax, and appreciate the artistry and magic of the Orlando ballet as they perform this seasonal favorite. This timeless tale of wonder, magic, and toy nutcrackers come to life and will transport and transfix you.

Pro Tip: Worried the wee babes won’t be able to sit for a full-length performance? The Orlando Ballet also performs a family and sensory-friendly show that is only one hour long and features adjustments to sound and lighting effects.

Ballet dancers performing the Nutcracker at the Orlando Ballet
photo credit: Orlando Ballet Company and School via Facebook

Winter Park Christmas Parade in Orlando, FL

When: December 2nd, 9:00 am-10:30 am

Worried Santa won’t make it from the North Pole to sunny Florida? Assuage your fears and spread some good tidings by attending the 71st annual Winter Park “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade

This incredible event has been running for over 65 years and is Central Florida’s longest-running holiday parade. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open as you take in marching band performances, classic cars, holiday garb, and even snow.

Holly Jolly Sounds of the Season

When: December 9th-10th

Get ready for some Holly Jolly Sounds of the Season! Immerse yourself in the festive ambiance as the talented members of the String Family take you on a musical journey that will put everyone in the spirit of Christmas.

With the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra lending their magic, sway to holiday classics like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It’s the ultimate family celebration to make your season merry and bright!

Photo Ops & Festivals in Orlando

Tree Lighting Celebration Lake Eola Park

When: December 2nd

Hop all aboard for a train ride of holiday delights when you Sunrail your way to Lake Eola Park this December. Gather up your nearest and dearest to witness this epic display of lights, giant Nutcrackers, and festive songs. Kickstart sweater season along with Mayor Buddy Dyer when you attend the annual Tree Lighting Celebration in Lake Eola Park.

Come early winter, Washington Plaza will be transformed into a glittering oasis of palm trees, tinsel, and sparkle. The evening’s other activities will include seasonal performances at the Walt Disney Amphitheater, mouth-watering food truck offerings, and a holiday market.

close up of christmas tree with palm trees in backgroundThe Santa Workshop Experience, Icon Park, Orlando, FL

When: November 5th – December 24th

Have you been waiting all year to get that Christmas card-worthy snap of your kiddies with Santa? Get the cutest Santa pics ever with the complete Santa Workshop Experience at Icon Park. Little ones will get to share their gift list with the big man himself, and parents will be delighted to commemorate the experience with various options for professional photo and video Orlando Christmas packages.

Oh, What Fun! A Holiday Festival, Lake Nona Town Center, FL

When: December 7-24th

Who says there’s no ice skating in Florida? Take part in the wonderfully wintery activities and make unforgettable memories at the annual Oh What Fun! Holiday Festival in Lake Nona. 

This adorable festival experience will warm even the frostiest of hearts with its:

  • Signature open-air iceless skate rink
  • Appearances by Santa and his magical friends
  • Classic holiday movie in Boxi Park 
  • Classic carols performed by the Merry Measures
  • Timed ‘snowfalls’ on the hour 
  • Immersive experience with Peppermint the Penguin

Yummy-themed eats like piping hot chocolate and massive Christmas cookies

Colorful Christmas at Crayola Experience in Orlando

When: November 18-January 7th

Tinsel, tree trimmings, and mistletoe, oh my! For those who like to add a big dash of crafting and creativity to their holiday decorations, the Colorful Christmas at the Crayola Experience is the place to be. 

Color outside the lines of your imagination and maybe even create a homemade gift or two at this hands-on attraction.  

Children of all ages will be filled with holy delight as they:

  • Sing along with seasonal, holiday musical numbers with reindeer friends
  • Interact with animatronic holiday characters
  • Participate in a Santa-approved scavenger hunt
  • Get artsy, and craft unique presents

Christmas Lights in Orlando

Night Of A Million Lights, Kissimmee, Florida

When: November 11th-January 1st

Not sure what things to do in Kissimmee for Christmas? Keep the Candy Cane pride alive this winter by sharing the joy and kindness of the season. Night of a Million Lights is a one-of-a-kind spectacular benefiting Give Kids the World Village.

This enchanting light show extravaganza provides invaluable funding to allow critically ill children and their families to live out their dream Orlando Christmas vacation. This year’s epic illumination will be taking place at a brand new venue: the Island H2O Water Park!

Appreciate the ethereal glow of over three million twinkling lights even more, knowing you are doing good. 

