Do you want to know what are the best things to do in Orlando for Christmas 2023?
It’s the most wonderful time of year but nestled in the ‘Sunshine State’, Orlando isn’t necessarily the first destination that comes to mind when you think of Christmas.
However, over the holiday season, Orlando comes alive with festivity and is an incredible place to experience some yuletide cheer.
Orlando offers an abundance of activities, attractions, and events throughout the festive season and it’s not just the theme parks that are sprinkled with a pinch of Christmas magic.
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The Best Things to Do for Christmas in Orlando at a Glance:
- Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort will take place daily from November 17th to December 31, 2023
- Go snow sledding and have fun in the snow at Mount Dora’s Donnelly Park
- Stroll along the decorated trail of The Enchanted Tree Forest in Clermont
- Escape into the whimsical world of The Nutcracker with the Orlando Ballet
- Celebrate the magic of the holidays with Dazzling Nights at the sparkling Leu Gardens
- Attend the Elf Academy Training at Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee
- Visit the FREE magical Disney World Gingerbread house displays
Keep reading to get the FULL guide on all the festive and best things to do in Orlando for Christmas 2023.
1. Bok Tower Gardens
Bok Tower Gardens is the place to be if you’re looking for cultural and artistic enrichment, a place where during the holidays, there is an extra touch of sparkle.
The festive calendar is bursting with a month of seasonal events and activities suitable for all ages.
Every year has a new theme and features stunning displays of evergreen, poinsettias, and begonia.
This season you’ll get to enjoy an ornament-making workshop on December 20, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. until 12 p.m.
2. Christmas, Florida
Located east of Orlando, the small community of Christmas welcomes an abundance of tourists looking for a spot of festive cheer.
With streets named after reindeer, a permanent Christmas tree, and a year-long Nativity scene, Christmas is a town that not only bears the name, it is also holiday-themed.
The top thing to do in Christmas is to mail your cards from the post office that get stamped with the famed Christmas, Florida postmark.
3. Walt Disney World Resort
Nowhere is more magical than Walt Disney World! So if you’re looking for some magic during the holidays, Disney should be your first port of call.
As soon as Halloween is over, the parks are transformed overnight into a winter wonderland. Entertainment gets a holiday twist and gingerbread houses are built in hotels! This is one of the best things to do in Orlando for Christmas.
Disney starts decorating for the holidays on November 2nd, 2023; however, the festivities don’t officially kick off until November 11th, 2023.
Each park celebrates the holidays in a different way and hosts a wealth of unique Christmas experiences.
The annual Christmas party is one of the most popular events of the year featuring themed parades, festive fireworks, and special character sightings.
There are so many other things to see and do during this season at the resort such as:
- A Star-studded Twist on Christmas at Hollywood Studios
- Christmas Tree Hunting at Disney Springs
- A Wild Holiday Adventure at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Decorations Galore at the Resort Hotels
- Holidays Around the World at Epcot
- Lifesize Gingerbread Houses
- Mickey’s Christmas Party After Hours Event
You’ll also get to meet famous Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy in all their holiday gear.
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4. SeaWorld Christmas Celebration
Holiday shopping, joyous entertainment, dazzling live shows, and festive food make the ultimate Christmas Celebration as SeaWorld Orlando transforms into a Christmas haven.
The park is lit with over three million twinkling lights whilst fireworks dazzle in the night sky.
To top it off, meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, pay a visit to and have dinner with Santa, and grab a prime position to watch the Sesame Street Christmas Parade.
When Does Christmas at SeaWorld Start?
The SeaWorld Christmas Celebration will take place from November 10th, 2023 to January 2, 2024.
There are so many other things to see and do during this season at the SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration such as:
- Meeting Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Eating your way around the holiday food festival
- Go Christmas shopping
- Watching the holiday fireworks show
- Hanging out with the Sesame Street characters during the Christmas Parade
- Playing in the snow
- Going ice skating
Don’t forget that you can buy some unique Christmas gifts from SeaWorld all over the park, particularly in the Christmas Market. This event is one of my favorite things to do in Orlando for Christmas.
