Choosing which holiday events to attend can be a daunting task. To take away some of the stress of decision making, we've curated this guide to the best holiday events in Orlando to fuel your holiday date nights.

Check out our bucket list of must-do experiences, view some holiday lights, find our picks for FREE events, watch a classic Christmas movie, celebrate the holidays in Orlando theme parks, or attend holiday performances. Our guide has it all!

You can also browse kid-friendly FREE holiday events in Orlando. If you're up for a day trip, check out this roundup of Holiday Events in Tampa Bay from our sibling publication, Tampa Bay Date Night Guide.

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Christmas Events Bucket List for 2024

Looking for an overview of our top picks for celebrating the holidays in Orlando? This is your section! Below you can skim our curated list of the must-do holiday events and experiences.

Festive Drinks at Winter Wonderland Market at Grande Lakes Orlando - image by Dani Meyering
Festive Drinks at Winter Wonderland Market at Grande Lakes Orlando – image by Dani Meyering

Check out a Holiday Lights Display

Returning this year, Dazzling Nights at Leu Gardens, which runs from select nights November 29, 2024 – January 5, 2025, takes you on a 3/4-mile journey through multiple holiday lights experiences.

See the debut of brand-new immersive elements like:

  • A stunning nighttime show with 100, 10’ tall beacons of light
  • A dazzling, 30’ tall tree of thousands of shimmering, gold sequins
  • A fun, wintery Florida display created by the Leu Gardens Horticulture Team

Adult tickets start at $22, Children ages 3-13 start at $19 (Children under 3 enter free, no ticket required.)

Check out our Christmas lights section below for more ideas.

red and white light display at Dazzling Nights at Leu Gardens 2022
Dazzling Nights at Leu Gardens 2022 – Dani Meyering

Bonus idea – The incredible Asian Lantern Festival at Central Florida Zoo runs in select dates November to January. If you want to avoid crowds and extend the holiday season then head here in January.

Where to Find Orlando's Best Holiday Lights

Sip Festive Libations

Conduct your own holiday cocktail crawl all around Orlando! Follow our Disney Springs holiday pub crawl for even more festive fun. And Sunset Walk at Margaritaville Orlando Resort is another fun place to do a pub crawl, and many of the venues have holiday drinks.

Best of all, multiple spots are serving jolly drinks around town. Read more in our guide to Sip Festive Christmas Cocktails at Holiday Pop-Up Bars in Orlando.

Snuggle Up in a Horse Drawn Carriage

See Downtown Winter Garden’s seasonal decor and holiday lights on a holiday horse drawn carriage tour. SOUL Haven Ranch offers this magical experience throughout December for $125.

The carriage fits up to four adults, or two adults and three kids. 2024 dates to be announced.
Tours begin at the Winter Garden Downtown Pavillion (104 S Lakeview Ave). Reservations are required and can be booked online.

Image credit: SOULHaven Ranch

Explore more Horse Drawn Carriage Rides in Orlando.

Play in the Snow and Skate

We’re miles from real snow but a few creative locals have crafted a suitable substitute. Find nightly “flurries” falling hourly at Celebration Town Center from 6-9pm November 29, 2024 – December 31, 2024. This popular holiday event in Celebration is celebrating its over 25 years.

The perfect touch of winter in Florida can be found with snowfall hourly from 6-9pm, and at Wekiva Island's Winter Wonderland.

See the Lake Eola Christmas Tree

It just wouldn’t be the holidays without a walk around Lake Eola Park culminating in a visit to the iconic Christmas tree. Animated lights bring the tree to life during a synchronized light and music show each night. The city's official tree lighting ceremony will most likely take place on Friday, November 29, 2024 (to be confirmed soon).

Another fun annual tradition near downtown Orlando is Jingle Eve, taking place on Saturday, November 23, 2024 | 4:30-9:00pm.

Watch Classic Holiday Movies

Now's the time to watch all your favorite holiday flicks on the big screen! Check out our holiday movie section further down or check out the full holiday movie lineup this year.

Cut your own Christmas tree

Orlando may not be the frosty north, but you can actually cut your own Christmas tree without the travel. In Eustis, not too far from Orlando, you can cut your own tree at Santa's Christmas Tree Forest. This is an actual working tree farm and you'll be able to cut your own tree. They provide the saw too!

