Cool, But Not Too Cool: Top December To-Dos In Orlando

Stellar weather and seasonal spirit combine to make December an incredible time of year to enjoy Orlando - especially outside. At the theme parks - Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and the like - the incredible attractions are bolstered by holiday-specific programming. In 2018, Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is still big news, where new music, sensational decor and a showstopping production on the face of Hogwarts Castle take center stage. Outside the parks, however, the beautiful weather beckons those with an interest in outdoor exploration. For that, we recommend a visit to the Nature Conservancy's Disney Wilderness Preserve, an 11,000-acre wonderland that's a model of conservation. Walk it's 2.5-mile trail (sometimes you won't see another soul on your journey) and spy native flora and fauna, then learn more about it in the interpretive center. It's a side of Disney few know about, let alone visit. Out in Clermont, the rolling hills of the Lakeridge Winery beckon not only with sweet bottles, but sweets themselves! It's Wine & Chocolate Festival features more than just the top-billed treats, though. Live music, arts and crafts and more make it a very family-friendly good time. 

East Orlando


This East Orlando favorite (and holiday pseudo-homecoming for locally based alumni) runs from November 16 through December 31 and in 2018 is in its 11th year of bringing holiday fun to the community. On tap this year: snow, incredible...  Read More



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. Now Snowing offers a schedule filled...  Read More



On select nights, now through Dec. 21, 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 (prices start at $99)...  Read More



When the holiday season rolls around (this year, that's Nov. 16 through Jan. 6) the verdant landscaping of the Gaylord Palms is bedecked with glittering lights and inside its biosphere-like atrium about a zillion more of them blow the collective...  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. This year's performances run on select days...  Read More



This is Florida, where sports is revered and scurvy is unheard of, the latter thanks to our state's marvelously juicy citrus industry. At this annual fete, traditionally held between the Camping World Bowl and Citrus Bowl games, high school...  Read More



Is this the ocean or the forest? Well, neither, really, but between the park's oceanic residents and the 115 sparkling pines that make up the Sea of Trees, this holiday experience is a little bit of both. All the usual fun – rides, aquarium...  Read More



Fifty thousand gallons of wine come out of Lakeridge each year - it's Florida's largest - and locals visit and revisit all the time. Not just when friends and family come to town, but because the winery hosts an abundance of family-friendly...  Read More



Most people are well aware of the land Disney uses for its massive theme park and resort operations, but did you know that years ago, Disney set aside 11,000+ of Central Florida wilderness to ensure its preservation? Its core was once a working...  Read More



If ever you've been curious about hitting up this quarterly event in beautiful and historic downtown DeLand, December's the time. Why? Holiday shopping - and an excuse to spend a little more on unique, one-of-a-kind finds from vendors that...  Read More


Meet A.D. Thompson

Amy Drew has spent nearly three decades as a professional writer and roughly half her life as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

A roller coaster...  More About A.D.