Orlando's Seasonal Celebrations Are Festive, Merry and Bright

There’s no question that Orlando does up the holiday season like nowhere else. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party serves up all the Disney sparkle you expect on a Magic Kingdom visit with the additional pomp of decked halls and streets, snow on Main Street (snow!!!), carolers, cocoa, cookies and loads of your favorite characters dressed to the holiday nines. And don’t even get us started on Cinderella’s lit-up castle…. That said, there are plenty of smaller, local offerings – even free ones! – that serve up the season just beautifully. Take Long & Scott Farms’ annual corn maze, a whopping six-acre labyrinth that reels in the locals throughout the season, reminding us that there’s lots of holiday cheer to be had between Halloween and Christmas time. A mini-maze for the kids and lots of other fun activities make it a day-long event at a fraction of what you'd spend at larger attractions. At Epcot, they deliver an international festival (at no added cost above admission) that immerses guests in an array of holiday traditions via music, story and spectacle. And speaking of spectacles, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is another Disney goody that won’t run you anything above Hollywood Studios general admission. Locally, the Orlando Ballet’s annual Nutcracker performance is a perpetual wow at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the towering twin trees of First Baptist Orlando will burst into song at its annual Singing Christmas Trees performances. Nightly snowfall can be enjoyed on the hour in Celebration.

The quaint town of Celebration was essentially purpose-built for small-town charm and family fun and so it's no surprise that Now Snowing ranks among Central Florida's original and premier "snowing" events. It offers a schedule filled with...  Read More

East Orlando

This East Orlando favorite (and holiday pseudo-homecoming for locally based alumni) kicks off this year on November 13, running "50 Nights of Music, Lights & Ice" through January 3, 2015. Showing up and hanging out is free –...  Read More

Rise up on your feet and celebrate the season at an Orlando tradition that's been going strong for some 30-plus years. The Singing Christmas Trees of First Baptist Orlando are two solid towers of vocal power, serving as the festive, 40-foot...  Read More

The Orlando Ballet is the city's only resident professional ballet company and The Nutcracker, of course, is a ballet that tells the story of little Clara, her nutcracker and their holiday adventures. Musical accompaniment comes courtesy of the...  Read More

This year, between Dec. 5 and Jan. 2, guests at Universal Orlando Resort's two theme parks will have an array of holiday-themed entertainment to get a solid Christmas fix amid coasters, Transformers, Harry Potter and the Minions. At Universal's...  Read More

During this international yuletide celebration – this year running from Nov. 27 through Dec. 30 – guests at Epcot's World Showcase will enjoy and learn about holiday traditions from around the world, from Christmas to Hanukkah to Kwanzaa to...  Read More

When the holiday season rolls around (this year, that's Nov. 24 through Jan. 3) the verdant landscaping of the Gaylord Palms is bedecked with glittering white lights and inside its biosphere-like atrium about a zillion more of them blow the...  Read More

Sure, the December holidays are great but why skip the October/November harvest?! The folks at Long & Scott Farms have been growing since 1963 and its charming Country Market sells Zellwood Sweet Gourmet Corn, crisp Kirby cukes and other...  Read More

On select nights, this year from Nov. 8 through Dec. 18, the Magic Kingdom becomes a holiday haven as the halls are decked to the Disney nines and Cinderella's Castle comes alive with icy-glittering lights. This separate, ticketed event features...  Read More

We're bumping this spectacle to No. 1 this year because sadly, it will be the last. The riotously colorful Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights had humble beginnings in Arkansas as a little girl's twinkly holiday wish that her father just...  Read More


Meet A.D. Thompson

A.D. Thompson has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and roughly 15 as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

A roller coaster enthusiast,...  More About A.D.

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