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?
Here’s our lowdown on SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, taking place on select dates from Nov. 11, 2022, through Jan. 3, 2023. The best part? It's all included with regular SeaWorld park admission. Save a little green this holiday season and purchase your tickets through Undercover Tourist!
Entertainment at SeaWorld Orlando'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. Showtimes vary by day (and the special entertainment is only offered on days the Celebration is hoppening), so you'll want to check out the park hours and experience times before making your plans! Here is a list of all of the entertainment in store at SeaWorld Orlando's Christmas Celebration!
O Wondrous Night
We're so hoppy to hear that SeaWorld Orlando decided to bring back this returning fan-favorite show for their seasonal celebration! This musical brings together life-size puppets and live animals to share the greatest story ever told. Featuring 30 classic carols, this signature show is sure to charm, delight and entertain frogs of all ages — no matter what they celebrate.
Elmo's Christmas Wish
Join Cookie Monster, Rosita, Grover and Zoe at the Seaport Theater as they help Elmo find his Christmas wish! Families are sure to be singing and dancing along while watching this fun holiday show filled with surprising atmospheric effects. Because this show is right at the front of the park and begins the earliest out of all the Christmas Celebration shows, we highly recommend starting your day here. It's a big theater so it holds a lot of people, but we still suggest arriving around a half-hour early to get a spot near the front (or right on the aisles).
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. The trees turn into different colors and patterns, making it a sight to see! This fun display is visible throughout the evening and is great to appreciate in passing between shows. The best views are from the bridge that stretches across the lake but these dancing lights can be appreciated from anywhere around the lake.
Snow Flurries at Waterfront
Find yourself dreaming of a White Christmas? Lucky for you, several times a night from sunset to park close, the Waterfront turns into a picturesque Winter Wonderland as snow flurries fall from the sky! We love when the weather calls for "snoap" and so will your little tadpoles. Engage in a friendly "snowball fight" or use this time to take some festive holiday pics! (Just try to refrain from sticking your tongue out.)
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.
Sesame Street Christmas Parade
Ice Skating at Bayside Stadium
Guests can skate alongside the water of SeaWorld's central lagoon for an additional cost of $15 — and this price includes skate rental. Crew-length socks and gloves must also be worn and can be purchased on-site. For the tadpoles, or anyone who has trouble on the ice, adorable, animal-shaped ice skating aids are available so you can avoid a crash and burn (or in this case, a freezing fall!). This experience is open from about 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Make your reservation here!
Character Meet and Greets
In his new workshop in the Shoppes at the Waterfront, you can share your wish list with the big man himself at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2022. Just hop onto his sleigh, and let him know what you want before posing for a picture. After meeting Santa, check out fascinating animal encounters, as you only can at SeaWorld. Santa is available from park open to park close.
If you’ve already met up with Santa elsewhere, there are plenty more holiday friends to hang out with. Be sure to hop on over to Wild Arctic Plaza where you can find Rudolph, Clarice and Bumble of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" fame who are hoppy to play and take photos with you and your tadpoles. We highly recommend taking the time to meet these cute, fun, unique characters. The experience is available from 12:30 p.m. to park close.
Holiday Reflections: Fireworks Finale
SeaWorld celebrates the season during Holiday Reflections: Fireworks Finale, featuring dazzling lights and festive fireworks, choreographed to joyous holiday musical favorites. Experience an amazing SeaWorld Christmas connection that illuminates the night sky from various locations around SeaWorld's large central lake. SeaWorld recommends viewing this show from the Waterfront, Bayside Stadium or the Orca Encounter Pathway. Any spot is great but we love watching them right in front of where they're set off from the seats at the stadium to get the best view of the lit-up trees!
Holiday cheer can be found everywhere you look! Say hi to seasonal stilt walkers at the Waterfront and in the Wild Arctic Plaza and gather 'round for Elf Story Chair Stacking in front of Fin Gifts in Sharks Plaza and jump-roping toy soldiers who can periodically be found near Voyager's Smokehouse at the Waterfront. Tadpoles will also love hanging out and playing games with the mischievous elves near the Guy Harvey Shop.
