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Seven More Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Orlando

Interested in heading south for the holidays? Here are some tips on celebrating Christmas and New Year’s in and around Orlando, Florida.

• The joy of snow: Missing the cold, white North? Snow falls nightly in Orlando through New Year’s Eve every hour from 6 to 9 on Market Street in Town Center in Celebration, a town built by Disney, a five-minute drive from the Magic Kingdom. Those who visit can have their photos taken with Santa, take horse-and-carriage rides and train rides, and listen to choirs, carolers and concerts. The town has a hotel, a 115-room Old Florida-style inn opened in 1999 that resembles a turn-of-the-previous-century lakeside hotel named Celebration Hotel.

• Snow — and fish: SeaWorld Orlando also features snowfalls. “Christmas at SeaWorld” includes festive decorations, snowfalls and live holiday music from classical musicians and carolers. The event is included in daily park admission, which is $64.95 for adults, $53.95 for children ages 3-9, and free for children 2 and under.

• A lantern-led tour in Amelia Island: In December each year the Museum of History presents Holiday Luminary tours of historic downtown Fernandina Beach. The tours are held Friday and Saturday by reservation only at 6 and 7 p.m. The tour begins at the train depot on Centre Street. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and military.

• Twinkling in St. Augustine: Holiday season in the country’s oldest city began Nov. 17 when more than 2 million tiny white lights were lit along its streets during its annual Nights of Lights. The lights remain until Jan. 31.

• Holidays with the mouse: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Disney’s Magic Kingdom features a series of fun nighttime events for the little ones including holiday shows, fireworks, and magic treats with Minnie and Mickey.

Holidays Around the World at Epcot features international holiday storytellers, a daily character tree lighting ceremony and a stunning display of snow-white lights.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights electrifies Disney Hollywood Studios with millions of sparkling lights. The event is included in daily park admission.

• Go wild in Tampa: Busch Gardens Africa hosts a “wild” celebration concluding with its New Year’s Eve spectacular. Guests will enjoy four nights of special entertainment, which culminate with a night of fantastic thrills on Dec. 31. The adventure also includes a dazzling fireworks display and nonstop coaster rides until 1 a.m.

• Find comfort and joy in Winter Park: For the 29th year, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, known for its comprehensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany jewelry, pottery and leaded-glass windows, lights up century-old Tiffany windows in downtown Winter Park, just north of downtown Orlando, on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. The lighting ceremony is complemented by a free outdoor concert featuring the 150-voice Bach Festival Society choir.

Information courtesy of Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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