5. Universal Orlando Resort
A whole host of festive attractions pop up in Universal Orlando Resort around the holidays. Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort will take place daily from November 17th to December 31, 2023!
Starting with Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, the season begins with giant balloons of your favorite characters floating through the streets of Universal Studios.
However, the star attraction is Grinchmas where Seuss Landing comes alive with Whoville charm, you can watch The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular and even meet the man himself.
There are so many other things to see and do during this season at the Universal Orlando such as:
- Enjoying the holidays in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Get a photo with the Grinch during Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure
- Enjoy the majestic floats of Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s
- Meeting Santa Claus
- Going on a Christmas Tree Hunt
- Listening to Mannheim Steamroller play your favorite holiday tunes
- Resort hopping to look at the holiday decorations
- Upgrade your day with Universal’s Holiday Tour
6. LEGOLAND FLORIDA
During the festive season, LEGOLAND Florida is not only home to a LEGO Christmas tree with a 360-degree light show, on select dates guests can enjoy an extra special event that is included in park admission.
Experience exciting holiday shows, festive LEGO activities and so much more, plus enjoy special character meets and greets including Holiday Unikitty, LEGO Gingerbread and even LEGO Santa.
The best thing about this fun experience is that it’s included in your theme park admission. The dates are November 24th – 26th, December 2nd-3rd, 9th-10th, 16th-17th, 22nd-31st.
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7. ICE at Gaylord Palms
The Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center plays host to a truly unique, festive event as it transforms into the North Pole using over two million pounds of ice.
With incredible sculptures such as a Nativity scene, an arctic forest and life-sized reindeer, ICE features an abundance of festive scenes and characters made entirely from ice and showcased by twinkling lights.
Two main highlights of Christmas at Gaylord Palms in 2023 are their Naughty or Nice Escape Room, and their specially-produced Cirque-style show (Cirque: Spirit of Christmas) featuring acrobatics and breath-taking stunts.
Be sure to check out the Elf Training Academy and have some fun learning what it takes to be part of Santa’s special helpers.
8. Lake Eola (Downtown Orlando)
During the holiday season, Lake Eola is home to a 72-foot Christmas tree that dazzles audiences with a synchronized music and light show throughout the festive period.
The festive Merry Market will be around every weekend through to December 23 where you can find those special gifts from local vendors.
Don’t forget to come by to Washington St and watch the snow fall right here in the Sunshine State by Lake Eola House.
9. Celebration, Florida
Florida seems to be home to all the festively named towns with Celebration also within the state.
Celebration, Florida is the town that Disney built and with such magical parents, the town certainly has its own sparkle.
Famed for its Christmas lights, Celebration hosts a month-long festive spectacular featuring carolers, ice skating, snowfall and of course, Santa visits.
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10. Festival of the Trees at Orlando Museum of Art
The sparkling holiday tradition of Festival of the Trees showcases incredible Christmas creations of gingerbread, wreaths and decorated trees.
The festival also features pop-up shops, a festive cafe and the Toyland Town play area with extra ticketed events also available to enjoy breakfast with Santa or hear a story read by Mrs. Claus.
This year’s event will take place from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday, November 11th – Sunday, November 19th.
Cost for This Orlando Christmas Event
- Adult: $20
- Children: $12 (3-12)
- Senior: $12 (60+)
- Military personnel and first responders with ID: $12
- Park: $7
11. Christmas in Mount Dora, Florida
Mount Dora buzzes with holiday events throughout the month of December. The city is famous for holiday festivities with exciting parades, dazzling celebrations and Christmas lights decorating every corner.
The annual Christmas Walk sees downtown sprinkled with entertainment and late-night shopping.
Not only that but you enjoy fireworks to kick off Light Up Mount Dora festivities, sledding in Donnelly Park, the self-driving Christmas tour of homes and a holiday concert and entertainment.
12. Celebrate the Holidays in Leesburg, Florida
Leesburg offers many fun and festive events throughout the holidays.
