December is here and with that means there will be 25 days until Christmas. Which means 25 Days until Christmas and 25 amazing things to do in Orlando for Christmas and the Holiday season.
Orlando is known for being the land of Mickey Mouse, theme parks, and thrill. However, Orlando is also known as “The City Beautiful”, and that beauty shines in Orlando during the Christmas holiday season. The holidays in Orlando offer much more than theme parks and warmer weather. It offers beautiful holidays displays from Orlando Christmas lights, to getting outdoors with ice-skating in shorts, Christmas and the holiday season in Orlando is a festive time of year.
Orlando Christmas Weather
Christmas time in Florida is the best winter escape from almost anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Orlando Christmas weather boasts sunshine, temperatures in the 70s (~25 Degrees Celsius), and enough Christmas events in Orlando to keep you busy.
As an Orlando Native, I hope this guide to an Orlando Christmas will provide you with enough holiday activities and Christmas events for any traveler’s budget. Moreover, this insider’s guide offers the best holiday activities and Christmas events in Orlando, as well as Central Florida. Planning your holiday for the perfect Orlando Christmas will be even easier, with the inclusion of dates, times, and addresses with links to Maps.
***Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, we earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.
The Most Festive Events in Orlando and Central Florida this Christmas Season
This post is organized by chronologically in the best things to do this Christmas in Orlando from November 30 until the big day on December 25th. While there are amazing events always happening in Orlando City proper, there are many cute surrounding towns and Orlando neighborhoods that offer some festive Christmas events and activities. The best thing is outside of events at Theme Parks and resorts most of these events are FREE and fun for all ages.
The Best Christmas Lights in Orlando
Saturday, November 30, 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Location: Donnelly Park, Mount Dora
Dates: Polar Express Train boards from Nov 15- Dec 30th
I mean it isn’t December yet, and maybe it doesn’t feel like winter, but grab a hot coco and head to Mount Dora for a FREE show with live music, performances of traditional Christmas songs, and see 2 million lights light up the night!
Located just 45 minutes outside of Orlando, Florida Mount Dora is a sunny winter paradise with events throughout the season. But come for Light Up Mount Dora to see a show of Christmas dancers, singers, and a great show!
The Polar Express Train boards in Mount Dora and is a magical experience that will transport you to the North Pole. The Polar Express train recreates the movie as a conductor will welcome and punch your golden ticket. Dancing servers will serve you hot coco and a sweet treat, while other characters from the movie will interact with you. During your trip take part in a reading of the children book classic, experience the dancing chefs who will serve cocoa and a tasty treat, and enjoy a reading of the classic children’s book The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. Upon arrival at the North Pole, Santa Claus and his elves will climb aboard. Buy your tickets here!
November 30th Celebration’s Tree Lighting
Location: Downtown Celebration
Dates: (Snow falls expected November 30th – December 31st, Nightly at 6 PM, 7 PM, 8 PM and 9 PM.)
Close your eyes, wish it, believe it and maybe it will actually snow in Florida. Well at least that is the case when you make that wish in Celebration, Florida.
The FREE event kicks off with some of the Orlando area’s best Christmas Lights. The annual event offers hourly snow falls in the evening, Christmas shows, and carolers.
Also, a cool place to visit during the day for a walk around the boardwalk, eating at the Colombia Restaurant, and checking out the beautiful holiday decorations at the Celebration Hotel.
December 1st Light Up SODO District
Date: Sunday, December 1, 4pm – 8pm
Location: SoDo Shopping Center (Sodo stands for South of Downtown)
Another FREE family event! The holidays can be expensive, but RSVP for this Orlando Christmas event. See the joy on children’s faces as they write letters to Santa, while you feast on Orlando’s mouthwatering Food Trucks. Also, be prepared for bounce houses, stilt walkers, and get ready to see a spectacular displace of Orlando Christmas lights.
If you are feeling philanthropic come with an unwrapped Christmas toy, for the Baby DJ toy drive hosted by the local FM 106.7 radio station.
