With some of the most spectacular celebrations in the world, Christmas in Orlando is always extra special. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should visit during the holidays.
You can swap winter chills for sunshine
Tired of spending Christmas in the cold? Head to Florida. The weeks before and after Christmas are wonderfully warm, allowing you to swap frosty winter mornings for family pool time. December tends to be around the 72F mark while early January is much cooler, with lows of 49F and reaching up to 70F. Either way, you’ll be able to leave your winter jacket at home. This super-detailed guide has more tips on the best time to visit Florida.
You can shop ’til you drop in Orlando’s malls
Orlando’s shopping scene is perfect for a bit of retail therapy, especially at Christmas time. Discover the best designer brands and hottest trends in The Mall at Millennia and The Florida Mall, which are home to some of Orlando’s top department stores. There’s no shortage of outlet centers, either, with Orlando’s Premium Outlets, International Drive, Vineland Avenue and the Lake Buena Vista Outlets all within easy reach of the main vacation communities. Read our full guide to shopping in Orlando for more tips.
The theme parks are at their best
Theme parks like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios bring festive fantasies to life at Christmas time. Whether you’re visiting in the run up to Christmas or on the special day itself, every theme park experience here is unforgettable. The fun doesn’t stop at the renowned rides. Christmas season brings a series of enchanting events, every member of the family will enjoy. From parade celebrations to food festivals, here’s what the top parks have on offer at Christmas:
Every child’s dream is experiencing a Walt Disney World Christmas. ‘The happiest place on Earth’ has plenty of nostalgic cheer to go around, including snowy decorations, glistening lights and festive parades. Here are some of the main events taking place at Disney during Christmas.
Every year, Mickey Mouse’s Christmas Party takes place at the Magic Kingdom. Featuring live entertainment, sensational fireworks and a jolly parade, the celebrations here are perfect for the entire family. During the Christmas season, the park lights up with Disney characters dressed in festive gear and attractions decorated especially for the occasion. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party usually runs from early November until Christmas itself (selected dates only).
While you’re at the park, check out Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration, a triumphant new stage show that’s jam-packed with dancing, singing, laughter and snow – and some of the best-known Disney characters. Fans of Frozen won’t want to miss the enchanting show called A Frozen Holiday Wish, which turns Cinderella’s castle into a glistening icy palace. To top off all the excitement, every evening, their merry parades take center stage with the best Disney characters making an appearance – even Santa joins in the fun! Our concierge team can arrange tickets for you.
Enter the gates of Epcot to experience music and fun-filled celebrations from all around the world! The ‘International Yuletide Extravaganza’ features the holiday traditions of 11 different nations. Live music productions and costumed performers bring the joyous spirit to life. To meet Mr and Mrs Claus, visit the ‘American Adventure Pavilion’ throughout the day between the end of November and Christmas Eve.
On selected dates in November and December, a candlelit procession takes place around Epcot’s central lagoon. You can hear the classic Christmas tale told by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a full choir. Lighting up the sky, Epcot’s firework spectacular, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth takes place every night over the winter season. Foodies will love exploring the marketplaces at Epcot, which put on a spread of different and tasty delicacies during the holiday season.
At Disney Springs the winter season kicks off with a wide range of entertainment. From early November to January, you can shop ’til you drop, dine on the best dishes, and enjoy a whole host of fun family activities. Expect tree lights, holiday dancers and carol singers at every turn. The live entertainment usually takes place from 6pm–9pm each evening during the festive period.
Disney Springs is the ultimate place to grab unusual Christmas gifts. Choose from over 100 brands, plus Disney-themed boutiques and specialty shops. Whether shopping for yourself or planning relatives’ Christmas presents, you’re sure to find plenty to buy. After your shopping spree, take a trip down to Santa’s Chalet, located across from Ghiradel Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop – it’s open from November through Christmas Eve, noon–10pm.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Packed with special effects, holiday music, fireworks and endless amounts of snow, the spectacular new show called Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! creates a joyous atmosphere for everyone. Held nightly from mid November until the end of December, the show includes famous scenes from Cinderella, the Nightmare before Christmas and more.
Universal Studios takes the festive celebrations to another level, with daily events from the beginning of December until January.
Universal Studios Florida
Once the traditional ‘Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’ ends in New York it moves over to Universal Florida with a ‘Macy Holiday Parade’ on every evening between December and January. The holiday spectacular features marching bands, merry music and even Santa Claus himself! There’s also a sensational tree lighting ceremony, with dazzling lights and music taking center stage. Other holiday shows include A Barney Holiday and The Blues Brothers Holiday Show.
Islands of Adventure
When the festive season hits, the Seuss Landing area of Universal’s Islands of Adventure transforms into the crazy world of Grinchmas. Explore the winter wonderland with the Who-liday Spectacular, a live re-telling of the classic tale, The Grinch. Watch the whimsical film as it’s brought to life before your very eyes. The show takes place on selected dates and times over the Christmas period. Experience an hilarious moment meeting the quirky Grinch himself or even enjoy breakfast with him at ‘The Grinch & friends character breakfast’.
If you need any additional information about Orlando’s theme parks or to purchase attraction tickets, contact our concierge team.
You can let someone else do all the hard work
Our concierge team is on hand to help make your Christmas celebrations run as smoothly as possible. Just check into your villa and they’ll take care of the rest, from decorating the Christmas tree to preparing a family feast.
Decided to travel to Orlando for the holidays and still want a traditional Christmas dinner? Why not hire a private chef to cook you and all your guests the best festive feast, whilst you kick back and relax in the Orlando sunshine. They can prepare starters, mains and even Christmas puddings.
First Christmas away from home? We can arrange a Christmas tree for your vacation rental, which you can decorate with your favourite baubles.
Would you love to meet Santa Claus? We can help you out! If you’d like the man himself to visit your vacation rental, we can arrange just that.
Everything is open on Christmas day
Despite what you may have heard, most of Orlando’s big attractions are still open on Christmas Day. Our simple guide shows the Christmas opening hours at some of the main sights.
Magic Kingdom: 9am–11pm
Epcot Future World: 9am–10.30pm
Epcot World Showcase: 11am–10.30pm
Disney Hollywood Studios: 8am–11pm
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 9am–8pm
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park: closed from 25th December–11th March
Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park: 10am–5pm
Disney Springs: 10am -12am
Universal’s Islands of Adventure: 8am–10pm
Universal Studios: 8am–10pm
Discovery Cove: 9am–5.30pm
Busch Gardens: 9am–8pm
To purchase attraction tickets or for any additional information about the theme parks on Christmas day, speak to our concierge team.