Festive Orlando holiday events that get everyone in the spirit

Universal Orlando holiday offerings, photo by Cristine Struble
Universal Orlando holiday offerings, photo by Cristine Struble /

While the real snow might not be falling and the temperatures might be far above freezing, festive Orlando holiday events bring the spirit of the season. From popular theme park events to the triumphant return of an Orlando resort tradition, the end of 2022 is definitely merry and bright.

From air travel to packing up the car, the holiday season is often a time where people travel more than heading over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house. Orlando continues to be a top destination for guests coming from near and far.

Whether it is the idea of a warm escape from the cold or the allure of the many theme parks in the area, the reality is that the various festival Orlando holiday events make the City Beautiful a top choice. Even if the real reason to visit the area is to avoid the in-laws dreaded ugly sweater party, the holiday activities are warm, welcoming, and definitely fun.

Top Orlando holiday events

ICE! Returns to Gaylord Palms

For people looking to step into that ultimate, chilly winter wonderland, the Gaylord Palms is the spot. The last time that ICE! welcomed guests was in 2019. Returning after that hiatus, this year’s event feels even bigger and better.

This year’s theme is Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Although the mean one might not always have the holiday cheer, this immersive experience is a delight for young and old. From favorite scenes and characters to the famous ice slide, no one will notice that the frigid temperatures are far different from the sunny Florida weather outside. There is too much fun to be had.

In addition to ICE!, Gaylord Palms has a wide array of holiday activities. From Cirque: Spirit of Christmas to all the Christmas décor, it is a winter wonderland delight. More information on the events, holiday packages and more can be found online.

Universal Orlando Holidays

The mean one is back for Universal Orlando Holidays. The infamous Grinch is bringing his havoc to Whoville. From the popular show to Seuss Landing all a-glow, the holiday season at Universal Orlando is full of merry and mischief.

The highlight of a holiday night at Universal Orlando is the Macy’s Parade. As the balloons and floats travel across the park, it brings a little extra excitement. Even for people who have seen the parade over the years, it is a treat that cannot be missed.

And, do not forget some of the special holiday food offerings. From special desserts in the Holiday Tribute store to Grinch themed offerings, there are plenty of themed foods that will have to be enjoyed.

Univeral Orlando Holiday events run now through January 1.

Walt Disney World

With a little sprinkle of Pixie Dust, the fall décor seemingly instantly transformed into a holiday wonderland. From Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom to all the Disney Resorts, the holiday cheer is more overflowing than Santa’s bag on Christmas Eve.

One highlight of the holiday season is always the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. Part of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, which runs November 25 through December 30, the traditional holiday event has everyone filled with the spirit of the season.

Of course, the special holiday food offerings tempt guests. From over the top desserts to holiday favorite flavors, it can be hard to pick just one favorite. Luckily, each theme park has options to assure that everyone is satisfied.

Lastly, the annual tradition of the gingerbread houses have returned. These spectacular structures are always a favorite with guests. Even though no one should pluck a bite from the display, it adds to the whimsy of the season.

Walt Disney World Resort holiday festivities run now through the end of the year.

SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration, photo provided by SeaWorld Orlando /

SeaWorld Orlando

From the Sea of Trees to new experiences at Wild Artic Plaza, SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration is even more festive this year. As 3 million lights sparkle and fireworks illuminate the sky, families cannot wait to step into this winter wonderland. Whether they are ready to lace up those ice skates or prefer the thrills of the many roller coasters, the theme park has an option for everyone.

Since food is an integral part of any holiday celebration, SeaWorld’s culinary team has added a delightful selection of food and beverages. From Santa’s Sweet & Savory Treat Doughnut Chicken Sandwich to Christmas Bread Pudding, there are sweet and savory options all around the park.

And, the beverages are waiting to quench any thirst. From a Christmas Beer Sangria to a sweet Holiday Peppermint Eggnog, everyone can raise a toast to the holiday season.

The SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration runs now through January 3.

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