Christmas is the time of year, where cities are decorated with Christmas trees, wreaths and lights. It’s also the time, where people go shopping and reunite with family they haven’t seen in years.
This time of year is where most 9-5 employees also go on vacation. Like most, I usually travel during this time of year. However, this year my hubby John and I decided to stay put in the wonderful city of Orlando.
Orlando is mostly known for the major theme parks, but there is so much more to do during Christmas! From Christmas boat parades to riding on the “Polar Express”, here are 10 things you can do in Orlando for Christmas.
Wekiva Island is located in Longwood, Florida along the Wekiva River. Wekiva Island is a wonderful spot to see people canoeing and kayaking. You can also rent paddleboards, kayaks and canoes, and join in on the fun! There’s also cabana rentals and an outdoor/indoor bar.
This year for Christmas, Wekiva Island has been hosting their Winter Wonderland event, which started November 30th and ends December 22nd. During this time, there have been Christmas themed events scheduled, such as snow sliding, outdoor Christmas movies, train rides, toy soldiers on stilts, face painting and so much more.
This event is family-friendly and a perfect spot for anyone who loves to be outdoors.
The mall is an excellent place to see some great decorations. If you’re not into shopping, the Florida Mall does offer other alternatives. Such alternatives are hanging out with Santa for a photo, decorating a gingerbread house at the American Girl store, Holiday Tea and so much more.
While visiting the Florida Mall, I decided to visit some of the decorations and even got to see a kid drop his letter to Santa. I also paid a visit to the Florida Hotel near the Florida Mall. The hotel was nicely decorated and spent a a good hour taking photos there.
If you’re on a budget and can’t seem to afford going to the Disney parks, then visit Disney Springs. Not only is the parking free, but getting into Disney Springs is absolutely free!
Disney Springs has a bunch of Christmas decorations and they also have the the Christmas Tree Trail, which is free to get in. The Christmas Tree Trail features a bunch of different Christmas trees that are all decorated based on Disney movies. There’s the Star Wars tree, Cinderella tree and so much more.
Aside from all the decorations and the Christmas Tree Trail, Disney Springs also has free live performances.
If you can’t get enough of Disney and would love to see more, head on over to the Grand Floridian! This beautiful resort is not only elegant, but it also has an incredible Christmas tree along with a nice gingerbread house. The gingerbread house is created by the resorts chefs and consists of the following ingredients:
- 1,050 lbs of honey
- 800 lbs of flour
- 600 lbs of chocolate
- 600 lbs of powdered sugar
- 140 pints of egg whites
- 35 lbs of spices
- tons of Disney Magic and Pixie Dust
The gingerbread house also has candy smoke that comes out of the chimney, which makes the whole place smell amazing!
This is a great resort to spend an afternoon in. Whether it is people watching, enjoying the Christmas decorations or sipping on afternoon tea, this place will definitely get you into the holiday spirit.
5. Visit the Yacht and Beach Club
There’s plenty to do at Disney that does not involve going to the parks. So if you are on a budget, the next Disney place to visit is the Yacht and Beach club.
If you do not want to pay for parking, make sure to park at Disney Springs. Once you park there, take a shuttle over to any of the resorts you would like to visit. In this case, you would take the one going to the Yacht and Beach club.
The Yacht and Beach club offers visitors a nice view of a light house, but not only does it have a nice view, it also has a train set and a wonderful Christmas tree with sailing boats on it.
During my time there, I spent a good hour enjoying the view outside. Since the weather has been nice and cool, it was enjoyable sitting there admiring the lighthouse and boats.
Although this event is for one whole day, It was a great way to see Christmas decorations and get a good workout from all the walking. This small festival offers the opportunity to take photos with Santa Claus and gives the community a chance to meet artists, vendors and eat some delicious food from the food trucks.
This event also had a parade march down the street. Baldwin Park is a great location that provides some excellent shops! So if you still need to do some holiday shopping, this would be a good spot to check out.
If you’re looking for holiday lights, then Cranes Roost is a great place for that! Located in the heart of Uptown Altamonte, Cranes Roost is decorated with more than 100 holiday displays and over 200,000 lights are on these displays. There is also a 60-foot tall Christmas tree, which is the highlight of the park.
Aside from the lights, there’s also a holiday fountain show, which features special shows with dancing water and dazzling lights. The performances for the fountain show run nightly at 6, 7, 8 and 9 P.M.
Both the lights and fountain show will be available until January 1st. This is an annual event and one worth checking out.
8. Take the Polar Express Train
If you’re looking to do something fun with the kids, this might just do the trick. The Polar Express Train makes its rounds around Mount Dora and runs from November 9th to December 30th.
Once on board, the dancing chefs will pass out hot chocolate and delicious cookies. Aside from dancing chefs, Santa also makes an appearance as well as carolers.
Pricing varies by class and date/time, but goes anywhere from $28-$100.
9. Drink up at Frosty’s
If you’re more of a bar person, then check out Frosty’s Christmastime Lounge. This bar is Christmas-Themed all year long, but its also great to visit during Christmas season as well.
With drinks such as Nightmare before Xmas and Coconuts roasting over an open fire, you will definitely feel the holiday spirit.
Earlier during the month, Museum of Apopkans hosted the Festival of Trees. Although this isn’t a big event like the one in the OMA, this was still a treat.
Upon entering, you see a bunch of different trees all donated by other businesses. You go around to each tree and you can bid on the tree of your choice! If you win, you get to take it home. Some of the trees had cash hanging, scratch off tickets and even elves.
There’s plenty of options in Orlando aside from Disney and Universal. All you have to do is look around, and you’ll see that there’s a whole bunch of Christmas events and decorations to make your time in Orlando a good one.
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