15 Ways to Enjoy the 2016 Holidays in Central Florida

15 Ways to Enjoy the 2016 Holidays in Central Florida - Santa

Sunshine, sandy beaches, and temps in the 80s don’t invoke Christmas, but Orlando has a lot of ways to get into the holiday spirit. From theme parks to resort spectaculars to winter carnivals, Central Florida has plenty of ways to enjoy the holidays.

Here are our picks for the ten best ways to celebrate Christmas week in Central Florida:

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Light Up UCF Returns For 2016 Holiday Season Nov 18 – Jan 7

Light Up UCF, one of Orlando’s best annual holiday traditions, takes place at the CFE Arena at UCF

Light Up UCF, one of Orlando’s best annual holiday traditions, starts up this Friday, November 18, 2016, and runs through January 7, 2017.

During the event, the area in and around the CFE Arena at the University of Central Florida is transformed into a winter wonderland with lights, holiday music and rides.

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Light Up UCF Returns For 2015 Holiday Season Starting November 13

Light Up UCF, one of Orlando’s annual holiday traditions, starts up this Friday, November 13, 2015, and runs through January 3, 2016.

Light Up UCF 2015

During the event, the area in and around the CFE Arena at the University of Central Florida is transformed into a winter wonderland with lights, holiday music and rides.

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Light Up UCF Returns For 2014 Holiday Season Starting November 14

Light Up UCF 2014Light Up UCF, one of Orlando’s annual holiday traditions, starts up this Friday, November 14, 2014, and runs through January 4, 2015.

During the event, the area in and around the CFE Arena at the University of Central Florida is transformed into a winter wonderland with lights, holiday music and rides.

In addition to the fan favorite Ice Rink Pavilion, the CFE Federal Credit Union Ferris Wheel, Blizzard ride, the Arctic Glide Ice Slide presented by Race Trac and Santa’s Workshop presented by Coca-Cola, there are several free opportunities for all to enjoy, including the Holiday Light Show presented by Orlando Sanford International Airport with thousands of lights choreographed to seasonal musical selections and snow, spun by a live DJ.

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Light Up UCF Returns for 2013 Holiday Season Starting November 15

Light Up UCF, one of Orlando’s annual holiday traditions, starts up this Friday, November 15, 2013, and runs through January 5, 2014.

Light Up UCFDuring the event, the area in and around the CFE Arena at the University of Central Florida is transformed into a winter wonderland with lights, holiday music and rides.

Several times throughout the event, they will be showing free movies outdoors on a two-story screen. Start times are at 7pm, with a repeat at 9:30pm, and the movie listing can be found online.

Santa will also be making appearances for photo ops. Price for the photo is $12.50.

It’s free to wander around, and check out the Holiday lights, but there is a charge for the rides ($4.25-$6.50), which include an Ice Slide and a Ferris Wheel. There is also a charge for using the outdoor tented ice skating rink ($12 nightly skating/$19.75 nightly unlimited skate and rides pass).

Tickets are available at the CFE Arena Box Office or online at lightupucf.com.

Light Up UCF Opens for 2012 Holiday Season of Fun on November 16

Light Up UCF, one of Orlando’s annual holiday traditions, starts up this Friday, November 16, 2012, and runs through January 6, 2013.

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During the event, the area in and around the University of Central Florida arena is transformed into a winter wonderland with lights, holiday music and rides.

Opening weekend will have a concert by country artist Dustin Lynch at the UCF arena building. It starts at 5pm on November 18, and is free to attend.

Several times throughout the event, they’re also showing free movies outdoors on a two-story screen. According to their schedule, here are the movies they have lined up (start times are at 7pm, with a repeat at 9:30pm):

  • Friday, November 16 – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • Wednesday, November 21 — It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Friday, November 23 — The Santa Claus 2
  • Wednesday, November 28 — Fred Claus
  • Saturday, December 1 — Polar Express
  • Wednesday, December 5 — The Santa Claus
  • Friday, December 7 — How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Saturday, December 8 — Veggie Tales
  • Thursday, December 13 — The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Friday, December 14 — Arthur Christmas
  • Saturday, December 15 — Mickey’s Magical Christmas
  • Wednesday, December 19 — A Christmas Story
  • Friday, December 21 — Elf
  • Saturday, December 22 — Home Alone
  • Wednesday, December 26 — A Christmas Carol
  • Sunday, December 30 — A Miracle on 34th Street
  • Friday, January 4 — Home Alone 2

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Light Up UCF Opens for 2011 Holiday Season of Fun

Light Up UCF, one of Orlando’s annual holiday traditions, starts up this Friday, November 11, 2011, and runs through January 1, 2012.

