Top 10 Things to do in Orlando During the Christmas Season
As we approach the Holiday season, things are done differently here in Florida. We don’t have any snow and there is no need for a winter coat. It’s always up to us (the locals) to go out and find the holiday cheer in the Sunshine state. During my trip to NYC I overheard travelers in our flight talk about their desire to escape the cold. This made me think the need to create a blog that will not only provide us Floridians but also visitors with some fun Holiday activities. We reached out to amazing Florida Boss Babes/ Bloggers and created this top 10 Holiday list for you to take as inspiration to find your own holiday cheer. The choices range from seeing the Christmas lights, theme park holidays, cute family dinners, girls night out, and local attractions that you will only find in Florida! The options are endless, and it is almost guaranteed that you’ll find the holiday cheer!
Universal Studios is one of the most magical spots of the year during the holidays. I have passes with my family, so we go year-round, but during the holidays when everything is decorated it’s the best. I love getting out with the kids and seeing the decor and feeling like we are somewhere that actually has a winter.
Credit: Nikki A. Hall
For the holidays, Celebration Town Center in Florida is always the place I visit with family every year. They have festivities, decorations for the holiday, amazing dining, and super cute shops. I usually like to go eat at the Columbia restaurant! They have amazing coffee, bread, salad (1905), and Lobster Canaloni! 🙌 After, I'll grab some sweets at Le Macaron or Kilwin's.
Credit: Alexis Monty
One of my favorite ways to ring in the holiday season is by attending Light Up UCF, an annual winter wonderland event that takes place at the Addition Financial Arena in East Orlando. Light Up UCF is a festival that runs from mid-November through early January, with fun activities for all age groups. Whether you love riding the Ferris wheel or other rides, enjoy ice-skating, or simply want to experience "snow" in Florida while watching the holiday light show, Light Up UCF has something for everyone. On select nights, you can attend the Light Up UCF Holiday Market to purchase gifts from local artisans or watch your favorite holiday movie inside the arena. For more information about Light Up UCF, you can visit lightupucf.com.
Credit: Valerie Moses
If you are local and haven’t checked out the Winter Wonderland in the Lake Nona town center, make it a top priority this holiday season! It is a perfect place for a family night, date night, or getting together with friends. With the prettiest row of lit
up Christmas trees in front of an ice rink, live music and blowing “snow” it is a perfect option for all of your holiday festivities! It runs from early to late December, so make sure to go grab a holiday drink, bite to eat and spend time with your loved ones in the cutest Winter Wonderland!
Credit: Alex Pistorio
One cult classic holiday activity is going to see the local production of the ballet The Nutcracker. This ballet is an amazing way to see the holiday spirit with a date, a girls night out or a family affair. I've been going ever since I was a little girl who dreamed of being a ballerina, and now as a young woman, I still love it as much as I did then. Being unable to be home for the holidays can make you feel down but, it’s almost guaranteed that the city you’re in has a performance of The Nutcracker by the local ballet! Seeing the show, provides that little slice of home comfort, even when miles away. Not only is the ballet a treat to enjoy, but the costumes for the performance are amazing to see in real life and are forever giving holiday party outfit inspiration!
The most inspiring looks to me are in Act II “Land of the Sweets” and “Waltz of the SugarPlum Fairy”. Each group of dancers has a sweets themed look based on the country and type of dance they perform. The Spanish dancers are chocolate, Arabian dancers are coffee, Chinese dancers are tea, the Russian dancers are candy canes (pictured to the right), and the Danish dancers are marzipan. The pièce de résistance is of course the costume for the sugar plum fairy, it comes complete with a pink and gold tutu and crown. The intricate designs and glitter covered tutus are stunning. This year‘s performances run from December 13 to the 23rd which gives a woman on the go plenty of opportunity to catch some holiday spirit. Not to mention you get to play dress up and wear your best glitter covered outfit to the show!
Photo credit: trip advisor Orlando Ballet
The blue springs state park is only 45 minutes away from Orlando and the perfect escape from the city in the winter. Since the springs stay at a constant 72 degrees manatees seek refuge here during the winter months. If you come when the
temperatures drop you can see the
peaceful manatees by the hundreds. Getting outdoors and in nature allows me to really appreciate the world around me. The holidays are all about cheer and sharing in experiences that bring us together. I find nothing more enjoying than seeing the harmony in nature and have happy memories going to the springs with my mother. The phenomena of the springs and the manatees is unique to Florida, so it is definitely worth it to make a holiday excursion to the Blue Springs State Park this winter!
Credit: Sarah Fay
We have lived in Central Florida for over fifteen years, and every holiday season, our family makes a point to visit Disney Springs as many weekends as we can. The cloudy, breezy afternoons and twinkling fairy lights create a stunning atmosphere that you simply cannot emulate anywhere else. From our childhood days of window-shopping for limited edition holiday toys to our adolescent period of enjoying hot chocolate from Ghirardelli to now, our young adult years in which we can now enjoy holiday shopping, we can successfully say that Disney Springs is the one spot that we have looked forward to visiting in our hometown every year, and will continue to visit every winter ahead.
Credit: Sarah and Safiyah Mahamadeen (left)
Credit: The Disney Blog (below)
Lake Eola Christmas Tree Lighting
One of my favorite things to see during holiday season are all the Christmas tree lightings around Orlando. My favorite being the Lake Eola Christmas Tree Lighting. The lighting of the 72-foot Lake Eola Christmas tree is happening Friday, December 6th.
The event will also offer food trucks, performances from local schools and musical groups and dozens of vendors. Once the tree has officially been lit on December 6th, there will be daily synchronized light and music performances. This is a favorite of many Christmas trees in the Orlando area and is truly spectacular to see this holiday season.
My favorite thing to do during the holiday season is to make hot chocolate with my mom. Ever since I was a little girl my mom would have me help her make hot chocolate and together, we would create the perfect recipe that had the right amount of chocolate with subtle hints of natural cinnamon. One of the earliest memories that I have is drinking a fresh cup of hot chocolate and eating Mexican sweet bread with my brothers during those not so cold Florida nights. Hot chocolate has always held the power to bring us all together. Who knew that something so simple could really push the “start” button for the Holiday season? There is something about making this deliciously rich hot drink that awakens the holiday spirit in our home!
Last but not least, if you love shopping or need to do a last minute gift run for your loved ones you can always stop by the mall at Millenia! They offer a great variety of shops and their Santa station is full of colorful lights that everyone in your family will enjoy!
Credit: Daniela Jacques
My favorite thing about the holidays is that everyone celebrates in a different way. There is no rule guide telling us how we should celebrate. It is something that everyone does differently and yet no one does it wrong. Now, why don’t you tell us, what’s your favorite way to celebrate the holidays?