The weather outside in other states may be super frightful, but Christmas in Florida is sure to always be warm and incredibly delightful. With swaying palms, balmy breezes, and fresh saltwater air, celebrating the holiday season become something totally different when it comes to the Sunshine State.
For those looking to do without ice, snow, winds, and storms, head on down to the southern tip of the United States come December time to truly cheer up and have some fun. From events, festivals, and other superb things to do, we’ve rounded up eight ideas for your Christmas in Florida. No need to thank us. Just enjoy!
Enhance Your Christmas In Florida At These 8 Fun Places!
1. Disney World Holidays.
What could be better than spending the holidays with Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and the whole rest of the gang around a forty-square mile resort that will be decked out to the tee with holiday decorations, sparkling lights, and tons of good cheer? Nothing, really.
Get in to the spirit of the holiday season and get ready to party because Walt Disney World is bound to be a blast, especially for the kids! A whole year of careful planning by an entire army of elves goes into prepping the world’s most popular family destination each year, so expect to be dazzled and amazed. Make sure to check out the infamous “Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” along Main Street, U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom. Spectacular!
2. Sunshine State Santa Sightings.
Look out for the jolly old man spending some time away from the North Pole to enjoy the warmer climate of Florida. It’s likely that he’ll need to pencil in some much-deserved R&R before those all-night Christmas Eve sleigh rides-- so all through the holiday season, you’ll be able to see him hiding out in some of the most unlikely places around the Sunshine State.
Get goofy with Santa at Camp Minnie-Mickey in Disney's Animal Kingdom, where guests can meet Disney characters dressed in their holiday best at Santa Goofy's Holiday Village. It’s a great decoration-filled family-fun festival featuring live entertainers and tons of photo opportunities. A little ways away, you might even see Santa riding the rails on Florida Gulf Coast Railroad's annual Christmas Trains, which depart Parrish Station on select afternoons and evenings through December. What’s more is that in Miami, you’ll get to spot old St. Nick at Santa's Enchanted Forest. Be surrounded by a plethora of attractions, games, rides, themed displays, over three-million twinkling holiday lights, a 92-foot tall Christmas tree, and, of course, all the other awesome fun Santa and his elves always create!
3. LEGOLAND Florida Christmas Bricktacular.
Bring in the holiday season with festive decorations and sounds of good cheer at the LEGOLAND Florida's Christmas Bricktacular celebration, located near Lakeland. The kiddies get to meet and greet with a LEGO Santa and Toy Soldiers, can decorate live Christmas trees with LEGO ornaments, and even help build a LEGO Christmas tree in time for Christmas. There are also holiday-themed scavenger hunts with prizes and a not-so-silent-night fireworks spectacular every evening set to classic Christmas melodies. Head on over to Winter Haven to enjoy Central Florida’s newest family theme park come Christmas time.
4. Listen to Seasonal Music.
Enjoy a peaceful retreat along with your favorite seasonal music at Bok Sanctuary where carillon music will be played during daily performances. All concerts are free with Sanctuary admission.
Merry melodies can also be found during Epcot's Candlelight Processional, which happens to be one of the most popular holiday traditions at Disney World. It’s beautiful and meaningful—an all-around grand musical performance by a mass choir and orchestra that’s full of pageantry, as well as a narrated retelling of the traditional Christmas story by a celebrity narrator.
5. Light up UCF.
For fifty days throughout the holidays, the University of Central Florida's CFE Arena will get into the Christmas spirit with free holiday light shows, film festivals, and Orlando’s largest ice-skating rink. Enough said.
6. Stop by the Pensacola Winterfest.
How does this sound? A little bit of snow, a lot of marshmallows and hot cocoa, plus an over-abundance of Christmas cheer? Perfection awaits at Pensacola's Winterfest, a family-fun holiday stop featuring a Polar Express, a laughable Elf Parade, as well as a Snowball Derby. The downtown tours even feature interactive displays of holiday scenes and characters. This popular annual event kicks off Thanksgiving weekend.
7. Ice Ice, baby, at Gaylord Palms' ICE!
Witness a holiday fave that’s hand-carved from nearly two million pounds of ice this Christmas by heading on out to Gaylord Palms' ICE!—a winter wonderland experience in Kissimmee that is like no other in the entire state of Florida.
Step into "The Florida Fridge" all clad up in an over-sized winter coat (the popular family experience gets cooled to a chilly nine degrees!) and get ready to embark on a whimsical adventure of interactive environments and larger-than-life, three-dimensional ice monuments and sculptures. There’s over 20,000 square feet of hand-carved ice sculptures and two-story tall ice slides to get through. You and the kiddies will be keeping busy for sure.
8. Celebration of Lights at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.
Fill the nighttime sky with the bright rays from a stellar synchronized light and sound show that even holds an after-party on December 26 to keep visitors in the holiday spirit. So stuff yourself with lots of Christmas ham, unwrap the last of those gifts, and sip up the last drops of eggnog before heading down for more merriment and good cheer at this Homosassa Springs park. It’s one of the best places in the state to view manatees, as well as to get up close and personal with animals on a floating observatory. You can even meet hippopotamus Lu, who’s famous for having performed in many movies in the last several decades.
This article was written by Pamela Chan.