The holidays are here and there are so many fun activities to do in the area from light displays to Santa visits to ice skating and more. This is the perfect time to get out with the kids and enjoy some Orlando family fun.
Orlando Holiday Guide
If you are looking for things to do in Orlando this holiday season, we have got you covered.
Holiday Light Displays in Orlando
Asian Lantern Festival
The Asian Lantern Festival features 100s of handcrafted lanterns lit by more than 10,000 LED lights, which celebrates traditional Asian lantern festivals. Take a stroll around the 3/4 mile loop with the kids to see all the lanterns. Kids will marvel at all the animal lanterns, both real and mythical.
Christmas Nights in Lights
Christmas Nights in Lights is a brand new drive-thru light experience at Dezerland that has more than 1.5 million “dancing” lights. The lights are synchronized to holiday music played over a station that guests tune into through the radio in their cars. Make sure to look back at the lights as you are going through (as long as you are not driving) as the display changes for each song.
Dazzling Nights transforms Leu Gardens into a stunning, winter wonderland featuring a million dazzling lights, shining forests, magical displays, music and beautiful sculptures. This year, they have a “choose your own adventure” so you get to decide how you want to explore the garden.
Dinos in Lights
Have a dinosaur-loving kid? Then take them to see Dinos in Lights at Orlando Science Center. Some of the dinosaurs are dressed up in lights, including T-Rex, and every half hour, starting at 11 am there is a special holiday light show starring the dinosaurs.
Lights on Jeater Bend
Lights on Jeater Bend is a truly fantastic light show that takes place across multiple houses on Jeater Bend in Celebration. The lights are synchronized to holiday music, not just on one house, but across all of the houses. There is no charge to visit Lights at Jeater Bend, but they do collect money for charity, so donate if you can.
Night of a Million Lights
Night of a Million Lights is back in 2022 but has moved from Give Kids the World Village to Island H2O. Even though it has changed locations, it is still supporting a good cause. At Night of a Million Lights, you can walk through thousands of twinkling lights, visit Santa
enjoy a dancing light show, watch a holiday dueling pianos show and party with DJ Jack Frost.
Related Post: 2022 Kids Holiday Gift Guide
Holiday Festivals in Orlando
Oh, What Fun! Holiday Festival
The Oh, What Fun! Holiday Festival is returning to Lake Nona for its 5th year. The festival has nightly snowfalls, an Evergreen tree trail, live entertainment, photo ops, storytime with Santa and Mrs. Claus and memorable encounters that will amaze and enchant. Oh, What Fun! makes the holidays magical for everyone.
Light Up Winter Garden is taking place throughout downtown Winter Garden for the month of December. There are multiple events throughout the festival including light shows on town hall, horse and carriage rides, Christmas movies, strolling holiday performers, live music, Santa visits to the Farmers Market and more.
Winter Wonderland is back at Wekiva Island, and it’s bigger than ever! They have supersized their sparkling Christmas Tree Forest with a 20-foot Christmas tree that you are definitely going to want to see. They also have nightly “snow” flurries, holiday décor, visits from Santa and other holiday characters. Kids will definitely want you to take them on a ride on Santa’s water sleight. Wekiva Island has a variety of different events every day through Christmas, so you will want to check their event calendar.
Now Snowing in Celebration
Now Snowing in Celebration is the granddaddy of the local festivals; this is its 24th year! The festival features a synthetic ice rink, strolling carolers, local performers, train rides, carriage rides to see the lights around Celebration and you guessed it, multiple nightly snowfalls. Combine Now Snowing with Lights at Jeater Bend for a great holiday night out.
Holiday Shows in Orlando
Orlando Ballet Nutcracker
The Nutcracker at the Orlando Ballet is a not-to-be-missed holiday tradition. The beloved story of a toy nutcracker that comes to life and transports Clara to a world of wonder where she meets the Mouse King, Sugar Plum Fairy, and Mother Ginger.
Dates: December 3-19
True North is a brand new musical playing at the Orlando Rep this holiday season. The Patterson family find the holidays joyful, but challenging. Ben and his big sister’s lives are shaken by change, but with a wish, a letter, and some unique seasonal help, the entire family discovers what just a smidge of belief can do.
Dates: Dec 10, 11, 17, 18
This December, step into a snow-filled, holiday festival as the CFCArts Community Choir presents its annual holiday extravaganza,
This year’s concert will feature holiday favorites specific to the cold and snow-filled fun of the season including “Winter Wonderland,” “Let It Snow,” “White Christmas,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and more! Also featured in this two-act concert will be the traditional telling of the Nativity story, as well as favorite tunes from Christmas and holiday movies and television specials from this time of year!
Dates: December 15-16
Elf the Musical
Elf the Musical is a modern-day holiday classic sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf. After all, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear
Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised unaware that he’s a human until his size and poor toy-making abilities make him face the truth. Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh realities that his father is on the naughty list and his half-brother doesn’t believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.
Dates: December 16-17
Russian Ballet Nutcracker
The Rusian Ballet is putting on a free performance of The Nutcracker at Lake Eola Amphitheater. Be transported along with Clara to a world of fantasy and whimsy. The Russian Ballet is joined by Orlando Symphony Orchestra making this event extra special.
Date: December 17
Holiday Events in Orlando
ICE! at Gaylord Palms
ICE! has finally returned to Gaylord Palms and this year it features Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Stroll through the exhibit to see numerous characters and scenes from the book sculpted from ice. You won’t want to leave without taking a ride on the ice slide. Right outside of ICE! there are numerous other activities that are part of a Gaylord Christmas including gingerbread decorating, snowball throwing, sledding and more.
Storytime with Mrs. Claus
Florida Mall is a great place to do your holiday shopping. If you have the kids in tow, you’ll want to stop in for storytime with Mrs. Claus. Between the hours of 12 pm and 3 pm Mrs. Claus will be reading holiday classics. While storytime is free, if you want pics with Santa or Mrs. Claus, that comes with a charge.
Dates: December 10 and 17
Gatorland’s Holiday Ho Ho Ho-Down
Visit Gatorland for some Gatoriffic holiday fun. The Holiday Ho Ho Ho-Down will feature holiday displays and a photo op with Gatorland’s own Gator Claus and his merry elves along with other holiday characters and surprises! The holiday event is included in the regular price of admission to Gatorland where you can take in multiple exhibits and shows. Tickets are currently half-price for Florida residents.
Dates: December 10, 11, 17, 18
Buddy’s Holiday Bash
Buddy’s Holiday Bash is a themed party prior to the matinee show of Elf the Musical presented by CFC Arts (see above)! Enjoy hot cocoa, Christmas cookies, games, photo opportunities, and activities and meet-and-greets with all your favorite Elf characters, including Santa, Mrs. Claus, Buddy the Elf, and his elf friends!
Date: December 17
Have breakfast with Santa and go bowling afterward; that sounds like a great combination. Boardwalk Bowl is hosting a breakfast with Santa on Christmas Eve and all breakfast tickets include one free game of bowling.
Date: December 24
No plans for Christmas Eve? Visit Boardwalk Bowl from 9 am to 11 am, we know it’s early but the kids are up anyway, wearing your ugly Christmas sweater and get 2 games of bowling free.
Date: December 24