These Florida Christmas trees are smaller than their northern cousins. Choose from sand pine, red cedar, or Arizona cypress. If you prefer a pre-cut traditional type of tree, please select Fresh Cut Northern Trees from the menu on Santa's Christmas Tree Forest's website.

a tractor pulls visitors through Santa's Tree Farm -
Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in Orlando at Santa's Tree Farm – Dani Meyering

Here's How to Cut Your Own Christmas Tree at Santa's Tree Farm

BONUS IDEA – December Activities at Evermore Orlando Resort

Evermore Orlando Resort
1590 Evermore Way, Orlando, FL 32836

Evermore Orlando Resort will have reindeer games, elf activities, and a holiday bakeshop. Winter festivals, menorah lightings, and Santa sightings are also on the list. More details will be released soon.

Tropical Santa at Evermore Resort Orlando posing by the lagoon
Tropical Santa at Evermore Resort Orlando – image by Dani Meyering

You can even have holiday decorations displayed throughout your villa or other accommodations, put together by Comfort and Joy, a local holiday design company that specializes in magical holiday decorations. And, there is even the Evermore To Your Door service which allows you to have a full prepared holiday meal served in your villa.

Book a private chef experience in your villa for the ultimate relaxation, and have housekeeping services come by after your meal to provide clean-up.

Evermore to Your Door Thanksgiving Meal served inside villa
Evermore to Your Door festive holiday meal – image by Dani Meyering

Snap a Christmas Couples' Selfie

Snap some selfies in front of some gorgeous, jaw-dropping trees…
Festival of Trees: Enchanted Holidays
2024 TBA
Orlando Museum of Art
During Festival of Trees, visitors can see more than 50 designer-inspired decorated trees, all available for purchase, exceptional gingerbread houses, wreaths, and more. In addition, there will be a holiday shopping experience, pop-up shops and live entertainment.
Adults—$20

You can also visit some date-worthy spots to see Santa Claus.

Take the Kids to Santa's Workshop at ICON Park

The Santa Workshop Experience returns to ICON Park
Packages include a ride on The Wheel, Carousel on The Promenade
Select dates, 2024 TBA

Once again, ICON Park will be transformed into the magical winter wonderland that has delighted thousands of children over the past few years. This Santa experience is second only to a visit to the North Pole. Families can partake in the annual tradition of taking holiday pictures together and the kiddos can meet Old St. Nick.

Each child that participates in The Santa Workshop Experience will receive a free ride on the new Carousel on The Promenade. They’ll also be provided a complimentary ride on The Wheel in a holiday-decorated capsule and access to the VIP no-wait line. Guests accompanying the child can get 50 percent off their ticket tickets to The Orlando Eye.

Santa's Workshop at ICON Park Orlando
Santa's Workshop at ICON Park Orlando – Image credit: ICON Park

Celebrate the Holidays in the Theme Parks

From the return of the EPCOT Candlelight Processional to holiday magic in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando's theme parks are touched with an extra dose of magic during the holidays. We've got a guide to celebrating the holidays at Disney and also at Universal to help you plan your holiday date nights.

Ring in the New Year

Close out the holiday season by waving goodbye to 2024 and hello to 2025! Refer to our NYE guide for the best parties, dinners, and celebrations. We'll be updating our guides dates for 2024 are confirmed, but here's a sneak peek at a few NYE events in Orlando:

Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach Hard Rockers & High Rollers NYE

2024 TBA, 8pm – 1am 
Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach

Get ready to roll into 2024 at our annual Hard Rockers & High Rollers NYE celebration. Dance bands, DJ, Food & Drink and plenty of Casino style games. Upgrade your New Year's Eve experience and purchase tickets to the VIP Sky Lounge on the Wave Terrace. The VIP Sky Lounge will give you guaranteed seating all night, access to the Avalon Ballroom & Terrace entertainment, VIP Buffet, Premium open Bar until 11:30 pm, and champagne toast @ midnight!
Overnight packages available. Starting at $175.

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach

Enzian Theater's James Bond New Year's Eve Party
8pm – 1am
Come in your most impressive Bond fit and you could win a prize. Enjoy some bubbly, light hors d’oeuvres and special NYE cocktails while dancing your way into the new year!
$99 general admission; $330 VIP table for two; $660 VIP table for four
2024 Info TBA

READ MORE: OUR ANNUAL GUIDE TO NEW YEAR’S EVE IN ORLANDO


Best Christmas Lights in Orlando

Nothing says Christmas quite like strolling around hand in hand to “oooh” and “ahhhh” at holiday lights. Below are a few of our favorite Christmas lights displays in Orlando.

