National productions of big-name shows and acts, and the types of holiday fun that only Orlando amusement parks are capable of dreaming up, make for exciting Christmas memories. Here’s our picks for the Top 10 Orlando Christmas events.
Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.
If you need inspiration for your personal 2017 holiday decorations, kick off your Florida holiday season with a “glittering wonderland filled with sparkling trees, vignettes and stunning decor.” The Orlando Museum of Art transforms with designer Christmas trees of many sizes, a gingerbread village, tabletop displays and many more decor items and vignettes.
Nov. 18-Jan. 6
Universal Orlando Resort
Magical takes on new levels of meaning when you experience Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley have been transformed for the holidays! Universal’s Holiday Parade, featuring Macy’s, showcases the Minions, Madagascar and Shrek – with Santa of course – and live performances by Mannheim Steamroller. You can also visit Who-ville, and even have a photo with the Grinch himself for big doses of “Warm Fuzzies with a Side of Sarcasm.
Nov. 19-Dec. 30
Walt Disney World Resort
In addition to 15 kitchens (Bavaria, Japan, Mexico, China, Morocco, Tuscan, the Yukon) serving ethnic holiday treats and drinks, enjoy learning about international holiday traditions, hear a 50-piece orchestra and full choir share the meaning of Christmas, and help Chip & Dale collect ornaments for their Christmas tree. And of course there are plenty of fireworks, lasers and extravaganzas for which Disney is known!
Nov. 21-Jan. 7
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, 6000 West Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee
Kissimmee is only 45 minutes from Orlando, and the drive is worth experiencing 2 MILLION pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures and 2-story-tall ice slides. This self-guided walk-through attraction includes snow tubing on five ice slides and a Build-a-Bear Workshop Scavenger Hunt. For extra fees there are Santa’s Snow Throw, Mrs. Clus’ Christmas Traditions and a gingerbread decorating kit.
Hard Rock Live, 6050 Universal Blvd.
Rockabilly meets jazz and swing when former Stray Cats frontman, Brian Setzer, leads an 18-piece swing and jump blues band. This 14th annual holiday tour will feature swingin’ songs that have become part of modern holiday traditions.
Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-25
Legoland Florida Resort, 1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven
Although it is an hour away from Orlando, any parent of children who are passionate about their building blocks will tell you that seeing a 30-foot-tall LEGO Christmas tree is worth the drive. Also made from LEGOs are Santa, a sleigh and reindeer, a giant snow globe and a giant Christmas wreath. You can also look for Santa’s LEGO elf hiding in the park, write letters to the North Pole, listen to Mrs. Claus tell stories and take part in creating an enormous LEGO mosaic.
Dec. 8-10 and 14-17
First Baptist Orlando, 3000 S. John Young Parkway
Two 45-foot Christmas trees are draped with a quarter of a million lights and decorated with 300 singing human “ornaments” who are accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra. You have to see and hear this!
Amway Center, 400 W. Church St.
Amazing pyrotechnics, giant video screens, lasers and a classic rock band with string sections, dozens of musicians and choirs, makes this Christmas show a must-see for classic rock lovers. It’s named after TSO’s 1999 holiday-themed made-for-TV rock opera, and this season they’ll be performing the entire production live for the first time. The storyline is “about a runaway girl who takes refuge in an abandoned theater on Christmas Eve, and meets the Ghosts of Christmas, and learns her own worth in the meantime.”
Linda Chapin Theater at the Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Dr.
Dubbed by USA Today as the “pyrotechnic Nutcracker,” this version of the holiday classic uses cirque-like acrobatics and special effects to tell the fairytale in a dramatically compelling way.
Walt Disney Theater, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave.
The Orlando Ballet performs this holiday tradition accompanied by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra to create classically enchanting and exciting performances.