Things to do in Orlando for Christmas
If you’re looking for things to do in Orlando for Christmas, you’re in the right place. Spending time in Orlando at Christmas just makes sense. The average temperatures are in the 70s and sunny days are the norm. You won’t find snow flurries here! Not real ones, anyway. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves; we’ll talk more about that later!
Use this list to find the best holiday activities in Central Florida. This list is for Christmas in Orlando in 2022 and will be updated with current information in future years.
Rent a car for Christmas in Orlando
I like to get around as needed while on vacation, so I like to rent a car. If you decide to rent a car in Orlando, I recommend renting a car from Discount USA Car Rental.
Discount USA Car Rental offers the best rates available, and you can pick it up at any airport near Orlando. Some of the best things to do in Orlando for Christmas do a bit of driving, so make sure to either bring your own car or rent one.
Things to do in Orlando during the holidays
Here are some of the best holiday events in Orlando, in no particular order. The list of the best things to do in Orlando is extensive, but don’t get overwhelmed. You certainly don’t have to do all these things, but I know you’ll find at least a few to add to your family’s holiday “must-do” list.
1: City of Orlando Tree Lighting
One of the best ways to enjoy the holiday season in Orlando is by watching the City of Orlando’s tree lighting in Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park. Throughout November and December, the City offers free, family-friendly holiday events and activities for residents and visitors of all ages to enjoy.
The Christmas tree lighting is one of the best things to do in Orlando because it’s offered for two months, and, best of all, this is a free event!
2. Christmas at Universal Orlando
You know how much we love Universal Orlando, so you probably aren’t surprised to see something at the theme parks high on our list of things to do in Orlando for Christmas! Event dates for 2022 are from November 12th to January 1st.
We recommend buying all your theme park tickets through either Undercover Tourist or an authorized Travel Agent! Also, check out the links for discount tickets to Universal Orlando.
Don’t forget to look for Earl the Squirrel in the 80-foot-high Christmas tree! This is also the perfect photo spot.
3. Universal Studios
Universal Studios is the perfect place to spend some time with your family during the holidays. The festive music, live performances, and Christmas events offer something for everyone. The best part about the holidays at Universal Orlando is that the parade and shows are included at no additional cost.
4. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Universal Orlando Resort does not disappoint during the holidays! In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade get a Christmas makeover. You can also find seasonal food, and hot butterbeer is available during the cooler months. You’ll also find holiday performances by Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees to put you in the holiday spirit.
There isn’t much better than Universal Orlando Christmas if you ask us!
We have a lot of Wizarding World of Harry Potter tips on this blog, including First Timer Tips for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which you can use during your Orlando holiday vacation.
5. Universal Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s Balloons
Outside the Wizarding World at Universal Studios, you’ll enjoy the Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s Balloons. Make sure to get a spot early because this is a popular event! You’ll even get a special appearance from the Big Man himself, Santa Claus! And, of course, Mrs. Claus too.
6. Live Entertainment
Most of the regular musical performances switch over to a holiday theme. In addition, you’ll find special live music performances from Manheim Steamroller on December 3rd, 4th, 10th, and 11th, 2022.
7. The holiday tribute store and more
One of our favorite parts about visiting Universal during the Christmas season is all the holiday treats and the tribute store! The store is re-themed for all holidays, including Christmas.
8. Islands of Adventure
The holiday cheer continues in Islands of Adventure.
9. Seuss Landing
You’ll find Seuss Landing decked out in holiday decor in Islands of Adventure. This is one of our favorite spots for during the holidays for decor.
10. The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular
One of the cutest shows around is the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular. You’ll meet Mr. Grinch in this live-action show of how the Grinch stole Christmas. You will even see a dog from the Animal Actors show appear, starring as Max.
11. The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast
The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast is back in 2022! You’ll enjoy this character breakfast at Circus McGurkus with the Grinch himself and his friends. The food includes Green Eggs and Ham (of course) and a full breakfast buffet. Pricing is $42 for adults and $26 for children and includes one digital photo.
12. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle
For the Harry Potter fan, one of the best things to do in Orlando for Christmas is to enjoy the holiday projection on Hogwarts Castle.
