Compiled by Michelle Colesanti
With the holiday season fast approaching, it is the perfect time for some family fun at local theme parks and more.
‘Tis The Season For Christmas Town At Busch Gardens Tampa
The family tradition continues this holiday season at Christmas Town, where Busch Gardens Tampa transforms into a holiday wonderland of entertainment, attractions, shopping and more than a million twinkling lights.
The popular event takes place on select dates through Thursday, December 31 with extended hours (closing 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and Day), with fan-favorite entertainment and new twists.
A l50-ft. Christmas tree comes alive with spectacular dancing lights every 10 minutes. The brand-new light show is set in the nature-inspired area of Christmas Time Terrace. For a complete list of seasonal sights and experiences, visit ChristmasTown.com.
Christmas Town is included with any annual pass, Fun Card or daily admission to the park. Guests who purchase their 2016 Fun Card now can visit Busch Gardens for the remainder of 2015 for no additional cost, including the popular Christmas Town event.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party At The Magic Kingdom
Start planning for a marvelous gathering with family, friends and some familiar Disney faces. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party offers magic, cheer and enchantment for guests of every age.
Held from 7 p.m.-12 Midnight at Magic Kingdom Park, this annual yuletide event will take place on December 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 18.
Don’t miss your chance to delight in the night as lights shimmer like ice on Cinderella Castle.
Watch an enchanting performance featuring sisters Anna and Elsa on the Castle Forecourt Stage. The show culminates in Queen Elsa using her incredible powers to present a gift to everyone in the kingdom, transforming Cinderella Castle into a glimmering ice palace for the holidays.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party requires a separate admission ticket. Prices vary depending on your chosen day to visit. For more info on prices and to purchase tickets, visit disneyworld.disney.go.com/events/mickeys-very-merry-christmas-party/purchase/.
Celebrate The Holidays At Universal Studios Florida And Islands Of Adventure
Universal Studios Florida comes alive during the holidays. Many of us will never get to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person, but can experience it here. Many of its breathtaking balloons and floats are sent straight to Universal Studios Florida’s very own holiday spectacular featuring marching bands, clowns, and an appearance by Santa. Afterwards, enjoy the spectacular tree lighting ceremony with music and a dazzling display of lights.
Dig into a delicious hearty breakfast hosted by the maven of mischief from Mt. Crumpit himself, The Grinch. Tickets and reservations are required to attend so make sure you book ahead of time. For more information, visit www.universals tudios.com.
Sea World’s Christmas Celebration
The season meets the sea at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration on December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-31. Waves of holiday spirit splash over you during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. Carols fill the air, a sparkling Sea of Trees lights up the water and skaters dance on ice. Here in this wintry, watery wonderland, you can enjoy stunning live shows inspired by the natural world. With everything from Santa to Shamu, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is where holiday memories are made.
Festivities include: Shamu Christmas Miracles, O’Wondrous Night, The Polar Express Experience, Elmo’s Christmas Wish and Wonder Wonderland on Ice and the Sea of Trees. For more information and for tickets, visit seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-orlando/book-online/extras/christmas-celebration-reserved-seating/.
ICE! At Gaylord Palms
Twas the Night Before Christmas is brought to life in two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures, including two-story tall ice slides. Christmas in Orlando is fun for the entire family at the Gaylord Palms Resort at 6000 W. Osceola Pkwy. in Kissimmee. ICE! will run through Sunday, January 3.
ICE! is an indoor winter wonderland featuring a walk-through holiday attraction, kept at a chilly 9 degrees, two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures, four ice slides, six individual rooms depicting the story of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Frostbite Factory — a live carving zone and a final room with a breath-taking Nativity scene carved from crystal clear ice.
After, you can “chill out” at On The Blocks, an exclusive bar inside ICE! Adults 21 and up can upgrade their ICE! experience to enjoy a sampling of Jackson Morgan Southern Cream and Goose Island Beer plus a choice of a Maker’s Mark or Absolut specialty drink, or Hidden Crush Cabernet or Chardonnay, served in a souvenir glass to keep. Ambient lighting, music and fun photo opportunities set the mood for this unique VIP experience. To purchase tickets, visit www.gaylordpalmstickets.com/ Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=EB17BD94-728C-4021-B862-790F506E9737.
Christmas Bricktacular Events At Legoland
Bring in the holiday season with a 30-ft. tall LEGO Christmas tree made of 270,000 LEGO bricks, life-size LEGO Santa, reindeer and sleigh, festive decorations, LEGO build activity, a LEGO Santa Scavenger Hunt and holiday entertainment. LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier make daily appearances in the park providing a perfect family photo opportunity. The event will take place on December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26-30.
Available dates are Saturdays, December 5, 12, 19 at 1:30 p.m., Sundays, December 6, 13, 20 at 1:30 p.m., Monday- Thursday, December 21-24 at 1:30 p.m. Price $30 per person ($27 per person for annual pass members). Park admission and parking are not included. Register at florida.legoland.com/buy-tickets/vip-experiences/book-vip-experiences/.
Florida Aquarium Holds Holiday Events
Santa Saturdays will take place December 5, 12 and 19 from 10:30-1:30 p.m. Santa Clause will visit the Aquarium to meet guests and pose for photo opportunities. Also, be on the lookout for his diving elves in the Aquarium’s exhibits.
AquaEve will take place on Wednesday, December 31. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a splash at The Florida Aquarium’s AquaEve. Enjoy fantastic live music, delicious food, beer and wine along with a champagne toast. All with the best view in town of an amazing fireworks display at midnight over the Bay. For more information on the Florida Aquarium, visit www.flaquarium.org or call 273-4000.
Family Festivities At Lowry Park Zoo
Visit the Lowry Park Zoo on select days this winter and enjoy extended hours (park closes at 7 p.m.) with festive decorations, twinkling lights and “Florida snow flurries” in a unique and picturesque setting. Holiday cheer awaits the young ones with visits from Santa until Christmas, along with sights and sounds of the season, and tasty holiday treats. Watch some of the zoo’s animals make merry with wrapped presents and seasonal treats on select days as part of their enrichment program. Extended holiday hours are included with paid zoo admission or zoo membership. The Lowry Park Zoo For more information on Lowry Park Zoo, visit www.lowryparkzoo.org or call 935-8552.