Orlando Unveils More Than 20 Events Over the Holiday Season

The Night of a Million Lights at Give Kids the World Village
The Night of a Million Lights at Give Kids the World Village

Visit Orlando, the city’s tourism board, has announced 20 holiday events for the season, including the new Disney Very Merriest After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park and more at Universal Orlando Resort including Grinchmas and Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Beyond the parks, visitors can enjoy a variety of local festivities ranging from artist-decorated Christmas tree displays to holiday performances and events in historic neighborhoods. The company also highlights promotions including value-added hotel packages with add-ons like free theme park admission and complimentary shopping and dining gift cards.

“New theme park events, unique local neighborhood experiences and special hotel deals gives visitors the opportunity to celebrate the holiday season throughout November and December,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “Visitors can also give their loved ones the ‘gift of travel’ for a future trip to make up for missed vacations over the past few years.”

Theme Park Celebrations

Walt Disney World Resort – Select nights starting 12NOV

  • Disney Very Merriest After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park runs for 24 select nights from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The new separately ticketed, after-hours holiday event will bring festive food and beverage offerings, dance parties, nighttime shows and “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.”
  • The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays takes guests on a global holiday celebration with costumed performances, seasonal food throughout 11 World Showcase nations, along with sights, sounds and flavors of the season celebrated by a variety of cultures
  • At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests can dine with Minnie and friends at Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine, catch a glimpse of St. Nick as he cruises in his red convertible down Hollywood Boulevard and experience a projection show on the Hollywood Tower Hotel.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom brings a holiday twist to the magic of nature with flotillas featuring Chip n’ Dale, Donald Duck, holiday percussionists and Santa sailing down the Discovery River. As nighttime falls, a holiday edition of the Tree of Life Awakening will begin accompanied by a musical score.

Universal Orlando Resort – 13NOV 2021 – 02JAN 2022

  • Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure brings holiday charm to Seuss Landing with “The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular,” a live retelling of the tale starring the Grinch.
  • Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter features festive decor in both Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Guests can cap off their evening in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade to enjoy “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” – a transformation of Hogwarts castle with a projection show.
  • Universal’s Holiday Experience featuring Macy’s Balloons offers guests a walk-through experience of Macy’s balloons and Christmas floats, including characters from Shrek, Madagascar and Despicable Me, along with Santa.

SeaWorld Orlando – 12NOV 2021 – 02JAN 2022

  • During SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, over 3 million sparkling lights will shine throughout the park. Festivities include live performances, seasonal food and meet-and-greets with Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer.
  • New for 2021: kids can sing and dance with their favorite Sesame Street characters during Elmo’s Christmas Wish Show and Holiday Reflections: Fireworks and Fountains Finale featuring fountains, lights and fireworks.

LEGOLAND Florida – Weekends from 26NOV to 31DEC 2021

  • Holidays at LEGOLAND will feature a giant LEGO Christmas tree, seasonal shows, holiday characters, treats, LEGO activities, festive lights and more.
Holidays at LEGOLAND
Holidays at LEGOLAND

Beyond the Theme Parks

ICON Park is home to The Santa Workshop Experience now through 24DEC. Every child who participates can receive a free ticket to ride The Wheel (adult guests receive 50 per cent off). ICON Park hosts its first tree-lighting ceremony on 01DEC with a 40-foot-tall Christmas tree visible from International Drive.

The Night of a Million Lights at Give Kids the World Village holiday spectacular, taking place from 12NOV 2021 to 02JAN 202, immerses guests in a “wonderland” of millions of lights including a sparkling tree trail, large holiday displays and a guided storytelling tour of 100 lit villas from a tram.

The Dazzling Nights outdoor holiday event at Harry P. Leu Gardens, running 19NOV 2021 to 09JAN 2022, features a three-quarter-mile interactive holiday experience with lighting installations, themed photo moments, live entertainment and more.

Crayola Experience’s Colorful Christmas, taking place 20NOV 2021 to 03JAN 2022, includes diving into a life-sized snow globe, complete with falling snow, and crafting gifts.

Throughout the entire month of December, downtown Orlando is offering nine free holiday events as part of “Downtown for the Holidays.” Visitors can watch The Nutcracker by the Russian Ballet of Orlando; stroll around Eola Wonderland to see the holiday décor and lights – including the Eola Wonderland Christmas Tree; or grab a blanket and enjoy a holiday movie on the Lake Eola lawn.

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts hosts holiday-themed performances during its outdoor, socially distanced FrontYard Festival. Holiday performances include
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Wild & Swingin’ Holiday Party and the Big Band Holidays tradition by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

FrontYard Festival venue
FrontYard Festival venue

New Year Events

  • New Year’s celebrations in Orlando can include a variety of offers, from five-course dinners to theme park celebrations, such as:
  • The New Year’s Eve Dinner at JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa’s Sear + Sea features a gourmet meal and rooftop terrace boasting nightly views of both theme park fireworks, which typically provide an extra-large NYE display.
  • Downtown Orlando’s Wall St. Plaza area, features multiple themed bars linked by an open-air courtyard, for an annual New Year’s Eve Block Party with lightshows, dance parties and a countdown to 2022.
  • On New Year’s Eve during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, music and a fireworks display will welcome the New Year ahead.
  • On International Drive, Mango’s Tropical Café and Tapa Toro are among numerous venues hosting celebrations with entertainment and live music.

Holiday Travel Offers

Some of Orlando’s preferred travel partners are offering deals for the holiday season, including:

DEC 2021: Orlando holiday travel deal from Air Transat

  • Air Transat is offering rates starting at CAD $559 per adult for 7-night stays in DEC at Melia Orlando Suite Hotel at Celebration, located minutes from Walt Disney World

13-16DEC 2021: Orlando holiday travel deal from Air Canada Vacations

  • Air Canada Vacations is offering rates starting at Cad $683 per adult for a 3-night stay from 13-16DEC at Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, located just minutes from Walt Disney World and area shopping, dining and beyond.

20-27DEC 2021: Orlando holiday travel deal from Air Transat

  • Air Transat is offering rates starting at CAD $909 per adult for a 7-night stay from 20-27DEC at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, a retro-style property with complimentary transportation to all Universal Orlando Resort theme parks.

For more information, Visit Orlando’s web site.

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