December 2nd Ice! at Gaylord Palms
Dates: November 23rd– January 5th
Tickets: Start at $28.99 for adults and $14.99 per childwith discounts for Florida residents. Purchase tickets here.
Want to feel like you are in the North Pole in Orlando? No problem with ICE! At Gaylord Palms. Don’t forget your winter jacket, as ICE! Is kept at a consistent 9 degrees Fahrenheit (or 12 degrees Celsius).
The 2 million pounds of ICE is carved into dozens of scenes from the holiday movie The Polar Express. With the only Christmas like weather in Orlando, ICE! At Gaylord Palms will have you exploring the colorful, life-sized ice sculptures, with two-story ice slides.
What’s a winter wonderland without snow? At ICE! you take part in all the Christmas and holiday activities you can think of, from a snowball throw, to a race down a hill snowtubing.
Cirque Dreams Unwrapped is a special show offered just for ICE! At Gaylord Palms and is one of the most remarkable Christmas Shows in Orlando.
Sit on the edge of your seat, as acrobats perform gravity defying acts during this half hour show about a Christmas Dream. While admission isn’t guaranteed, you can reserve your seat with a ticket ranging from $15.99 for adults, and from $11.99 for children. Don’t want to miss the show, tickets for guaranteed seating can be purchased here.Otherwise the show is free and seating is available on a first come, first served basis.
If the thrills aren’t enough to keep you busy, you can enjoy the Sounds of the Season concert series. Tickets to the concert series include entrance to ICE! Tickets start at $35 for general admission. For specific dates, times, pricing, and more information click here.
The Gaylord Palms also has two other Christmas shows that are first come first serve: The Greatest Story Stage Show and the Journey of Los Tres Reyes Magos. Moreover, entry is complimentary however you can reserve a seat for $9.99 to make sure your seat is saved!
ICE! At Gaylord Palms is definitely one of the most unique Orlando Christmas events, and is the epitome of why Orlando at Christmas is so special.
Best Orlando Christmas Trees
December 3rd Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest
Dates: November 23rd– December 22ndTimes vary check here
Location: Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest, 35317 Huff Rd, Eustis, FL
For a mere $4 USD entry, come to Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest, and cut your own Christmas tree (or get a precut tree for less). However, while on some dates they only let you get a tree, you can come on many weekends and days for many Christmas activities.
If you are adventurous try a hayride, go to the animal petting zoo, and get a photo op with Santa. Be sure to read the strict Photography Policies. However, with attractions such as horse rides, ziplines, and a barrel tram. Here is a full list of attractions. Also, to be cognizant of the photo policies for Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest check out the policies here.
While there are many spots to get Orlando Christmas Trees, this is the most magical. And Orlando is known to be a magical place. So get in your sled and head over to Santa’s Forest!
December 4thChristmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs
Dates: November 8, 2019 to January 5, 2020.
Location: Disney Springs
There is no escaping Disney World when you come to Orlando, Florida during the holidays. The mouse is everywhere! But who wants to skip one of the best free ways to celebrate the holidays with this Orlando Christmas Tradition of walking the Christmas Tree Trail.
Here you can experience walking around Disney Springs, while seeing expertly decorated Christmas Trees inspired from 22 different Disney favorites! For more details about this festive forest click here.
December 5th 41st Annual Christmas in the Park at 6pm!
Location: Central Park, Winter Park
Another free Orlando holiday event is definitely needed after all that Black Friday Shopping. Come to see a FREE holiday show in the center of Orlando’s Winter Park neighborhood, outside of the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art as the vintage turn-of-the-century Tiffany glass windows are lit up, while the Bach Festival Choir fills the air with Christmas carols.
December 6th Downtown Orlando Tree Lighting Celebration
Date: Friday, December 6, 5pm – 9pm
Location: Lake Eola Park, Orlando
FREE and the main event hosted by the City of Orlando, attend the Orlando Tree Lighting Celebration as Mayor Buddy Dyer flips the switch at the official lighting of the 72-foot-tall Christmas tree in downtown. Live entertainment, holiday performances and the Daily City’s Food Truck Bazaar will offer a splendid holiday affair.
