He’s making his list. He’s checking it twice. He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice. And, this time of year, you want to meet him! At Orlando theme parks you can visit with Santa, tell him your wish list and maybe even meet Mrs. Claus. Use my helpful guide to find Santa in Orlando.

098Holidays at Disney Springs
During Holidays at Disney Springs, Disney brings Santa Claus to the masses at The Marketplace. You’ll find Santa Claus waiting to greet you at his beautiful chalet in front of the World of Disney Store. Snap as many photos as you’d like, and be sure to use PhotoPass too. Disney Photographers have a special way of capturing the magic. At Disney Springs, you can meet Santa November 13-December 24, from noon to 9:30pm. To make your visit even merrier, this year guests will be able to skip the line if their wait exceeds 30 minutes. You’ll receive a pager (or receive notice via text), then when you return to Santa’s Chalet you’ll have a wait of 20 minutes or less.

Universal Orlando Resort
You can spot Santa at Universal Orlando Resort during Macy’s Holiday Parade. As the New York City street scene comes to life with balloons, floats, marching bands, and whimsical characters, the moment is made even more spectacular with a special appearance by Santa Claus. After the parade, which happens several times daily at Universal Studios, stick around for a magnificent tree lighting ceremony with music and twinkling lights.

Magic Kingdom at Disney World
Why only see Santa, when at Disney World you can see Santa and Mickey! During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, delight in the shimmering ice lights on Cinderella’s Castle, waltz through the streets to holiday music and meet with all your favorite holiday characters. The extravaganza is held on select nights in November and December, from 7pm to midnight. Santa Claus will also be meeting and greeting Magic Kingdom guests at the Tour Guide Gardens next to City Hall during regular park hours.

Downtown_Disney_SantaEpcot at Disney World
Epcot celebrates the season with holidays from around the world. Once you learn about holiday traditions from all of the different countries at World Pavilion, stop by American Adventure to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. Listen to the Voices of Liberty Dickens Carolers as you tell the man in red all you want for Christmas this year! Santa will be at Epcot at Disney World now through Christmas Eve.

ICE at Gaylord Palms
Ever dream of walking through a winter wonderland? At ICE at Gaylord Palms you can do just that! More than two million twinkling lights, acres of larger-than-life decorations and more than two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures and four thrilling slides await you! Stroll through the dazzling sights, which are themed for ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in 2015, snow tube down the slopes and whoosh down a slippery ice slide before having milk and cookies with Santa and Mrs. Claus. It’s an engaging experience you can’t have anywhere else in Orlando.

Santa ThinkstockPhotos-485881462Christmas Town at Busch Gardens
At Busch Gardens Christmas Town you’re invited to Santa’s House at the North Pole. Each day during Christmas Town, Santa takes a break from his busy holiday plans to meet and take photos with all of the good little boys and girls of the world. Surrounded by elves in Santa’s study, get ready to meet the man himself, tell him your secret holiday wish and even get your photo taken. Santa can be seen at Busch Gardens Tampa now through December 31.

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration
Have a seat and break bread with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa’s Fireside Feast. The lovely holiday feast at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration features an all-you all-you-care-to-eat menu of holiday favorites and delicious desserts. Plus, you get to meet the Mr. and Mrs. and take a special, complimentary family photo to commemorate your night.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

SeaWorld is the only place in Orlando to go below the surface of the ocean, get up close and personal with animals, and experience one-of-a-kind aquatic thrills. Learn expert tips on visiting SeaWorld Orlando. From the best rides to animal shows to where to eat, I’ll give you the inside scoop on SeaWorld Orlando.


Bianca is a travel professional, and prides herself on her knowledge of vacation destinations big and small. With 8 years in the tourism industry, she brings you updates on how to make the most out of your time, money and energy in her favorite cities throughout America.

You know you’ve made it when Universal Orlando Resort designed a ride after you. That’s exactly what’s happening to Jimmy Fallon, who recently announced that a Tonight Show attractions is arriving in Orlando in 2017.