After dark, Hogwarts Castle comes to life with a special holiday projection show. Make sure you don’t miss it! By the way, a great place to watch the lights is while riding Flight of the Hippogryph! Again, this light show is one that you don’t want to miss.
13. Universal’s Holiday Tour
If you just can’t get enough of Universal during the holidays, might I suggest Universal’s Holiday tour? Pricing starts at $79.99 + tax and includes:
- Exclusive Meet and Greet with the Grinch™ and his faithful dog, Max
- Reserved seating for the Grinchmas™ Who-liday Spectacular
- Small plates including cookies, Who Hash, Chicken & Waffles, Popcorn Shrimp, plus non-alcoholic beverages and a hot cocoa bar at Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous™
- A Santa meeting including one (1) My Universal Photos digital download per party
- Priority access to one (1) attraction (subject to Tour itinerary).
- An after-hours showing of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts™ Castle.
14. Universal Hotels during the holidays
The magic continues at Universal hotels, where all of the hotels are decked out in Christmas decorations. Check out our video tour of Cabana Bay Beach Resort; this was recorded during the holidays, giving you a glimpse of some Christmas decorations. Just don’t judge the quality of this older video; I promise the new videos are better. 🙂
15. Christmas at Walt Disney World Resort
Can you believe we got all the way to #3 before talking about Walt Disney World Resort? Spending time at Disney World is one of the best things to do in Orlando for Christmas. It’s no surprise that the “most magical place on earth” goes all out for Christmas, but there might be more to Disney during the holidays than you realize! So, let’s talk about things to do at Disney during Christmas.
Again, we recommend buying all your theme park tickets through either Undercover Tourist or an authorized Travel Agent! Also, check out the links for discount tickets to Disney World.
16. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom is one of the most popular special events of the year. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party is a separately ticketed (IE not included with your park ticket) experience running on select dates from November 8th to December 22nd. This event offers Disney characters, live entertainment, an incredible parade, and of course, fireworks!
17. Magic Kingdom Christmas Events
On select nights, you can enjoy holiday projections on Cinderella Castle. If you also want to see the 50th-anniversary projections – don’t worry – they alternate!
Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom also gets a holiday makeover with a fun Christmas overlay.
18. Christmas at Animal Kingdom
At Animal Kingdom, you may not see a party or special fireworks (or fireworks at all because of the animals), but you will see special holiday cavalcades! The Tree of Life will also feature Wintry Tales. And best of all, The Merry Menagerie is back again. This special animal puppet, live music, and seasonal decor experience has returned; it was a guest favorite!
19. EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays
Not surprisingly, EPCOT has a special International Festival of the Holidays running from November 25th to December 30th (hey, that’s my birthday!) in 2022.
20. Holiday Kitchens
Epcot has finally announced its Holiday Kitchens for 2022! I hope you are as excited as I am to hear about all the options this holiday season.
Here are all the Holiday Kitchens you will find at Epcot this year:
American Holiday Table – America Adventure Pavilion
This kitchen will serve delicious traditional dishes that remind you of your grandma’s cooking.
Bavaria Holiday Kitchen – Germany Pavilion
Inside the Germany Pavilion, you can help yourself to numerous holiday dishes and beverages.
Chestnuts & Good Cheer Holiday Kitchen – Near Test Track Presented by Chevrolet
You can’t celebrate the holiday season without a few roasted chestnuts! This is a new location this year. They will still have those cinnamon-glazed nuts you have fallen in love with. Oh, and they will have holiday beverages too!
The Donut Box – Near Test Track Presented by Chevrolet
The area near the Test Track will be busy with several different Holiday Kitchens this year. It is all about the seasonally-themed donuts at this kitchen.
Holiday Hearth Desserts – The Odyssey Pavilion
Hot cocoa and all types of desserts will be waiting for you at Holiday Hearth Desserts. So save a little room for these sweet treats because they are worth every bite!
Holiday Sweets & Treats – Near Port of Entry
Spending time near the Christmas tree at the Port of Entry is part of the fun at Epcot. This year, you can enjoy fabulous sweet treats and drinks simultaneously.
