The winter holiday season is usually full of holiday events in Central Florida celebrating Christmas and more, and the 2022 holiday season has so many options.
To save you the trouble of finding them all, I’ve picked out the best holiday events and attractions, and listed them with details on how to enjoy them.
From ongoing events to limited time events, here are my picks for holiday events to enjoy this season:
ONGOING HOLIDAY EVENTS
CELEBRATION TOWN CENTER, CELEBRATION – LET IT SNOW
Through December 31
Featuring strolling Charles Dickens style Carolers, photos with Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, train rides, ice skating, and nightly snowfall at 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, and 9pm. Free event. Charge for some activities.
CRANES ROOST PARK, ALTAMONTE SPRINGS – LIGHT UP THE HOLIDAYS
Through January 1, 2023.
Enjoy over 200,000 lights on more than 100 holiday displays powered by Duke Energy. The highlight in the park is the 60-foot tall Christmas tree with more than 8,000 energy-efficient LED lights, 2,600 ornaments and over one mile of garland. Plus Santa Tuesdays, and holiday characters and music on select dates. Free admission. Tree lighting Dec. 3. Free holday movies Dec. 8, 15, and 22.
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY, DAYTONA BEACH – MAGIC LIGHTS OF DAYTONA
Through January 1, 2023.
The speedway is decorated with holiday lights and guests can enjoy it from their vehicle. On Tuesdays (except Dec 20) guests can drive through twice on one ticket. Tickets start at $20.
DEZERLAND AUTO MUSEUM, ORLANDO – CHRISTMAS NIGHTS IN LIGHTS
Through January 1, 2023.
This event is a drive-through experience of Christmas decorations and light displays that takes about 20 minutes to go through. It’s open 6-11pm nightly. Tickets cost $45 (plus taxes and fees) for a vehicle of up to 8 people, and $65 (plus taxes and fees) for vehicles with 9-15 occupants. Season passes are available starting at $350. More details, plus a discount code at the link above.
DISNEY SPRINGS, WALT DISNEY WORLD – CHRISTMAS TREE STROLL
Through December 30.
Enjoy a collection of elaborately decorated Disney Christmas trees spread throughout the neighborhoods of Disney Springs. There are also special treats for purchase in many of the food venues. Free admission and parking.
DOWNTOWN DISTRICT, DELAND – WINTER WONDER DELAND
December 3 – January 1, 2023
The event is a month long celebration of the holidays where residents and visitors can enjoy the holiday lighting displays and the holiday ambience in downtown DeLand and also support the city’s local merchants and restaurants. Free event.
GATORLAND, KISSIMMEE – HOLIDAY HO HO HO-DOWN
December 3rd and 4th, 10th and 11th, 17th and 18th, 2022
The Gatorland Holiday Experience, included in the regular price of admission, features holiday displays, interactive characters, and holiday singers throughout the park, as well as the most Floridian holiday photo opportunity of the season with Gatorland’s own Gator Claus, on his very unique sleigh, with merry elves, and the Krampus Croc along with other holiday characters. Included with admission.
ICON PARK, ORLANDO – SANTA WORKSHOP EXPERIENCE
Through December 24.
Take photos with Santa with various packages available for purchase. Packages include free carousel ride, and a free ride on The Wheel for children with photo purchase (50% off for additional riders).
ISLAND H2O WATER PARK, KISSIMMEE – GIVE KIDS THE WORLD: NIGHT OF A MILLION LIGHTS
Through January 3, 2021.
The annual event has moved to Island H2O, where guests can experience a fully immersive holiday light spectacular. Proceeds benefit GKTW. Regular admission ticket prices vary by date, and start at $30 (Adults) and $15 (Kids).
LAKE EOLA PARK, ORLANDO – EOLA WONDERLAND CHRISTMAS TREE SHOW
Through January 6, 2023.
During the show, which takes place several times after dark, the Eola Wonderland Christmas Tree comes alive with synchronized light and music. Located by the Walt Disney Amphitheater. Free.
LAKE NONA TOWN CENTER, LAKE NONA – OH! WHAT FUN! A HOLIDAY FESTIVAL
Dec 7 through 24.
Oh, What Fun!® transforms the heart of Lake Nona into a winter wonderland complete with outdoor skating, snow, twinkling lights and dazzling decorations, festive treats, and one-of-a-kind performances guaranteed to spread some much-needed holiday cheer. Free admission and parking. Fees for some events.
