Our Complete Guide to SeaWorld Orlando's Christmas Celebration

by Mommy Frog on November 23, 2020 47 Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration - PinterestWe 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 early in the season this year. Even with all of the event's health and safety modifications, the Christmas spirit is very much present (pun intended). After all, Elmo reminded us that spending time with loved ones is what the season is all about!

Here’s our lowdown on SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, taking place on select dates through Dec. 31. It's all included with regular SeaWorld park admission, but in order to manage capacity in 2020, you'll also need to make a reservation to attend — 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. Showtimes vary by day, so be sure to check out the park hours and experience times before making your plans!

Sea Lion High: The Christmas Special 

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration - Sea Lion High Christmas Special

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.

Happy Holidays from Sesame Street Land - New!

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration - Happy Holidays from Sesame Street Land

The Sesame Street neighborhood is decked out in colorful wreaths and garland, setting up a festive backdrop for the all-new Happy Holidays from Sesame Street show. Join your favorite characters in celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa through dance and song. The 12-minute celebration hoppens randomly, but you can expect Big Bird, Elmo, Rosita and Grover to come out on a float, stationed right next to Elmo's Choo Choo Train. Crowds do form for this short show, so if you feel uncomfortable watching with others nearby, you can meet some of the characters inside the Photos with Elmo and Friends spot for a socially distanced selfie.

Sea of Trees

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration - 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. This year, the trees stuck closely by the boardwalk, so it felt like there weren't as many trees as there have been in the past. But the trees still turn into different colors and patterns, making it a sight to see! This fun display is visible throughout the evening and great to appreciate in passing between shows.

Winter Wonderland on Ice

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration - 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.

It's a Wonderful Night: A New Story to Tell - New!

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration - It's a Wonderful Night Show

This year has been difficult for many people, but this new show reminds us that hope, faith and love are the true Christmas gifts that we give to ourselves and each other. The main character, Bailey, needs a bit of hope to tell the Christmas story and gets help from a new guardian angel, who needs to earn their wings. Watch as performers grace the stage with holiday surprises, modern-day references, lighthearted laughs and over 30 favorite Christmas carols. The show has limited capacity and social distancing markers in place.

Rudolph's Movie Experience

Rudolph and his friends take center stage in this special-effects movie at the Sea Port Theater. The show is about 10 minutes long and takes place every 30 minutes with social distancing and limited capacity.

Ice Skating at Bayside Stadium - New!

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration - Public Ice Skating

New for 2020, guests can skate alongside the water of SeaWorld's central lagoon for an additional cost (which 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 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Character Meet and Greets

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration - Santa

Near Wild Arctic this holiday season, you can share your wish list with the big man himself at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2020. To keep everyone safe, one party at a time can hop into Santa's sleigh — a safe distance from Santa, who sits above and behind plexiglass. As seen in the pic above, you are allowed to take off your masks briefly for a photo if you want to, but you must put them back on before you leave the room. After meeting Santa, check out fascinating animal encounters, as you only can at SeaWorld. We love this not-so-typical visit to Santa. Santa is available from 12:30 p.m. 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 explore Rudolph’s ChristmasTown to stroll through a life-size storybook of Rudolph’s classic tale. Along the way, you’ll find Rudolph 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. Just like with Santa, you can remove your masks for a quick photo. (There's even a priority access meet-and-greet package for Rudolph and Friends and Santa Claus for around $40 per guest, depending on the day.) Rudolph's ChristmasTown has limited capacity to maintain social distancing. The experience is available from 5 p.m. to park close.

The Christmas Market at SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration

There is so much fun to be had at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 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. Not only is this the same area where you can find Rudolph and friends, but you can also munch on yummy treats, watch a miniature train set, play carnival-style games with holiday prizes and sit by a campfire while listening to carolers.

Dining at SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration - Totchos

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. In 2020, we tried out several items, including a new Impossible mac and cheese dish and a new s'mores cheesecake cone! The totchos dish at Tottin’ Around the Christmas Tree (food booth #10) was huge — Tad and Lily could easily share one portion.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration - Hot Chocolate

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.

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 at a safe distance for a breakfast feast. Dinner with Santa ($45 per adult, $20 per child) features a holiday meal capped off with a photo-op with the big man himself; you'll also receive special reserved seating for Winter Wonderland on Ice. Ho, ho, ho!

Tips for SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2020

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration - Family

  • At 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! 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. We recommend going on a night the park is open later for maximum time to enjoy the fun.
  • Plot out your night appropriately. Know that each show lasts approximately 20 to 30 minutes and allow yourself plenty of time to get to your next destination. Some shows are located across the park from one another. Due to limited capacity, we suggest arriving at least 30 minutes (though the earlier, the better!) before showtime 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 ($35) and a 10-Sampler lanyard ($50). We recommend the 10-Sampler lanyard so you can share sweets and treats with the whole family.
  • The characters in Rudolph’s ChristmasTown meet separately. 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. You may even spot some stilt walkers!

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration - Stiltwalkers

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

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments
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Dec 16, 2020 at 6:36 p.m. Judy Says...

We are wondering if we should buy front of the line tickets. We are going a few days after Christmas. Will it be really crowded?

Reply
Dec 16, 2020 at 6 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Judy!

While capacity is limited, that tends to be a busy time of the year, so if you can spring for it, we'd recommend it! Have a great time!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 2, 2020 at 11:40 a.m. Angie Says...

How is the weather in Orlando the week before Christmas? I plan on visiting around December 19th . Will it be too chilly?

Reply
Dec 3, 2020 at 3:17 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Angie!

There's generally a high of about 75 degrees F and a low of 55 degrees F, so pack some layers!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 8, 2019 at 7:39 p.m. Linda Kuehn Says...

I'd like to know the exact dates that "O Wondrous Night" & the ice show will be playing. I felt cheated last time I came in December and neither one was playing.

Reply
Dec 9, 2019 at 9:13 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Linda!

You can see the daily showtimes here to plan your visit on a day when those shows are taking place. Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 25, 2018 at 4:56 a.m. Amy Thompson Says...

I agree! Sea World is so amazing for the hollidays. We have had Disney annual passes for about 11 years straight. The past 5 or 6 years we buy sea world passes too just for Halloween and Christmas. They blow Disney out of the park for the holidays. Sea World is the BEST Park by FAR for holiday decorations and activities. We go about 7 times between Halloween and new year's then go back to Disney when all the crowds clear out.

Reply
Dec 24, 2018 at 12:05 p.m. Connie G Says...

SeaWorld has really outdone themselves. Their Christmas decorations are outstanding and all theirs shows are wonderful. So much for so little. We've gone there at least 5 times this month. Annual pass definitely worth it.

Reply
Nov 28, 2018 at 3:43 a.m. Doreen Says...

I know the Christmas shows start at 5 pm and you can get reserved seating for $30 but are there still regular “daytime” shows as well that are different? I was considering getting the quick queue ticket upgrade as well. Thanks in advance!

Reply
Nov 28, 2018 at 9:47 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Doreen!

Yes, there are tons of shows taking place throughout the day as well. We recommend checking out the showtimes for the day of your visit.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 27, 2018 at 11:45 p.m. Sara Says...

Do Rudolph and the gang meet all day every day? I know some shows are only certain days and the lights will of course just be at night, but could we meet them early to kind of get that part out of the way to leave time for all the night stuff?

Reply
Nov 30, 2018 at 3:43 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sara!

You can find the whole gang meeting on Nov. 17-25, 30, Dec. 1-2, 7-9, 14-31. On the other days, you can find Rudolph meeting at Sea Fire restaurant :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 27, 2018 at 5:15 p.m. Autumn Says...

Love your blog! We just came back from Busch Gardens in Virginia, and we are trying to go to SeaWorld the day before our cruise. I was curious if you knew if the rides were opened during the Christmas event. Thanks!

Reply
Nov 27, 2018 at 2:18 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Autumn!

Weather permitting, all rides are operating as normal during the event! We got to walk on some of our favorite coasters!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 5, 2018 at 10:11 p.m. Mallory Says...