During the event, the area in and around the University of Central Florida arena is transformed into a winter wonderland with lights, holiday music and rides.

Several times throughout the event, they’re also showing free movies outdoors on a two-story screen. According to their schedule, here are the movies they have lined up (start times are at 7pm, with a repeat at 9:30pm):

  • Friday, November 11 – Home Alone
  • Friday, November 18 – Elf
  • Saturday, November 19 – It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Wednesday, November 23 – The Santa Claus
  • Saturday, November 26 – Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Tuesday, November 29 – Fred Claus
  • Friday, December 09 – A Christmas Story
  • Saturday, December 10 – Home Alone 2
  • Friday, December 16 – Polar Express
  • Tuesday, December 20 – Miracle on 34th Street
  • Friday, December 23 – A Christmas Carol
  • Friday, December 30 – Santa Claus 2

Santa will also be making appearances at the neighboring Barnes & Noble for photo ops on the weekends and every day from December 16-23. Price for the photo is $12.50.

It’s free to wander around but there is a charge for the rides. There is also a charge for using the ice skating rink ($12 nightly skating/$19.75 nightly unlimited skate and rides pass/$75 seasonal skate pass).

Tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster. Light up UCF has several group packages, including discounts on skating for groups of 10 or more.

Hours are Monday through Thursday 5pm to 10pm, Fridays 5pm to midnight , Saturday 11am to midnight, and Sundays 11am to 10pm.

For more info on the event, visit the Light Up UCF website.

Orlando This Weekend: Nov 26-28, 2010

Need a break from the family and shopping? Here’s a list of concerts and other events happening around Orlando this weekend.

November 26:

  • Candlelight Processional w/Guest Narrator Isabella Rossellini at Epcot – Free with Park Admission
  • Central Florida International Auto Show at Orange County Convention Center – $9 or Free (courtesy of WFTV)
  • Darren Hanlon Instore Performance (1:30pm) at Park Ave CDs – Free
  • John Henton at Orlando Improv (Pointe Orlando) – $17
  • Tim Kasher / Darren Hanlon at The Social – $12
  • Light Up UCF at University of Central Florida – Free; Skating additional
  • George Lopez at the Hard Rock Live – $52
  • Slainte, The Rock of Ireland at the Plaza Theatre – $9-$16

November 27:

  • Candlelight Processional w/Guest Narrator Isabella Rossellini at Epcot – Free with Park Admission
  • Central Florida International Auto Show at Orange County Convention Center – $9 or Free (courtesy of WFTV)
  • John Henton at Orlando Improv (Pointe Orlando) – $17
  • Light Up UCF at University of Central Florida – Free; Skating additional
  • Minus the Bear Instore Performance (6pm) at Park Ave CDs – Free
  • Minus the Bear at the Firestone – $17
  • Slainte, The Rock of Ireland at the Plaza Theatre – $9-$16
  • Watain/Goatwhore at Backbooth – $15

November 28:

Orlando This Weekend: Nov 19-21, 2010

Looking for something to do this weekend? Here are some suggestions:

November 19:

  • The Ataris at Backbooth – $10
  • Florida Classic Battle of the Bands at the Amway Center – $15-$25
  • Light Up UCF at University of Central Florida – Free; Skating additional
  • Jim Lauderdale at The Plaza Theatre- $10-$20
  • Dax Riggs at The Social – $10
  • Talking with Gods documentary screening at The Geek Easy – $5 members/$8 non-members
  • Tiesto at UCF Arena – $50
  • Warrant at The Garage Bar in Sanford – $15

November 20:

