Local-Holiday-Happenings2Looking to get in the holiday spirit? There’s no shortage of events in Central Florida! From city parades and tree lightings, to holiday movies under the stars, to Santa sightings all over town, and many other events, there’s something for everyone this holiday season.

Did we miss an event in your neighborhood? Email us or leave a note in the comments so we can add it to the list!


Light Up UCF

November 15 – January 5
Outside the UCF Arena
Light Up UCF offers a free holiday light show, free outdoor Holiday Film Festival (select dates), and outdoor skating rink! Additionally, children can have their photo taken with Santa, and enjoy rides such as a Ferris Wheel, Santa Train, Arctic Glide Ice Slide, the Blizzard, and falling snow! Prices for rides and photos vary and are available online.

Citrus Tower Spectacular Christmas Light Show

Saturday, Nov. 30, 6 p.m.
Come and enjoy seven festive songs and more than four miles of LED lights. After the lighting event Nov. 30, visit Citrus Tower and tune your radios to watch over 75,000 Christmas lights dancing to music from 6–10 p.m. each evening through December.

History Center Holiday at Heritage Square

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 6-8 p.m.
Heritage Square, Downtown Orlando
Bring friends and family to the museum for this annual, festive holiday celebration. Enjoy holiday music, visit with Santa Claus, create holiday crafts, and enjoy milk and cookies. Mayor Teresa Jacobs flips the switch to light up Heritage Square at 6:15 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

Annual Holiday Tree Lighting

Friday, Dec. 6, 5:15 p.m.
City of Winter Park, Central Park
Bring the entire family to this free event for an evening of holiday cheer as Park Avenue is transformed into a Winter Wonderland. Kick off the evening with performances by local children’s choirs. Afterwards, families can enjoy refreshments, activities and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Christmas in the Square

Magnolia Square, Downtown Sanford
Friday, Dec. 6, 6 p.m.
Enjoy live entertainment, a visit from Santa, plus the special Light Up Sanford event!

Candlelight Tour of Homes

Friday, Dec. 6 from 6-9 p.m.
This year’s Candlelight Tour features nine beautifully decorated homes and two decorated historic buildings in the Old Sanford Historic District. Stroll candlelit streets while enjoying live saxophone, piano, string and choral music. Get decorating ideas at our “Around the World” themed Tablescapes showcase. Complimentary food and beverage samples will be offered by local restaurants.

christmas_treeHoliday in the Park

Lake Mary
Friday, Dec. 6 from 6-8 p.m.
Tree lighting will take place at 6:30 p.m. There will also be live music, face painting and games for the kids, plus a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus!

Lighting of Cranes Roost Park

Altamonte Springs
Saturday, December 7 from 5 – 9 p.m.
Guests will enjoy more than 200,000 lights on more than 100 holiday displays throughout Cranes Roost Park. The highlight of this whimsical illumination is the massive tree reaching a towering 60-feet-tall and measuring over 27 feet in diameter. During the Lighting event, there will be music, entertainment, fireworks, and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus. Displays can be viewed nightly until January 1, 2014.

Casselberry Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Movie in the Park

Lake Concord Park, Casselberry
Friday, December 13 from 6-9:30 p.m.
The event will begin with a Tree Lighting Ceremony that includes the musical talent from our local schools and Santa and counting down to the magical moment when our City’s Holiday Tree is lit for all to see. Enjoy holiday gift shopping at artisan booths, Food Truck Bazaar and a special holiday Movie in the Park, “Rise of the Guardians”. Santa will be visiting and taking photos with children immediately following the tree lighting.

Orlando Christmas Parade

Downtown Orlando
Sunday, December 15 from 2-7:30 p.m.
Come celebrate the season in Historic Downtown Orlando for the 81st edition of the Orlando Christmas Parade and the BankUnited Holiday in the Park festival in Lake Eola Park. Corporate sponsors and holiday vendors will be set-up in the park off Rosalind Avenue near the Amphitheater to meet and greet parade guests throughout the day with lots of food, retail shopping and family-friendly LIVE entertainment.

Santa Sightings

Santa Tuesday’s

Cranes Roost Park at Uptown Altamonte
December 10, 17 – 6-9 p.m.
Bring your wish list and join the fun with Santa and his helpers under the tower. Professional photos will be taken and made available for purchase during this event. This event is free and open to the public.

Babyourself_BWS2013Breakfast (or Brunch!) with Santa

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Saturday, Dec. 14, 9-10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Meet Santa at the Central Florida Zoo! There will be lots of fun holiday cheer and activities for the whole family. Share your holiday wishes with Santa and enjoy up-close animal encounters. After breakfast (or brunch), everyone can enjoy creating a special animal treat and then watch as the Zoo Keepers give the animals these special holiday gifts that were made. Reservations are required.

