Universal Orlando Resorts embrace the holiday spirit as both of their parks feature holiday fun for everyone. The holiday festivities begin December 5th and end January 1st.

At Universal Studios, guests can head to the streets of New York for Macy’s Holiday Parade. This seasonal favorite features authentic floats and balloons, including several brand new ones, direct from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City. Festive street performers and talented marching bands from around the country create the parade, which includes Santa himself. Afterwards, there is a beautiful tree lighting ceremony with music and a gorgeous display of lights.
The KidZone Holiday show, Barney’s Christmas Show and Blues Brothers Christmas Show are also planned.
The all-new Holiday Concert Series at Universal Studios new Music Plaza will feature Mannheim Steamroller on December 5th; Chris Isaak on December 12th; and Natalie Cole on December 19th.
From December 26-31, Universal Studios presents Universal 360 – A Cinesphere Spectacular. Through unique technological innovations, guests can experience the sights and sounds of some of Hollywood’s biggest films projected onto huge spheres in the Universal Studios lagoon, accompanied by a dynamic laser display and dazzling pyrotechnic show.
At Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort Seuss Landing is transformed into the wintry wonderland of Grinchmas. It features the popular live musical performance of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” which stars The Grinch and includes music recorded by Mannheim Steamroller. Guests are encouraged to stroll through the Whoville Wonky Tree Lot and take in the zany Wholiday decorations.
Holiday Breakfast with The Grinch is also available to park goers. The breakfast event includes a delicious breakfast buffet and appearances by The Grinch, Whos and The Cat in the Hat. This does cost extra and is $19.95 for adults and $13.95 (plus tax).

Christmas at SeaWorld is fun for the whole family! From November 13, 2009 through January 3, 2010 SeaWorld will feature spectacular festivities and unforgettable experiences that celebrate the holiday season. Festivities include a dramatic holiday simulator ride, holiday fountain show and special activities on The Waterfront.

SeaWorld encourages guests to hop aboard The Polar Express Experience for a magical trip to the North Pole. SeaWorld’s Wild Arctic simulator transforms into a thrilling expedition to fabled Santa Town. Classic scenes from the movie and book of the same name, written by Chris Van Allsburg, are recreated for a multi-sensory experience that immerses passengers in special lighting, scent, and sound and motion effects. Guests will find themselves in a winter wonderland surrounded by holiday cheer, beluga whales, polar bears and walruses. The delicious smell of Christmas cookies fill the air and twinkling lights dazzle on a festive tree as families greet Santa and share a magical holiday moment.
SeaWorld guests will then want to stroll along The Waterfront to explore the shops, listen to the harmony of the carolers and share their Christmas wishes with Santa. Nightly snow flurries fall upon guests, creating a wonderful holiday environment.
The spirit of the season is also celebrated at the Makahiki Christmas Luau, a south seas-style festivity that includes authentic Christmas music, costumes and dance reinterpreted with Polynesian rhythms. A delicious island-inspired dinner is served during this production.
Shamu Stadium presents Shamu Christmas….Miracles, a captivating show that helps guests celebrate the holiday season as Christmas carols, bright lights and glowing candles fill the stadium. The 22-minute show comes to life daily at SeaWorld.
The Christmastide Holiday Fountain Show, located at The Waterfront, is an amazing fountain show where water dances in unison to Christmas music as the sky fills with fireworks and flurries of snow.
Spend the holidays at SeaWorld, the only place with the ultimate Christmas celebration by the sea.
SeaWorld tickets are on sale now.

Walt Disney World presents Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on select nights at the Magic Kingdom this holiday season in Orlando. This festive celebration is filled with live entertainment, dazzling fireworks and a merry holiday parade.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special after-hours event that promises jolly fun for everyone. The event features Disney character stage shows like “Celebrate the Season” and Mickey’s “Twas the Night before Christmas Show” as well as an exclusive holiday fireworks extravaganza – Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season. Character greetings, complimentary cookies and hot cocoa and a magical snow fall on Main Street, U.S.A., are all part of the experience.

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is a highlight of the event, as it features a special appearance by Santa Claus himself. It also showcases the various festive moods of the holiday season, showcasing themes such as Friends & Family, Winter Wonderland, Fairy Tale Christmastime, Christmastime Sweets and Mr. & Mrs. Claus. Cinderella’s Castle enchants visitors as it is covered in thousands of twinkling lights, covering the castle in a dazzling “blanket of ice” for a wintry effect.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will be held from 7pm to 12am on the following dates in 2009:

November 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 29
December 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18

Admission to this event requires a separate ticket from standard Magic Kingdom admission.

