Holidays in Orlando: a complete guide

Spending the holidays in Orlando is one of the most incredible experiences in the world and a great travel option. During Christmas and New Year’s Eve, there are many themed parties and decorations, special meals, attractions, and more. See more information below with our complete guide to spending the holidays in Orlando.

Holidays in Orlando: a complete guide

After reading this article, check out our tips on saving a lot of money on your trip to Orlando. It’s the most popular article on our blog and will definitely help you with all your trip planning. You’ll find many great tips that will save you A LOT of cash and get you great deals besides ways to set up your entire trip to Orlando easily.

Things to do in Orlando at Christmas

The city of Orlando is beautiful at Christmas. It’s s undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to travel at the end of the year and celebrate the December festivities. During the holidays, the main options are attending the theme parks’ Christmas parties, which happen in almost every park in Disney World and Universal Studios.

Things to do in Orlando at Christmas 

Christmas celebrations in Disney World

Christmas at Disney is undoubtedly the most incredible way to celebrate this holiday in the city. Walt Disney World in December is one of the most themed places in all Orlando with its magic, and it’s an excellent option for both children and adults.

If Christmas is already a special moment, imagine spending it with Mickey, Minnie, the Princesses, all of the characters, and the Disney magic! All Disney parks have special Christmas celebrations, with unique parades and events, which we will explain below.

Christmas celebrations in Disney World 

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in Orlando

The first tip of what to do at Christmas in Orlando is to enjoy this party in the Magic Kingdom, the main park of the Disney complex. It’s a great way to enjoy your holiday season in the city. The party happens on a few selected nights during November and December, so you don’t need to go specifically on Christmas Eve.

The Very Merry Christmas Party has many attractions, seasonal snacks, drinks, and merchandise. We recommend spending the day in Magic Kingdom or arriving right after lunch. So, you enjoy the park a little before the party and the parade. Remember to arrive at least one hour before in Main Street USA, for the main parade of the night.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in Orlando

Magic Kingdom Christmas celebration in Disney

In addition to the parade we mentioned, there are other cool things to enjoy at the Magic Kingdom during the holidays, the Very Merry Christmas party, or even on regular days during this time of the year.

A few attractions, like The Jungle Cruise, have a holiday-themed special soundtrack. The park has fireworks with different songs, special lighting, and decoration. There’s also the ABC parade, broadcasted on TV. We also recommend saving some budget to buy Christmas merchandise and seasonal snacks.

Magic Kingdom Christmas celebration in Disney

Christmas celebrations in Epcot at Disney

Continuing with our complete guide to enjoy your holidays in Orlando, watching the choir at Epcot at Disney is another way to celebrate Christmas. It’s called Candlelight Processional, which takes place in the United States pavilion at selected times and days between November and December. Christmas carols are a tradition in the U.S., so this tip is really worth it. Epcot also displays many decorations during the holiday season, so it’s definitely worth visiting.

Christmas celebrations at Epcot 

Christmas celebrations in Hollywood Studios at Disney

Disney’s Hollywood Studios park also has beautiful Christmas attractions and shows. You can enjoy seasonal mini parades, the “motorcades,” that bring some of your favorite characters from Pixar and Disney movies. There are also special illuminations on Sunset Boulevard and a giant Christmas tree to take pictures of. Some attractions get special soundtracks or holiday finales, like the Frozen Sing-Along. It’s a great park to add to your itinerary during holidays in Orlando.

Christmas celebrations at Hollywood Studios

Christmas celebrations at Disney Springs

Still within the Disney complex, it’s worth checking out the Christmas celebrations at Disney Springs. This is a great entertainment center for day and night visits. The place unites restaurants, shops, and open-air spaces where artists perform.

At this time of holiday festivities, in addition to singers and bands with Christmas songs, you will also be able to see a beautiful night show with drones. There’s a meeting point with Santa on selected days and times; check the Disney calendar before traveling.

