Florida’s theme parks come alive for Christmas

This story was originally published in the second edition of The Lion’s Tale (December 13th, 2021).

One of the major sources of revenue for the state of Florida are our world renowned theme parks and other big attractions that bring in tourists from all over the globe. Some of these attractions include Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and Seaworld. 

During the holidays, these major attractions, as well as other minor attractions, make the effort to decorate their premises with beautiful lights, tinsel, holiday blowups, and even massive christmas trees. 

At Universal Studios Florida, there is a massive 65-foot tall Christmas tree in the center of the park in front of the Macy’s building and the Jimmy Fallon ride. Alongside the tree, throughout the park there are decorations on every building and holiday music playing around every corner. 

Studios also hosts the Macy’s Christmas balloon parade which is held at 5:30 pm every day, which includes iconic Universal Studios characters like the Minions, Shrek characters and Madagascar characters. 

At Universal’s Islands of Adventure they have similar decorations throughout the entire park, but in Islands they have an annual Christmas performance in Suessland, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. 

As well as this annual live action play, the Islands of Adventure theme park has also brought back another Christmas show at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter- along with their infamous Dark Arts show that takes place throughout the normal seasons. 

Disney World has taken a similar approach, their parks are decorated with immense amounts of holiday decorations and jolly music- as well as a towering Christmas tree of their own. 

Although Disney has always been top-notch about their holiday decorations, there have been some small changes. One for example being their famous Cinderella castle in Magic Kingdom, previously being decorated in over 200,000 white lights (Dream Lights) making it look like the ultimate snowy-Christmas castle, it is now being covered head to toe in a massive Christmas projection. 

Disney has also decided to replace ‘Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party’ with a limited time Very Merriest After Hours event that takes place on 24 select nights this holiday season from November 8 to December 21. 

This event is a sold-separately celebration that is similar to Disney’s ‘Boo Bash’, from 9 pm to 1 am you can experience all that Magic Kingdom has to offer for the holidays, including many of the parks rides which stay open during the event 

At this event you can also experience Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade which features the holly-jolly man himself- Santa Claus, Mickey’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show, and the Club Tinsel Dance Party which is making its first re-appearance since Covid-19. 

All of Disney’s other Orlando parks have their own holiday celebrations as well including Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays, Hollywood Studios’ Minnie’s Holiday Dine, and Animal Kingdom’s Merry Menagerie and Festive Flotillas. 

Aside from the major attractions around Orlando, there are also smaller attractions that decide to decorate for the holidays. One smaller “attraction” being the holiday lights and structures surrounding the entirety of Lake Eola. 

With the season being kicked off with a ceremonial tree lighting that took place on December 3, the City of Orlando held a lovely event complete with food trucks, a vendor market and a band performance. 

The tree is rumored to be covered in over 2,000 ornaments this year and around 200 pounds of lights, this tree has a synchronized light show every night until January 6, this show runs from 5:45 pm to about 10 pm. 

There are also an immense amount of other light-covered-fixtures surrounding the lake, making for a laid back walk around the park with family or friends.

Central Florida has a multitude of cheery Christmas entertainment options for the holiday season this year, decorations around the entire city of Orlando light up the night and bring Christmas joy to children and adults alike.