Race Through New York Jimmy FallonAccording to the park blog, “’Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon’ will be a 3D ride where you will get the full Tonight Show experience as you make your way to the fabled Studio 6B for a very special taping in which Jimmy challenges his studio audience to the ultimate race through the greatest city on earth.”

Rumor has it the ride system for the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show attraction will be similar to Soarin’ at Epcot. Instead of soaring over scenic sights, though, the race will be through the streets and skylines of New York City. The park blog went on to say, “You’ll rocket through the streets—and skies—of New York City, from the deepest subway tunnels to the tallest skyscrapers, encountering colorful characters, famous landmarks and anything else that comes to Jimmy’s mind.”

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon will replace the Twister attraction, which closed on November 2, 2105.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Starting December 1, Disney World guests will delve into special exhibits and behind-the-scenes speak peeks dedicated to the Star Wars saga and upcoming film—Star Wars: The Force Awakens—at Star Wars Launch Bay. Best of all, there will be special opportunities to meet Chewbacca and Darth Vader.

Star Tours Adventure Continues

Star Tours – The Adventures Continue will feature a new adventure inspired by the upcoming film. The new adventure will be featured for several months, then it will rotate with previous experiences.

Star Wars: Path of the Jedi is a visual presentation that include scenes from the Star Wars saga, so even those who aren’t familiar with the iconic films can get in on the action.

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Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple is a reimagined Jedi Training experience taking young talents to the secret site of an ancient Jedi temple where they face off with Darth Vader along with the Seventh Sister—a new villain from the Disney XD series “Star Wars Rebels.”

In 2016, construction will begin on the new 14-acrea Star Wars themed land at Disney Hollywood Studios. The progress will not make Disney’s annual Star Wars Weekends possible in 2016, but once complete, the force will be with Disney every day of the week.

Step into the Star Wars saga this December at Disney World Orlando.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Unwrap a winter wonderland during your visit to Disney World Orlando during Christmastime.  Disney combines festive traditions with modern merriment creating an engaging event for holiday revelers.  The seasonal celebration starts as early as November 7, 2014. 

Check out the holiday highlights of Disney World’s Christmas Celebrations.  Then, start making plans to be in Orlando this holiday season!

Magic Kingdom
The entire Magic Kingdom is swathed in holiday sparkle with festive wreaths, bows, garland, sparkling lights, parades and towering Christmas trees. Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks spectacular and live entertainment with Disney characters all dressed up for the holidays are a few highlights. 

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will run for 20 magical nights this season.  This after-hours ticketed event begins at 7pm and immerses guests in holiday offerings such as stage shows, fireworks, a unique holiday parade and holiday traditions including complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, and snow flurries on Main Street, U.S.A. Specific dates for 2015: 

Nov. 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20 and 29
Dec. 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 18

Cinderella’s Castle will be decorated in Castle Dream Lights transforming it into a glimmering ice palace for the holidays.  200,000 shimmering lights decorate the castle and guests are treated to a nightly celebration and stage show.  Returning to the Magic Kingdom is Queen Elsa, who will be the one to transform Cinderella’s Castle into an ice palace every night starting in November.  This magical production, dubbed A Frozen Holiday Wish, replaces Cinderella’s Holiday Wish stage show.  Secure a spot around the Castle early!  The show starts nightly at 6:15pm.

Frozen characters Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf will be featured in “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.” This parade runs twice nightly at 8:15pm and 10:30pm.

The iconic Jungle Cruise transforms into the “Jingle Cruise” for the holidays. Festive decor greets passenger and the Skipper’s spread Christmas cheer with family-friendly jokes.

In Tommorowland, the acclaimed a cappella group VoicePlay will perform holiday concerts for Disney guests. VoicePlay, who appeared on the TV Show “The Sing Off,” will show off their vocal skills during “A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas.”