Special Holiday Offerings at SeaWorld Orlando's Christmas Celebration
SeaWorld is celebrating the festival of lights! From Dec, 18 to Dec. 26 at 5:45 p.m., gather with your friends and family to view the traditional lighting of the menorah in Sesame Street Land and listen to Big Bird telling Hanukkah stories throughout the holiday.
From Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, frogs can gather for a joyous time of reflection and celebration of African heritage with the nightly lighting of the kinara in Sesame Street Land and Story Time with Big Bird which fill feature Kwanzaa stories throughout the celebration.
New Year's Eve
Three Kings Celebration
In honor of the cherished tradition of Latin cultures, frogs are invited to commemorate the arrival of the Three Wise Men with a special three-day event on Jan. 1-2 and 6. Feast on festive cuisine and enjoy extended opportunities to witness special performances in Nautilus Theater, Sea of Trees and the festive holiday lights.
Dining at SeaWorld Orlando's Christmas Celebration
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is overflowing with special holiday snacks, treats and drinks. There are plenty of seasonal dishes that will have the whole family hoppin’ for more. Be aware that Christmas Food Facilities open at 5 p.m.
Try delicious new dishes like the Monty Cristo Waffle, the Smore'd-up Beignets, the Bison Burger and the Happy Holiday Doughnut or munch on returning favorites like the Christmas Bread Pudding and Fresh Baked Deep-Dish Cookies. There's also some sweet new sips at this year's festival. Leap and I loved the Frozen Egg Not Delight with Peppermint Schnapps and Christmas Elixir. The tadpoles, on the other hand, couldn't get enough of the Sleigh Ride Mocktail!
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. The specialty flavored hot chocolate comes 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.
If your tadpoles want to get closer to their favorite characters, there's also a Sesame Street Christmas Breakfast and Dinner with Santa available. At the Sesame Street Christmas Breakfast ($32.99 per adult, $16.99 per child ages 3 to 9), you can join your Sesame Street faves for a breakfast feast. Dinner with Santa ($39 per adult, $14 per child) features a holiday meal capped off with a photo-op with the big man himself. Ho, ho, ho!
Don't froget to head on over to SeaFire Grill where the whole froggy fam can watch favorite holiday movies while tasting delicious festive treats! We also loved the decorations at the brand new Christmas Dining Hall at Voyagers Smokehouse. Stop by here to feast on seasonal culinary delights and refreshing Coca-Cola beverages.
Tips for SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2022
- Enjoy the wait before shows! Before the skaters come out for Winter Wonderland on Ice, a talented violinist takes the stage (er ... ice) and performs a mini-concert filled with classic Christmas medleys.
- We highly recommend catching the second showing of Winter Wonderland on Ice as you'll already be seated in the best viewing spot for the Holiday Fireworks — especially since the bridge connecting The Waterfront to the Orca Encounter Pathway closes by the time the second show starts. You won't want to walk all around the park to get to Bayside Stadium and then walk all the way around again three minutes later when the fireworks end to get to the park exit.
- SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration only occurs on select dates so check the calendar while planning your visit! You can still enjoy the festive decor all around the park even on non-event days.
- Plot out your night appropriately and allow yourself plenty of time to get to your next destination. Some shows are located across the park from one another. Due to holiday crowds, we suggest arriving at least 30 minutes (though the earlier, the better!) before Elmo's Christmas Wish and Winter Wonderland on Ice if you want a good seat.
- 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 ($40) and a 10-Sampler lanyard ($55). We recommend the 10-Sampler lanyard so you can share sweets and treats with the whole family.
- Check out the decorations throughout the park, as they make the perfect family photo-op. You may even spot some stilt walkers!
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.
Related: Our Guide to Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando