Orlando Unwraps Festive Holiday Cheer with More Than 20 Sparkling Events to Celebrate the Season

From theme park celebrations to light shows and parades throughout the city, Orlando offers festive fun for everyone

Disneyworld Holidays | I-4 Exit Guide

With an incredible lineup of more than 20 holiday celebrations to enjoy festive cheer, it’s no wonder Orlando is the most booked for the 2021 holiday season. Exciting theme park happenings include the new Disney Very Merriest After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park and fan favorites at Universal Orlando Resort including Grinchmas and Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Beyond the parks, visitors can enjoy a variety of local festivities ranging from artist-decorated Christmas tree displays to unique holiday performances and events in charming historic neighborhoods. Visitors will find even more magic with value-added hotel packages including money-saving add-ons like free theme park admission and complimentary shopping and dining gift cards. 

“New theme park events, unique local neighborhood experiences and special hotel deals gives visitors the opportunity to celebrate the holiday season throughout November and December,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “Visitors can also give their loved ones the ‘gift of travel’ for a future trip to make up for missed vacations over the past few years.”  

More details about Orlando’s holiday festivities can be found at VisitOrlando.com/holidays.  

Festive Orlando Theme Park Celebrations

Walt Disney World Resort – Select nights starting Nov. 12 

  • Disney Very Merriest After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park runs for 24 select nights from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The new separately ticketed, after-hours holiday event will bring festive food and beverage offerings, dance parties, nighttime spectaculars and “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.” 
  • The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays takes guests on a global holiday celebration with costumed performances, seasonal food throughout 11 World Showcase nations, along with sights, sounds and flavors of the season celebrated by cultures near and far. 
  • At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests can dine with Minnie and friends at Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine, catch a glimpse of old St. Nick as he cruises in his candy-apple red convertible down Hollywood Boulevard and experience a captivating projection show on the Hollywood Tower Hotel. 
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom brings a holiday twist to the magic of nature with festive flotillas featuring Chip n’ Dale, Donald Duck, holiday percussionists and Santa sailing down the Discovery River. As nighttime falls, a holiday edition of the Tree of Life Awakening will begin accompanied by a heartwarming musical score. 

Universal Orlando Resort – Nov. 13 – Jan. 2 

  • Grinchmas™ at Universal’s Islands of Adventure brings holiday charm to Seuss Landing with The Grinchmas™ Who-liday Spectacular, a live retelling of the classic tale starring the Grinch™  
  • Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ features festive decor in both Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Guests can cap off their evening in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade to enjoy “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” – a spectacular transformation of Hogwarts castle with a stunning projection. 
  • Universal’s Holiday Experience featuring Macy’s Balloons offers guests a walk-through experience of larger-than-life Macy’s balloons and colorful Christmas floats, including characters from Shrek, Madagascar and Despicable Me, along with Santa. 

SeaWorld Orlando – Nov. 12 – Jan. 2 

  • During SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, over 3 million sparkling lights will shine throughout the park. Festivities include live performances, seasonal food and meet-and-greets with Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer. New for 2021: the littlest guests can sing and dance with their favorite Sesame Street characters during Elmo’s Christmas Wish Show and Holiday Reflections: Fireworks and Fountains Finale features soaring fountains, dazzling lights and fireworks. 

LEGOLAND Florida – Weekends Nov. 26 – Dec. 31 

  • Holidays at LEGOLAND® will feature a giant LEGO Christmas tree, seasonal shows, holiday characters, special treats, LEGO® activities, twinkling lights and more. 


Celebrate the magic of the holidays throughout Orlando with numerous opportunities to get in the Christmas spirit – from tree-lighting ceremonies to long-running holiday traditions infused with arts and culture.  

  • ICON Park transforms into a magical winter wonderland becoming home to The Santa Workshop Experience from Nov. 5 – Dec. 24. For kids a ride on the Pearl Express Train includes meeting a jolly old elf. Every child who participates will receive a free ticket to ride The Wheel, ICON Park’s signature attraction (adult guests receive 50% off). To kick off the celebration, ICON Park will host its first tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 1 with a 40-foot-tall Christmas tree visible from International Drive.  
  • The Night of a Million Lights at Give Kids the World Village holiday spectacular, taking place Nov. 12 – Jan. 2, immerses guests in a sparkling wonderland of millions of lights including a sparkling tree trail; larger-than-life holiday displays; photo opportunities at one-of-a-kind step-in frames and backdrops; and a guided storytelling tour of 100 magnificently lit villas from the comfort of a tram. 
  • The Dazzling Nights outdoor holiday event at Harry P. Leu Gardens, running Nov. 19 –Jan. 9, features a three-quarter-mile interactive holiday experience with epic lighting installations, themed photo moments, live entertainment and more.  
  • Crayola Experience’s Colorful Christmas, taking place Nov. 20 – Jan. 3, includes meeting animatronic Christmas characters and listening to them tell stories to solve their riddles; diving into a life-sized snow globe, complete with falling snow; and crafting unique gifts throughout the attraction.  

Downtown Orlando offers a plethora of seasonal events as well as trendy restaurants, bustling nightlife and arts and cultural performances. 

  • The 35th annual Festival of Trees transforms the Orlando Museum of Art into a glittering wonderland, filled with sparkling trees, gingerbread houses, vignettes and stunning decor for visitors of all ages. The festival – taking place Nov. 13-21 – will also host daily musical performances and fun family entertainment. 
  • The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts will host holiday-themed performances during its FrontYard Festival, an outdoor, socially distanced opportunity to appreciate the arts while enjoying food and drinks delivered from on-site restaurants. This year’s special holiday performances include Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Wild & Swingin’ Holiday Party and the Big Band Holidays tradition by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
  • Throughout the entire month of December, downtown Orlando is offering free holiday events as part of Downtown for the Holidays. Visitors can watch The Nutcracker by the Russian Ballet of Orlando; stroll around Eola Wonderland to see the dazzling holiday décor and lights – including the Eola Wonderland Christmas Tree; or grab a blanket and enjoy a holiday movie on the Lake Eola lawn.

The charming, historic neighborhood of Winter Park is a short drive from the theme parks and features long-running holiday traditions infused with arts and culture and plenty of opportunities for Christmas shopping along tree-lined Park Avenue. 

  • The Winter Park Playhouse will show Christmas My Way – A Sinatra Holiday Bash, a swingin’ musical featuring classic tunes by Frank Sinatra, including ‘Fly Me to the Moon,’ ‘and ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ running Nov. 12-21 and Dec. 1-18. 
  • The signature turn-of-the-century Tiffany glass windows at The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art serve as a beautiful backdrop as the Bach Festival Choir and Brass Ensemble fills the air with Christmas carols for the 43rd Annual Christmas in the Park on Dec. 2.  
  • Winter on the Avenue, a lively holiday street party taking place Dec. 3, features family friendly activities, strolling carolers and the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. 
  • Now in its 69th year, Winter Park’s Ye Old Hometown Christmas Parade is the longest-running parade in Central Florida, taking place Dec. 4 at 9 a.m. 

About Visit Orlando  

Visit Orlando is The Official Tourism Association® for Orlando, the most visited destination in the United States and Theme Park Capital of the World®. Visit Orlando connects consumers with every segment of Central Florida’s travel community, whether for a vacation or meeting. Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks – as well as refreshing water parks, outdoor thrill rides, activities to connect with nature, and a dynamic dining and entertainment scene – Orlando is welcoming to travelers of all ages. With 450 hotels, visitors have choices that span multi-acre resorts to themed boutique hotels. Orlando’s trusted theme parks, attractions, hotels and businesses have developed comprehensive safety measures and worked closely with medical experts to create safe travel experiences. Find more information at VisitOrlando.com.  

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