Stay 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 2017, the big news is Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, 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 (Dec. 8-10) 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) is running now through December 31 and in 2017 celebrates its 10th anniversary of bringing lots of holiday fun to the community. On tap this year: more snow,...  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. It offers a schedule filled with...  Read More

On select nights, now through Dec. 22, 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 $89)...  Read More

When the holiday season rolls around (this year, that's now through Jan. 7) 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

Now through Jan. 6, 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, dinosaurs, super heroes and the like. The big news in 2017 is...  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 from December...  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


Meet A.D. Thompson

Amy Drew has logged close to 30 years as a professional writer and roughly half her life as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

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