L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen – Between Morocco and France Pavilions
Deli sandwiches that taste straight from New York are available at L’Chaim! Grab a drink with your sandwich to toast to a new year!
Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen – Mexico Pavilion
A little Mexican cuisine goes perfectly with mariachi dancing. You can experience both at this Holiday Kitchen.
Le Marche de Noel Holiday Kitchen – France Pavilion
French foods, wine, and specialty cocktails will be waiting for you at Le Marche de Noel Holiday Kitchen. You won’t need to brush up on your French to place an order!
Mele Kalikimaka – Near Port Of Entry
Hawaiian foods and drinks are another option for spending a little more time around the Christmas tree.
Nochebuena Cocina – Near Port of Entry
Epcot has finally added a plant-based Holiday Kitchen this year! However, you may indulge too much if you have been waiting for this option for a long time.
Shanghai Holiday Kitchen – China Pavilion
Popular Shanghai dishes and drinks will be what this Holiday Kitchen is all about. So bring your appetite because your taste buds will want more.
Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen – Japan Pavilion
If dishes from Shanghai aren’t what you are craving, you may prefer the festive dishes at Shi Wasu.
Tangierine Cafe: Flavors of the Medina – Morocco Pavilion
It is all about the kebabs and cocktails at this cafe. If you are in a rush, at least grab a kebab to eat as you continue having fun at Epcot.
Tuscany Holiday Kitchen – Italy Pavilion
When you arrive at the Tuscany Holiday Kitchen, you will be told, “Mangia, Mangia!”. Eat, eat!! And eat you will with some of the best cuisine available at Epcot.
Yukon Holiday Kitchen – Canada Pavilion
Canadian dishes offer a new twist on some favorites. This is an excellent place to unwind, enjoy the holiday atmosphere, and relish a few new flavors.
21. Candlelight Processional
One of the best things to do in Orlando for Christmas is to attend the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. This show is held at the America Gardens Theatre. It is held nightly beginning November 25th. The last night is December 30th. Showtimes are 5:15pm, 7:00pm, and 8:30pm.
During the Candlelight Processional, a celebrity tells the story of Christmas. The narrators change every couple of nights. You can find the list of celebrities for 2022 here.
22. The American Adventure Gingerbread Display
Head to American Adventure to check out the gingerbread houses this year. The houses can be found in the lobby. Each year, they are part of the iconic structures that can be seen throughout other Disney Resorts.
23. Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition
No Christmas is complete without a search for all the holiday traditions Olaf has lost. Grab a map and stickers ($9.99) from select Festival merchandise areas like Port of Entry or World Traveler at International Gateway.
Place the stickers on the map where you discover the traditions Olaf lost. Then, at the end of the day, take your map to either the Creations Shop or World Traveler at International Gateway. You will receive a special holiday keepsake for all your hard work!
24. JOYFUL! A Holiday Celebration
Music is everywhere through Epcot during the holiday season. But, of course, nothing beats listening to the JOYFUL! Ensemble though!
Head over to the World Showcase Plaza for the performances. Showtimes are 2:40pm, 3:45pm, 4:50pm, and 6:10pm each day.
25. Holiday Cookie Stroll
Christmas cookies are one of the best things about the holidays! So grab your Festival Passport and head out to find the official cookie stroll locations. Every time you purchase a cookie at those locations, you will receive a stamp on your Passport. Once you have received five stamps, you will receive a specialty treat at Holiday Sweets & Treats.
To make this task easier for you, here are the cookie stroll locations and the cookies that qualify:
- Nochebuena Cocina: Alfajores – Vanilla Shortbread Cookies with Coconut and Dulce de Leche
- Yukon Holiday Kitchen: Snickers Doodle Cookies
- L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen: Plant-Based Black and White Cookies
- American Holiday Table: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Bavaria Holiday Kitchen: Linzer Cookies
- Holiday Hearth Desserts: Gingerbread Cookies
- Sunshine Seasons: M&M Sugar Cookies
- Connections Cafe: Sugar Cookies
26. Hollywood Studios during the holidays
Hollywood Studios has fun holiday decor and dancing lights decking out the park. However, you likely won’t find them in Galaxy’s Edge or Toy Story Land.
