Best Theme Park Holiday Event (2017)


These American theme parks pull out all the stops as they deck their halls – and attractions – for the holidays. Winter visitors enjoy parades, seasonal live entertainment, visits with Santa and plenty of holiday cheer.

  • An Old Time Christmas

    An Old Time Christmas
    Silver Dollar City - Branson, Mo.

    Branson's Silver Dollar City gets decked in 6.5 million colorful, twinkling lights during it's annual holiday celebration, An Old Time Christmas. Festivities center around a 5-story-tall special effects Christmas tree, with 1,000 other decorated trees around the park, two Broadway-style holiday productions and an illuminated parade featuring Rudolph and his reindeer friends.
    Photo courtesy of Silver Dollar City

  • Smoky Mountain Christmas

    Smoky Mountain Christmas
    Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

    Celebrate the season Dolly Parton-style at a Smoky Mountain Christmas in Dollywood. In addition to the Smokies' most spectacular lights display, festivities include a live stage performance, nightly lights parade, It's a Wonderful Life stage show and meet-and-greets with Rudolph and his friends.
    Photo courtesy of Dollywood

  • Holiday In The Park

    Holiday In The Park
    Six Flags Over Texas - Arlington, Texas

    On select days throughout the holiday season, Six Flags Over Texas transforms into a winter wonderland during Holiday in the Park. A giant 60-foot tree of trees, made from 70 Christmas trees, is illuminated with tens of thousands of lights, while visitors can race down Frosty Snow Hill, foot stomp at a Honky Tonk Christmas, ride the SantaLand Express to meet Saint Nick or take a photo op beneath a lit-up canopy of the Texas flag.
    Photo courtesy of Six Flags Over Texas

  • Christmas Town Williamsburg

    Christmas Town Williamsburg
    Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Williamsburg, Va.

    When Christmas Town takes over Busch Gardens Williamsburg, park guests are in for a holiday treat! More than 8 million twinkling lights comprise America's largest Christmas light display, while guests enjoy festive food and drink (like the park's signature peppermint fudge hot chocolate), holiday shows and visits with Santa at the North Pole.
    Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg

  • Christmastime

    Santa's Village - Jefferson, N.H.

    While it's Christmastime year-round at Santa's Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire, the park pulls out all the stops for its annual Christmastime celebration each winter. Park goers can ride 18 different rides during the event, while the park is illuminated in holiday lights.
    Photo courtesy of Santa's Village

  • Holiday Lights

    Holiday Lights
    Kennywood - West Mifflin, Penn.

    Kennywood is illuminated with some 2 million lights during the Holiday Lights celebration. Local choirs perform holiday favorites while guests take pictures with Santa, ride the Gingerbread Express, watch The Polar Express 4-D Experience or gape at a choreographed spectacle of lights over the lagoon.
    Photo courtesy of Kennywood

  • SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration

    SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration
    SeaWorld - Orlando

    The colorful lights of decorated trees reflect in the lake during SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration in Orlando. Visitors are invited to watch world-famous skaters twirl across the ice, visit with Santa, shop a lakeside Christmas market, sample holiday treats, snap a photo with Rudolph or Countdown to Christmas with sea lion celebrities Clyde and Seamore. 
    Photo courtesy of SeaWorld Orlando

  • WinterFest

    California's Great America - Santa Clara, Calif.

    WinterFest, California's Great America holiday party, features ice skating, magnificent lights displays with some 7 million lights, live holiday shows, Santa's workshop and Mrs. Claus's kitchen, festive holiday treats and the Bay Area's largest Christmas tree. 
    Photo courtesy of California's Great America / Facebook

  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

    Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
    Magic Kingdom - Orlando

    Held in the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party could very well be Orlando’s most festive fete of all! Watch Elsa transform the famed bastion into a glimmering ice palace amid A Frozen Holiday Wish as Disney characters gather for a Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade down Main Street where you’ll meet Pooh, Goofy, Jiminy Cricket and Tigger while gingerbread men dance and elves cavort.
    Photo courtesy of Kent Phillips / Walt Disney World

  • Christmas Town Tampa

    Christmas Town Tampa
    Busch Gardens Tampa - Tampa

    Nine dazzling shows pair with lights, rides and of course, Santa, at Busch Gardens Tampas beloved annual event. Carol of the Bells is one such dazzler, coordinating tens of thousands of Christmas lights to holiday music while the We Three Kings show pulls together talented singers who harmonize the tale of that famous road-trip to Bethlehem. The Holiday Hills band, meanwhile, injects jazz into the classics.
    Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Tampa


We asked our readers to vote for their favorite seasonal events, and the results are in. The top 10 winners in the category Theme Park Holiday Event are as follows:

  1. An Old Time Christmas - Silver Dollar City - Branson, Mo.
  2. Smoky Mountain Christmas - Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
  3. Holiday In The Park - Six Flags Over Texas - Arlington, Texas
  4. Christmas Town Williamsburg - Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Williamsburg, Va.
  5. Christmastime - Santa's Village - Jefferson, N.H.
  6. Holiday Lights - Kennywood - West Mifflin, Penn.
  7. SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration - SeaWorld - Orlando
  8. WinterFest - California's Great America - Santa Clara, Calif.
  9. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - Magic Kingdom - Orlando
  10. Christmas Town Tampa - Busch Gardens Tampa - Tampa

Congratulations to all these winning holiday events!

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