We feel right at home at SeaWorld Orlando ... 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 2019, taking place daily from Nov. 23 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 hoppening. Showtimes vary by day, so be sure to check out park hours before making your plans!
If you’re a fan of the traditional Shamu show, you’re in for a real treat with 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. It's hard not to dance along to the grand finale — a live singer and saxophone player keep the energy high until the very last note.
Sea Lion High: The Christmas Special - NEW!
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! This year, Sea Lion and Otter Stadium takes you back to high school, as Sea Lion High is preparing for its Christmas pageant. When things go wrong, it's up to Clyde and Seamore to help the principal and fellow classmates in order to save the holidays.
Sesame Street Christmas Parade - NEW!
The Sesame Street neighborhood is decked out in colorful wreaths and garland, setting up a festive backdrop for the all-new Sesame Street Christmas Parade. Join Elmo, Big Bird and friends in their holiday best, as they march and dance along to holiday favorites, such as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Joy to the World." Our favorite float had to be Oscar's — despite his "Bah-Humbug!" sign, his trash can was decorated with Christmas lights. Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before the parade starts if you want a front-row spot!
Pets Ahoy Holiday Spectacular - NEW!
At Santa's Christmas Village, Santa's furry and feathered helpers are completing last-minute preparations the night before Santa's annual trip around the globe. Catch dogs, cats, mice, birds and even pigs in this new holiday show.
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 116 trees are lit up with holiday lights that sparkle to Christmas tunes. There are almost eight miles of garland and 14 miles of cable that control the choreographed lights! 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 they light up while the professional skaters amaze you with their show-stopping moves in group, couples and solo numbers. Lily especially enjoyed the life-size skating penguins.
O Wondrous Night
Be reminded of the reason for the season with O Wondrous Night at the SeaWorld Christmas Celebration. 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. Don’t leap out early … the grand finale is a can’t-miss.
Character Meet and Greets
Near Wild Arctic this holiday season, you can share your wish list with the big man himself at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2019. 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 storybook of Rudolph’s classic tale. Along the way, you’ll find Rudolph, Clarice and Bumble of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" fame 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 2019 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, while you can sit and enjoy a glowing fire pit (or at least pretend to, since the Florida weather keeps us pretty warm as it is). Play games with elves at the North Pole Tree Lot, or sip on specialty hot cocoa. Tad especially enjoys the model train village, which is definitely worth checking out. When we attended the first night, the Christmas Market didn't open until 5 p.m.
Dining at SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2019 is overflowing with special holiday snacks, treats and drinks. There are plenty of seasonal dishes that will have the whole family hoppin’ for more. We tried out a Boston Cream holiday waffle that was topped with Bavarian cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. SO GOOD. If you’re looking for a more savory snack, the Christmas nachos was a crowd favorite among us. Want sweet and salty? The chicken wing glazed donut will surely satisfy both of those cravings.
What is Christmas without hot chocolate?! You're in luck, because there is definitely hot chocolate overload at the holiday Tasting and Brew locations. Many spots have either traditional, frozen or flavored hot chocolate. Our peppermint hot chocolate came in a souvenir cup! Be sure to keep the cup, as it costs less to refill it than to purchase an entire new cup of hot chocolate.
Tips for SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2019
- At both Miracles and Sea Lion High: The Christmas Special, 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, Miracles presents an excellent saxophonist, Winter Wonderland on Ice has an impressive violinist and Sea Lion High: The Christmas Special 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 six games for $20. There are tons of adorable prizes, and this was perfect for Tad and Lily to share!
- Certain SeaWorld’s Christmas exclusives don’t take place every day. For instance, on light event days (Dec. 2-5 and Dec. 9-12), there aren't any showings of O Wondrous Night, Miracles or Winter Wonderland on Ice. Check our Orlando Crowd Calendar for park hours and when to visit SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2019. We recommend going on a night the park is open later for maximum time to enjoy the fun.
- At certain times throughout the night, "snow flurries" fall along the Shoppes at Waterfront. Lily loved playing in it, while Leap snuck out to buy Christmas presents at the nearby gift shops.
- 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. You have two options: a 5-Sampler lanyard ($27) and a 10-Sampler lanyard ($42). We recommend the 10-Sampler lanyard so you can share sweets and treats with the whole family.
- Speaking of Tasting and Brew Samplers, samples are only available on full event days. Remember, the light event days are Dec. 2-5 and Dec. 9-12 2019.
- 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.
- The characters in Rudolph’s ChristmasTown meet separately. Bumble meets individually, while Clarice and Rudolph are together. Lines open at 5 p.m. and attract longer wait times during the first couple of hours. Go later at night if you want to walk right in!
- Check out the decorations throughout the park, as they make the perfect family photo-op!
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.