If you love character meals, you’ll have to check out Minnie’s seasonal dining at Hollywood and Vine. You can meet Minnie and all of her festive friends.
The Frozen Singalong Holiday Show is set to return with special guests who don’t make an appearance in the regular show. I’ll give you a hint; he’s a snowman!
There are more magical touches, such as the Tower of Terror transitioning into The Hollywood Toy Hotel.
Santa himself will also be making appearances in a Santa Claus Merry Motorcade.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Disney during the holidays without plenty of holiday treats to go around.
27. Christmas at Disney Resorts and Disney Springs
You can enjoy holiday-themed activities and decor at Disney Springs along with all four Disney Parks (EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom.)
The Disney Resort hotels are always decked out with Christmas trees, holiday lights, and light displays. Plus, special festivities for guests!
Of course, Santa will make plenty of appearances all over Walt Disney World Resort during the most wonderful time of the year.
28. Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail
The popular Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll is back; best of all, it’s free to see! Of course, there aren’t many free things in Disney World, but this is one of them!
You can expect to see 25+ themed Christmas trees and plenty of holiday food and snacks, including Mickey Pretzels.
Oh, and don’t miss the snowfall in Town Center! Flurries of snowfall in that area to make Disney Springs magical and Christmas-like.
29. Night of a Million Lights
This family-friendly event will return in 2022 and benefits Give Kids The World Village. In 2022 the event returns at a brand-new venue – Island H2O Water Park. Check out Night of a Million Lights for more details.
30. The Nutcracker at Orlando Ballet
As a “dance family” (Miki does ballet and three other types of dance), I couldn’t mention things to do in Orlando for Christmas and not mention the Nutcracker at Orlando Ballet.
In addition to the regular show, there’s a 1-hour family show which may be a better bet for families with young children (or kids who aren’t into dance!)
31. Asian Lantern Festival
The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens transforms into a magical wonderland every year starting in November. In addition, this Sanford attraction brings Asian culture to the area every Christmas.
If you are searching for things to do in Orlando for Christmas, I highly recommend heading to the Botanical Gardens. The Asian Lantern Festival: Into the Wild illuminates the gardens from late November until around the middle of January.
There are more than 30 hand-made lantern displays. Those lanterns are scattered along a ¾ mile path.
Live music plays in the background. You can also make a night of this by eating some of the Asian foods that are for sale.
This festival is only held on select nights during the season. On the nights the festival takes place, it is open from 6 PM until 10 PM.
32. St. Augustine Night of Lights
It’s technically not in the Orlando area, but if you don’t mind taking a short drive to St. Augustine (about an hour and a half from Orlando), you can visit the St. Augustine Night of Lights. The 29th Annual Nights of Lights dazzles with more than 3 million lights adorning every corner of the historic district for two months.
This event is offered every night from November 19th, 2022, to January 31st, 2023, and it’s one of the best places to see Christmas lights in Florida. This is a public event with free admission.
We have an entire post of things to do in St. Augustine with kids; make sure to check it out!
33. Dazzling Nights at Harry P. Leu Gardens
A popular family-friendly holiday activity returns for 2022. The Dazzling Lights at Harry P. Leu Gardens will run from November 25th to January 1st. Entry is $25 per person, plus $12 for parking.
Your family will enjoy the following:
- A brand new, redesigned show
- A million lights will bring Leu Gardens to life
- A 40′ diameter snow dome with swirling snow
- 70′ long candy cane vortex light tunnel
- Walk through a forest with giant, neon flowers
- A brand new laser light show with live singers
- Meet and greet characters in an icy world
34. Holidays at Legoland Florida Resort
LEGO fans will not be disappointed when they discover that Legoland Florida is decked with holiday lights and even a giant LEGO tree! For LEGO fans, this is definitely one of the best things to do in Orlando for Christmas.
Guests can also enjoy special holiday characters and treats, holiday shows, and plenty of LEGO activities. You’ll also find a life-size LEGO Santa and LEGO toy soldier, great for photo ops.
