Festive season in Orlando
Sunny Orlando is calling UK holidaymakers to escape the frigid temperatures this festive season.
Special festive events abound in the most visited destination in the US especially at Orlando’s trio of major theme park resorts.
“We’re excited to welcome UK visitors back, just in time to experience Orlando’s holiday festivities,” said Casandra Matej, Visit Orlando president and CEO.
“New events at the theme parks, unique shopping experiences throughout the destination and exclusive travel offers make it a perfect time to plan a winter sun holiday to Orlando.”
Festive Christmas Celebrations
Walt Disney World Resort
Beginning 8 November, Disney Very Merriest After Hours will debut at Magic Kingdom Park. Running for 24 select nights through 21 December from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., the separately ticketed, after-hours holiday event will bring festive food and beverage offerings, dance parties, night-time spectaculars and ]Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.’
The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays (26 Novembers to 30 December) takes guests on a global celebration with costumed performances, seasonal food throughout 11 World Showcase nations, along with sights, sounds and flavours of the season celebrated by various cultures.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom feature festivities starting 12 Nov. including exclusive holiday character dining and festive night-time illuminations.
Universal Orlando Resort.
Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure (13 November – 2 January) will bring holiday joy to Seuss Landing with The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, a live retelling of the classic tale starring the Grinch.
Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (13 November – 2 January) will bring festive decor to both Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Guests can cap off their evening in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade to enjoy The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle – a spectacular transformation of Hogwarts castle with a stunning projection.
Universal’s Holiday Experience featuring Macy’s Balloons (13 November – 2 Januaty) is a festive walk-through experience bringing Universal Studios’ guests closer to larger-than-life Macy’s balloons and colourful Christmas floats, including characters from Shrek, Madagascar and Despicable Me, along with Santa.
During SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration (12 Nov. – 2 Jan.), over three million sparkling lights will shine throughout the theme park. Festivities include live performances, seasonal food and meet-and-greets with Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer, and entertainment like the Winter Wonderland on Ice.
Beyond the theme parks
Celebrate the magic of the holidays outside the theme parks from tree-lighting ceremonies to long-running holiday traditions infused with arts and culture.
The Dazzling Nights outdoor holiday event at Harry P. Leu Gardens, running 19 November – 9 January features a three-quarter-mile interactive holiday experience with epic lighting installations, themed photo moments, live entertainment and more.
From 5 November to 24 December, ICON Park will transform into a magical winter wonderland. To kick off the celebrations, ICON Park will host its first tree-lighting ceremony on 1 December with an impressive 40-feet-tall Christmas tree visible from International Drive
The 35th annual Festival of Trees transforms the Orlando Museum of Art into a glittering wonderland, filled with sparkling trees, gingerbread houses, vignettes and stunning decor for all ages. The festival – taking place 13-21 Nov. – will also host daily musical performances and delightful programs for all ages throughout the week.
Ring in the New Year
The New Year’s Eve Dinner at JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa’s Sear + Sea features a gourmet meal and rooftop terrace boasting nightly views of both theme park fireworks, which typically provide an extra-large NYE display.
Downtown Orlando’s Wall St. Plaza area features multiple themed bars linked by an open-air courtyard, for an annual New Year’s Eve Block Party with lightshows, dance parties and a big countdown to 2022.
On New Year’s Eve during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, spectacular music and a bold fireworks display will send a wave of welcome to the New Year ahead.
On International Drive, Mango’s Tropical Café and Tapa Toro are among numerous venues hosting celebrations with unique entertainment and live music.
Holiday Shopping Experiences
Holiday shopping in Orlando promises not only open-air shopping centers perfect for browsing in the Florida winter sunshine, but also unbeatable deals.
Shopping beneath palm trees under the Florida sunshine doesn’t get any easier than a trip to the outlets. With two distinct locations, the Orlando Premium Outlets is the place to snag discounted merchandise from designer- and brand-name outlet stores like Armani Exchange, Burberry, lululemon, Prada, Coach, Tory Burch and more.
For a more luxurious shopping experience, the stylish and sophisticated Mall at Millenia offers everything from the latest Apple gadgets to international high-end retailers. With more than 150 stores, the center also offers valet parking, personal shopping services, and currency exchange services.
Winter Park’s Park Avenue offers 10 tree-lined blocks of brick streets, historic buildings and a mini-version of Manhattan’s Central Park. Visitors will find everything from local boutiques to shops selling fine wines to the latest fashions.
Exclusive Orlando travel deals
Travelers can book via Visit Orlando’s preferred travel partners to take advantage of some of the most attractive Orlando travel deals for upcoming winter sun travel.
21 Nov. 2021: Orlando holiday deal from TUI Holidays
TUI Holidays is offering rates starting at £799 per person for seven-night stays at Rosen Plaza Hotel, a short drive from area theme parks, starting 21 November. For bookings, visit www.tui.co.uk or call 0871 231 4691.
30 Nov. 2021: Orlando holiday deal from Virgin Holidays
Virgin Holidays is offering rates starting at £841 per person for 7-night stays from 30 Nov to 7 Dec at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, located inside Universal Orlando Resort property. For bookings, visit www.virginholidays.co.uk or call 0333 305 1409.
1 Dec. 2021: Orlando holiday deal from Virgin Holidays
Virgin Holidays is offering rates starting at £729 per person for a 10-night stay from 1-11 December at Coco Key Hotel & Water Park, located on International Drive, just minutes away from theme parks and shopping malls. For bookings, visit www.virginholidays.co.uk or call 0333 305 1409.
Visit Orlando’s UK website, VisitOrlando.com for the latest travel information and tools to make winter sun holiday planning easier.
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