It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!
December is one of the BEST months in Central Florida to check out the attractions, and by far the best time to see their holiday entertainment and decorations. As you will see, I am a pretty big fan of the holidays and I try to catch as many holiday offerings as I can fit in with my family and friends. Here are a few of my favorites and many of the greatest ways to get in the holiday spirit.
Walt Disney World kicked off the holidays in early November (literally right after Halloween) with “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party“, happening on select nights through December. Unfortunately, at the Magic Kingdom, most of the holiday shows and “Mickey’s Once upon a Christmastime Parade” are not actually performed for regular park guests until the days surrounding the Christmas break. Be sure to catch the “Castle Dream Lights” nightly at Cinderella Castle. The Christmas parties are one of the best times to visit the Magic Kingdom as park attendance is limited, the temperatures are cooler, and the mood is even more Magical than ever. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios you can check out “The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights” from dusk to park closing nightly on the Streets of America with over 4 million twinkling Christmas lights. Disney’s Animal Kingdom features “Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade” daily with your favorite Disney characters dancing to some of your favorite Christmas songs. Epcot has the most amazing holiday options, featuring the “Candlelight Processional and Massed Choir Program” at the America Gardens Theatre. This show is performed 3 times a night and features a live orchestra, guest choirs, the Voices of Liberty, and a Celebrity Narrator. The Celebrity Narrators this season include Michael W. Smith, Neil Patrick Harris (my personal favorite), and Susan Lucci, to name only a few. Epcot also features the “Holidays around the World Storytellers” and “Illuminations: Reflections of Earth” with a very special holiday tag. And, finally, “Joyful – a Gospel Celebration of the Seasons” returns to Epcot to perform multiple times a day at the Fountain of Nations Stage. There is no way you can walk away from this show without a smile on your face!
At Sea World, the holidays are celebrated on weekends and select dates through the end of the year. Favorite holiday offerings at Sea World are the “Polar Express Experience”, “Clyde & Seamour Countdown to Christmas”, “Shamu Christmas…Miracles”, the “Sea of Trees”, and “A Sesame Street Christmas”. New this year is “O Wondrous Night – The Greatest Story Never Told” in the Nautilus Theatre. This show is Amazing and features extremely gifted performers, puppets, and live animals including 3 camels. With only 2 shows each night you will need to arrive early to get a good seat. And, the perfect way to end the night is at the Bayside Stadium to catch “Winter Wonderland on Ice” followed immediately by the “Holiday Reflections: Fireworks and Fountains Finale”. Sea World does an incredible job of getting you in the Holiday Spirit!
The Universal Orlando Resort gets a slightly later start to the holidays as they await the arrival of some of our favorite balloons from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “The Macy’s Holiday Parade” at Universal Studios also features live shows, clowns, balloons, floats, holiday displays and a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. On select weekends, Mannheim Steamroller will be performing a holiday concert in the evening. At Islands of Adventures you can enjoy the “Christmas Wholiday Spectacular”. Though the name has changed, the show is the same, a musical retelling of the Dr. Seuss book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
One other holiday offerings in the Central Florida area in its 10th year is ICE! at the Gaylord Palms. This year, the theme is “Shrek the Halls” and it features scenes from this familiar children’s movie, as well as traditional scenes and a Nativity made entirely of ice. Though the ice sculptures are amazing, if you are not a fan of Shrek, as I am not, most of the exhibit is an over-priced disappointment. Be sure to look for any coupons you can find to make this a more affordable experience for all.
LEGOLAND, our newest Central Florida attraction, will welcome its first holiday season with a “Christmas Bricktacular”, featuring a 30-foot tree made out of thousands of green Lego blocks and other décor at the entrance and in the Fun Town area.
There are many other inspiring holiday offerings around the Central Florida area, but it is almost impossible to fit everything in. From “The Nutcracker” to “The Singing Christmas Trees”, to “Light up UCF” to “Now Snowing” at the Celebration Town Center, this is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! I will be doing my best to catch as much as possible…how about you?