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The Best Holiday Events for Orlando Kids

Christmas Tree Trail

November 8-January 5
Disney Springs

Explore a winter wonderland as you make your merry way through a festive forest of 22 Disney-themed trees and other jolly surprises. It’s a great way to get in the yuletide spirit! 

Reindeer Romp at Festival of Trees

November 22, 6-8:30 p.m.
Orlando Museum of Art

This family event is a wonderful evening celebration for children; with many activities including complimentary photos with Santa, crafts, face painting, balloon artists, storytelling, entertainment and more holiday fun! The holiday cafe will be open with child- and adult-friendly meals available for purchase. Tickets are $20 per person and include admission to the Festival of Trees as well as entertainment.

Dinos in Lights

November 23-January 7
Orlando Science Center

Add some sparkle to the holiday season and see some of your favorite creatures from the Cretaceous in a whole new light! Don’t miss the Dinos In Lights show as it returns to Orlando Science Center. Join Stan the T-Rex and his fossil friends in DinoDigs as they show off their twinkling talent in a festive display of music and light, including some all new surprises. Each family-friendly show will begin every half hour and runs for four minutes, concluding with a wintry bonus. Be sure to see it multiple times on your visit as the experience is different from every angle. Dinos in Lights is at Orlando Science Center for a limited holiday engagement, beginning  November 23, 2019. It is included with general admission and free to OSC members.

Oh, What Fun! A Holiday Festival

Lake Nona Town Center
November 29 – January 5

A Lake Nona community event that features an open-air skating rink, a mailbox for letters to Santa and movie nights featuring holiday film screenings. Also, check out the family-friendly Holiday Sunday Fundays at Boxi Park (adjacent to the skating rink) that will include free crafts, live music and food and drink specials throughout the month of December.

Holiday Sunday Fundays Schedule at Boxi Park:
December 8 — Make-your-own snow globes
December 15 — Gingerbread Man decorating & face painting
December 22 — Snowflake decorating & a visit from Santa

Christmas Storytime & Activities

November 30, December 6 & December 7
Participating Barnes & Noble, Children’s Department

Photo: TheChirpingMoms.com

Take the kids to your local Barnes & Noble for these special events that include storytime featuring cherished holiday books and fun activities. Here’s the Schedule:
– November 30: Dear Santa & Cookies for Santa
– December 6: The Polar Express. PJ attire is recommended! Hot chocolate and cookies will be served.
– December 7: How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Receive a free Advent calendar, while supplies last.

Mr. Richard’s Holiday Shows

Select days and times, December 5 – 20
Various kid-friendly locations in Central Florida

Photo: Jessica Friend

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR! Mr Richard will be presenting all your favorite seasonal songs throughout December (except Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer — he doesn’t like that one):
• Thursday, Dec 5 @ 10:30 a.m.: Princesses & Princes
• Friday, Dec 6 @ 10:00 a.m.: Infusion Tea
• Saturday, Dec 7 @ 10:30 a.m.: Dr Phillips Barnes & Noble
• Thursday, Dec 12 @ 10:00 a.m.: Waterford Lakes Barnes & Noble
• Thursday, Dec 12 @ 6:00 p.m.: Waterford Lakes Chick-Fil-A
• Friday, Dec 13 @ 10:00 a.m.: Kid Crew @ Oviedo Mall
• Saturday, Dec 14 @ 12:00 p.m.: Rainbow Sno-Cones
• Tuesday, Dec 17 @ 6:00 p.m.: Hunt Club/Apopka Chick-Fil-A
• Thursday, Dec 19 @ 5:30 p.m.: Fairbanks Chick-Fil-A
• Friday, Dec 20 @ 10:00 a.m.: Colonial Barnes & Noble

Movie Night: National Lampoons’ Christmas Vacation

December 6
Leu Gardens

Join Clark Griswald, Uncle Eddie and the whole family for a hilarious movie night under the stars at Leu Gardens. Bring a blanket, chairs and a picnic basket (don’t forget the wine!) for this PG-13 holiday classic.  

The Nutcracker Tea

December 8
Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre

Start your family’s holiday season with a very special experience at The Nutcracker Tea and be among the first to see the new home of Orlando Ballet Company and School: Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre. Enjoy a delicious assortment of sweet and savory holiday treats and interact with some of the dancers and characters from the performance while you shop last-minute gift items and stocking fillers. The afternoon tea includes the chance to have your family’s photo taken alongside some of The Nutcracker’s iconic characters.

Letters to Santa Featuring The Muppet Christmas Carol

December 8
Enzian Theater

Bring the entire family to the Enzian for a special event and holiday matinee. Before the show, children will receive a special letter-writing kit to write their letters to Santa! Much to their surprise, Kris Kringle will make a special appearance to pick up those letters and deliver them to the North Pole, but not before everyone gets a picture. Sit back and enjoy the movie with a special menu that includes cookies and hot cocoa.  