Epcot
Candlelight Processional at Epcot is a timeless holiday traction combining seasonal music with a moving reading of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a mass choir and a 50-piece live orchestra.  A few of this year’s celebrity narrators include Neil Patrick Harris, Meredith Viera, Whoopi Goldberg, Chandra Wilson and Blair Underwood.   Candlelight Processional is presented November 27 through December 30 at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:00pm at America Gardens Theater on select nights. For a full list of celebrity narrators, click here. 

Holidays Around the World let Epcot visitors experience traditions and lore from countries across the globe.  Storytellers, meet and greets with Santa and Mrs. Claus and a nightly presentation of “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” add to the fun. 
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The classic Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the last time November 6 through January 3. The spectacle features millions of dancing lights, plus animated displays and 3D effects synchronized to holiday classics amidst snowfall. To make your holiday experience even sweeter by attending the Merry & Bright Dessert Party featuring festive views of the Streets of America or opt for the Merry & Bright Dinner Reception, offering reserved seats with views of the Osborne Spectacle of Lights as well as complimentary drinks, snacks and more.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Celebrate Christmas safari style at the Animal Kingdom.  Join Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Adventurer’s Outpost for a special photo opportunity. Dressed in their holiday best, these souvenirs shots are ideal for Christmas cards and gifts.
Reserve your discount Disney tickets now to experience Christmas at Disney World.  Select tickets currently feature two bonus days.  That means you can pay for a 4-day Disney Park Hopper Ticket and get entrance for your 5th and 6th day free!    It’s a great value and ensures you’ll have plenty of time to see all the holiday sights and sounds at Walt Disney World Orlando.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Build holiday memories with your family at LEGOLAND Florida’s Christmas Bricktacular, Countdown to Kids’ New Year’s Eve and Kids’ New Year’s Eve Bash. All of these special events were created specifically for families and are included with the purchase of discount LEGOLAND tickets. Want to know more about holidays at LEGOLAND? Read on.

LEGOLAND Florida's Christmas Bricktacular

LEGOLAND Florida’s Christmas Bricktacular is featured every weekend in December.

  • December 5-6 (Saturday & Sunday)
  • December 12-13 (Saturday & Sunday)
  • December 19-20 (Saturday & Sunday)
  • December 26-30 (Sunday-Wednesday)

 

Festive activities include:

LEGO Santa Model: Families can take a perfect holiday photo at LEGOLAND Florida, where you can pose with a life-size LEGO Santa Claus.

LEGO Christmas Tree: The more than 30-foot-tall LEGO Christmas tree made with a combination of 270,000 forest green LEGO and DUPLO bricks provides the perfect place for every holiday family photo. Through December 25, a special family will be chosen to help light the Bricktacular tree each night.

LEGOLANDFlorida-Christmas6LEGO Model Build Activity: A LEGO Christmas mosaic guests can assemble alongside Master Model Builders.

LEGO Santa Scavenger Hunt: It’s Christmas Eve in Miniland USA and Santa is busy delivering gifts to all the good girl and boy minilanders. Help find Santa in this fun-filled holiday scavenger hunt. The whole family can enjoy searching for Santa in the over 30 million LEGO bricks that make up Miniland USA.

LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier Characters: Guests will have meet and greet opportunities with LEGOLAND Florida’s special holiday friends, LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier.

Letters to Santa: Visit the Letters to Santa station to write letter to St. Nick and send it to the North Pole.

Holiday Decorations: Guests will get into the holiday spirit with sounds of the season and holiday decorations that fill The Beginning and Fun Town areas of the park along with a winter wonderland feel as snow falls all around them.

Holiday Shopping: LEGOLAND Florida is the best place to celebrate the season and pick up the holiday gifts that are on every child’s wish list – LEGO! With six specialty stores, the park is proud to offer a unique and often hard to find selection of LEGO products and more.

The fun doesn’t end, there, though as once Christmas ends the Countdown to Kids’ New Year’s Eve begins. From December 26-30 watch as a nightly fireworks show lights up the sky over Lake Eloise at 7pm. Don’t forget to put on your special 3D viewing glasses that turn ordinary fireworks into millions of exploding LEGO bricks.

