The Most Festive Things to Do in Orlando During Christmas

November 15, 2021

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.

Visitors will delight in the wealth of family-friendly festive attractions, entertainment, and scrapbook-worthy photo ops that can be discovered in Orlando. 

Whether you have your sights set on attending Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show or witnessing the majestic beauty of over three million twinkling lights, we have an epic array of Holiday celebrations, shows, and festivals for you.

So hang those stockings, trim that tree, and cozy up with a mug of cocoa as we bring you the ultimate roundup of Orlando Holiday events.

Related Post: New Year's Eve in Orlando: Things to Do and Where to Celebrate

Hotels in Orlando

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

Staying in a hotel or resort gives you unlimited opportunities to relax, soak in the sun, and can even provide priority access and perks to your favorite theme park. 

From European-inspired full-service golf resorts to Disney-affiliated hotels, we have lodging options for every budget and taste. Preserve your peace of mind when you book your accommodations with us, as we offer the guaranteed lowest rates. 

christmas lights at disney world cinderella's castle

Theme Parks in Orlando

Disney Very Merriest After Hours, Disney World®, Orlando

When: Select Nights November 8-December 21st, 2021

It’s sure to be a holly jolly season when Mickey and the gang are involved! Get ready to celebrate all things merry and bright with Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours.

Related Post: Insider's Guide to Walt Disney World®

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

  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
  • Club Tinsel Dance Party
  • Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show
  • Favorite characters, like the Country Bears spreading cheer
  • Sweet melodies from the legendary carolers, the Reindeer Wranglers
  • Holiday-theme decor throughout the park and on classic rides, such as ‘Jingle Cruise’
  • Mouthwatering 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.

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World®: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

Elve gossiping at Universal Studios Orlando in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Universal Orlando Resort via Facebook

2021 Holidays at Universal Orlando™ Resort, Universal Studios Orlando

When: November 13-January 2nd, 2022

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. 

All of these activities are included in your general admission ticket*, so you have no excuse not to partake in some epic movie-inspired mischief and holiday delights.

Related Post: Current Events and Festivals in Orlando, Florida

Universal’s Holiday Experience featuring Macy’s Balloons

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 rich hot Butterbeer? 

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
  • A thematic, seasonal live musical 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

Grinchmas at Universal's Islands of Adventure™

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 be laughing out loud 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.

boy and girl posing with LEGOLAND soldier with snow in background and christmas trees in Orlando, Florida, USA

Holidays at LEGOLAND, LEGOLAND® Orlando

When: Select dates November 26-December 31st, 2021

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:

  • 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!

Related Post: Build Holiday Memories at LEGOLAND Florida Christmas Bricktacular

Christmas trees in the water at SeaWorld Orlando with the theme park in the background in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: SeaWorld Orlando via Facebook

Seaworld’s Christmas Celebration, Seaworld, Orlando

When: Select dates November 13-January 2nd, 2022

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 has been replaced by an enchanting winter wonderland complete with:

  • Winter Wonderland on Ice the jaw-dropping ice skating extravaganza
  • Visits from Rudolph the reindeer
  • Meet and greet with Santa at the Wild Arctic

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

Ballet dancers performing the Nutcracker at the Orlando Ballet in Orlando, Florida

photo credit: Orlando Ballet Company and School via Facebook

Parades & Shows

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

When: December 3-December 19th, 2022 

Dreaming of sugar plum fairies and giant mouse soldiers? Nothing says ‘Christmastime’ more than a classic performance of The Nutcracker ballet

Related Post: 10 Totally Free Things to Do in Orlando for Adults

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 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. 

Winter Park Christmas Parade in Orlando, FL

When: December 4th, 2021 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 Winter Park Christmas Parade

Related Post: Christmas in Orlando: How to Celebrate the Season

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.

Two children sitting on Santa's lap smiling

photo credit: Islander Images via Unsplash

Photo Ops & Festivals in Orlando

The Santa Workshop Experience, Icon Park, Orlando, FL

When: November 5th - December 24th, 2021

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 professional photo and video package options.

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

When: TBD

Who says you can’t ice skate in Florida? Take part in all of the wonderfully wintery activities and make unforgettable memories at the annual Oh What Fun! Holiday Festival in Lake Nona. 

Related Post: Top Attractions in Orlando, Florida

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
  • Snow: every hour on the hour, the Lake Nona Town Center will fill with snow!
  • Holiday carols performed by the Merry Measures
  • Immersive experience with Peppermint the Penguin
  • Yummy themed eats like piping hot chocolate and massive Christmas cookies
Three Crayola Crayons with faces holding presents and a tag that says Colorful Christmas at Crayola Experience in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Crayola Experience Orlando via Facebook

Colorful Christmas at Crayola Experience in Orlando

When: TBD

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 musical numbers
  • Interact with animatronic holiday characters
  • Participate in a Santa approved scavenger hunt
  • Get artsy, and craft unique presents
Christmas light scattered across trees and building and giant light mushroom on the left hand sign at Night of a Million Lights in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Give Kids The World via Facebook

Night Of A Million Lights, Kissimmee, Florida

When: November 12th-January 2nd, 2022

Keep the Christmas spirit alive this winter by sharing the joy and kindness of the season. Night of a Million Lights is a one-of-a-kind spectacular hosted by the non-profit 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 vacations.

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)
exterior ground view of Tapa Toro Restaurant in Orlando Florida, USA

photo credit: Tapa Toro Facebook page

Sweet Treats for Christmas in Orlando

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.

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.

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 that's 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.

Baby, it’s (not so) cold outside in Orlando, but that doesn’t mean Christmas 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.

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

What Festive Things to Do in Orlando During Christmas Did We Miss?

Do you know other festive events in Orlando that we overlooked? Share them with us!

isis with mural in background

Written By Isis Maya

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

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