  • 13th Annual Florida Classic After Party w/ Doug E Fresh at House of Blues – $40-$55
  • Afterglow Radio at The Haven in Winter Park – Free
  • Art of the Highwaymen Weekend (meet the artists) at the Orange County Regional History Center – $9 / $15 weekend pass
  • Audubon Park Beer Festival in Audubon Park – $25 advance / $30 day of + canned food for donation
  • Before You Exit (CD Release Party) at Backbooth – $8
  • DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts in DeLand – Free
  • Earthbound Misfits presents the Music of Pink Floyd at The Plaza Theatre- $17.50
  • Feile Irish Fest at Blue Jacket Park – $10 advance/$15 at gate
  • Florida Classic Football at Citrus Bowl – $10-$200
  • Elton John and Leon Russell at Daytona Ocean Center – $45-$135
  • Light Up UCF at University of Central Florida – Free; Skating additional
  • Tyrone Wells at The Social – $13
  • Winter Park Harvest Festival in Winter Park – Free

November 21:

  • Art of the Highwaymen Weekend (meet the artists) at the Orange County Regional History Center – $9 / $15 weekend pass
  • DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts in DeLand – Free
  • Gallagher at The Plaza Theatre – $30-$45
  • Elton John and Leon Russell at Lakeland Center Jenkins Arena – $45-$135
  • Light Up UCF at University of Central Florida – Free; Skating additional

Orlando This Weekend: Nov 12-14, 2010

Looking for something to do this weekend? Here are some suggestions:

November 12:

  • 1999: Tribute to Prince at The Social – Free
  • Atreyu at House of Blues – $18.25
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Epcot Food & Wine Fest – Free with park admission
  • Festival of the Masters art fest at Downtown Disney – Free
  • Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience at The Plaza Theatre- $35-$55
  • Jacob Jeffries Band at McRaney’s Tavern – $5
  • Light Up UCF at University of Central Florida – Free; Skating additional
  • Movie Night featuring Home Alone at Light Up UCF – Free
  • Mumpsy (CD release party) at Backbooth – $5
  • Volusia County Fair in Deland – $8 admission;  $20 for ride bracelet

November 13:

  • Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) at Hard Rock Live – $25-$40
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Epcot Food & Wine Fest – Free with park admission
  • Black Mountain/The Black Angels at The Social – $15
  • Blues Traveler / Spin Doctors at WMMO Stage in Downtown Orlando – Free
  • City of Orlando Veterans Day Parade in Downtown Orlando – Free
  • Festival of the Masters art fest at Downtown Disney – Free
  • Light Up UCF at University of Central Florida – Free; Skating additional
  • Jason Michael Carroll at Volusia County Fair – Free concert w/ gate admission
  • Orlando Food & Wine Fest at Lake Eola – Tickets $10 daily/$15 weekend
  • Osceola Veterans Day Parade at St. Cloud Lakefront Park – Free
  • Overkill at Firestone – $20
  • Volusia County Fair in Deland – $8 admission;  $25 for ride bracelet

November 14:

  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Epcot Food & Wine Fest – Free with park admission
  • Festival of the Masters art fest at Downtown Disney – Free
  • Light Up UCF at University of Central Florida – Free; Skating additional
  • John Brown’s Body at The Plaza Theatre- $14-$17
  • The London Souls at Backbooth – $8
  • Orlando Jazz Orchestra at The Plaza Theatre- $13-$20
  • Orlando Food & Wine Fest at Lake Eola – Tickets $10 daily/$15 weekend
  • The Sleeping (early show) at Backbooth – $8
  • Volusia County Fair in Deland – $8 admission;  $20 for ride bracelet

Light Up UCF Opens for 2010 Holiday Season

Light Up UCF, one of Orlando’s annual holiday traditions starts up today (November 12, 2010) and runs through January 2, 2011.

During the event, the area in and around the University of Central Florida arena is transformed into a winter wonderland with lights, holiday music and rides.

Several times throughout the event, they’re also showing free movies outdoors on a two-story screen. Check their schedule for what’s playing when.

Santa will also be making appearances for photo ops on the weekends.

It’s free to wander around but there is a charge for the rides. There is also a charge for using the ice skating rink ($12 nightly/$75 seasonal pass).

Tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster. Light up UCF has several group packages, including discounts on skating for groups of 10 or more.

For more info on the event, visit the Light Up UCF website.

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