We feel right at home at SeaWorld ... and it's not just the large amount of water for us to splash around in. SeaWorld Orlando has a way of making every holiday come alive with the perfect amount of festivities to make you feel like you're at an amazing theme park and your hometown, all at once. With decadent treats, impressive entertainment and millions of glittering lights, SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration is the perfect example of holidays done right. What more could a Frog Family ask for? We were lucky enough to hop in on the first day of the festivities this year. We were given the good fortune of mild temps and low crowds ... and wish the same for you!
Here’s our lowdown on SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2018, taking place on select nights Nov. 17 through Dec. 31. It's all included with regular SeaWorld park admission, so you should definitely hop to it!
Entertainment at SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration
SeaWorld Orlando always blows us out of the water (so to speak!) when it comes to entertainment, and SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration is no exception. Taking place daily at the park, tons of seasonal-exclusive shows are taking place. Showtimes vary by day, so be sure to check out park hours before making your plans!
Shamu Christmas Miracles
If you’re a fan of the traditional Shamu show, you’re in for a real treat with Shamu Christmas Miracles. Leap adores the soundtrack of this exciting show. This nighttime holiday spectacular tells a tale of peace, friendship and love to remind the audience of the everyday miracles that surround us, especially in the heart of the holiday season. Multiple orca whales join together to perform an awe-inspiring routine inspired by the hope and joy we oftentimes overlook.
Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas
Clyde and Seamore’s year-round shows have become a staple in our SeaWorld visits. We love the goofy humor that makes this show so fun and unique. Plus, the mischievous otters that always make an appearance are Lily’s favorite!
Sea Lion and Otter Stadium transforms into a home for the holidays, as sea lion pals Clyde and Seamore host the festivities. An elf and even a walrus join the party! Join Clyde and Seamore on Christmas shopping adventures and more as they await the arrival of Santa Claus. This show is full of the typical fun, amazing tricks you’ve come to expect from Clyde, Seamore and company.
Sea of Trees
You’ll be singing “Walkin’ in a Water Wonderland …” while walking through SeaWorld’s immersive sea of holiday trees, which appear to be floating on water. Over 100 trees are lit up in holiday lights that sparkle to Christmas tunes. This fun display is visible throughout the evening and great to appreciate in passing between shows.
Winter Wonderland on Ice
Nothing says “Christmas” like a little ice skating — and this show screams “Christmas” with a full-blown extravaganza on ice at Bayside Stadium. Figure skaters will wow you with choreography to classic Christmas tunes. Enjoy the dazzling view of the Sea of Trees as professional skaters amaze you with their show-stopping moves. Our personal favorite was the rendition of The Christmas Waltz.
Elmo’s Christmas Wish
Lily is a huge fan of Sesame Street, so Elmo’s Christmas Wish is a can’t-miss for our Frog Squad. This Christmas show hosts a slightly different ensemble than the Halloween special, which means Cookie Monster and Grover make an appearance alongside Elmo, Zoe and Rosita. The Sesame Street gang works together to help Elmo find his Christmas wish at Seaport Theater.
O Wondrous Night
Be reminded of the reason for the season with O Wondrous Night at the SeaWorld Christmas Celebration 2018. This live nativity show at Nautilus Theater brings the story of Christmas to life through the perspective of the animals that were there. The show features life-size puppets, special effects, live animals and over 30 carols to delight your entire frog squad. O Wondrous Night is a peaceful, joyous celebration that will wow your whole family.
This Mama Frog was nearly brought to tears by this beautiful presentation! It has the perfect combination of humor and faith to touch the heart of each member of your Frog Squad. Don’t leap out early … the grand finale is a can’t-miss.
Character Meet & Greets
Meeting nearby Wild Arctic this holiday season, you can share your wish list with the big man himself at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2018. You'll find him at Santa's Base Camp & Gifts ... your one-stop shop for all things Christmas. Check out fascinating animal encounters on your voyage to meet Santa Claus, as you only can at SeaWorld. We love this not-so-typical visit to Santa.