The parade kicks off the season, Christmas displays take over the Venetian Gardens and the Main Street Christmas Stroll is the perfect way to enjoy some holiday shopping with live entertainment and falling snow.
This is my hometown and each year I am happy to enjoy all of the holiday lights and Christmas décor and treats!
And yeah I may be a bit bias in saying that it’s one of my favorite things to do in Orlando for Christmas.
Be sure to visit the Leesburg Christmas House from now until December 10th where you can find over 50,000 creatively handcrafted holiday decorations for you to enjoy this season.
13. Christmas Celebration (Tavares, Florida)
Taking place in early December, Christmas Celebration brings holiday cheer to Tavares.
In addition to an exciting parade, the celebration also includes “ice” skating, live music, fireworks, seasonal food and gift booths.
A festive market is the perfect place to buy your loved ones a gift whilst Florida’s famous festive snoap falls over Tavares.
You can also see the man himself, Saint Nick, also makes an appearance during the Christmas Celebration.
14. Light-Up Eustis (Eustis, Florida)
The Light-Up Eustis family friendly celebration is now in its 36th year with a special event in Ferran Park and Downtown Eustis.
The main attraction is the dazzling display that takes place as the light switches on and illuminates the community in festivity. But there are also many other activities happening during this FREE party.
You will also find Santa and Mrs. Claus with real reindeers, carolers harmonizing in festive song, food vendors and a 75-foot snow slide that brings the fun of Christmas to Light Up Eustis.
This year’s Christmas Celebration will take place on Friday, November 24th, 2023 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. There will also be a ceremonial tree lighting at 6:00 p.m. as well.
Even if you miss the event, you can check out all of the holiday lights in Downtown Eustis.
15. Dazzling Nights at Leu Gardens
Celebrate the magic of the season within Orlando at the sparkling Leu Gardens.
Dazzling Nights returns with playful interactive lights, thousands of mesmerizing laser lights to walk through and hanging Moroccan lights illuminating the tress and way.
There will be yummy sweets, seasonal and adult beverages as snow falls all night long to set the scene of this magical winter wonderland as the gardens light up vibrant displays.
There will also be brand new experiences to make Christmas in Orlando a cherished one to remember.
Then create your own Orlando Christmas lights tour to help keep your spirit merry and bright throughout the season!
16. Santa’s Tree Farm (Eustis, Florida)
Nestled in Eustis, Santa’s Farm is the only destination in Central Florida where you can freshly cut your very own Florida Christmas tree.
In addition to the Christmas Tree Forest, you can also find Santa’s Flight Zip Line allowing you to soar through the air like Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve.
Please note that at this time, reservations are required.
17. Oh, What Fun! Holiday Festival at Lake Nona
Lake Nona’s Oh, What Fun! Holiday Festival is like stepping into a winter wonderland and is Central Florida’s top holiday festival that you can enjoy from December 7th – 23th, 2023.
Join in with the festivities at Peppermint Square, experience nightly snowfall, visit Santa in his winter cottage or find your holiday tree in the Peppermint Forest Christmas tree lot.
The festival also offers arts and crafts, live entertainment and holiday-themed treats.
18. Santa’s Coming to Hamlin (& Mrs. Claus!)
The Hamlin winter afternoon festival will offer merry and bright fun for all the family.
Bursting with holiday spirit you will find kids crafts, caricatures, face painting and games, and lots of precious moments for a jolly good time.
Don’t forget to capture that photo op with Santa and Mrs. Claus too plus, stilt walkers and more on Saturday December 2, 2023 from 1p.m. to 5 p.m.
19. Holiday in the Park (Lake Mary, Florida)
Downtown Lake Mary bursts into light during the holiday season with thousands of twinkling bulbs, a beautiful tree and a dancing light show courtesy of the annual Holiday in the Park event.
Face painters, balloon artists and carolers also attend the event for a pinch of festive fun and holiday cheer while the Snow Zone is undoubtedly the event’s top attraction with its synthetic ice rink.