Like Universal, this event is free with paid admission. You can get discount tickets through Undercover Tourist.
35. Colorful Christmas at Crayola Experience
Colorful Christmas will bring smiles to everyone’s face! This year, the Crayola Experience team is back with a NEW challenge. Santa and his friends are trying to save the holiday and need your help.
During this challenge, you will find yourselves diving into a life-sized snow globe and watching a light show.
- Other fun activities include:
- Edwin the Painting Snowman
- Forest Green the Singing Christmas Tree
- Holiday Crafts
- Character Appearances
- Ornament Workshop
- Slime Class
- Jazzberry Jammin’ New Year’s Eve
36. Trans Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve
If you’re a fan of the Transiberian Orchestra, you can find them in Orlando on December 17th from 3 PM – 7 PM.
37. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration
We’re generally not fans of SeaWorld, but they offer yet another way to celebrate the holidays in Orlando. We recommend buying all your theme park tickets through either Undercover Tourist or an authorized Travel Agent! Check out the links for discount tickets to SeaWorld.
Sea of Trees
You won’t want to miss the Sea of Trees. An entire Christmas tree forest is decked out with 3 million dazzling lights. Those lights twinkle and dance to holiday music.
In the center of all the trees is a 70-foot Christmas tree. Any spot around the lake is perfect for watching the Sea of Trees.
This show is held a couple of times each night. So you can easily schedule it into your time at SeaWorld.
38. Winter Wonderland on Ice
Out on the ice, skaters of all kinds put on a fantastic show. In front of the water fountains, you will see dancing elves, penguins, reindeer, and people skating to your favorite holiday music.
You can grab some ice skates to glide alongside the lagoon when this show isn’t taking place.
39. Sounds of the Season Performance Series
Over in the Nautilus Theater, you can listen to festive holiday music.
40. Elmo’s Christmas Wish
Young kids will love watching Grover, Zoe, Cookie Monster, and Rosita help Elmo find his Christmas wish.
41. Sesame Street Christmas Parade
You can’t celebrate the holidays without a Christmas parade! Decorated floats filled with Sesame Street friends roll through the paths of Sesame Street Land.
42. Holiday Reflections: Fireworks and Fountains Finale
Festive fireworks are the perfect way to end a day at SeaWorld. Add the holiday music and the sparkle from the lagoon, and you have a fabulous new holiday tradition.
The best places to stand for the fireworks are:
- The Waterfront
- Spice Mill
- Orca Encounter Pathway
- Wild Arctic Plaza
- Bayside Stadium
- Bayside Pathway
- Park Entrance Plaza
43. SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Food Markets
SeaWorld annually opens Christmas Food Markets to create a mini festival experience. However, they haven’t released their food market booths for 2022 yet.
44. Nightly Snowfall in Celebration Town
Celebration Town is a fun all-American town in Orlando. Visiting is one of the best things to do in Orlando for Christmas, especially if you take the time to visit at night.
Snow begins to fall in Celebration at 5 PM and lasts until 9 PM. This magical event starts on November 26th and ends on December 31st.
Want to know how the Town of Celebration makes it snow?? Snoap (soap bubbles that fall like soap) is blasted out of the street lanterns. It goes high up in the sky before falling gently back to the ground.
Other holiday fun in the Celebration includes ice skating, horse-drawn carriage rides, and the Celebration Express Train. But, of course, Santa is there as well. He’s always ready to meet with the kids to see if they have been naughty or nice.
45. Christmas Lights at Jeater Bend
If you love driving around to see Christmas lights in neighborhoods close to home, you will love Jeater Bend. The homes here create a synchronized wonderland with lights and music. Then, add in the fireworks and character meet and greets; it is fun for the whole family.
This thing to do in Orlando for Christmas usually begins the night of Thanksgiving. It ends on December 31st. The hours are between 6 PM and 9:30 PM.
46. Gaylord Palms Christmas
Gaylord Palms Christmas begins on November 18th and continues until January 1st. This is an indoor winter event. The decor, displays, and ambiance will have you thinking you are anywhere but sunny Orlando!