Guests, young and old, will be able to meander through this beautiful fairytale land come to life as they witness:

  • 360-degree dancing light show
  • Shimmering Christmas tree trail
  • Lifesize holiday displays, step-in frames, and backdrops (all make ideal photo ops)
  • Quaint holiday marketplace
  • Meet and greets with Santa 
  • Guided storytelling tour of the over 100 expertly decorated villas (from the convenience and comfort of a tram)
Christmas light scattered across trees and building and giant light mushroom on the left hand sign at Night of a Million Lights
photo credit: Give Kids The World via Facebook

Things to do in Orlando during Christmas

Fuel up for a night of tree trimming or just brighten up someone’s day by treating them to a scrumptious cup of hot cocoa at one of Orlando’s sweetest cafes or restaurants. Orlando during Christmas, may not be frosty, but everyone loves a soothing cup of cider or a warm cookie. Tackle the tastier side of things to do in Orlando at Christmas with our list of tantalizing experiences:

Peterbrooke Chocolatier, Winter Park, FL

Ready to give yourself a very chocolatey Christmas? Indulge in all things cocoa and nice at Peterbrook Chocolatier. This European-style chocolate shop delivers a high-quality (and super aesthetic) hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, crushed peppermint, and a solid chocolate rim. 

Pro Tip: Need to bring the sweet treats home for some very thirsty (and hungry) elves? Peterbrooke also sells various hot chocolate bombs and blocks in flavors like peppermint, Mexican Hot Chocolate, dark, white, and vegan dark chocolate.

You can also purchase holiday-themed chocolate snowmen, a chocolate house-building kit, and the ever-popular peppermint bark.

Tapa Toro Restaurant, Orlando, FL

Looking to elevate your at-home hot chocolate-making experience? 

Tapa Toro sells gourmet hot chocolate bombs in single or four-pack packages. For a larger holiday get-together, you can also spring for their special Hot Cocoa Board, which serves as a type of chocolate charcuterie board, complete with 2-4 hot chocolate bombs, assorted cookies, mini-marshmallows, and marshmallow mug toppers, meringues, and cookie stirrers.

child whispering in santa's ear with christmas tree and lights in background

Orlando Attractions

Need a few more exciting experiences to round out your yule-tide itinerary? Check out our favorites below.

Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove, the marine life park adjacent to Sea World, gives you the chance to swim with dolphins and snorkel in a pool of tropical fish while learning all about native wildlife. Kick back in a comfy cabana and enjoy an all-inclusive resort getaway without the passport.

K1 Speed

Take to the road at K1 Speed, an indoor go-kart race track with sharp turns, exciting acceleration, and much more! Drive a go-kart that reaches speeds of up to 50 miles per hour and experience life in the fast lane.

WonderWorks Orlando

Welcome to WonderWorks Orlando, the amusement park for the mind! With over 100 interactive exhibits, visitors of all ages can embark on a thrilling journey of discovery ride.

Whether you’re a kid or just a kid at heart, this upside-down museum promises a day of fun and excitement.

Explore the wonders of science, test your skills in mind-bending challenges, and immerse yourself in a world of creativity and imagination.

people in blacklight room filled with arcade games and attractions with neon decorations at WonderWorks Arcade in Orlando, Florida, USA
photo credit: Kim Pitts-Edwards via Facebook

Christmas in Orlando FAQs

If you're wondering, "Is Orlando crowded in December?" the answer can vary depending on the part of the month. The first half of December definitely sees fewer crowds than the second half, offering a relatively calm experience for visitors looking to enjoy the city and its magnificent theme parks. As Christmas approaches and holidays begin, the crowd sizes significantly increase, resulting in a more bustling and energetic atmosphere.

When visiting Orlando in December, you'll notice that dress styles can vary broadly. Local residents and tourists often show up with both summer clothes and winter trip clothes, creating a dynamic style blend. It's common to see folks enjoying the Floridian sun in light attire during the day, while switching to warmer layers in the cooler evenings.

Experience the Holidays in Central Florida

Baby, it’s (not so) cold outside, but that doesn’t mean Christmas in Orlando FL is nowhere to be found. 

All over central Florida, theme parks, parades, and Santa’s villages are illuminated by the smiles of happy children and sparkling festive lights.

Whether you are jingling all the way home with Harry and Hagrid or marveling at the beauty of the Nutcracker ballet, there are so many ways to celebrate the snowy season here in Orlando.

Ready for a jolly holiday? Don’t miss our Orlando Christmas Vacation Packages. From an enchanting light display to thrilling theme park adventures, we’ve wrapped up the best of the season just for you. 

However you decide to spend your Floridian holiday, we hope you are surrounded by all the joy, gratitude, and hope of this happiest time of year!

Tell Us, How will You Celebrate Christmas in Orlando?

Did we miss any of your top things to do in Orlando for Christmas?

Share them with us below!

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Written by Isis Maya Nissman

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central...

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