Your Festive Guide to All the Holiday ~Hoppenings~ in Orlando

by Mommy Frog on December 7, 2023 Orlando   Video

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... For the Central Florida locals or those visiting Orlando this holiday season, you know we don't exactly look like a winter wonderland. That doesn't stop the many Orlando holiday events from decking the halls with festive cheer (we always love the "snoap" falling from above).

You'll find the biggest holiday events are located at the many theme parks, along with a few smaller attractions as well. (And be sure to unwrap great deals on theme park tickets and nationwide attractions by booking through Undercover Tourist!) There's something extra magical about this time of year. With many families journeying here for vacations, as well as locals looking for a special celebration, you'll find plenty of festive fun in Orlando.

As a gift to you, here are our favorite Orlando holiday events!

Our Guide to Orlando Holiday Events

Walt Disney World

Starting off strong, the most magical place on Earth goes all in for the holidays! Walt Disney World has lots of holiday events available at each of the four theme parks, Disney Springs and the many resort hotels.

For the quintessential Christmas, we highly recommend visiting Magic Kingdom with the beautiful decor and snoap down Main Street U.S.A., special entertainment and more. You won't want to miss the separately ticketed event, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, running on select nights through Dec. 22. With a parade, stage show, fireworks and more, it's one of our absolute favorite Orlando holiday events!

You'll find more holiday fun at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Here you'll find the brand new Disney Jollywood Nights, a separately ticketed event that combines the holidays with the glitz and glam of classic Hollywood. Over at EPCOT, there's so much to see and do with EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. We love learning about different holiday traditions, savoring specialty food and drink and enjoying entertainment, including the incredible Candlelight Processional!

Want to experience the holidays at Disney World without a park ticket? Enjoy the Christmas tree Stroll and other fun at Disney Springs or visit the beautiful gingerbread displays at the resort hotels.

Universal Orlando Resort

Not-to-Miss Islands of Adventure - Grinch

Universal Orlando Resort is all decked out for the holidays with special decor and entertainment. And best of all? It's all included with regular admission! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter becomes extra magical (the snow-capped Hogsmeade buildings make for a perfect backdrop for the season!) with decor and a special castle projection show. Another wonderful highlight is the Holiday Parade, held nightly at Universal Studios Florida. Throughout the resort, enjoy themed food and drink, decor, the iconic Holiday Tribute Store, a Holiday Tree Hunt and even a chance to meet the adorable Earl the Squirrel.

Of course, you won't want to miss the Grinchmas celebration over at Seuss Landing in Islands of Adventure! For a hilarious encounter, you can meet the Grinch himself and other Who-ville characters with meet-and-greets or during The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast. Be sure to catch the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, a fabulous stage show based on "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration - Elmo's Christmas Wish

For a splashin' good time this holiday season, consider visiting SeaWorld Orlando's Christmas Celebration. Included with regular admission, enjoy seasonal decor, entertainment (including meeting Santa Claus himself!) and food and drink. Catch special shows such as "O Wondrous Night" (a musical production with 30 carols, puppets and live animals), Elmo's Christmas Wish, the Sea of Trees glowing on the water, dazzling ice skating displays, characters, Sesame Street Christmas Parade and the Holiday Reflections fireworks. The Christmas Celebration occurs on select dates, so be sure to check your date before hopping over this holiday season.

Aquatica Orlando, SeaWorld's sister water park, is hosting Beach Nights with a Christmas movie showing every Saturday night through Dec. 23. The movie lineup includes "Elf," "The Santa Clause" and "The Polar Express."

LEGOLAND Florida Resort

Holidays at LEGOLAND - Carousel

Looking for some festive weekend plans? Be sure to check out the Holidays at LEGOLAND, occurring on select dates through Dec. 31. Included with regular park admission, enjoy lots of holiday activities perfect for tadpoles such as character experiences, seasonal shows, see LEGO Santa and write a letter to the North Pole, savor holiday treats and of course gaze in awe at the incredible LEGO displays. We love the giant LEGO Christmas tree — it even lights up!

Gatorland

The annual Holiday Ho, Ho, Ho-Down takes place on Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 17 this year at Gatorland. Meet Gator Claus aboard his swampy sleigh, plus his friends Skunk Ape and Krampus Croc.

SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando

Ho, Ho, H2O celebrates the holiday SEAson at SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando with twinkling holiday lights in its undersea wonderland. Guests may even spot Scuba Claus diving into the season on select dates and times.

Crayola Experience Orlando

For the creative young kiddos in the family, the Crayola Experience Orlando hosts Colorful Christmas, featuring characters, photo-ops, scavenger hunt, handmade holiday crafts, treats, live entertainment and more!

Holiday Concerts and Shows

Holiday Shows - The Nutcracker "The Nutcracker" by Larry Lamsa is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A classic holiday tradition, consider seeing The Nutcracker ballet this holiday season. With iconic music and elegant dancing, follow the story of Clara as she has a magical holiday adventure. There are a few production options in Orlando and throughout Central Florida this year (and we frogs are offering great deals on Nutcracker tickets!). Catch the International Florida Ballet at the Osceola Performing Arts Center on Dec. 16. Over at Steinmetz Hall with the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, see the Orlando Ballet perform on select days Dec. 8-24 (including a few sensory-friendly shows!).

We all love holiday magic, so why not see an actual magic show? The Illusionists - Magic of the Holidays promises a mind-blowing and jaw-dropping show at the Walt Disney Theater with the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 15 at 8 p.m.

The pop a capella group, Pentatonix, brings its "Most Wonderful Tour of the Year" to the Kia Center (formerly Amway Center) on Dec. 13. The tour supports Pentatonix's newest Christmas album, "The Greatest Christmas Hits."

Rock out to the songs of the season with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which is in town performing at the Kia Center (formerly Amway Center) on Dec. 22 with two performances at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

NCAA Football Bowl Games

Camping World Stadium is hosting two college football bowl games this holiday season. The Pop Tarts Bowl takes place Dec. 28 and the Citrus Bowl kicks off the new year on Jan. 1, 2024.

Kennedy Space Center

If you venture out of Orlando, Kennedy Space Center hosts Holidays in Space from Dec. 15 to Dec. 30. The event features a projection mapping show, Starflake's Holiday Voyage, on the exterior of Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex — as well as a new Rocket Tree Trail, festive decor and more family-friendly activities. All Holidays in Space festivities are included with general admission.

Well there you have it — our favorite Orlando holiday events? Do you have a favorite event for the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!

Related: The Best Central Florida Theme Park by Holiday Tradition

Related: Undercover Tourist's Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide 2023

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Undercover Tourist is the leading supplier of online discount tickets to Orlando, Florida-area attractions, including Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort™, SeaWorld® Orlando, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and more.

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