If you’ve already met up with Santa elsewhere, there are plenty more holiday friends to hang out with. Be sure to explore Rudolph’s Christmastown to stroll through a life-size story book of the Rudolph’s classic tale. Along the way, you’ll find Rudolph, Clarice, Bumble and Yukon Cornelius of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer fame are here to play and take photos with you and your tadpoles. We highly recommend taking the time to meet these cute, fun, unique characters.
The Christmas Market at SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration
There is so much fun to be had at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2018 that it can be hard to find the time to relax. Be sure to spend a few minutes moseying through the Christmas Market along Bayside Pathway. The Gazebo Stage hosts musicians singing Christmas favorites, playful elves and the hilarious interactions of the Christmas Council. Find playful nutcrackers and living statues for fun photo-ops. There’s even a glowing fire pit to enjoy (or at least pretend to, since the Florida weather keeps us pretty warm as it is). Tad especially enjoys the model train village, which is definitely worth checking out.
Dining at SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration
Speaking of Rudolph, you can catch dinner with your favorite red-nosed reindeer as well. Make reservations for this family-style holiday feast full of traditional, savory fare and to share hugs and smiles with Rudolph.
Don’t worry, there is plenty to enjoy outside of Rudolph’s feast. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2018 is overflowing with special holiday snacks and treats. There are plenty of seasonal dishes that are sure to have the whole family hoppin’ for more. We were obsessed with the cinnamon sugar doughnuts at the SeaWorld Spooktacular … so imagine our delight when we found a variety of stuffed doughnuts as part of the Christmas festivities. Another Frog Family Favorite was the waffle cone S’mores. (I’m a known sucker for S’mores in any form!) If you’re looking for a more savory snack, the short-rib mac and cheese was a crowd favorite among us.
Tips for SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2018
- At both Shamu Christmas Miracles and Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas, there are designated “splash zones” where you are sure to get wet. Keep an eye out for these and sit a couple rows back if you have no interest in getting soaked … or even sprinkled on.
- Enjoy the wait before shows! O Wondrous Night! hosts a guitar playing singer for holiday singalongs, Shamu Christmas Miracle presents an excellent saxophonist, Winter Wonderland on Ice has an impressive violinist and Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas offers a fun, interactive mime. Of course, these are subject to change ... but keep an eye out during your visit!
- To keep little ones busy, invest in a Christmas Game Pass to get 5 games for $20. There are tons of adorable prizes, and this was perfect for Tad and Lily to share!
- SeaWorld’s Christmas exclusives don’t take place every day. Check our Orlando Crowd Calendar for park hours and when to visit SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2018. We recommend going on a night the park is open later for maximum time to enjoy the fun.
- Elmo’s Christmas Wish is the only show that takes place throughout the day on select days, while the other Christmas exclusives have only evening showings. Be sure to catch an earlier show to clear more time for Christmas activities later on!
- Plot out your night appropriately. Know that each show lasts approximately 20 minutes, and allow yourself plenty of time to get to your next destination. Some shows are located across the park from one another.
- Tasting and Brew Samplers are a great way to sip and savor SeaWorld’s best treats without breaking the bank. The “Red” Sampler ($25) covers any combination of five Food & Brew Samples; the “Gold Sampler ($40) covers 10. We recommend going gold and sharing sweets and treats with the whole family.
- For a unique Christmas card photo, have your photo taken inside an actual snow globe! This is a fun photo-op that we’ve never seen anywhere else.
- While shown together on SeaWorld’s site, the characters in Rudolph’s Christmas town meet separately. Bumble and Yukon Cornelius meet individually, while Clarice and Rudolph are together. Lines are short and sweet at the end of the night!
- Check out decorations throughout the park ... we particularly LOVED the modern, sleek decor outside of Infinity Falls!
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is the perfect way to kick off (or close off) your holiday season. We love the classic tales and tunes being presented through every bit of the festivities. SeaWorld is the perfect Orlando destination for a more traditional take on Christmas. What’s your favorite part? Tell us in the comments.