Spend Christmas in Orlando 2023 | Resorts, Christmas Events, Themeparks, and More!
Christmas in Orlando is a unique experience filled with holiday traditions such as movie screenings, Christmas dinners, and gingerbread houses, along with the magic of parades, Christmas tree trails, festive displays, light shows, and celebrations at the many amusement parks in the city. Here’s a list of all you can do in Orlando this Christmas.
Why Spend Christmas in Orlando?
- Orlando is packed with festive events and activities for people of all ages during Christmas, making it the perfect family holiday destination.
- Christmas in Orlando is all about watching Christmas movies, parades, and light shows, and walking along streets lined with decorated and themed Christmas trees.
- The city offers a welcoming cultural scene during the holidays with a bunch of free Christmas-themed movie screenings, ballet performances, choirs, concerts, and more.
- Orlando is best known for its many themed amusement parks which have grand decorations and celebrations lined up for Christmas.
- The many Winter Wonderlands across the city are sure to transport you to a snowy White Christmas despite the warmer climate.
Top 14 Things To Do During Christmas In Orlando
1. Watch a Christmas Parade
Be a part of Orlando’s Christmas celebrations watching some of the many festive parades marching across the streets in and around the city. These troops are lined with marching bands, dancers, festive costumed characters, floats, and Santa Claus to welcome the holiday season.
Most popular Christmas parades in Orlando include:
2. Visit a Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderlands set up all over the city promise visitors a White Christmas despite Orlando’s December weather. Head to any of them to enjoy some snow, the luminous displays, ice skating, live entertainment, fun activities, carnivals, Christmas markets, and more.
Here are the best Winter Wonderlands in Orlando this year:
3. Watch a Spectacular Light Show
Christmas is a time when Orlando lights up the sky with brilliant displays of fireworks, laser, and light shows. These spectacular festive sights paint the city in glitter and color all around the holiday season.
Some of the must-see Christmas light shows in Orlando are:
4. Woo at Decorated Christmas Trees
Every part of Orlando has its own set of Christmas tree lighting events and decorative Christmas tree displays that bring cheer to anyone passing by the streets. Prepare to be surprised by the variety of sizes, themes, and decorations of these trees.
Do check out the Christmas tree displays at:
5. Watch the Christmas Boat Parades
Christmas boat parades are yet another unique sight on Orlando’s holiday scene. Enjoy the lakeside views as cheerfully lit up and festively decorated boats cruise over the waters in celebration.
Here are the Christmas boat parades not to be missed:
6. Go Shop at a Christmas Market
Christmas markets in Orlando are more like carnivals with rides, fun activities, competitions, and a lot more festivities. These pop-up markets also bring a great variety and some of the best deals on holiday gifts, handicrafts, local delicacies, and festive merch.
Most popular Christmas markets in Orlando include:
7. Attend a Christmas Special Performance
The cultural scene of Orlando also gets festive around December with Christmas-themed concerts, plays, musicals, opera, and ballet performances. Make sure to book your seat in advance as many of these events including the Nutcracker by the Russian Ballet, allow free entry.
This year’s most popular Christmas special performances in Orlando are:
8. Catch a Classic Holiday Movie Screening
Watching a holiday movie is a Christmas tradition for most people in Orlando. Many theatres, parks, and city halls host special screenings of some of the classic holiday movies, inviting large crowds to get into the festive spirit.
Check out these Christmas movie festivals in Orlando this year:
9. Have the Most Magical Christmas at Disney World
Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, is all set for Christmas with decorations, new rides, special events, live performances, and more across all its six parks. This year, the holiday season coincides with The World’s Most Magical Celebration as it is Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.
Here’s what’s lined up for you at Disney World, Orlando:
- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Magic Kingdom Park
- Festive Floatillas and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Disney-themed Christmas trees and snowfall at Disney Springs
14. Hop Around Decorated Disney Hotels
A delightfully popular and free thing to do in Orlando during the holidays is to go hopping around Disney hotels and resorts and admiring their lavish, over-the-top, ornamental decorations. Go on and cherish the embellished trees, the magical light displays, and the incredible gingerbread creations.
Here are some of the best-decorated Disney Hotels to visit:
Frequently Asked Questions About Celebrating Christmas in Orlando
Christmas is a great time to visit Orlando, owing to the holiday season festivities one can experience in the city. Christmas parades, decorated tree trails, light shows and displays, winter wonderlands, etc. make your Orlando trip a unique one during December.
Christmas is celebrated in Orlando by joining festive parades, watching light shows and fireworks, walking along trails of decorated Christmas trees, exploring winter carnivals, watching holiday special movies and shows, and shopping at Christmas markets.
Watching classic Christmas movies, watching the Disney Christmas Parade, driving by the various light displays and shows, watching Christmas boat parades, hopping around admiring the decorations at Disney hotels, and having a fun day out at a winter wonderland are some things to do for Christmas in Orlando.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the Boca Raton, Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Rosen Shingle Creek, and Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande are some of the best hotels for Christmas in Orlando.
The weather in Orlando in December is a pleasant mix of warm and cold. The average temperature around Christmas stays between 12 °C and 22 °C, with nights being cooler than the days.
The range of festivities happening around Christmas in Orlando pull in large crowds towards the end of December.
Amusement parks such as Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, and Legoland, various winter wonderlands, and several restaurants and cafes are open in Orlando on Christmas Day.
The Annual Light Up SoDo at SODO Shopping Center is the most popular Christmas market in Orlando. Other crowd-pulling Christmas markets include the Outdoor Christmas Market at the Audubon Park Covenant Church, the Hourglass Collective - Holiday Market at Foxtail Coffee, and Grandma Party Bazaar.
A number of restaurants and cafes are open in Orlando on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Most of these restaurants serve local festive delicacies and have special set menus for Christmas.
Popular breakfast places such as Hamilton’s Kitchen, Aurora Restaurant, Reunion Resort & Golf Club’s On Vacation restaurant, Tapa Toro at ICON Park, and Rosen Shingle Creek are open on Christmas Day in Orlando, serving festive dishes and offering special brunch buffets.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the Boca Raton, Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Rosen Shingle Creek, and Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande are some of the best places to stay in Orlando on Christmas.
Turkey with dressing, dumplings, and cranberry sauce are some of the Christmas delicacies in Orlando.
Some of the best restaurants for Christmas in Orlando include The Boheme, Cafe Tu Tu Tango, Hard Rock Cafe, Hilton Bonnet Creek, Mia's Italian Kitchen, Rosen Plaza, Rosen Shingle Creek, Tapa Toro, Ruth's Chris Steak House, and Joe’s Crab Shack.
The best Christmas lighting displays and light shows can be seen at City Hall in Winter Garden, Dezerland Park, Harry P. Leu Gardens, and Cranes Roost Park.
Hanging a Christmas stocking by the window, decorating Christmas trees, joining festive parades, watching classic holiday movies, and having a delicious meal of dressed turkey for dinner are some of the Christmas traditions in Orlando.
You can watch the 70th Ye Olde Hometown Christmas Parade at Winter Park, while the Sanford Parade of Lights, the Winter Garden Christmas Parade, and the Longwood Christmas Parade can be seen around their respective city centers.
The ICE! Winter Wonderland at the Gaylord Palms Resort is the most popular winter wonderland in Orlando. The space features a colorful ice sculpture display titled ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’, the Shine Christmas Light Show, the Cirque Spirit of Christmas stage performance, an Atrium Christmas Tree Trail, a Naughty & Nice Escape Room, an indoor snowball fight and snow mountain tubing experience, and Mrs. Claus Christmas Traditions and Story Time Sing-a-long event.