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You won’t find snowmen or below-zero temperatures in the Sunshine State, but there are still plenty of holiday activities to get you in the festive mood among the 70-degree winter weather and sunny beach days. From ice-skating to enchanted forests to dazzling light displays, Florida has an abundance of family-friendly winter wonderland-like venues that will put even the biggest Grinch in the holiday spirit. Here is a snapshot of the top Christmas Events in Florida that are sure to bring out the biggest holiday cheer.
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One of Disney’s biggest annual events, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a spectacular holiday event held in the Magic Kingdom with remarkable fireworks, castle dream lights, parades, and an endless amount of Christmas shows. Live entertainment comes in the form of stage shows, character dance parties, and meet and greets in addition to complimentary cookies and hot cocoa to keep everyone in the festive mood.
Dates: Select days from November 8th to December 22nd, 2019
One of America’s most charming cities, St. Augustine also boasts a 26-year-old annual award-winning holiday lights display tradition. Once awarded one of the top 10 Best Holiday Lighting Displays In The World by National Geographic, visitors will find an impressive display of dazzling lights strung along the bayfront towards the Christmas tree placed in the center of the historic town plaza. Watch the annual Christmas parade weave down the 450-year-old brick streets, take a picture with Santa, or shop among the illuminated magical streets. Visitors can take horse and carriage tours of the city or hop on one of the iconic local Christmas tours.
Dates: Every night from November 23rd – February 2nd, 2020
Transforming the entire park into a magical winter wonderland, Busch Gardens Christmas Town in Tampa is an impressive display of celebration with an array of live entertainment options, holiday shopping, and plenty of festive treats. With over two million twinkling lights creating a dazzling ambiance, visitors have previously found an over-the-top Santa House complete with elves, Mrs. Clause, photo opportunities and of course party treats like peppermint hot chocolate, warm cookies, and pumpkin funnel cakes to satisfy your sweet tooth. Perfect for creating family traditions, the park is known for having cheery surprises such as being able to meet the big man himself.
Dates: Select days from November 16th – January 6th, 2020
Arguably the most festive hotel in Orlando, Gaylord Palms holds an annual ICE! event that takes holiday cheer to another level. Visitors can experience Christmas Around the World displayed through impressive displays of interactive ice sculptures carved from 2 million pounds of ice. While Floridians might fear the freezing 9-degree temperatures, Gaylord has visitors covered with complimentary coats and gloves provided. Previous events also included a thrilling light show, live performances, ice slides, gingerbread crafting, and a personal meet and greet with Dreamworks characters.
Dates: November 25th – January 5th, 2020
A magical event that lights up Pensacola during the holiday season, the Pensacola Winterfest promises visitors a wonderful journey. With plenty of hot chocolate and cheer, the festival lights up the streets from Downtown Pensacola to the Historic Seville and Palafox Business District. The little ones can meet Santa, join the special Polar Express Mini-Tour or Puppet Magic Mini-Tour, while the hour-long Performance Tour promises even more, with live performances from some of the most beloved characters that include Snoopy, Elvis, Frost, and the Whos of Whoville. There’s even a Scrooge and Grinch Mini-tour available.
Dates: Select days from November 29th to December 24th, 2019. Official website
The closest thing many Floridians will get to a white Christmas, the annual Now Snowing event in Celebration is a beloved attraction providing white flurries from the Florida sky. With Charles Dickens Carolers, live performances, horse-drawn carriage rides, an ice rink, a Celebration Express train and photo ops with Santa. There are plenty of opportunities to create long-lasting family memories in this picturesque and charming small town. The real highlight, however, is the nightly snowfall that will leave you and your family awe-struck at the holiday wonder.
Dates: November 30th – December 31st, 2019
A unique Christmas attraction and Central Florida’s newest theme park, LEGOLAND holds an annual Florida Christmas Bricktacular that is sure to impress both kids and kids at heart. Visitors will find a 30-foot Christmas tree and life-sized Santa made out of LEGO’s in addition to an array of festive decorations and holiday-themed scavenger hunts. After building next to LEGO Master Model Builders and meeting LEGO Santa and Toy Soldiers, visitors can soak in the vibrant fireworks displays set to classic Christmas tunes.
Dates: November 29-30, and December 1, 7-8, 14-15, 20-31, 2019
With an insane amount activities, rides, and entertainment, Santa’s Enchanted Forest is the premier holiday event in the area. Boasting over 100 rides, animal encounters, adventure experiences, and a long list of interactive games, the Enchanted Forest offers hours of family-friendly festive fun. Both kids and adults alike can enjoy roller-coasters, balloon darts, face painting, petting zoos, and much more. Christmas-related activities include holiday karaoke, live music, light shows, photos with Santa and millions of dazzling lights along South Florida’s tallest Christmas tree.
Dates: October 31st – January 5th, 2020
For those looking for a unique Christmas parade and experience, they will certainly find it at the St. Pete Beach Boat Parade and Winter Festival in the Park. Try something new this year and head to this stunning event, as there is nothing quite like a twinkling parade of boats among a classic Florida ambiance. Visitors can get in the Christmas spirit watching the long fleet of boats floating past on the water in addition to the other Christmas-related activities that are offered, such as live entertainment and a holiday market.