Here are a few things you can do at the Gaylord Palms to celebrate the season:
47. ICE! Featuring the Grinch Who Stole Christmas
Approximately 36 truckloads of ice are carved into beautiful icy masterpieces. Those colorful masterpieces are then displayed inside a room at 9 degrees. So dress warmly for this Florida Christmas adventure!
48. Shine Light Show
Experience holidays worldwide as more than 2 million lights dance to the holiday music. Most of those lights surround the six-story Christmas tree inside Emerald Bay Plaza.
49. Cirque: The Spirit of the Season
At the Emerald Bay Stage, your family can watch this acrobatic show. Follow along as Noel tries to recapture her love of Christmas. Spirits visit her while she is dreaming, and they show her the true meaning of Christmas.
This show is held at 1 PM and 6:30 PM every day. On Saturdays, there is also an 8:15 PM show.
This is one of the free things to do in Orlando for Christmas. Just remember, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. You can purchase Premium and Elite seating for specific shows.
50. Snow Flow Mountain
You probably didn’t think you would be able to go sledding while in Florida. Well, when you visit Gaylord Palms, you can! Sit on a sled that will take you down frozen conveyor belts. You can also ride a hilly ice coaster at Snow Factory.
These rides cost $24.99 per person. They are also included in bundled tickets.
51. Snowball Build and Blast
You will be given a tube of snow that you can use to build as many snowballs as possible. Then blast those snowballs at the machine to boost its power. The cost for this event is $14.99.
52. Mrs. Claus Christmas Traditions
Mrs. Claus hosts Christmas carols every night and reads “Twas the Night Before Christmas. This event is $16.99 per person and also includes milk and cookies.
53. Three Kings Festival
The Three Kings Festival is held from December 26th through January 1st at Gaylord Palms. There are multiple special activities to participate in. The best one is the musical show, The Journey of Los Tres Reyes Magos.
54. Stetson Mansion Holiday Tours
The Stetson Mansion was the very first luxury estate in Florida. It was constructed in 1886. The mansion has been completely restored.
You can tour the mansion and see it decked out with all things Christmas! Self-guided tours are $28 for adults and $15 for children.
The schedule for 2022:
- November 1st through 15th and January 8th through 21st – Every day except Sunday. Tours are available at 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM.
- November 16th through January 7th – Tours are available every day at 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 4:00pm, and 5:30pm. There are no tours on Sunday mornings.
Guided tours are also available after the last tour of the day. Those tours are $38 for adults and $25 for children.
During the tour, you will see multiple rooms on the ground floor. Those rooms are all complete with Christmas decor and 24 nativities. Three bedrooms on the second floor are available to view as well.
Don’t forget to check out the School House. It has now been turned into a guest cottage.
55. Dezerland Christmas Nights in Lights
Driving through a magical wonderland is definitely one of the best things to do in Orlando for Christmas. Between November 11th and January 1st, you can check out the Dezerland Christmas Nights in Lights. Put the kids in their Christmas jammies and drive along a one-mile road to see more than a million sparkling lights.
Prices for this evening adventure begin at $20 per vehicle.
56. Orlando Christmas Boat Parades
Parades are huge during the Christmas season. Going to a Christmas parade is one of the best things to do in Orlando for Christmas. However, they take their holiday parades to the next level in Florida! Why have a regular Christmas parade when you can have a Christmas boat parade?
Stand along the shoreline and check out all the boats parading in front of you in the water.
I don’t have the information for all the Christmas Boat Parades in Orlando. But here is the info I have so far!
Tarpin Springs – December 2nd at 8:00 PM – Begins at the Sponge Docks and ends at Spring Bayou.