The Festival of the Masters is an open-air art festival featuring nearly 150 award-winning artists in Downtown Disney from November 13-15, 2009. The event, presented by Sharpie, is in its 34th year at the Walt Disney World Resort. It is a nationally recognized art show that is one of the most sought after shows among artists.

Highlights of the festival include an up-close look at the works of top-rated artists who provide a diverse mix of artistic forms. Live entertainment, children’s activities and culinary treats are also planned.
The House of Blues Folk Art Festival portion of the event presents “Where the Art meets the Soul” and features local and national folk artists great music and children’s activities. The Central Florida Chalk Artists Association will go to work on more than 6,000 square feet of sidewalk at the Downtown Disney Marketplace, transforming it into a giant canvas for chalk artists to showcase their works. A kid’s chalk area will also be available.
Family activities include learning the art of drawing from the masters, located outside of DisneyQuest. A special DJ Dance Party at the Dock stage is scheduled for every afternoon, plus families can meet the performers of Cirque du Soleil La Nouba and enjoy face painting and balloons.
While you enjoy the festival, take advantage of the great shops located at Downtown Disney as well. New stores include Design-A-Tee, where you can design and personalize your own tee shirt and Tren-D, a hip urban store with Disney merchandise.

Walt Disney World in Orlando revealed a new attraction, Wednesday, October 14th, at Epcot. The new attraction is called “Sum of All Thrills,” and is a small but significant addition as it features first-of-its-kind simulators that allow guests to design – then ride – their own roller coasters, bobsleds and jet planes. The Disney attraction has robotic arms that loft riders to through the air. It robotic arms were developed by German robotics company KUKA Aktiengesellschaft.

The “Sum of All Thrills” was created to be an experience for kids, as they must use math and science principles to design the thrill rides they will experience. The goal of the attraction is to get more children interested in learning about math and science. The robotic arms can move in multiple directions at once because they rotate on six different axes, which create a smooth ride. It is located inside one of Epcot’s Innoventions pavilions.

The launch of this attraction is interesting as it offers a glimpse of the technology that will be used on the main ride at Universal’s highly anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Universal Orlando Resort has kept most of the details of The Forbidden Journey of Harry Potter ride a secret. However, construction documents on file show they are working with a company that builds robotic arms based on KUKA arms. The Universal attraction will be a much more lavish experience than “Sum of All Thrills.” Universal’s ride is expected to be a type of “robocoaster” in which the robot arms advance along a track as they swivel riders in various directions. The bases of the robot arms at “Sum of All Thrills” are in a fixed place.

Immerse yourself in a winter wonderland during Gaylord Palm’s ICE! Event. Scheduled for November 14 – January 3, 2009, the ICE! Event is a walk-through Christmas attraction hand carved from nearly two million pounds of ice.

The Gaylord Palms adds a cool dose of holiday fun to the Orlando scene with this unique event, which is one of the of the nation’s most spectacular displays of ice and art. The spectacular ICE! Attraction is a sight to see as it is home to larger-than-life, three dimensional hand carved ice monuments and scenes, including frozen creations, ice speed slides, and holiday vistas. The temperature inside the attraction is a cold 9 degrees, so guests are given oversized parkas to wear while they visit. The Gaylord Palms requires guests to wear long pants and closed toes shoes during their visit, and hats and gloves are recommended.
The theme of this year’s ICE! Event is the North Pole. An arctic forest featuring old man winter, Christmas carnival with life-size carousel, Santa’s ornament room and reindeer scenes are planned. The signature scene of the event will be a life-size nativity carved completely of crystal clear ice. The scene will be even more incredible with the addition of dramatic lighting and an emotional narrative that gives guests the opportunity to reflect on the reason behind the season.

The ICE! Event at Gaylord Palms is made possible by a team of 40 artisans that hail from Harbin, China. These talented artists spend more than a month creating this one-of-a-kind attraction. Harbin, China is best known for its annual International Ice & Snow Festival.

Tickets for the Gaylord Palms ICE! Event are on sale now. Monday-Thursday, adult tickets are $19.99 ($18.99 in advance) and child tickets are $9.99. Friday-Saturday adult tickets are $25.99 ($23.99 in advance) and $11.99 for children. Children 3 and younger are free.

Join Fantasy of Flight for their 3rd Annual Roar ‘n Soar event on November 7 & 8 from 10am-5pm daily. The event will feature a gathering of classic racing machines from land, sea and air.