Movies & Plays

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

November 14 – December 29, Times vary.
Orlando Repertory Theatre
This stage version features all the great characters and songs from the classic television special. From fleeing the Abominable Snow Monster to saving Christmas, join Rudolph and his friends as their adventures show us that what sets you apart can be a very good thing. This holiday tradition speaks to the little misfit in us all! Tickets are $18 for Adults, $12 for Youth (ages 3-17), and $16 for Seniors (ages 55 and up), College Students (valid ID required), and members of the military (valid ID required).

Holiday Movie Favorites

Garden Theatre, Winter Garden
Tuesdays and Thursdays, December 3-19 – 7 p.m.
Enjoy holiday favorites each Tuesday and Thursday evening throughout December! Tickets are sold online and at the Garden Theatre Box Office by calling 407-877-4736 during operating hours (Tues.-Sat., noon-5 p.m.)

Popcorn Flicks in the Park, presented by Enzian Theatre

Friday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m.
Central Park, Park Ave. in Winter Park
Holiday Double Feature: How the Grinch Stole Christmas and White Christmas. This event is free and open to the public.

Cranes Roost Park at Uptown Altamonte

December 12, 19 – 7-9 p.m.
Holiday movies on the lawn in the plaza area. Bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy a family holiday classic with a warm beverage on the lawn in front of the tower. This event is free and open to the public.

Movie Under the Stars

Avalon Park
Friday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m.
Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy free popcorn, local vendors and Elf!

The Nutcracker, Family Series


Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre
Saturday, Dec. 21, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Monday, Dec. 23, 11 a.m.
When Clara receives a toy nutcracker from her godfather on Christmas Eve she is transported on a magical journey complete with the Mouse King, Sugar Plum Fairy, and Mother Ginger. This perennial holiday favorite is perfect for the entire family! Family Series – Ballet for young audiences. Arrive early with your family to enjoy family-friendly activities, story-telling and an opportunity to take pictures with the characters of the story. Doors open at 10 a.m. Performances start at 11 a.m. and are approximately 1 hour in length to accommodate our younger patron’s shorter attention spans.

339Local Christmas Parades

City of Apopka Christmas Parade

Saturday, Dec. 14 at 10 a.m.
The parade will travel along Park Avenue.

City of Oviedo

Oviedo Mall
Saturday, Dec. 14, 4-9 p.m.
The holiday parade begins at 4 p.m. and Snow Mountain is open from 5-9 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance or $10 the day of the event.

City of Sanford Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 14, 6 p.m.
Celebrate the holiday season as illuminated floats light up the night Sanford’s Annual Illuminated Christmas Parade. Fun for the whole family!

City of Deltona Christmas Parade

Saturday, Dec. 14, 6 p.m.
The parade will run from Deltona Boulevard from Balsam Street to Stratford Commons and feature illuminated ¬floats, marching bands and dance performances.

Other Events

Winter Wonderland, Featuring “Mistletoe & the Christmas Kittens”

Stanley Pond Adventure Farms
December 7 & 8, 14 & 15, and 21. Hours: Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., & Sunday 1-5 p.m.
Child Ticket (ages 1 to 12) $14.95 +tax per person; Adult Ticket (13 and up) $16.95 +tax per person.

Snow Fest

RDV Sportsplex, Orlando
Saturday, Dec. 14, 2-6 p.m.
Event features real snow! Plus ice skating, music, snow slide, bounce houses, face painting and more.
$9 kids 3-17, $15 adults, includes admission, skate rental and tax.

The Christmassy DreamWorks Experience

Gaylord Palms Resort
November 23 – January 5, Times vary
Join Shrek, Princess Fiona and Puss in Boots for a scrumptious holiday ShrekFeast, and become an honorary ogre. Meet the whole DreamWorks Animation gang during holiday meet & greets, have sticky fun creating a gingerbread masterpiece with Gingy and much more! Prices vary from $14.95-$29.95 (meals and gingerbread decorating). Meet and Greet and other events are free.


Gaylord Palms Resort
November 23 – January 5, Times vary
Join Frosty, everyone’s favorite snowman, and his friends on their quest to the North Pole in a colorfully frozen retelling of this original Christmas classic! More than two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures featuring Frosty the Snowman, presented by Pepsi, including four ICE! slides.


Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special event held each winter on select nights at Magic Kingdom theme park through November and December. Purchase of an additional event admission ticket is required to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The event is filled with jolly holiday parades, fireworks and live entertainment.

Candlelight Processional is a special holiday event held nightly at the American Gardens Theatre in Epcot theme park as part of Holidays Around The World. The event retells the story of Christmas with a celebrity narrator, orchestra and choir and runs from November 29-December 30.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights on the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park is a massive seasonal display featuring millions of holiday lights perfectly synchronized to music. View this dazzling display from November 8 – January 5.


Celebrate Christmas Bricktacular! Holiday festivities on Saturdays and Sundays in December during Christmas Bricktacular will feature tons of family fun, included with park admission.

seaworld_orlando_christmas-resized-600Sea World

Celebrate in a Wintery Wonderland as waves of holiday spirit splash over you during Sea World’s Christmas Celebration! With everything from Santa to Shamu, make wonderful holiday memories at Sea World. Events vary each day.



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