ICE! at Gaylord Palms Resort

2024 TBA

After experiencing frozen fun inside ICE!, guests can enjoy a sleigh-full of live shows, immersive family events, millions of sparkling lights, a 60-foot-tall Christmas tree that comes to life in a kaleidoscope of color, and more all across the resort's 64-acre winter wonderland.

Holiday Nights

2024 TBA
Island H2O Water Park

Holiday Nights at Island H2O Water Park is so much more than a dazzling lights display – it’s the one-stop spot for family fun, festive food, holiday shopping, and nightly entertainment – with proceeds benefitting Give Kids The World Village.

This dazzling and fun event is great for families, and for couples. There is a play area for little tykes, plus character and Santa Claus greetings. Guests can indulge in holiday shopping as they surf through the holiday market featuring local vendors with a showcase of unique gifts and handcrafted ornaments. Sip steaming mugs of cider and hot cocoa, enjoy holiday themed bites, and toast s’mores big enough to share all while enjoying unique live entertainment each night.

$34.99 per adult / $29.99 per child

DAZZLING NIGHTS

November 29, 2024 – January 5, 2025
Leu Gardens
A 3/4 mile journey of awe-inspiring light experiences.

  • A million lights that bring Leu Gardens to life
  • Meet-and-greet characters
  • 40′ diameter snow dome with swirling snow
  • 70′ long candy cane vortex light tunnel
  • Walk through a forest with giant, neon flowers
  • Laser light show with live singers
  • Food and beverage options
  • And so much more!

$25 adults / $22 child

Holiday Light Displays + Fountain Show at Cranes Roost Park

2024 TBA

Enjoy over 200,000 lights on more than 100 holiday displays at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs. The lights are turned on each night at dusk. There is also a fountain show nightly at 6, 7, 8 and 9pm. A crowd favorite, the Plaza fountain features special shows with dancing water and dazzling lights choreographed to classic holiday tunes.

A Merry Winter Garden Light Show at City Hall

2024 TBA

Enjoy a very merry light show at Winter Garden’s City Hall. Plus, there will be a Winter Wonderland area for children at City Hall on the nights of the light show. The entire downtown Winter Garden area will be festive and decorated.

CASSELBERRY ANNUAL TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY + HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Lights and decorations through December 26, 2024 beginning at dusk
Lake Concord Park, Casselberry
Stroll through Lake Concord Park to enjoy charming vignettes of holiday displays and brilliant lights. This small community park is perfect for a simple evening of enjoying light displays and a lakeside park.

Lake Concord Casselberry Christmas Lights lit up at night
Lake Concord Casselberry Christmas Lights – image by Dani Meyering

Read our guide to Where to Find Orlando's Best Holiday Lights for even MORE ideas!


FREE Holiday Events

A holiday date night doesn't have to cost a dime. Partake in free festive celebrations throughout Orlando including tree lightings, festive parades, and so much more.

Snow Falling Nightly in Celebration

November 30, 2024 – December 31, 2024
Nightly snowfall hourly from 6-9pm
Celebration Town Center
Celebration Town Center offers “Now Snowing-Celebration’s Winter Wonderland”, a family-friendly holiday experience with some of the best “snow” you can find in Central Florida. Festive music, decorations, and adorable shops make this a great holiday tradition.

Holiday Fountain Show

2024 TBA
Shows run nightly at 6, 7, 8 and 9pm
Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs
A crowd favorite, the Plaza fountain features special shows with dancing water and dazzling lights choreographed to classic holiday tunes.

Wekiva Island's Winter Wonderland 

December 1 – December 25, 2024

Nightly snow flurries plus extra entertainment and activities are offered on select days and evenings, including outdoor movies and visits from Santa Claus. Be sure to check out Wekiva Island’s website for more details. *Note: a nominal $5 admission fee applies.

Snow at Wekiva Island
Image credit: Wekiva Island

Christmas Tree Stroll at Disney Springs

November 9, 2024 through January 1, 2024

This year the Christmas Tree Trail is now a Stroll, with each tree at its own individual location to make social distancing possible. Maps for the Stroll can be obtained at House of Blues, 12 Days of Christmas Store, The Marketplace Co-Op, and The Welcome Center. Each tree is inspired by a Disney character or theme.

Check out our guide to 50+ Festive and Free Holiday Events in Orlando for the full scoop on the best free holiday events to attend.