December 6th “Winter on the Avenue” in Winter Park
Date: Friday, December 6, 5pm – 10pm
Location:Winter Park Avenue
The best Orlando Holiday Street Party is Free! Come to the Winter Park Holiday Party, that will keep you busy with a flurry of activities along Winter Park Avenue and Central Park. If you happen to get chilly in our 70 plus degree weather, you can roast some s’mores by the fire, after you slide down some snow slides.
The annual tree lighting ceremony at dusk will include performances by children’s choirs, and children’s activities. Bring the entire family for a night of holiday cheer to this free event!
Date: Saturday, December 7 at 10 am for the Christmas Parade and 7:30pm for the Lighted Boat Parade.
Location: Begins at Lighthouse on Grantham Point, Across from Gilbert Parkon Tremain Street and Liberty Avenue, Downtown Mount Dora.
While Orlando has many Christmas parades, one of the special things about living in the sunshine state is that they also occur on the water. Come to Mount Dora for one of the area’s first Christmas Parades and Lighted Boat Parades in the Orlando area. It is also FREE!
Sunday, December 8 at 5pm
Location: Central Park, Winter Park
FREE concert in the park. Most importantly, Orlando Christmas weather is amazing, because not only can you jump in the pool, but you can celebrate the holiday season with a picnic and concert in the park.
Come to Winter Park for a Free “Holiday Pops” Concert in the park. Don’t forget your blanket!
December 9th Christmas in Christmas, Florida
Location: Christmas, Florida
Dates: Christmas all the time!
Take a drive to Christmas, Florida, a quirky holiday activity where you can visit the only Christmas in the world with a post office. With street names after reindeer, biblical names, and a historical fort called Fort Christmas there is enough here to get you in the holiday spirit.
There is a permanent Christmas Tree year-round, a nativity scene, and a concrete Santa in a red wooden sleigh. The town sees the tree as a “symbol of love and good will; the Christmas Spirit every day in the year.”
Christmas at Orlando Theme Parks
While some may wish to avoid Christmas at Universal or Christmas at Disney, and other theme parks. This is Orlando, and Christmas in Orlando would be remiss without me mentioning some of the Christmas activities that occur. From the Grinchmas in Orlando’s Universal Studios, to the Very Merry Christmas Party at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Orlando offers the best Christmas Shows, lights, and most festive trees in the world during the holidays!
December 10th Christmas at Universal
Location: Universal Studios Islands of Adventures and Universal Studios
Dates:November 17, 2019 – January 6, 2020
While this is definitely a bit more expensive than my other suggestions, it is one of my favorite places to celebrate the holidays in Orlando for Christmas. From the Grinchmas in Universal, to going to Hogwarts and shopping for Christmas presents in Daigon Alley, the holiday spirit runs high.
My favorite thing to do when I was younger, was going to the holiday Grinch and friends holiday breakfast. This is extra on top of the price of admission to the park, however, it definitely adds to the atmosphere of the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular.
December 11thWekiva Island’s Winter Wonderland
Date: November 29 through January 1
Year round you can come to Wekiva Springs State Park to experience the beautiful cold springs, however during the Holidays swing by Wekiva Island for their Winter Wonderland.
Go sledding down a hill of snow, watch movies outside near Wekiva, and enjoy live entertainment at Wekiva Island with characters and Santa himself. Unlimited slides down the snow slide are $10 USD on the weekend and $7 USD on weekdays. There are events throughout the holiday season at Wekiva Island, for more details check here.
December 12th Seaworld Christmas Celebration
Date: November 23 – December 31
The perks of calling Orlando, Florida home is all the jaw dropping displays of Christmas lights at theme parks. At the Seaworld Christmas Celebration you can see 3 million lights dazzle, as you watch the all new Seseme Street Christmas Parade.
Head to the Wild Artic to visit Santa himself and rub the nose of Rudolph the red nose reindeer. Also, there are two Christmas shows, including Winter Wonderland on Ice that will warm you with the holiday spirit.