LEGOLAND FLORIDA, WINTER HAVEN – HOLIDAYS AT LEGOLAND
Nov 25-27 & Dec 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 22-31, 2022.
This jolly time of year features a combination of seasonal shows and treats, special LEGO characters, twinkling lights, fireworks on select nights and more. Included with admission.
LEU GARDENS – DAZZLING NIGHTS
Through January 1, 2023.
Leu Gardens is transformed into a holiday outdoor three-quarter mile interactive walking experience suitable for all ages, including a 30ft. tall Christmas tree, a 70ft long tunnel of light, and so much more. Tickets are $25 per adult, and $22 for children. Children 2 and under enter free. All tickets must be bought in advance. Sensory night is available on December 5th.
SEAWORLD ORLANDO – CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Through January 3, 2023.
Enjoy the Sea of Trees, show-stopping ice-skating extravaganza Winter Wonderland on Ice, and the Sesame Street Christmas Parade. Meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or head to Wild Arctic® and visit with Santa himself. It’s all included with admission.
UNIVERSAL ORLANDO – HOLIDAYS AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO
Through January 1, 2023.
Experience Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, enjoy the new Universal’s Holiday Experience featuring Macy’s Balloons and Universal’s Holiday Character Celebration, and celebrate the Grinchmas™ season. Included with admission.
WALL CRAWL, ORLANDO – SANTA DAYS
Through December 23.
On designated Santa days, you’ll enjoy a one-hour semi-private experience with Santa -including stories, songs and of course – photos. During the hour, you can take as many photos with your own cameras and phones as you would like. The venue’s pro photographers are an optional upgrade. There are also ten new holiday walls this year. Prices vary depending on time slot chosen.
WEKIVA ISLAND, LONGWOOD – WINTER WONDERLAND
December 2 through December 25, 2022.
Wekiva Island will be transformed into a winter wonderland with daily snow flurries, visits from Santa & Mrs. Claus, holiday movies on the lawn, a Christmas Tree Forest and so much more. There is a $2 admission fee. Full calendar of events and activities at link above.
OTHER HOLIDAY EVENTS
41ST ANNUAL LAKELAND CHRISTMAS PARADE at DOWNTOWN DISTRICT, LAKELAND
A fireworks display over Lake Mirror at 7pm will start the festivities. Then the parade will leave the RP Funding Center and make its way down Lemon Street twisting and turning through Downtown Lakeland. Free event.
44TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK at CENTRAL PARK, WINTER PARK
The Morse Museum helps launch the holiday season in Winter Park when it lights up Tiffany windows in Central Park and presents the Bach Festival Choir and Brass Ensemble in concert starting a 6:15pm. Free event.
I-DRIVE DISTRICT HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING at ICON PARK, ORLANDO
Watch the official lighting ceremony of the 50-ft Holiday Tree sponsored by the I-Drive District. There will also be special performances by Jonathan McFadden, and Dr. Phillips HS Dance in Motion Company. Free event.
TREE LIGHTING at CENTRAL PARK, WINTER HAVEN
Enjoy the sounds of Chain O’ Lakes Big Band singing Christmas carols and Holiday hits, until the tree is officially lit for the season. First 100 children will enjoy free hot cocoa from Richard’s Fine Coffee and cookie decorating courtesy of Gourmet Goodies. Free event.
WHAT’S UP DOWNTOWN FOR THE HOLIDAYS? at HERITAGE SQUARE PARK, ORLANDO
There will be games, cotton candy, popcorn from Popcorn Junkie, and live music from 11am to 2pm in front of the Orange County Regional History Center. Free event.
ORLANDO SHAKES PRESENTS “A CHRISTMAS CAROL” at LOWNDES SHAKESPEARE THEATER, ORLANDO
Back by popular demand, the story of the ghosts of Christmas, Tiny Tim, and Scrooge’s redemption graces the Margeson Theater again at Orlando Shakes! Enjoy fresh hot cocoa and chocolate chip cookies at intermission and hear gorgeous carols. Tickets start at $26.25.
CITY OF ORLANDO TREE LIGHTING at LAKE EOLA PARK, ORLANDO
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer invites Central Florida residents and visitors to ring in the holiday season and help countdown to the lighting of the City of Orlando’s Christmas tree at Lake Eola Park’s Washington Plaza. The event will include holiday performances at the Walt Disney Amphitheater, food trucks and a holiday market. Free event.
CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING at KIT LAND NELSON PARK, APOPKA
The official tree lighting event will take place from 6-8pm. Enjoy holiday music, photos with Santa, kids activities and more. Free event.
CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING at WEKIVA ISLAND, LONGWOOD
Wekiva Island kicks off its Winter Wonderland event with the official tree lighting starting at 7pm. The snow flurries will be flying, and we will have live music and plenty of holiday cheer. Don’t forget to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots. $2 admission.
CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING at CENTENNIAL PARK, ST. CLOUD
There will be student musical performances, lighting of the tree and visits with Santa from 6-8pm. Free event.
LIGHT UP CLERMONT at CITY HALL, CLERMONT
This tree lighting event will take place starting at 5:30pm, and include music, food, and more. Free event.
LIGHT UP DELAND at CITY HALL, DELAND
They will light the tree at 5:30pm. After the tree lighting, Santa Claus will make a stop and then light up the holiday wreath at Pioneer Park in Downtown DeLand. Free event.
LIGHT UP WINTER GARDEN at CITY HALL, WINTER GARDEN
The lighting will take place at 6:15 pm at City Hall (300 W. Plant St.), followed by various activities for all to enjoy starting at 6pm. Free event.
WINTER ON THE AVENUE at CENTRAL PARK, WINTER PARK
This annual event starts at 5pm and will feature:
* Winter Park Christmas Tree lighting
* Chanukah Menorah lighting ceremony
* A visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus
* Strolling Christmas carolers from The Caroling. Co.
* Children’s Holiday Art Contest Winners
* Snow Slides from the City’s Parks & Recreation Department
* S’mores from the Winter Park Fire-Rescue Department
* Holiday Popcorn Flicks in the Park from the Enzian Theater featuring “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” starting at 7pm.
PHANTASMAGORIA PRESENTS “A CHRISTMAS CAROL & THE CANTERVILLE GHOST” at DR. PHILLIPS CENTER, ORLANDO
In the time-honored tradition of telling “Ghost Stories” in the Christmas season, celebrate the holidays with critically acclaimed Victorian Horror Troupe PHANTASMAGORIA as they bring to life not one but TWO whimsical classics. Tickets start are $35 per person, $20 for students/military.
THE ORLANDO BALLET PRESENTS “THE NUTCRACKER” at DR. PHILLIPS CENTER, ORLANDO
Bring the entire family for the adventures of young Clara as she explores the fantasy world of the Mouse King, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Mother Ginger. The enchantment of Orlando Ballet’s annual favorite make The Nutcracker a not-to-be-missed holiday tradition. Tickets start at $29, and VIP packages available.
10TH ANNUAL GOLF CART PARADE at DOWNTOWN DISTRICT, WINTER GARDEN
BYO chair or blanket to enjoy the parade, which starts at 6pm downtown. Golf Carts will be parked after Parade on W Plant Street for closer viewing. Free event.
33RD ANNUAL CAROLS IN THE PARK at CENTRAL PARK, WINTER HAVEN
Enjoy artisans, specialty food vendors, and local choral groups, plus kids will enjoy free pictures with Santa Claus, and a take-home holiday craft. Free event.
AN UPTOWN CHRISTMAS at HIGHLAND STREET, MOUNT DORA
This event includes food, drinks, live musical entertainment and surprise holiday guests from 3-6pm. Free Event.
CHRISTMAS MARKET ON PLANT STREET at DOWNTOWN DISTRICT, WINTER GARDEN
Downtown Winter Garden, on Plant Street from Dillard Street to Park Avenue, as well as the adjoining side streets, turns into a PEDESTRIAN-ONLY Christmas Market from 1-5pm. Many shops will have outdoor tables and racks with specialty merchandise and special savings for convenient perusing and purchasing. Plus, stop and pose for pictures at the many festive backdrops and at the holiday-themed photo stations. Free event.
CHRISTMAS PARADE at DOWNTOWN DISTRICT, DELAND
The parade begins at 6pm. Free event.
CHRISTMAS PARADE at RONALD REAGAN BLVD, LONGWOOD
BYO chair or blanket to enjoy the parade, which starts at 3pm, featuring stunning cars, seasonal characters, bands, and much more. Emceed by Chad & Leslye from Magic 107.7. Free event.