On New Year’s Eve, December 31, LEGOLAND Florida hosts a family themed Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party. Kids can rock out in Miniland USA with a live DJ Dance Party, then watch the grand finale featuring a live-action show, an impressive LEGO fireworks display, and a chance to watch the BRICK Drop at just the right time for kids, midnight KST (Kid Standard Time), otherwise known as 7pm (Eastern Standard Time).

Take in all of the holiday activities at LEGOLAND along with the more 50 rides, shows and attractions available year round. Reserve your LEGOLAND Florida tickets in advance to save over $20 on one and two-day tickets.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Universal Orlando Resort is your home for the holidays.  From December 5, 2015, through January 2, 2016, you can experience Christmas at Universal Orlando Resort with festive events held at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.  Highlights of holidays at Universal Orlando Resort include Grinchmas, Macy’s Holiday Parade and a special concert series starring Mannheim Steamroller.

Universal Holidays

Everyone’s favorite Christmas-stealing Grinch takes over Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure for Grinchmas.  The entire area of the park is transformed into a wonderland of holiday delights.  Stroll through Whoville Wonky Tree Lot, take in the zany holiday decorations and get your photo snapped with the Grinch and other Whoville residents.  The centerpiece of the celebration is the Grinchmas Who-Liday Spectacular.  See characters come to life before your eyes both onstage and off, as Whos from Who-ville stroll through Seuss Landing, ready to say hello and spread good cheer.  If you want to add even more Grinch to your Christmas the Holiday Breakfast with the Grinch is served up select mornings with the Grinch, Whos and other memorable Dr. Seuss characters making appearances.

Over at Universal Studios Orlando you’ll be transported to the streets of New York City for the annual Macy’s Holiday Parade.  Authentic floats and balloons direct from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City are featured, along with festive street performers and talented marching bands from around the country.  Even Santa makes an appearance!  Afterwards, enjoy spectacular tree lighting with music and a dazzling display of lights.  Holiday shows bring a dash of merriment to Universal Studios too.  Kids will love the magical A Barney Holiday, while adults can watch Jake and Elwood perform festive favorites at The Blues Brothers Holiday Show.

Gear up for a musical experience with Mannheim Steamroller as part of your day at the park.  They’ll take the Music Plaza Stage as part of Universal Orlando Christmas.  The Grammy Award-winning , platinum selling group will perform on December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20, 2015. 

Best of all, holidays at Universal Orlando Resort events are included with your admission.  Purchase discount Universal Orlando tickets to see why this Orlando theme park is your home for the holidays.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

orlando eventsCheck out these Orlando events happening December 2015:

December 1-19:  Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
This special Magic Kingdom festival is filled with fireworks, a holiday parade, cookies and cocoa, snow fall on Main Street USA, and more. Held 7pm-midnight on select nights. Special ticket rates apply.

December 1-31:  Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration
Fridays-Sundays guests can experience special entertainment, festive treats, holiday shopping, and beautiful Christmas decorations during Christmas Town. A separate ticket is required.

December 1-29:  Holidays at Disney Springs
Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney, will have live entertainment, festive decorations, and Santa Claus during the holiday season.

December 1-30:  Epcot’s Candlelight Processional
Candlelight Processional is held nightly at the America Gardens Theatre in Epcot. Special guests narrate the event, including Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Gary Sinese, and more.

December 1-31:  Christmas Bricktacular
The annual Christmas Bricktacular at Legoland Florida takes place every weekend in December. View the 30’ tall Lego Christmas tree, do some holiday shopping, and enjoy the holiday decorations and music.

December 1-31:  SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration Experience
SeaWorld’s winter wonderland with a Sea of Trees, carols, ice skaters, and a journey to the North Pole on The Polar Express Experience.

December 1 – January 3:  The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to one of the most amazing Christmas light shows in the country. The lights display is included with regular admission to the theme park.

December 1 – January 3: Ice at Gaylord Palms
See Ma in her kerchief, Pa in his cap and more as the classic holiday poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, is brought to life in TWO MILLION pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures, including two-story tall ice slides. This awe-inspiring Gaylord Palms experience concludes with the wonder and majesty of a full nativity in stunning, crystal clear ice.