December 13thSinging Trees Concert at First Baptist Orlando
Friday, Dec. 6 – 7:30pm
Saturday, Dec. 7 – 2:00pm
Sunday, Dec. 8 – 5:00pm
Thursday, Dec. 12 – 7:30pm
Friday, Dec. 13 – 7:30pm
Saturday, Dec. 14 – 2:00pm (ASL translation available)
Saturday, Dec. 14 – 6:00pm
Sunday, Dec. 15 – 5:00pm
Location: First Baptist Orlando, 3000 S John Young Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32805
Tickets: Purchase tickets here! Tickets range in cost, from $8 USD to $19 USD for general admission to $49 USD with a dinner/show package combo.
Not going to lie, when a family friend invited me to the Singing Trees Concert at First Baptist Orlando, I was a bit skeptical on how good a production put on by a Church would be. However, my mind was blown when I saw Universal and Disney level show production.
Three decades strong, the Singing Trees Production has captured the hearts of Central Florida and easily become one of the top-rated Orlando Christmas activities year after year.
Orlando Christmas shows can feel like a dime a dozen, but the First Baptist Orlando Church creates an original masterpiece year after year, my highlight of last year’s show was the live nativity scene that had real animals march through the stage; including a camel!
December 14th 12thAnnual Holiday Lights Bike Ride in Audubon Park Garden District
Date: Saturday December 14that 6:30 pm
Location: Hosted by Bikes, Beans, and Bordeaux, 3022 Corrine Dr, Orlando, Fl
The 12thAnnual Holiday Lights Bike Ride is perfect for all ages. Hosted by a local coffee shop and café to raise money for the Audubon Park Garden, bikers, families, and young people just interested in the event come with their bicycles decorated with lights. The holiday cheer can be seen as hundreds of people bike 6 miles around the neighborhood of Audubon Park Garden with their fully decorated bikes, costumes, and holiday spirits high.
December 15th Legoland Bricktacular Holiday Celebration
Dates:November 29-30, and December 1, 7-8, 14-15, 20-31
Location: Legoland, 1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven, FL 33884
(While it seems far, there is a pick-up pointfrom Icon Park on International Drive)
Holidays at LEGOLAND, presented by Hallmark Channel, so you know you will be in for a holiday treat. Hallmark is king when it comes to holiday feel good movies, so coming here you are almost guaranteed to come out of Legoland’s Bricktacular Holiday Celebration feeling good.
From building memories meeting brick Santa and his toy soldiers, to taking part in the sing along “Holly Jolly Jubilee”; that takes you on a journey inside Santa’s workshop to sing and dance, along with Santa’s elves. Don’t forget to get a snapshot with the 30-foot LEGO Christmas Tree Spectacular with some more great Orlando Christmas lights.
December 16th Epcot Candle Light Processional
Dates: November 29 – December 30 at 5:00, 6:45, and 8:15 p.m.
Location:Epcot, 200 Epcot Center Dr, Orlando, FL
Epcot’s Candlelight Processional maybe expensive to get a seat into, however it is worth it. Every year Disney gets celebrity narrators to tell the story of Christmas; accompanied by choirs from across the country, local high schools, and a live orchestra.
The lineup this year includes, Pat Sajak (who will be there on 12/16), Whoopi Goldberg, and Steven Curtis Chapman.
Check out the full schedule HERE!
December 17th Santa’s Wonderland at The Bass Pro Shop
Date: November 17- December 24thtimes vary check here
Location: Bass Pro Shop, 5156 International Dr, Orlando, FL
Free pictures with Santa? Heck yes! With free crafts 7 days a week, stay busy as you shop and wait in line for your turn to see Santa at The Bass Pro Shop. Check out all of the events here.
December 18th The Johanessen Lights
Dates: 2019 Days and Hours December 6th – January 2nd; 6PM to 9PM
Location: Johanessen House, 7849 Georgeann St, Winter Park, FL
Orlando Christmas lights at its finest shine at the Johanessen house year after year. After participating in a reality competition on ABC, the Johanessen continue their tradition of lighting up their neighborhood. It takes them 2.5 months to set up and almost a month and a half to tear down. It is definitely a site to see during the holidays and is a low-key Christmas activity to do as the holiday creeps closer.