Christmas celebrations at Disney Springs

Souvenirs and Christmas merchandise at Disney

Our last tip to make the most of the holiday season, especially the Christmas time at Disney World in Orlando, is to dedicate some time to buying seasonal merchandise.

There are many options for gifts and souvenirs, articles for your home, clothes, toys, Disney-themed Christmas decorations, and many more items. There’s a Christmas-dedicated store in Disney Springs that is open all year long that’s worth visiting.

Souvenirs and Christmas merchandise at Disney

Christmas at SeaWorld in Orlando

The SeaWorld Park in Orlando has a Christmas celebration called SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. The event takes place on weekends, on selected dates, usually from the end of November to the end of December.

You will see typical decorations, incredible shows with trees full of lights, lots of Christmas songs, and special water shows with the animals to get in the mood for the holidays.

Christmas at Sea World in Orlando

Christmas at Islands of Adventure in Orlando

At the Islands of Adventure park in Orlando, part of the Universal Studios complex, the Grinch also offers a famous Christmas celebration. The event occurs in December and refers to the popular movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Since Disney is mostly where people go during the holiday season, Island of Adventure may have smaller queues.

Christmas at Islands of Adventure in Orlando

Christmas at Universal Studios in Orlando

The Macy’s Parade is the most famous holiday attraction at Universal Studios park. It takes place in December, always once a day, and it’s a traditional way of celebrating Christmas in this theme park. The parade features the most diverse balloons and floats from the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, originally from New York. It’s worth checking out when you are there.

Christmas at Universal Studios in Orlando

Christmas at Legoland in Orlando

Anyone spending Christmas in Orlando with young children, especially those under 12, should go to Legoland park. You can attend the Christmas Bricktacular, their Christmas party, with Lego toys and incredible Christmas constructions. As it is something more aimed at little ones, we recommend that you only go if you have time in your travel itinerary and you have at least one small child.

Christmas at Legoland in Orlando

Different ways to celebrate Christmas In Orlando

Apart from the traditional options we already mentioned in the city, a really cool place to go for Christmas that few people know in Orlando is Gaylord Palms. It’s a resort that promotes a holiday party named ICE! at Gaylord Palms, in an area full of ice and snow.

You will be able to see Shrek and Madagascar musicals and shows, besides many other characters recreated with a ton of ice. There are sliders on ice for children, and it’s a fun and different option.

Different ways to celebrate Christmas In Orlando

Restaurants to go for Christmas in Orlando

Restaurants in Orlando are great, especially for those who are going to spend their holidays in the city. The supper usually takes place on the 25th, but you can also find good options on Christmas Eve. Many Disney hotel restaurants have special menus, but they tend to be more.

The restaurants inside theme parks, whether Disney World or Universal Studios, have unique and special seasonal dishes and menus. Traditional Orlando restaurants are the most affordable options for those who need to save. A good tip is to eat at alternative times to avoid restaurant queues.

Restaurants to go for Christmas in Orlando

New Year’s Eve in Orlando

New Year’s tips in Orlando are a little different from Christmas ones. Still, just like all the holiday season, there are many options to do and enjoy in the city. The focus is on theme parks, which feature beautiful fireworks shows. Get ready for many queues on New Year’s Eve, regardless of where you go, because the city is full of people everywhere.

New Year's Eve in Orlando

It’s also worth remembering that the focus in Orlando is the parties in the parks, which bring families together, and not so many nightclubs and street parties around the city. You will find options for bars and nightspots with cool New Year’s open bar parties, but the most famous is in the parks. Check out below what to do on New Year’s Eve in Orlando.

New Year's Eve in Orlando

New Year’s Eve at Magic Kingdom in Disney

Spending your New Year’s Eve at the Magic Kingdom is one of the world’s most memorable and chosen options and the most classic in Orlando. There is an incredible fireworks show with a countdown, many dance parties in different areas of the park, and the presence of the main characters: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Daisy, and others.

The park operates normally during the day, just like all the others, but it’s super crowded. We recommend only selecting a few rides since most have long queues on the last day of the year.

