Things to Do in Orlando in Winter 2016 – December Holidays & More

If you’re looking to get away from the cold and snow, then Orlando is a pretty great place to visit.

Weather will be temperate, never really getting beyond light sweater weather (and that only in the evening), and it will be consistently comfortable indoors and out.

Orlando also tends to be more popular during the summer and late fall, so January through the end of March is actually a really good time to visit. You’ll get more reasonable airfare and lodging, and enjoy shorter lines at theme parks and other big name attractions.

If you’re looking for things to do in Orlando in Winter 2016, check out our list of the best holiday activities and attractions.

Save on Attraction Admission

Regular admission to a number of these attractions are included on the Go Orlando® Card.

Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

See all available Orlando passes, attractions & prices.

Please note, some of these special winter events may be separately ticketed and not included on the Go Orlando Card.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration

seaworld-orlandoMake the most of winter’s shorter lines at theme parks – in Orlando, winter is one of the best times to visit SeaWorld. You’ll be able to make your way around the park and see and do more with less crowds, including going on your favorite rides multiple times.

When: Select dates: November 25, 2016 through December 31, 2016

Make holiday traditions and memories with SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration for seasonal fun and holiday-themed events. You’ll get to meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, take a picture with Santa in his workshop, go on a stroll through the festive ‘sea of holiday trees,’ watch performances like: Elmo’s Christmas Wish, Winter Wonderland On Ice, O Wonderous Night®, Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas, and even a special nighttime Shamu® Christmas Miracles show by the Shamu family.

Getting in: SeaWorld Orlando tickets are included with the Go Orlando Card and all holiday events are included with admission, unless otherwise noted.

LEGOLAND® Florida Christmas Spectacular

LEGOLAND-Florida-Resort-2

When: December 17-18 (Saturday & Sunday) and December 24-30 (Saturday-Friday)

LEGOLAND® Florida is bringing back their annual holiday celebration with lots of fun and festive activities and shows. Get photos in front of the 30-foot-tall Christmas tree, a life-size Santa, reindeer, and sleigh made of thousands of LEGO® and DUPLO® bricks. You’ll get to meet LEGO Santa and a LEGO Toy Soldier when they make appearances at the park during select times, test your engineering skills alongside Master Model Builders, and join in on holiday-themed scavenger hunts through the streets of MINILAND USA with the chance to win prizes. Plan to stay until park close to catch the famous fireworks spectacular over Lake Eloise set to classic holiday melodies.

Getting in: LEGOLAND® Florida tickets are included with the Go Orlando Card and holiday events are included with admission, unless otherwise noted.

Kennedy Space Center – Holidays in Space

ORL Kennedy Space center (12)

When: December 21, 2016 through January 1, 2017

Catch a feature for an outdoor cinematic experience – each evening the Kennedy Space Center projects a video onto the side of the Saturn 1B rocket in the Rocket Garden, features include custom animation blended with historic footage of actual launches, including a glimpse into a future  Mars habitat.

Getting in: Kennedy Space Center tickets are included with the Go Orlando Card and holiday events are included with admission, unless otherwise noted.

Green Meadows Petting Farm – The Great Christmas Light Adventure

Green-Meadows-Petting-Farm-1

When: December 10-11, 17-18, 23-24, 2016 from 6:00 pm-8:15 pm

The Green Meadows Petting Farm gets into the holiday spirit with The Great Christmas Light Adventure. You’ll get to discover Santas from around the world and get to see the park’s ‘De-Light-Ful holiday fun’ festive light displays coordinated to classic holiday tunes.

Getting in: Green Meadows Petting Farm tickets are included with the Go Orlando Card and holiday events are included with admission, unless otherwise noted.

Museum of Science & Industry – Santa’s Workshop

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When: November 25, 2016 through January 3, 2017

Head to the MOSI’s Idea Zone®, where kids can help Santa keep the elves on track to get all of the toys ready for the holiday season and make real toys to take home as souvenirs or gifts for family and friends in the creativity lab. Gamer enthusiasts will love the Minecraft-inspired winter wonderland with its cubic Christmas tree and Minecraft model train and lots of hands-on activities, like: cardboard creatures, retro toy-building classes, Santa Sleuths, and live science shows.

Getting in: Museum of Science & Industry tickets are included with the Go Orlando Card and holiday events are included with admission, unless otherwise noted.

Florida Aquarium – Santa Visits the Aquarium & Snow Days at the Aquarium

Florida-Aquarium-1

When: 

  • Santa Visits the Aquarium: November 26, 2016, December 3, 10, 17, 21, and 22, 2016; photo opportunities 10:30 am-1:30 pm
  • Snow Days at the Aquarium: Decembe 26-31; 12:00 pm-5:00 pm

Head to the Florida Aquarium for special holiday-themed Orlando fun this season to meet Santa, watch his diving elves in exhibits throughout the day, and run around the outdoor play area with real snow.

Getting in: Florida Aquarium tickets are included with the Go Orlando Card and holiday events are included with admission, unless otherwise noted.

Commune with Nature

Since the weather is going to be quite lovely, it would be shame not to spend some good quality time communing with nature. If you’re a big fan of the wilderness, then a tour of the Everglades (via super fun airboat) may be perfect for you.

Can’t get enough of the gators seen on your adventures? Then head to the world famous Gatorland, the official alligator capital of, well, just about everywhere.

If you prefer the gentler side of nature, then sit back and relax on a scenic tour of Winter Park’s beautiful gardens and waterways.

Indulge Your Musical Side

Image credit: Busch Gardens Tampa.

Image credit: Busch Gardens Tampa.

Orlando is known as a big cultural center in Florida, with a great music scene that percolates from theme parks to concert venues and beyond.

This winter there are a number of entertaining musical offerings for you to choose from, ranging from the “Real Music” series at Busch Gardens to The Sound of Music at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center.

For the orchestra lovers among you, the Orlando Philharmonic is also performing in mid-January. Heck, there’s even a circus in town at the Amway Center to combine the best of quirky musical fun with amazing animals!

Celebrate Our Heritage

Image credit: Southwest Orlando Junior Chamber Facebook page.

Image credit: Southwest Orlando Junior Chamber Facebook page.

One of the many fantastic special events going on this winter in Orlando – and among our favorites – is the 32nd Annual Downtown Orlando Martin Luther King Jr. Parade.

It’s a longstanding tradition in Orlando and has been recognized as a valuable celebration of this man’s amazing legacy. There’s even still time to register as a participant in the parade if you’d like!

For those of you looking for a little bit more literary heritage, there’s also a fantastic Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities being held this January in downtown Eatonville.

In addition to the festival itself (which boasts free admission), there are also a number of theatrical performances, educational offerings, and even an art show. The festival runs from January 23-31.

Remember to Save on Attraction Admission

So there you have it. Our list of a few things to do in Orlando in the winter, including holiday events, other seasonal activities in December, and more.

Remember, many of these options are included on the Go Orlando Card, where you can save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

Please note, the Winter events taking place at some of these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included with the Go Orlando Card.

We hope you plan to add a few of these fun options to your winter vacation itinerary.

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