December 19th Disney’s Very Merry Christmas Party!
Dates: Select nights from November 8 to December 22 Check out when HERE and to purchase tickets! Prices range from $99 USD and up and are a separate ticket for entrance.
Location: Magic Kingdom, 1180 Seven Seas Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL
Disney’s, and arguably, Orlando’s most spectacular Christmas show, concert, and parade occurs on select nights during the holiday season. On certain nights Magic Kingdom is shut down for one of the largest holiday party’s in Central Florida.
Throughout Micky’s Very Merry Christmas there are special Christmas events, including a special holiday parade called “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade”. This Christmas parade brings snow to Main Street, stunning lights, and a show of all your favorite, and loved by everyone Disney characters. For all the details and information on times check out the official event page here.
Free and/or Cheap Christmas Events in Orlando
Below are just a few suggestions of events that are full of Christmas Cheer, but won’t break the bank. The holidays can be expensive and while Christmas at Theme Parks can be fun, these activities are friendly for any Budget and just as special in Orlando during Christmas!
December 20th Light Up UCF!
Dates: November 22nd-Janruary 5th
Location: Addition Financial Arena
Check out the largest outdoor skating rink at Light Up UCF, along with a myriad of some of the best Orlando Christmas activities and events that are largely free.
The light show boasts an impressive 200,000 lights that dazzle, snow falls, and if you still have time check out the three rides. While prices vary for the different activities, including pictures with Santa there are discounts for UCF Students, Military, and larger groups. Santa comes out on the weekends and to sit on his lap will cost you, but the activities are affordable ranging in price from $2- 12 USD. Check out all the activities offered and the prices here.
December 21st The Nutcracker presented by the Russian Ballet
Date: December 21 at 7:30 pm
Location: Walt Disney Amphitheater, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, FL
What’s better than a gift before Christmas? Well, the Russian Ballet decided to give us a free Christmas show for the Orlando Community. The Russian Academy of Ballet presents a free performance of the traditional “The Nutcracker”.
December 22nd Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens and Home
Date: November 29th-Janruary 5th
Location:Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL
Celebrate 25 years of the beauty of Bok Tower Gardens Holiday Home Tour magic. The experience at Pinewood Estate completely transformed into a holiday showplace is a unique way to celebrate the holidays the Central Florida area. Enjoy festive carolers in concert at 1 P.M. and 3 P.M., seasonal holiday flora, and a full schedule of holiday programming. A Combo admission to the Gardens and Pinewood Estate Holiday Home Tour are as follows, $25 adult, $12 child ages 5-12, and children under 5 are free.
December 23rd À La Cart Monday Movie Nights and watch ELF!
Location: À La Cart: 609 Irvington Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
Dates: Two Mondays from 6:30pm – 9:30pm
- Dec. 9: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
- Dec. 23: Elf
With the holiday right around the corner, the perfect way to get some time to relax by taking a picnic blanket, grabbing some food from local food trucks, and sitting back to watch a movie outside!
December 24th Morse Museum for FREE!
Location: Charles Hosmer Morse Museumof American Art in Winter Park, 445 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
FREE admission to the museum with live music, tours, and art activities. Fridays, 4pm – 8pm; Christmas Eve as well!
December 25th CHRISTMAS in Orlando is here!
Why is Orlando during Christmas so special?
Christmas is special in Orlando because there are Christmas and holiday activities for everyone in your family. From ice skating in shorts, to seeing some of the best Christmas light and firework shows in the world. Orlando does Christmas on a huge scale, and there is something for every budget when planning your holidays in Orlando.
While it may not be the white Christmas you were expecting, you can find plenty of white on some of the best Florida sand beaches. Check out some of my favorite beaches here. If this list of Christmas activities in Orlando has your booking flights here, then check out the amazing deals offered on hotels at Booking.com.