December 5 – January 2:  Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort
Celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort including great events like Grinchmas, Macy’s Holiday Parade, and holiday concerts by Mannheim Steamroller.

December 31: New Year’s Eve at LEGOLAND
On New Year’s Eve, December 31, LEGOLAND Florida hosts a family themed Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party. Kids can rock out in Miniland USA with a live DJ Dance Party, then watch the grand finale featuring a live-action show, an impressive LEGO fireworks display, and a chance to watch the BRICK Drop at just the right time for kids, midnight KST (Kid Standard Time), otherwise known as 7pm (Eastern Standard Time).

December 31:  New Year’s Eve at SeaWorld
A musical celebration and fireworks show will ring in the New Year at SeaWorld Orlando.

With the holidays quickly approaching, many families are planning a visit to Orlando to celebrate. Just like the summer months, the winter season is busy in Central Florida. Disney World fully embraces the magic of Christmas and each park presents festive ways to make your holiday vacation a memorable one. Even with the throngs of people, it’s possible to enjoy the parks if you follow these helpful tips for dealing with Disney World crowds.

Disney Copyright Family MK

Have a Plan
To make the most of your time, especially when crowds are involved, be sure to have a plan. Know what you want to do, what you can skip and try to avoid those people clogging sidewalks with a “What do we do now?” conference. With My Disney Experience, you can reserve FastPass+, dining and other activities up to 180 days in advance. Believe me when I say, being able to skip lines and eat without a wait will save your nerves you think they can’t be stepped on one more time before you lose it.

Disney PRINCESS_V5[2]Pack your Patience
Speaking of losing it—try not to! Pack your patience because no matter what you do you will still have to deal with throngs of people. Help keep Disney World Orlando the magical place on earth by keeping kindness at the forefront of your day, too. You’d be surprised how far a smile and a thank you will get you.

Embrace the Crazy
Instead of bemoaning your day at Disney because it’s not exactly like world depicted on commercials, embrace the crazy. There’s plenty of charm to be found in the crowds, as it kind of feels like you’re celebrating the holidays with thousands of your newest friends. Plus, you might think an empty park would be more enjoyable but really it’s rather boring. The mix and mingle of the crowds actually adds a bit of excitement as it feels like you’re part of something truly magical.

0918ZY_0886CG_RSZUpgrade Your Options
One surefire way to avoid the biggest crowds is by taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours offered to Disney Resort guests. The ability to arrive an hour early, or stay on hour later, than general Disney theme parks guests means you’ll have more of the park to yourself before the masses really start to pile in. If you’re staying at an off-property hotel, it still pays off to arrive early as crowds don’t really begin until late morning (10am).

Remember…It’s Vacation!
My Dad always says a day on the lake is better than any day at work. The same holds true for a day at a Disney World Theme Park. No matter how busy it is, I always walk away with a smile on my face and am happy to have got my Disney fix. As with any day, it is what you make it. And at Disney World, you can make it a really great one if you want to. Take a deep breath, relax and enjoy your vacation!

Do you have any tips to handling Disney World crowds? Tell me about them in the comments.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Come celebrate 25 years of unforgettable moments at Universal Orlando’s 25th Anniversary Concert Series. In addition to all your favorite rides, shows and attractions, on select nights November 14 – November 28 the stage at Universal Studios will come alive with amazing live performances.

UOR_25_LogoPerformers include Grammy award winner Colbie Caillat, multi-platinum artist Carlie Rae Jepsen, and hitmaker Jason Derulo, among others.

The full line-up includes:

Nov. 14 (7 p.m.) – Jason Derulo
Nov. 21 (7 p.m.) – Colbie Caillat
Nov. 22 (8 p.m.) – Flo Rida
Nov. 27 (8 p.m.) – Carly Rae Jepsen
Nov. 28 (8 p.m.) – Daughtry

The 25th Anniversary Concert Series is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida or with an Annual Pass.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.