by Sandra Carr - 258 Reviews - 109 List
Holiday hoopla is overflowing around Orlando this year. Area resorts and theme parks have transformed into winter wonderlands featuring glistening garland, parades, entertainment and frozen creations. From "The Nutcracker" to holiday light displays, find events full of seasonal cheer by catching a glimpse of these yuletide options before the elves pack up and leave. (Photo courtesy of Gaylord Palms)
Updated: December 07, 2009
Celebrate the season at the Walt Disney World Resort. Visitors can chill at the Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle as it brightens the night sky with 200,000 sparkling white lights. Tots and tykes can celebrate the holidays with the famous mouse himself during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom through Dec. 18 from 7pm-12am. Tickets are $53-$59. Head over to Hollywood Studios and be amazed by the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Guests can enjoy millions of illuminating lights and animated displays, which originally began as a father's Christmas present to his daughter. Explore during the ?Holidays Around the World? festivities at Epcot. Learn about different holiday traditions as you travel around the globe. Watch the Candlelight Processional at the American Gardens Theatre where a national celebrity narrates the ?Christmas Story? along with a 50-piece orchestra and mass choir. Walt Disney World Resort tickets are $53-$64.
Spend the day with the Grinch in Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure. The green-machine performs during the How the Grinch Stole Christmas show. The live performance features six tunes by Mannheim Steamroller and new arrangements of ?You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch? and ?Where Are You, Christmas?? Guests will have an opportunity to meet the Grinch and see Whos from Whoville following the performance. Every evening, the Macy's Holiday Parade takes over Universal Studios with balloons, floats and an array of colorful costumes from the renowned Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Entertainers and marching bands are also a part of the street sashay. Universal Florida and Islands of Adventure ticket prices are $79.
Bundle up and board The Polar Express Experience at SeaWorld Orlando's Wild Arctic for a journey to the North Pole. Visitors can watch Shamu and friends commemorate the holiday spirit during a 22-minute performance called ?Shamu Christmas?Miracles? at the Shamu Stadium. Tickets are $74.95 adults, $64.95 (ages 3-9) ages 2 and under are free.
Cool off in nine degrees of chilly air during ICE! The walk-through exhibit features 2 million pounds of sculptured ice transformed into three-dimensional hand-carved holiday scenery through Jan. 3. Tickets are $18.99-$25.99.
Grab a viewing spot and watch an annual holiday parade in Avalon Park this holiday season during Avalon Aglow on Dec. 5 from 4pm to 9pm. The free festivities will feature local organizations, schools and Santa Claus on floats or walking throughout Downtown Avalon Park, snow, caroling, live entertainment and fireworks.
See the classic Charles Dickens? tale about Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future in the renowned drama ?A Christmas Carol? at this Downtown Orlando theater through Dec. 21. Tickets are $15-$18.
New York City's famous Rockettes dance with Santa Claus in various outfits and stage performances during the touring production of the Radio City Spectacular when it makes a stop at the University of Central Florida this holiday season--Dec. 26-28. Tickets are $49.50-$99.
Get into the holiday drinking spirit during the 12 Bars of Christmas Pub Crawl. The event begins at Finnhenry's and continues through Downtown Orlando on Dec. 19 at 8pm. Participants are asked to bring an unwrapped toy or toys equaling $20 for free admission to the festivities or pay a $20 pub crawl admission fee. Proceeds will benefit The Hope Foundation.
Drink unlimited samples of more than 100 of the world's greatest beers during the Orlando Holiday Brew Fest 2009 on Dec. 4 from 6pm to 10pm. The festivities will also include food and live entertainment. Tickets are $25 advance and $35 day of event for ages 21 and up.
Watch the lighting of the Christmas trees and Santa arrive with his hunky reindeer and distribute presents during Light Up the Courtyard on Dec. 5 at 10pm at this renowned gay resort. Christmas carols will also be sung by the Mistletones during the free festivities. Sample the Bailey's Irish cream bar in the Courtyard, which includes hot chocolate, coffee or on ice for $3 and a double for $4. Have your picture taken with Santa Claus for a good cause. Proceeds from the photos will benefit the Hope and Help organization.