Dunedin – December 3rd at 6:00 PM – Begins at Marker 1 Marina and goes south before returning to Dunedin Marina
Winter Haven Chain of Lakes – December 3rd at 6:30 PM – Begins at Lake May before going to Howard, back to May, and then continuing to Lake Shipp
Downtown Mount Dora – December 3rd at 7:00 PM – Begins at the Lighthouse near Gilbert Park
Cocoa Beach – December 10th at 6:00 PM – Begins at Mile Marker 101 near Centennial Park and ends at Cocoa Beach Golf Course
Deland – December 10th at 6:00 PM – Begins near 1889 Hontoon Road
South Lake Conway – December 16th at 8:00 PM – Begins at the southern side of the Nela Bridge and runs clockwise
Middle Lake Conway – December 17th at 7:30 PM – Begins at the Sand Bar and runs clockwise around the center lake
North Lake Conway – December 18th at 7:00 PM – Begins at the Point on Little Lake Conway and runs clockwise
57. Visit Christmas, Florida
One of the best things to do in Orlando for Christmas isn’t actually in Orlando at all, but IN Christmas!
You may not be aware that a town in Florida is actually called Christmas.
This small town is approximately 22 miles from Orlando. There isn’t much to do in this town, but it is the perfect place to mail all your holiday cards and packages!
They have their official stamp and logo to make all your cards look special. So, let your family and friends know how much you care about them, and mail your cards from the town for Christmas this year!
As you are driving into town, say hi to Swampy. He is the world’s largest alligator. You definitely won’t miss him on the side of the road.
58. Bok Tower Gardens
In Lake Wales, you can explore Bok Tower Gardens at any time of the year. Christmas is quite the special time at these gardens, though. The mansion and gardens are all decked out in Christmas decor.
Add in the tower with its 60-bell carillon, and you may never listen to other holiday music ever again.
The magic at Bok Tower Gardens begins on November 27th this year and ends on January 3rd. The cost is $17 for adults and $5 for children.
59. The Holidays at Old Town
A visit to Old Town always means returning to simpler days. You know… When you could walk down brick-paved streets without a care in the world!
While this area will take you back in time, it will also allow you to enjoy Christmas like you did when you were a kid.
Retro memorabilia is available at Wound “N Around. Airplane models, puzzle boxes, and other wooden toys can be found at Extreme Woodcrafts. Disney apparel is available in many stores too.
During the holiday season, Old Town turns into a Christmas wonderland. This year, the snow will begin falling on November 25th and won’t end until Christmas.
This is one of the few free things to do in Orlando for Christmas.
60. Altamonte Springs
In Altamonte Springs, you can walk along a trail until you reach a water fountain. This trail is inside Cranes Roost Park. The water in the fountain is lit up—the lights and water dance to music playing in the background.
Near the fountain, you will discover more than 100 displays. Each display is also lit up. Don’t forget to stop at the 60-foot Christmas tree during your visit.
If you are fortunate, you will spot Santa during your visit. And you may get to watch a holiday movie outside.
This magical Christmas event is being held between November 24th and January 1st this year.
It is another free thing to do near Orlando for Christmas.
61. Festival of Trees at the Orlando Museum of Art
Checking out only one Christmas tree during the holiday season is so boring! So, why not look at all the trees at the Orlando Museum of Art? The Festival of Trees begins on November 12th and ends on November 20th.
Wander around the trees to get in the holiday spirit. If that isn’t working, the wreaths, decor, or gingerbread houses may do the trick!
62. Ivanhoe Village Jingle Eve
Santa’s Village is the highlight of Jingle Eve every year. This event kicks off the holiday season in Orlando each year. This year, Jingle Eve is being held on November 19th. It is a free event your entire family will love.
Take turns spending time in the beer garden as the kids explore the Children’s Village. Don’t worry; they’ll behave because Santa will be watching very closely. He’s still working on his naughty and nice list at this point! Remind the kids about that, and you will be all set!
The evening ends with bright fireworks over Lake Ivanhoe.
63. Winter Park Christmas Parade
Winter Park is approximately 15 minutes to the north of Orlando. The drive is totally worth it to watch their Christmas parade. The parade is free to attend. Santa is always at the end of the parade, so keep an eye out for the jolly fella!
This year the parade will be held on Saturday, December 3rd. For future reference, it is always the first Saturday in December.
64. Winter Park Old Fashioned Christmas Cruise
You can celebrate Christmas in Orlando on a boat in Winter Park every December. The Winter Park Old Fashioned Christmas Cruise can get you in the holiday spirit.