Wekiva Island Winter Wonderland

December 8 through December 25
Wekiva Island

Wekiva Island gets decked out in holiday spirit with snow slides, snow flurries, ornament decorating, movies, train rides, Santa Claus visits and a fantastic Holiday Boat Parade! Check their website for activity schedule.

Gingerbread Express

December 13, 6-7:30 p.m.
SunRail, Winter Park Station

Bring your family and friends to this special one-night event – a ride on the Ginberbread Express to a fun-filled family event at the Winter Park / Amtrak station! To ride the Gingerbread Express, purchase your regular train fare and see the SCHEDULE page on SunRail.com to board one of the two trains below:

  • P332 Northbound from the following stations: Poinciana, Kissimmee/Amtrak, Tupperware, Meadow Woods, Sand Lake Road, Orlando Health, Church Street, LYNX Central, AdventHealth
  • P335 Southbound from the following stations: DeBary, Sanford, Lake Mary, Longwood, Altamonte Springs, Maitland

When the Gingerbread Express rolls into your station, a special character will greet you. Once on board the dedicated train car, the fun begins with distribution of a special keepsake lanyard that is your key to enter the event for fun activities and surprises at the Winter Park / Amtrak station. When you deboard the train in Winter Park, follow the special character to the entrance to Gingerbread Land.

After you’ve had your fun, stroll through beautifully decorated downtown Winter Park. Enjoy restaurants, coffee and desserts, shops and even a toy store! See the SCHEDULE page to plan for your return trip home.

Snow Fest

December 14, 2-6 p.m.
RDV Ice Den, Maitland

Play in real snow in Central Florida! This annual winter celebration includes ice skating, real snow, a snow slide, bounce houses, face painting, curling and more family fun! Tickets are $20 and price includes admission, skate rental, sales tax, and all outdoor activities. Children two and under and seniors 65+ are free. Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more.

The Nutcracker Family Performance

December 14 & 21
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Want to introduce your kids to The Nutcracker? Check out this one-hour version of the classic holiday show — perfect for all ages! With Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score filling the Walt Disney Theatre and a glittering Christmas tree, this beloved production is a seasonal delight not to be missed!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

December 21
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Come see all of your favorite characters from the classic TVspecial come to life on stage, including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, of course, Rudolph. Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us.

Christmas at Gaylord Palms featuring ICE!

Now through January 5
Gaylord Palms Resort

This year you can celebrate holiday traditions old and new! Don’t miss visiting the 9° attraction ICE! for a rare winter’s chill in Central Florida. ICE! features an all-new theme for 2019: The Polar Express™! You will also find snow tubing, snowball tossing, pictures with Santa, holiday shopping, a Build-A-Bear Workshop, Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions sing-along show, gingerbread decorating and much more.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Select nights now through December 22
Magic Kingdom

This Christmas season, celebrate at the happiest place on Earth!  When Mickey celebrates the holidays, Magic Kingdom park lights up with excitement for guests of all ages. Elsa and Anna light up the castle with their special brand of Frozen delight. Joyful music fills the air. Disney Characters don their most festive attire. Favorite attractions take on a holiday theme. Toast to Yuletide cheer with delicious treats created just for this special party!

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

November 23December 31
SeaWorld Orlando

The park transforms into a winter wonderland with millions of sparkling lights. Experience award-winning entertainment, from the all-new Sesame Street Christmas Parade to seasonal shows like O Wondrous Night (a light-hearted musical that includes a live nativity, carolers, angels and puppets), rub noses with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, or head to Wild Arctic and visit Santa himself. Don’t miss the unforgettable Christmas Celebration.

Light Up UCF

November 22nd through January 5th
Addition Financial Arena

Light Up UCF provides Central Florida families with an affordable place to celebrate the holidays. Running outside Addition Financial Arena, enjoy this holiday tradition that offers a snow slide, outdoor ice skating rink, carnival rides, Santa’s village, horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday movies on the lawn, sweet treats and holiday attractions.

International Festival of the Holidays

November 29 through December 30

Treat your family to experience holiday traditions and cultures around the globe at this fantastic showcase of dance, stories, food and songs. Listen to the stories told by Père Noël in Paris, Father Christmas in Britain and La Befana in Italy, then learn about Nutcrackers in Germany, gnomes in Norway and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa in America. Also, don’t miss a vibrant dance with live music in Mexico and a dragon dance in China. The park comes alive with festive entertainment, a candlelight processional, Chip & Dale’s Christmas TreeSpree scavenger hunt and sounds of the season from around the world.

Daytime NYE Celebration

December 31, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Boardwalk Bowl

Get the ball rolling at Boardwalk Bowl’s New Year’s Even celebration. There will be a plethora of activities fit for every member of the family, whether you’re 2 or 102! How many games can you bowl before the ball drops? Find out during our All-You-Can-Bowl special. For just $10, bowl as many games as you want for up to three hours. Shoes are included! We’re having our own ball drop early! In the afternoon, everyone will gather around as thousands of balloons drop from the ceiling.

Do you think an event should be added to our list? Let us know! Email holiday event submissions to wendy@playgroundmagazine.com.

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