Florida Smart Guide to the most Magical Time of Year

Holiday Season in Florida
Cortney Tarell
FloridaSmart Guide to the most Magical Time of Year - Holiday Season in Florida
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Growing up in Florida, we sometimes forget the great fortune we have during the holiday season of almost daily perfect weather, attending outdoor events, visiting parks, shopping at outdoor outlets and markets, not to mention the plethora of holiday celebrations and events we have to choose from. We may not have snow to brighten up our holiday season, but for Floridians, this time of year is perfect! 

From Charming Town & Local Celebrations to large attractions who really know how to bring out the holiday spirit, in Florida, you will never find a shortage of ways to enjoy the holidays.  

As Celebrations are getting underway in Florida, Florida’s Famous Attractions, Towns and Communities are preparing to bring you the best holiday experience yet. 


Central Florida’s Attractions' Holiday Season Happenings

Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando

No one does Holiday Season like Disney! The Resorts, the Theme Parks, Disney Springs, all come alive with holiday cheer! Visiting Disney over the holiday season is a truly magical experience. 

Holidays at Disney World Resort

Disney Springs celebrates the holidays with Santa, Holiday Carolers, Kwanzaa Musical Group performances, Hanukkah celebrations, unbelievable shopping and live entertainment. 

Magic Kingdom Park

You feel the holiday spirit as soon as you enter the park.

And to catch the full celebration with live entertainment, parade and a spectacular fireworks show, be sure to purchase your tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party that brings the holiday spirit, Disney style, for children and adults alike. 

November 09 - December 22, 2017

Sunset Season’s Greetings at Hollywood Studios

Enjoy enchanting holiday decorations and Disney Character interactions as you stroll Sunset Boulevard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

November 09 - December 31, 2017

Holidays Around the World at Epcot

Enjoy the Season at Epcot where the countries transform to an international celebration of Yuletide traditions with the Candlelight Processional topping off the experience. 

Candlelight Processional, America Gardens Theatre at Epcot

November 19 - December 30, 2017

3 show times: 5pm, 6:45pm, 8:15pm

This spectacular choir and orchestra show with a narrated story of Christmas told by a celebrity narrator fills the world showcase with holiday music and cheer. This enthralling show is a must see holiday tradition. 


Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando

November 18, 2017  - January 6, 2018

Holidays at Universal Studios

Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Hang out with the Grinch this holiday as Seuss Landing is transformed to the world of Grinchmas.  

Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios Florida

Daily throughout the holiday season, this parade brings the legendary New York City parade to Florida. Many of the floats are the same as the ones in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

Universal Studios offers more Holiday fun with A Barney Holiday, The Blues Brothers Holiday Show and Winter at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 


SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration, Orlando

November 24 - December 31, 2017

Holiday at Seaworld

Seaworld Orlando, “Where the Season meets the Sea” with special shows, features, Sea of Trees, Winter Wonderland on Ice, and lots of seasonal spirit. 


Christmas Bricktacular at LEGOLAND Florida

December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-25, 2017

Legoland Florida brings the holidays to life with a 30 foot tall Christmas tree made of thousands of LEGO and DUPLO bricks and tons of life-sized Holiday themed figures. The dates listed also include a firework spectacular set to classic Christmas melodies. 


The Holy Land Experience, Orlando

Experience Christmas in a traditional setting that brings to life the birth of Jesus. 


More Central Florida Holiday Season Happenings

ICE! At Gaylord Palms, Lake Buena Vista

November 21, 2017 - January 7, 2018

Christmas at Gaylord Palms is an experience in itself, and the ICE! Experience is an unforgettable experience that is worth visiting with the whole family. You’ll Journey through more than 2 million pounds of hand carved ice sculptures for a true walk in a winter wonderland. 2017’s theme is Christmas Around the World! It’s a celebration of winter holidays in cultures all around the world.


Light Up UCF, University of Central Florida Arena, Orlando

November 17 - December 31, 2017

Light up UCF

You don’t have to attend the University of Central Florida to enjoy this community celebration. Enjoyed by families, friends and those seeking a fun holiday time every year, UCF features free holiday light shows, rides and a large ice-skating rink. 


Christmas Spectacular! Tours at Stetson Mansion, Deland

November 15, 2017 - January 15, 2018

An elegant designer decorated Christmas display. 


Town of Christmas, Christmas

More than a once a year celebration, this small town outside of Orlando boasts the name “Christmas”. It is the one place where you can send a postcard from “Christmas, FL”. The town was named from the original settlement where Soldiers arrived on December 25, 1837, and establish Fort Christmas. Located halfway between Orlando and Merritt Island, it is worth a stop to visit the park. You can’t miss the large Christmas Tree along SR50 that stand year round. 


Central West Florida Holiday Season Happenings

Busch Gardens, Tampa

November 19 - December 31, 2017

Busch Gardens Holidays

Enjoy special holiday shows, Santa’s house, a snow-filled playground where Floridian Children can experience snow! Busch Gardens transforms into a Wintry Christmas Town! 


Central East Florida Holiday Season Happenings

Holiday Happenings at Brevard Zoo

December 22 - 23, 2017

All December Long, get into the holiday spirit at the Zoo with a “blizzard of activities”!


Northeast Florida Holiday Season Happenings


Nights of Lights, St. Augustine

November 18, 2017 - January 31, 2018

St. Augustine Nights of Lights

St. Augustine's Nights of Lights begins on the Saturday before Thanksgiving with “Light Up Night” when the nation’s oldest city transforms to a beautifully illuminated Christmas town. Celebrating its 23rd Annual Nights of Lights, this 3 million + light display is one of the best in the world. 


Gingerbread House Extravaganza, Jacksonville

November 30th - December 23rd, 2017

Gingerbread House Extravaganza

If you love Gingerbread Houses, this is a must do event for the Holiday season. Featuring unique and creative gingerbread houses by artisans from all backgrounds. These are no ordinary gingerbread houses! 


Colonial Night Watch 2016, St. Augustine

December 2, 2017

Celebrate St. Augustine’s history with events from 9am - 4pm at Castillo de San Marcos where the parade begins at 7pm. This spectacular Night Watch “Grand Illumination” Parade features a one-of-a-kind light display. 


Annual St. Augustine Christmas Parade

December 2, 2017

A charming home town Christmas Parade featuring floats, marching bands, and all of the things you’d expect from a town parade. 


Northwest Florida Holiday Season Happenings

Pensacola Winterfest

November 18 - December 24, 2017

Downtown Pensacola’s winterfest brings the season spirit to life with arts & crafts, plaza show, carriage rides, music and more. 


South Florida Holiday Season Happenings

Santa’s Enchanted Forest, Miami

November 2, 2017 - January 7, 2018

Celebrating 34 years, Santa’s Enchanted Forest is a staple for families in South Florida as the place to go for holiday fun, rides, games, shows and more. 


Annual Key West Holiday Fest

2017 Dates tbd

Lighting of the Harbor Walk of Lights kicks off the holidays in Key West followed by Holiday events including: 

Holiday Harmonies Concert

Key West Holiday Parade - December 3, 2016

Lighted Bike Parade - December 7, 2016

The Schooner Wharf Bar Lighted Boat Parade - December 10, 2016


Captiva Holiday Village, Captiva Island

2017 Dates tbd

Captiva Holidays

Captiva Island knows how to celebrate the holiday season! Events include Fireworks and Tree Lighting show, Lighted Boat Parade, Golf Cart Parade, and more.