This 80-minute cruise includes stories. They read The Christmas Story and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Holiday music plays in between stories. You can also test your knowledge with a bit of holiday trivia.
Before the cruise ends, you will receive a goodie bag filled with delicious holiday treats.
65. Light Up Windermere on Main Street
All the holiday lights are turned on in this section of Main Street on the Friday before Thanksgiving each year. So, it is free to listen to live entertainment and see the lights. However, there are multiple food trucks there. So, plan on grabbing something to eat.
66. Ride the Polar Express
The Polar Express makes a stop in downtown Mount Dora each year. I recommend your family “climbs aboard” for a magical adventure!
The Polar Express train rides are held from November 15th through December 30th. The ride on the train takes approximately one hour. Music from the movie plays in the background. The story is read as you enjoy a cookie and some hot chocolate.
This is a magical memory you will never forget, especially since it will take a while to get the ringing of all the bells the kids are given out of your head!
You can also participate in many other holiday events in Mount Dora. Take a walk around the lights and see what else captures your attention.
67. Santa’s Tree Farm
Santa’s Tree Farm will be open for business again this year on November 19th. You can purchase your tree there until December 18th.
Oh, wait… You’re probably on vacation. A Christmas tree probably won’t fit in your suitcase.
Thankfully, there is so much more to do at this tree farm. Your family can test their skills and see if they can find the exit at both the Elf Maze and Crazy Maze. There are also barrel tram rides, a shark tooth dig, and a rubber ducky race.
Arrive early so you can squeeze in time on Buddy’s Bounce Pillow, take a ziplining adventure, and ride a horse.
Even if you can’t pack a Christmas tree in your carry-on, this is one of the best things to do in Orlando for Christmas.
68. The Great Christmas Light Fight House
The Johannessen house is now famous, thanks to being featured on the Great Christmas Light Fight. The family spends months decorating for Christmas each year. Rumor has it they begin in July!
This house is located at 7849 Georgeann Street in Winter Park. You won’t be able to miss it if you are close. At least a quarter of a million lights guide you in the right direction.
The lights turn on at 6 PM and go off at 9 PM. So you can visit this Christmas house for the entire month of December.
The neighborhood does get crowded when this house lights up. Be careful of people walking around while trying to find a place to park.
69. Skydiving Santas at Cocoa Beach
This takes place about an hour outside of Orlando in Cocoa Beach. But think of the look on your kids’ faces when they see Santas jumping out of planes!
Some of the Santas will join hands like Flying Canopies. Others will land through an inflatable Christmas tree obstacle course.
This year’s event will be held at the Cocoa Beach Pier on December 17th. The hours are 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
There are so many holiday activities in Leesburg, Florida, each year. You can start by checking out the displays at the Venetian Gardens. Or you can do the Main Street Christmas Stroll.
My favorite activity is visiting the Leesburg Christmas House. More than 50,000 handcrafted ornaments are ready to be purchased, but they can only get them through the middle of December. So, plan your visit carefully, or you will miss out!
Things to do in Orlando for Christmas
These are just some of the things to do in Orlando for Christmas this year. Did I miss any of your favorite things to do in Orlando for Christmas? If so, let me know in the comments below!
How many Orlando Christmas activities do you plan to try this year?
If you’re looking for more Orlando travel tips (even if you’re visiting outside of the holidays), we have plenty of them on the blog!
- 2023 Universal Orlando Planning Guide
- The 20 Best Beaches near Orlando for Families
- The Best Instagram Spots at Universal Orlando
- The Closest Disney Resorts to the Parks
- The best strawberry farms in Florida
- Hidden secrets of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Where to find Dole Whip at Disney World
- The 10 best places to see sea turtles in Florida (you can add this to the best things to do in Orlando for Christmas because most of these places are within driving distance from Orlando!)
- Star Wars Land vs. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
About Florida Travel With Kids
Florida Travel with Kids was started by a family who loves to travel the state of Florida with kids! This site will help you explore the fun state of Florida and all of the kid-friendly activities you’ll find here.
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