Theme parks in Orlando and Tampa are decked out with boughs of holly, plus 70-foot Christmas trees, miles of garland, and millions of lights. And the “weather forecast” calls for “snow flurries” at many of them .A bit of advice, though: This time of year — particularly over Christmas and New Year’s — is not the best for an introductory trip to Florida’s theme parks. They are generally crowded, so it will be harder to hit all the main attractions. Here’s a park-by-park lineup of holiday attractions and festivities:
Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay: The Stanleyville Theater presents an ice show with professional skaters who bring a winter wonderland to life and the Marrakesh Theater features “Christmas from the Heart” with holiday gospel and spiritual songs performed by a live choir.”Christmas Celebration” returns to the park’s Desert Grill with seasonal songs, tap-dancing toy soldiers and a visit from Santa and his elves.Strolling carolers and Christmas characters provide entertainment, and poinsettias and festive decorations add holiday touches. Festivities are included in admission: $67.95 for adults and $57.95 for children.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade showcases characters, floats and large puppets with a holiday twist, Nov. 28-Jan. 4. Meet Disney characters decked out in holiday finery at Camp Minnie-Mickey, with entertainment, photo opportunities and decorated Christmas trees. Events are included in admission: $75 for adults; $63 for children.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, Nov. 28-Jan. 4, boasts millions of lights. The display features animated sparkling angels, Christmas trees and everything from Mickey Mouse to Santa Claus in lights. “Snowfalls” put the finishing touches to the winter wonderland.Included in admission: $75 for adults, $63 for children.
Epcot: Holidays Around the World at Epcot, presented Nov. 28-Dec. 30, features storytellers, a daily character tree-lighting ceremony, a display of snow-white lights and other decorations. The Candlelight Processional is featured three times each evening and includes a 50-piece orchestra, choir and a celebrity narrator telling the Christmas story. Included in admission: $75 for adults, $63 for children.
Islands of Adventure: Islands of Adventure celebrates Dr. Seuss’ world with “Grinchmas,” inspired on the story and movie, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Seuss Landing is transformed into a bah-humbug haven, where visitors can meet the Grinch in his lair, outfitted with authentic movie props, and enjoy a musical stage show retelling the story. Festivities included in admission: $75 for adults, $63 for children.
Magic Kingdom: A 70-foot-tall Christmas tree decorated with Victorian-style ornaments is the centerpiece on Main Street. Miles of garlands, poinsettias and lights evoke the spirit of the season. Every evening Cinderella’s Castle is illuminated with 200,000 white lights and entertainment includes musicals and carolers.Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is presented on select evenings, Nov. 10-Dec. 19.The party includes shows, fireworks, cookies and cocoa, and the Once Upon A Christmastime Parade with Disney characters, marching toy soldiers and dancing snowflakes. Oh, and there’s a 100 percent chance of “snow flurries.” Admission to this evening event is $55.95 for adults, $49.95 for children.
SeaWorld Orlando: Christmas at SeaWorld, Nov. 24-Jan. 1, offers decorations, “snowfalls” along The Waterfront, and carolers and classical musicians. Included in admission: $69.95 for adults, $59.95 for children.The Polar Express Experience runs Nov. 14-Jan. 4. The park’s Wild Arctic area transforms into Santa Town, taking visitors on a trip to the North Pole. The attraction is based on the film, inspired by the children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. The experience includes classic scenes from the movie, lighting, sound, scent, motion effects and animal encounters with beluga whales, polar bears and walruses. The smell of Christmas cookies fill the air, bright lights glisten on a towering tree and families greet Santa.
Universal Studios: Macy’s Holiday Parade comes to Universal Studios from Dec. 7 to Jan. 1 with some of the most popular balloons and floats of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Other festivities include a tree-lighting ceremony with Santa. Event included in regular admission: $75 for adults, $63 for children.
Information courtesy of South Florida Sun-Sentinel