Wondering if the X-mas show Itinerary 1 package includes all of the shows listed for the $30 price or you pick one of the shows listed for the $30 price (Show Times for Itinerary 1 are: Clyde and Seamore's Countdown to Christmas 5:00, Winter Wonderland on Ice 6:15pm, O Wondrous Night 7:15, Shamu Christmas Miracles 8:30)? Thanks for the info!

Reply
Nov 5, 2018 at 8:55 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mallory!

The $30 "Itinerary 1" upgrade package found on SeaWorld Orlando's site includes reserved seating for all of the shows listed as those given times, not just one. How awesome?!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 17, 2018 at 9:06 p.m. Bella Says...

Is the Polar Express train ride back for the Christmas Celebration 2018?

Reply
Nov 20, 2018 at 1:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bella!

It is not, but there is plenty more fun to be had!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jun 22, 2018 at 9:37 p.m. Shauna Says...

Does SeaWorld Orlando still do Shamu Christmas Miracles? Do you know if they are doing away with it, since San Diego no longer has it. We are going to be in Florida Nov 13-27 and wanted to fit in SeaWorld and Universal on one of those days and was really hoping to see Christmas Miracles

Reply
Jun 23, 2018 at 12:16 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shauna!

SeaWorld Orlando's Christmas Celebration starts on November 17 and Shamu's Christmas Miracles will be returning!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 24, 2018 at 9:36 p.m. Andrea Says...

Hello,

I'm curious about why your crowd calendar recommends Saturday and Sundays during the Christmas holidays? I would have thought that they crowds would be slightly lower on week days?

TIA!

Reply
May 8, 2018 at 9:03 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Andrea!

We recommend weekends during the holidays at SeaWorld since that's when a majority of their Christmas Celebration takes place!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Apr 24, 2018 at 3:27 a.m. Camille Says...

Hello! We are visiting FL in December this year and am hoping to come on one of the Christmas Celebration nights. In the past was this only a weekend thing? Well be going to a few other theme parks but would love to see this! Thank you for your GREAT BLOGS!!

Reply
Apr 26, 2018 at 9:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Camille!

The Christmas Celebration is so fun and so amazing, you'll really enjoy! The event isn't exclusive to weekends, but does only take place select nights, so be sure to plan ahead! We'll update this post when more details are announced for this year.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 4, 2018 at 1:01 p.m. Matt Andolina Says...

Does Sea World Orlando have plans to bring back Polarexpress experience in 2018?

Reply
Nov 6, 2018 at 3:37 a.m. Jonathan Says...

They didn't have the Polar Express ride last year, so I fear they may have done away with it; it seems Rudolph and co. have become the new featured IP for the event. They still have Santa's Workshop, just with the normal Wild Arctic ride instead of the Polar Express overlay. I guess it fits thematically, since you're visiting the north pole, though it's still sad because the Polar Express theming was honestly more elaborate (and also not 25 years old).

Reply
Dec 26, 2018 at 1:52 p.m. Francisco Munoz Says...

Aww. I miss The Polar Express experience so much. It was my favorite Christmas experience at SeaWorld. Why would they take it away? So many people had so much fun on it

Reply
Mar 5, 2018 at 9:12 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Matt!

We haven't heard one way or another, but we'll keep you posted!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 1, 2017 at 2:36 a.m. Rebecca Tolleson Says...

Great info! Thank you

Reply
Oct 6, 2016 at 2:44 p.m. Charlotte Says...

Hello! We are going on Sunday 11th Dec and have purchased the reserved seating package.

On the tickets it requests you arrive 15 minutes prior to each show but in your article above you mention queing up approximately 45 minutes in some instances (i am assuming/hoping this is without priority seating)?

I am hoping they only allocate/sell a number of reserved tickets and therefore so long as you do turn up within the 15/20 minutes prior to a show you are guaranteed a reasonable seat?

Is this your experience or at least what you might suggest to be the case? I am just concerned as the reserved seating itinerary does not leave that much time between each show if you need to be queing for longer than the recommended time on the tickets!