A sanctioned Slalom Course and a car show featuring rare, antique, classic and exotic vehicles are planned, as is a new R/C truck and buggy short racing course for dirt slinging, off road fun. Drivers will compete for the fastest time while they race the clock maneuvering through a slalom course on the hangar tarmac. This sanctioned race offers prime spectator viewing and comes to Roar n’ Soar courtesy of The Jaguar Club of Florida and Sun Coast Jaguar Clubs. Plus, the car show features vintage classic cars by auto icons Jaguar, Austin-Healey, Ferrari, BMW, and Porsche including some of the most unique and exotic automobiles ever made. For the first time, radio-controlled trucks and buggies and bikers from Red Trail Racing will be joining in for an action-packed weekend at the 3rd Annual Roar n’ Soar.
Classic race boats will also be on-hand. The shores of Lake Agnes will feature a boat show while R/C boats speed by on the water. Courtesy of the Classic Race Boat Association, some of the most elegant and powerful boats ever built will perform exhibition flybys in a race-like setting on a 1.5 mile oval course on Lake Agnes. A host of vintage watercraft will also be on display along with the opportunity to meet the drivers and take photographs.
Fantasy of Flight features one of the world’s greatest aircraft collection and the soar portion of this event will feature aerial demonstrations from rare aircraft, as well as special aerobatic shows featuring the finest giant scale model replica aircraft in the world. Powered paragliders and hang glider pilots will also be soaring above.
Fantasy of Flight’s Roar ‘n Soar event will feature a variety of “Ask the Experts “discussions and presentations. Fun games and hands-on activities for kids are also planned.
Fantasy of Flight tickets are available now.

Festival of Trees is a premiere holiday event in central Florida and is presented by the Council of 101 to benefit the Orlando Museum of Art. For the last 23 years, this event has provided the community with a true holiday experience as the museum is transformed into a winter wonderland for ten days in November. Dazzling decorations are found throughout the museum, many of which are available for purchase and visitors can also explore the Gingerbread Village, Toyland Town and the Christmas Village.

An opening night party, Holiday Jazz Stroll and Reindeer Romp are just a few of the special events planned. Entertainment will be provided by various local choirs, schools, dance groups, orchestras, a caroling company, ballet company and individual performers. The Festival Café, provided by Panera Bread, will be open for lunch items and refreshments.
The Festival of Trees in Orlando is scheduled for Friday, November 14 – Sunday, November 22, 2009. The event is open from 10am – 5pm, with extended hours available Thursday, November 19 from 10am – 8pm and Saturday, November 21 from 10am – 8pm.
Special Events
Festival of Trees Opening Night Party
Friday, 11.13.09
7pm – 11pm
Reindeer Romp
Wednesday, 11.18.09
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Holiday Jazz Stroll
Friday, 11.20.09
7pm – 10pm
Pricing
General Admission $10 (Adult), $6 (Child)
Opening Night Party $100
Reindeer Romp $12
Holiday Jazz Stroll $35

The Orlando Film Festival is for anyone that loves the movies. There is a variety of diverse stories being told by independent filmmakers, all in one convenient downtown location. Plus, it’s all FREE. The festival is scheduled for November 4-8, 2009.

This year, the Orlando Film Festival has a new home – The Plaza Cinema Café. The Orlando Film Festival plans on bringing UCF alumna Cheryl Hines in to talk about her directing debut, Serious Moonlight, and the locally filmed hip hop drama Just Another Day will also have its Florida premiere.
Shorts, seminars and lots of movies are planned for the event, including documentaries on the true cost of coal mining, college application essays and one about trying to live a carbon-neutral life.
Family-friendly cartoons such as Igor and Ice Age will also be shown for free as part of the Orlando Film Festival’s animated film seminar.
Love Hurts is the opening night film. It is a dizzyingly funny romantic comedy involving both a desperate middle-age and an angst-ridden teenage love story. It stars Richard E. Grant, Janeane Garofalo and Jenna Elfman.
For a complete schedule of film showings, click here.

Bok Tower Gardens presents the award-winning Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in an evening of pops and lights classics during its Sunset & Symphony event. On November 7th visitors are invited to enjoy the drama as the sky transforms from a colorful golden sunset into a starry night, accompanied by the beautiful music of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

Guests are welcome to explore the beauty of Bok Tower Gardens, starting at 3:30pm, with a picnic decorating contest and instrument petting zoo beginning at 5pm.
Tickets for the event are $15 in advance and $20 day of concert. Children under 5 are admitted free.
Meal selections are available from the Blue Palmetto Café. However, meals must be pre-ordered for this event.