New Year's Eve at Magic Kingdom in Disney

New Year’s Eve at Epcot in Disney

If you are looking for a less crowded but traditional option, the tip is to spend your New Year’s Eve at Epcot in Orlando. Besides the fireworks show, rides, and dance parties, you can enjoy different drinks, and snacks served in the World Showcase countries. There are tequila cocktails in Mexico, champagne and sparkling wine in France, beer in Germany, and many others for you to enjoy on the last night of the year.

New Year's Eve at Epcot in Disney

New Year’s Eve at Hollywood Studios in Disney

Our last tip on where to enjoy New Year’s Eve inside the Walt Disney World complex is at Hollywood Studios. The park also has special fireworks shows during the holidays and is the less theme park of the Disney options we shared here. You can spend a great last day of the year riding attractions from Star Wars, Toy Story, and more.

New Year's Eve at Hollywood Studios in Disney

New Year’s Eve at Universal Studios in Orlando

For those planning to spend the holidays and New Year’s Eve in Orlando, a really cool place to attend is Universal’s CityWalk. The event on December 31st always features shows by famous bands, renowned DJs, and lots of entertainment. In addition, to live music from the bars, they also serve buffets, a toast with champagne at midnight, and other drinks at the party. It’s worth checking out.

New Year's Eve at Universal Studios in Orlando

New Year’s Eve at Legoland in Orlando

Spending New Year’s Eve at Legoland is a good tip if you are traveling with small children. They host a kids’ holiday party perfect for families with children who want to have fun in a quieter, more peaceful environment.

If you want to avoid large crowds of people, like at Disney and Universal Studios parks, check out Legoland. The New Year’s Eve fireworks show takes place earlier for children to watch and not stay so late.

New Year's Eve at Legoland in Orlando

Tips to make the most of your trip to Orlando

Now that you’ve read everything about spending the holidays in Orlando, choosing your hotel’s location makes the difference on your trip. Orlando is a big city, and it’s much better to stay in a region close to the main attractions to save time.

Check our article about the best neighborhoods to stay in during your trip to Orlando. It’s the best way to decide where to stay and to get a great hotel and a good deal. You will remain in the best region, close to the beaches and shopping, and enjoy even more your trip!

Lake Eola Park in Orlando

Orlando’s main attractions are very far apart, so tourists always choose to rent a car in the city. It’s the best way of transportation. With a car, you can enjoy your trip at its best, visiting all parks, malls, tourist spots, and even nearby cities. Miami is just 4 hours away!

Check our article about renting a great and cheap car in Orlando. We provide you with all information you need about renting vehicles in Orlando, with tips on finding amazing prices using comparators. It’s much cheaper than people think, and it is worth it because Orlando is a car-driving city.

Using your phone in Orlando?

Being able to use your cell phone on your trip is something vital. With a functioning SIM card, you can search for all the spots and attractions, access discount coupons and parking apps, check the weather, book restaurants, and even use map apps in Miami. And, of course, stay online on all your social media accounts!

Using your cellphone in Orlando

We selected the best tips for using your phone in Orlando, where we indicate the cheapest way to use it all day and anywhere in the country. With mobile internet and a SIM card, you can search for everything during your holidays trip to Orlando.

What is the best way to get the cheapest Orlando tickets?

An essential part of your trip planning is figuring out where (and when) to buy Disney, Universal Studios, and other Orlando tickets. We’ve done much research and found the cheapest place to buy Orlando park tickets. We always buy ours there! It’s where you’ll find the best prices and where you can buy all the tickets for all the parks and attractions. It saves you money and time since you’ll book everything on the same site.

What is the best way to get the cheapest Orlando tickets?

Don’t forget about the Travel Insurance for Orlando!

A crucial tip is to have International Travel Insurance before traveling to Orlando. No one should travel without it so that you can avoid significant problems abroad! It ends up being cheaper than people think. In our article on International Travel Insurance for Orlando, you can check everything you need to know about it: the best insurance companies, tips for hiring excellent coverage for a lower price, and ways to save a lot.

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