CHRISTMAS PARADE at DOWNTOWN DISTRICT, WINTER GARDEN
Bring a lawn chair or blanket and head to your favorite viewing spot for this long-standing Winter Garden holiday tradition. The Parade kicks off at 10am on Dillard Street at the Palmetto Street intersection (by Wells Fargo) proceeds north on Dillard Street, then heads west/left on Plant Street through historic downtown and concludes at Park Avenue. Free event.
SEASON OF LIGHT at LAKE LILY, MAITLAND
Enjoy snow sledding, carnival games, fireworks, vendors, a tree lighting ceremony and a visit from Santa starting at 5pm, plus live entertainment from local schools. Free event.
SNOWFEST at LAKE MIRROR COMPLEX, LAKELAND
Take a stroll in the “snow” along the Frances Langford Promenade and enjoy all kinds of Holiday cheer. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in the snow globe for magical photos, and don’t forget the elves! Home Depot has once again teamed up with our Parks & Rec elves to provide some take-home toy kits (while supplies last). Grab some hot cocoa while you check out the artisan market and enjoy the festive lights of Lake Mirror. Attendees are encouraged to bring a canned food donation to the event. Free event.
UCF’s KNIGHTS SEASON OF JOY at DR. PHILLIPS CENTER, ORLANDO
Join our UCF choirs, a full orchestra, and numerous special guests for this special holiday event. Tickets start at $19.75.
WINTER WONDERLAND at VILLAGE CENTER, BALDWIN PARK
This family-friendly event includes fun kid’s activities, live holiday performances from the main stage, photo ops, artists, vendors, food, stilt walkers, balloon artists, and an opportunity for pictures with Santa. A parade sarts at 7pm, followed by the official tree lighting. Free event.
CELEBRATE THE SEASON at REITER PARK, LONGWOOD
This holiday street party will feature an array of activities including photo opportunities with live reindeer and Santa, the annual tree lighting ceremony, music by DJ Dennis, dance performances, an inflatable snow maze, giant fun slides, a North Pole Climbing Wall, a trackless train, 10+ food trucks and a major laser light show throughout the event. Free event.
WINTER WONDERLAND at CENTRAL PARK, WINTER HAVEN
Enjoy a Winter Wonderland with snow flurries and twinkling lights. The experience is completed with Santa, Christmas crafts for the kids, food trucks, and a movie on the lawn with “Elf.” Free event.
10TH ANNUAL VIOLECTRIC HOLIDAY SHOW at WALT DISNEY AMPHITHEATER AT LAKE EOLA, ORLANDO
The 90-minute live concert, presented by the City of Orlando Department of Families, Parks and Recreation, will feature traditional holiday songs like, “O Christmas Tree,” “The First Noel” and “Hanukkah, O Hanukkah” mashed up with classic rock tunes and modern hits like “Born to Run,” “Heroes” and “Sweet Dreams,” delivering a fun-filled, energetic and highly-unique holiday show unlike anything seen and heard before. Violectric has also teamed up again with Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando for the pet-friendly show. Attendees are encouraged to bring their pets, a pet supply, or a donation to Pet Alliance. Starts at 7pm. Free event.
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS at LAKEFRONT PARK, KISSIMMEE
The festivities begin at 3pm at Kissimmee Lakefront Park, and conclude with the Kissimmee Festival of Lights Parade at 7:30pm. Free event
HOLIDAY MOVIE AT LAKE EOLA: “THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS” at LAKE EOLA PARK, ORLANDO
Pack your blankets, chairs, and snacks for the whole family to enjoy “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on the East Lawn starting at 7pm. Free event.
HOLIDAY ON THE DRIVE PARADE at COLLEGE PARK, ORLANDO
The annual parade kicks off at 5pm. Bring your own chairs/blankets. Free event.
HOLIDAY POPS WITH THE ORLANDO PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA at APOPKA AMPHITHEATER, APOPKA
Pack a picnic and enjoy a special family-friendly concert from the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra with Conductor Mauricio Cespedes Rivero and vocalists Brandon Martin and Katie Pinder Brown. Gates open at 4pm. Free event. VIP Tables for 10 are available for $250.