Put these events on your calendar for next year and keep reading for more holiday season events below

I-Drive District Holiday Tree Lighting

Tree lighting: November 22, 2024 6pm
Holiday tree on display through January 1, 2025

Kick of the holiday season with the I-Drive District at ICON Park! Check out how I-Drive Dazzles with a glittering lighting ceremony of the 50-ft Holiday Tree. Special performances by the I-Ride Trolley Chords, Dr. Phillips High School Dance In Motion Company & Orlando Ballet. Make a reservation at The Santa Workshop Experience to meet and take holiday photos with Santa and the Jolly old elf! Children participating in The Santa Workshop Experience will receive a FREE ticket to ride the the Wheel at ICON Park. The Holiday Tree will be present for viewing at ICON Park through New Year’s Day.

Light Up the Holidays

December 7, 2024, 5-9pm
Cranes Roost Park
Watch as the park comes alive with spectacular holiday displays featuring 200,000 lights and a 60-foot tree decorated with thousands of ornaments and over a mile of garland. Plus, movies, ice skating, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

71st Annual Winter Park “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade

December 7, 2024, starts at 9am

This festive event along Park Avenue in Winter Park has been held each December for more than 70 years, making it the oldest continuous holiday parade in Central Florida.

Light Up SoDo

2024 TBA

This event is family-friendly and pet-friendly so grab the kids and your furry friends and head on down to the SoDo Shopping Center for a night full of holiday fun!


Where to Watch Christmas Movies

It doesn't get more classic than cuddling up to watch holiday films together! From free outdoor movies to Christmas classics returning to the big screen, here's where to see holiday movies in Orlando this season.

Enzian Theater's 12 Days of Christmas Movie Series

2024 TBA
Enzian Theater
Snuggling up and watching one of these feel-good films is the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit. And don’t forget to stop by Eden Bar to try special Holiday Cocktails.
Prices vary by film

Holiday Movie Nights at Cranes Roost Park

2024 TBA
Bring your chair and blankets to enjoy holiday movies in the Cranes Roost Park Plaza. Admission is free. Food and beverages are available for purchase.
December 7 – “Yogi's First Christmas”
December 14 – “Unaccompanied Minors”
December 21 – “Fred Claus”

Image credit: City of Altamonte

There are even more movies to see in our Guide to Holiday Movies in Orlando.


Theme Park Christmas Events

Celebrate in serious style by attending a holiday celebration at Tampa and Orlando attractions and theme parks.

Holiday Events at Walt Disney World

November 9 – December 31, 2024

The holidays at Walt Disney World kick off on November 9, 2024 and run through early January 2024. EPCOT gets a later start on November 29, 2024.

If you plan to visit on Christmas or any dates close to it, book your Disney Park Pass Reservation as soon as you can. Park Pass Reservations are required for certain ticket types.

Returning event – Disney Jollywood Nights, a glamorous holiday party.

Other things to know:

  • Each theme park and Disney resort hotel is decorated
  • Special holiday food and beverage is available at each Disney theme park
  • Santa Claus appears at each of the four Disney theme parks and Disney Springs
  • Most Disney resort hotels have special holiday treats
  • Disney Springs has decorations and special treats
  • Christmas week and New Year's week are two of the busiest weeks at Walt Disney World

READ MORE: The Complete Guide to the Holidays at Walt Disney World

Christmas Tree at Magic Kingdom - Dani Meyering
Christmas Tree at Magic Kingdom – Dani Meyering

SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration

November 10, 2023 – January 2, 2024

Head to SeaWorld Orlando to make new holiday memories with festive shopping, delicious food and dazzling live shows inspired by the natural world. The Christmas Celebration is included with park admission

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens

November 11, 2023 – January 7, 2024

Enjoy park-wide festive fun at this award-winning holiday event. The park becomes filled with holiday cheer and guests can enjoy holiday traditions with a twist. Ride the Holly Jolly Express train, view millions of twinkling lights from the top of a roller coaster, visit Santa in his workshop, and spend time with Rudolph and his friends from the classic holiday movie, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Guests can also enjoy festive live shows and take part in special holiday dining and shopping.

Holidays at Universal Orlando

November 22 – December 31, 2024

Head to Universal Orlando Resort for the biggest, loudest, awesomest holiday celebration of the season! Celebrate with seasonal shows and decorations at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Sip on hot Butterbeer in Diagon Alley in Universal Studios and Hogsmeade in Universal Islands of Adventure as they come to life with magical lights and festive events. The Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s features larger-than-life balloons, with appearances by the Minions and characters from Shrek and Madagascar. Head over to Whoville for The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular starring The Grinch himself.

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle
The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle | Image credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Christmas in the Wild at ZooTampa

Select nights November – December 2023

Enjoy one of Tampa’s largest light displays as the zoo transforms into a seasonal wonderland. This year promises to be bigger, better, and brighter than ever. Enjoy six new illuminated zones of lights, festive entertainment, delectable holiday treats, and amazing wildlife. Wander over to Twinkle Town Marketplace where you can meet Santa.