Thank you very much in advance for any advice you can give.

Reply
Oct 20, 2016 at 3:52 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Charlotte,

With the reserved seating, 15 minutes should be just fine.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 26, 2016 at 5:34 p.m. Nelle Says...

I am interested in taking my 1 yr old on Christmas Day. Would I be able to spend the entire day there, then head back to the hotel so he can take a nap, and then return for the Christmas experience at night?

Reply
Sep 14, 2016 at 2:40 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nelle,

This is a very busy day, and while it's possible, do keep in mind that you will need additional time for coming and going with all of the extra people in the park. There is also a chance it could be at capacity for some part of the day. If you decide to do this, we'd make sure you are at nearby hotel and upgrade your parking (if you have a car).

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
May 10, 2016 at 8:15 p.m. Heather Says...

Any information for 2016 yet?! We are coming the week of November 7th and I was curious if most of the above would be available then! Thanks in advance!

Reply
May 17, 2016 at 3:17 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Heather,

We don't yet know this year's dates, but typically it doesn't start until later November/early December.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 13, 2015 at 1:30 a.m. Steve Bellucci Says...

Is the Polar Express Experience only open on the weekends in December? We are planning to be there December 21 (Monday).

Thanks Steve

Reply
Dec 16, 2015 at 7:31 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steve,

It's open every day during the holidays.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 9, 2015 at 12:44 a.m. chuck Says...

I will be there on Tues. 12/29 with a reunion group of about 20, One is in a wheelchair, what are line times generally and is there any accommodation for the handicap. any other tips would be appreciated

Reply
Dec 16, 2015 at 1:41 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chuck,

It’s going to be a very busy time in the park on that day. You can check out predicted wait times at our Crowd Calendar. Most attractions have wheelchair accommodations! Here’s a helpful resource to see what accommodations each attraction makes: https://www.undercovertourist.com/blog/disney-world-disability-access-attractions/

Make a plan, decide what attractions are priority and enjoy yourself! While the park will be busy, it’s a fun time of year to be there :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 16, 2015 at 2:06 p.m. Darline Says...

Hi Mommy Frog,

I planning to go on dec. 25 can I get any tips what time. To see more thing on that day. Is it very crowdy.?

Gr.

Darline

Reply
Dec 3, 2015 at 9:07 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Darline,

We have updated this post with more details about this year's event. Check it out. You can see the schedule here. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. that night, and I would definitely stay through the evening to experience the snow flurries, Antarctica Christmas tree and Winter Wonderland on Ice. If you plan to visit the Polar Express, I would recommend doing it early in the day.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 4, 2015 at 12:06 a.m. Ben Says...

Hello. I plan to come on Dec 31st 2015 with my 3 little (6 years, 3 y and only 6 month). I assume it will be more than crowded this day. Do you confirm I shall buy the reserved seatings to avoid long lines with the small kids everything but patient... Is the reserved seating usable for all the shows during the day, or only one ? And are they already on sale ? I was not able to ad this to the cart on seaworld website... Thanks !

Reply
Sep 15, 2015 at 3:08 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ben,

Details have not been released yet on how reserved seating will work this year, but I would recommend it for Dec. 31.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 30, 2015 at 8:40 p.m. Shanna Says...

Are the Sesame Street characters available for meet and greet or do they just perform in the show?

Reply
Sep 2, 2015 at 9:14 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Shanna,

At this time, we don't know yet whether they will be available for meet-and-greet. Hopefully, we'll get more information as the event gets closer.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jun 17, 2015 at 4:45 a.m. Alice Says...

Hi,

I am planning to visit sea world Orlando on December 7, which is a Monday, and I wonder how bad is the line up to the Christmas shows? I have a 2.5 year old and an 1 year old. Do you think it worth paying extra for the Christmas show seating tickets?

Thanks,

Alice

Reply
Jun 17, 2015 at 8:53 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Alice,

I don't think you will have any issues with lines at this time, but keep in mind that SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration is typically held on select nights and may not be available on that Monday.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
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