Each year, the Holiday Tree Lighting at Center Lake Park takes on a different theme.
Every element of the event matches the theme including lights, food and entertainment whilst carolers and holiday surprises also appear on the Oviedo Amphitheatre Lawn.
For those the bell still rings for, you can also:
- Celebrate the holidays during the Winter Festival (December 9th)
- Enjoy the Christmas Parade (December 2nd)
- Have a photo taken with Santa
- Watch a movie in the park (November 17th) and so much more!
21. Christmas in Winter Garden, Florida
With the help of the city’s elves, Winter Garden transforms into a festive wonderland with beautiful decorations and dazzling lights.
Over the festive period, a whole host of seasonal activities are on offer including making the holiday parade, a gingerbread house, outdoor festive films and the annual Santa Run.
You will also find strolling holiday themed performers, the Winter Wonderland maze, holiday-themed photo locations and the Very Merry Farmers Market.
22. Christmas in Daytona Beach, Florida
Known as the ‘world’s most famous beach’, Daytona Beach doesn’t exactly scream Christmas but the festive events there beg to differ.
The Magic of Lights Holiday Display is a dazzling 1.5-mile drive through event that features over a million lights whilst the Stetson Mansion Holiday Home Tour is also a popular ticketed event during the holidays.
However, the headline act of Daytona Beach’s holiday season is the Daytona Beach Boat Parade giving festive spirit a nautical twist.
23. Holinights Celebration at Sunset Walk (Kissimmee, Florida)
Sunset Walk is the heart of Kissimmee’s holiday celebrations with a number of festive events.
The Holinights Celebration is a magical event featuring 42-foot animated Christmas tree, joyous carolers, mischievous elves and the main man, Santa.
Along with live entertainment, pop-up shops and a craft market you can find the Holinights Celebration on select nights from November 17th through December 25th.
Plus, this year you can hop aboard the Pearl Express Train Tour which departs from the “North Pole Roundabout” on the Promenade.
24. Light Up Clermont
Clermont hosts all the classic holiday events you expect but bigger and better than anywhere else.
Light Up Clermont is the biggest event of the year with festivities including live performances and parades and The Enchanted Tree Forest.
The festive extravaganza runs throughout December and provides the perfect way for getting into the holiday spirit.
25. Altamonte Springs, Florida
Brighten up the holidays with 200,000 lights at Altamonte Springs along with dazzling fireworks, holiday displays, an extravagantly decorated 60-foot tree decorated and live performances.
Cranes Roost Park offers Altamonte Springs biggest event of the season with music and dance showcasing a celebration of the holidays.
You can also look forward to train rides, movies and concerts and encounter guest appearances from a certain Claus family.
26. Orlando ICON Park
Celebrate the holidays at Orlando’s ICON Park and find holiday cheer through the wealth of activities on offer.
Capture your Christmas card moments, join in with some carol singing or head to Santa’s workshop to discover the yuletide joy within you.
ICON Park also showcases that the holiday season is all about love and community with performances from local choirs, schools and churches.
27. Orlando Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Orlando Ballet brings to life the Christmas classic The Nutcracker to Steinmetz Hall to celebrate the magic of the holidays.
Performing December 8 through to the 24th, sugarplum fairies and dancing toys fill the stage as this enchanted tale captures the spirit of the season.
With tickets starting from $29 to VIP orchestra and box packages everyone can have a chance to escape into this whimsical world of performance.
My Final Thoughts on Visiting Orlando for Christmas
If you’re spending Christmas in Florida this year, you won’t be short of festive entertainment!
Just make sure you keep your camera batteries charged as there will be so many incredible sights and beautiful memories you’ll want to capture forever.
Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite things to do in Orlando for Christmas? Let us know in the comments section below!
Happy Florida Travels!
About the Author
I was born and raised in Leesburg, Florida which attributes to my passion about for this amazing state.
I want to show you how you can create your own memories while discovering the Sunshine State!
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(Original Article Date: December 6, 2021/Updated by Editor on November 14, 2023)
Some Photos Courtesy of Canva.com