Holiday Events: Performances and Entertainment

Get in the holiday spirit at these special performances including The Nutcracker, holiday concerts, and more.

Home for the Holidays

November 25, 2023, 3:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Steinmetz Hall
Experience the joyful sounds of the season for the first time ever in Steinmetz Hall
$75 – $125

Holiday Friday Nights at Morse Museum

Most Friday nights November 24 – December 29, 2023, 5-8pm
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park
Receive free admission every Friday night! During the holidays, select Friday nights get a special twist with holiday performances to celebrate the season. Live music enhances the gallery experience.
FREE

A Voctave Christmas

November 26, 2023, 8:00 pm
Steinmetz Hall – Dr. Phillips Center
Experience the phenomenal sound of this world-class ensemble and enjoy the last stop on their national holiday tour as they perform with our own Bach Festival Orchestra conducted by John V. Sinclair.
Starting at $40

A Christmas Carol

November 29 – December 24, 2023, showtimes vary
Orlando Shakes
The heartwarming Christmas classic comes to life on stage in an all-new adaptation by Artistic Director Jim Helsinger. The miserly and miserable Ebenezer Scrooge greets each Christmas with a “bah humbug,” until he is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
Ticket prices vary

Christmas in the Park

November 30, 2023, 6:15-8:30pm
Central Park, Winter Park
The City of Winter Park and The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art continue this beloved holiday tradition. Stroll through the park and enjoy the sounds of the Bach Festival Choir.
FREE

Orlando Ballet presents The Nutcracker

December 8-24, 2023, multiple showtimes
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
Orlando Ballet’s enchanting annual favorite, The Nutcracker is a not-to-be-missed holiday tradition. The beloved story of a godfather’s Christmas Eve gift of a toy nutcracker that comes to life and transports Clara to a world of wonder. Patrons are carried along on a magical journey to a world of fantasy and fun complete with the Mouse King, Sugar Plum Fairy and Mother Ginger.
Ticket prices vary

Holiday Concerts at Cranes Roost Park

December 8, 15, 22, 2023
Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs

Find your groove with live holiday tunes from talented local artists. Admission is free. Food and beverages are available for purchase.
It's also a great place to see Santa Claus in Orlando.
FREE

Orlando Philharmonic Holiday Pops in Winter Park

December 3, 2023
Winter Park’s Central Park
Bring your blanket and a picnic for a concert program of holiday favorites that will be sure to put everyone in the spirit of the season! This free concert is made possible by the Charlotte Julia Hollander Trust.
FREE

Fridays on the Plaza Holiday Music

December 1- Light Up Winter Garden
December 8- Roots & Rosin (Christmas/Holidays)
December 15- Paint it Black Quartet (Christmas/Holidays)
December 22- Safia Valines Trio (Christmas/Holidays)
December 29- Gilly and the Girl (Christmas/Holidays)
Downtown Winter Garden, 7pm – 9pm
Enjoy the classic sounds of holidays of old as live music serenades shoppers at the plaza of downtown Winter Garden.

Violectric Holiday Show

December 9, 2023, 7pm
Walt Disney Amphitheatre at Lake Eola Park
Rock in the holidays with the popular strings super-group Violectric. Free and open to the public, the concert features traditional holiday songs mashed up with classic rock tunes and modern hits. Donations for the Pet Alliance will be accepted during the event.
FREE

Phantasmagoria's A Most Haunted Victorian Christmas

December 9 and 10, 2023, 8pm Saturday, 2pm Sunday
Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Dr. Phillips Center
A festive journey through whimsical and haunted tales of the holidays as they journey Through a Christmas Darkly!
Follow these evocative storytellers, dancers, and performers as they celebrate the rich centuries’ old tradition of telling Ghost Stories on Christmas Eve – A wonderfully “Spirited” way to celebrate the year end festivities – all in Phantasmagoria’s unique performance style.
$35 – $50

The Nutcracker by the Russian Ballet of Orlando

December 16, 2023, 7:30pm
Lake Eola Park
The Russian Academy of Ballet presents a gift to the Orlando Community with a free performance of “The Nutcracker”.
FREE


NEW YEAR'S EVE 2025 | DECEMBER 31

Looking for the Best New Year's Events in Orlando? Check out our guide to NYE! And we have the 411 on how to enjoy NYE fireworks too! Info for 2023 / 2024 coming soon