SNOW IN THE PARK at DONNELLY PARK, MOUNT DORA
Get ready for snow sledding, holiday princesses, festive music and entertainment, whirling cocoa cups, vendors, and collections for Toys for Tots and the Lake Cares Food Pantry from 3-7pm.
ORLANDO GAY CHORUS PRESENTS “A HOLIGAY SPECTACULAR” at ROSEN JCC CAMPUS, ORLANDO
Featuring performances by the full chorus, small group ensembles, soloists, and the Footnote Dancers, the program will include everything from classic holiday tunes to current pop tunes, with a healthy dose of camp. Tickets are $25 adults, $10 students.
THE ORLANDO PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA PRESENTS HOLLY JOLLY SOUNDS OF THE SEASON at THE PLAZA LIVE, ORLANDO
This musical celebration will capture the spirit of the season with members from the String Family. Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra musicians will play their way through holiday classics, from Frosty the Snowman to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Tickets are $10.
ORLANDO GAY CHORUS PRESENTS “A HOLIGAY SPECTACULAR” at THE RITZ THEATER, SANFORD
Featuring performances by the full chorus, small group ensembles, soloists, and the Footnote Dancers, the program will include everything from classic holiday tunes to current pop tunes, with a healthy dose of camp. Tickets start at $23.
HOLIDAY MOVIE AT LAKE EOLA: “THE FOUR CHRISTMASES” at LAKE EOLA PARK, ORLANDO
Pack your blankets, chairs, and snacks for the whole family to enjoy “The Four Christmases” on the East Lawn starting at 7pm. Free event.
RUSSIAN BALLET ORLANDO PRESENTS “THE NUTCRACKER at LAKE EOLA PARK, ORLANDO
The Russian Academy of Ballet presents a gift to the Orlando Community with a performance of the traditional “The Nutcracker” starting at 7:30pm at the Walt Disney Amphitheater. Free event.
HOLIDAYS IN SPACE at KENNEDY SPACE CENTER VISITORS COMPLEX, MERRITT ISLAND
festive holiday décor that has taken over the visitor complex. New décor includes a 50 foot tree illuminating the Rocket Garden and Gateway with more than 61,000 pixels of light, six-foot-tall astronaut nutcrackers and more. You will also see the return of your favorite décor, such as the NASA meatball turned holiday ornament. After dark, a unique projection mapping show will take you on a breathtaking six-minute-long journey through the stars, earth, and beyond. You will recognize familiar places throughout the journey – including the Vehicle Assembly Building, Artemis, International Space Station, James Webb Space Telescope and more. Closed Dec 25. Included with admission.
HANUKKAH CELEBRATION OF LIGHT at LAKE NONA TOWN SQUARE, LAKE NONA
Part of the “Oh What Fun Lake Nona” month-long event (see above), they will hold a celebration to first light the menorah beginning at 5:30pm.
THE SKYRA FOUNDATION PRESENTS “CLARA’S CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE” at DR. PHILLIPS CENTER, ORLANDO
The Skyra Foundation presents “Clara’s Christmas Adventure” is a full-length production of the holiday classic “The Nutcracker” featuring Ballet Tessera. Tickets start at $30.
BACH FESTIVAL SOCIETY OF WINTER PARK PRESENTS “A VOCTAVE CHRISTMAS” at DR. PHILLIPS CENTER, ORLANDO
Experience the phenomenal sound of world-class ensemble Voctave, and enjoy the last stop on their national holiday tour as they perform with Central Florida’s own Bach Festival Orchestra conducted by John V. Sinclair. Tickets from $25.
HOLIDAY MOVIE AT LAKE EOLA: “THE GRINCH” at LAKE EOLA PARK, ORLANDO
Pack your blankets, chairs, and snacks for the whole family to enjoy “The Grinch (2018)” on the East Lawn starting at 7pm. Free event.
OPERA ORLANDO PRESENTS “ALL IS CALM: THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914” at DR. PHILLIPS CENTER, ORLANDO
Opera Orlando shares a message of camaraderie, hope, and peace this holiday season as it remounts its acclaimed 2019 production. Set along the Western Front during World War I, this poignant and moving work relates the historic events of Christmas Eve in 1914 through actual soldiers’ letters and official military correspondence interwoven with old war songs and carols. Celebrate the holidays with this intimate and beautiful melding of music and theater as the cast performs a capella in the acoustically ideal Steinmetz Hall. Tickets from $19.
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