No snow? No problem! Even though you shouldn’t expect a White Christmas in Florida, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a magical holiday season in and around Orlando in 2012. The holidays are a popular time for tourists, and there are a number of events throughout the month of December to keep locals and visitors busy until the New Year arrives.
- Christmas at the Theme Parks: All of the theme parks bring home the magic of Christmas this time of year. EnjoyMickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, Epcot features Candlelight Processional from November 23rd through December 30th. The back lot of Disney’s Hollywood Studios dazzles visitors with millions of sparkling lights with the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights that runs from November 9, through January 10. Universal Christmas Celebrations will feature a Macy’s Day Parade and KidZone holiday shows from November to December. Even Shamu has the Christmas spirit—SeaWorld’s Holiday Celebration runs from November 17th through December 31st, 2012.
- Local Light Displays: For holiday lights without the theme park price tag, the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando features the richly decorated Leu’s Holiday House. And if you need a break from other vacationers, take a day trip to Mt. Dora, Florida. This charming town in Lake County has an annual Christmas light display in Donnelly Park, a shopping district filled with antiques, crafts, and other boutique items, as well as bed and breakfasts for a peaceful getaway in Old Florida.
- ICE! At Gaylord Palms Resort: Gaylord Palms is an impressive resort at any time of year, but during the holidays it truly becomes a winter wonderland. Forty international artisans have hand-carved the displays out of 2 million pounds of ice. Hooded parkas will be provided for your walk through the exhibit, but be sure to wear long sleeved shirts, long pants and closed toe shoes, since ICE! is chilled to a frosty 9 degrees Fahrenheit. Kids will love the skating and ice slides as well. From November 10 – Jan 1, 2013.
- Dinner Theater Christmas Shows: Arabian Nights andPirates Dinner Adventure all get into the spirit of the season with Christmas-themed shows.
- Ring in the New Year: Walt Disney World is beginning to rival Times Square for the national spotlight on New Year’s Eve. The Mouse House hosts a nationally televised event where you can ring in the New Year with a concert and fireworks without freezing in subzero temperatures. Universal Studios and SeaWorld also host events on New Year’s Eve, so the skies over Orlando are always brightly lit up with fireworks at the stroke of midnight.
- Capital One Citrus Bowl (January 1): Are you ready for some football? College football fans can go to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando to get their final fix until next season. If your favorite team happens to be playing the same day at the Toyota Gator Bowl, Jacksonville is about a two hour drive away. Either way, it will be your last chance to catch a college football game until next fall. As any Big 10 fan will tell you, tailgating is a lot more enjoyable when you don’t have to remove your gloves in order to eat your food.
- Holiday Celebrations at Universal Orlando Resort: Be a part of a grand celebration this holiday season unlike anything else on earth! Come experience the wonder of Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure®, the spectacular Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios®, and so much more!
Even though you won’t be able to line up any sleigh rides in Central Florida, there are plenty of activities guaranteed to make your Orlando vacation one of the best holiday seasons ever.
Other Christmas events in Orlando that you may want to experience include: