Affordable Holiday Events in Orlando and Sanford FL 2009

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Wow, I can not believe it is December already!! Where has the year gone??

Well, first of all my apologies to all the readers of Sanford365 – as you may have noticed I have had some type of “blogger’s block” lately. There hasn’t been too much going on here, partially also because I have been thinking hard about where I want to take this blog in the future… Anyway, the break is over and just in time for the holiday season I have my energy back – even though I got really frustrated after missing out on the cutest netbook during last week’s crazy Black Friday sale…should have known better that getting up at 5am will never beat staying up all night and starting the line at 2am, but that’s another story…*sigh*

In this post I just wanted to share Central Florida’s hottest (or shall I say, coldest) Holiday events for 2009. Many of them you will recognize from the previous holiday season and last year’s post on Sanford365, I know, there are always the classics, especially the theme parks. Nevertheless, there are also many local events, most of them very affordable for the whole family, and, of course, I would like to start out the list with my favorite place in Central Florida, Sanford 🙂

This is how I divided the list:

  1. Sanford Holiday Events
  2. Seminole County Holiday Events
  3. Orlando Area Holiday Events
  4. Orlando Theme Park Holiday Events

1. Affordable Holiday Events in Sanford FL

What I like about the Sanford area is that there is lots to do at an affordable price. That is especially great for families with kids. No need to drive all the way down to the attractions to spend your hard earned money (unless you want to of course…).

Christmas in the Square Tree Lighting Ceremony – December 4th – FREE

Where: Magnolia Square, Sanford FL
When: December 4th, 6pm-8pm
More info: 407.688.5120

Kicking off the 2009 Holiday season in Sanford is the Christmas in the Square Tree Lighting Ceremony on beautifully decorated Magnolia Square. With live entertainment, face painters, and balloon artists old and young alike will enjoy this fun event – and hopefully it will put everyone in a right holiday mood. Rumor has it, Santa himself will show up to collect wish lists from the kids, so have them ready! The event starts at 6pm and ends around 8pm. Please call 407.688.5120 for more info.

Annual Holiday Tour of Homes – December 4th & 5th

Where: Historic Sanford, meeting 8th and Oak Avenue
When: December 4th from 6pm to 9:30pm
More info: Welcome Center (407.302.2586) and Chamber of Commerce (407.322.2212)

By now a true classic, the annual Holiday Tour of Homes is a great way to explore Historic Sanford during Christmas season, when homes are so beautifully decorated.This is already the 21st year of the tour which proves even more what a great success it is, year after year. The tour is divided into a Night (Candlelight) and Day Tour. The Candlelight Tour will take place on Friday, December 4th from 6pm to 9:30pm starting at 8th and Oak Avenue in the historic residential district of Sanford. Enjoy live music and sample appetizers from local restaurants as you tour through these beautiful old Victorian homes. Aren’t we all a bit curious how these homes look inside? Well, this is the perfect time to explore exactly that! There will even be a horse-drawn carriage available for romantic rides through the oak lined brick streets.

The Day Tour of Homes will take place on Saturday, December 5th from 11am to 4pm. During this tour you will also get to see gardens, galleries, businesses and churches. Light refreshments will be served at the Bettye Smith Cultural Art Center, the tour headquarters. This is also the location where the the popular Tablescapes will be displayed. 11AM – 4PM.

Tickets are available at the Welcome Center (407.302.2586) and Chamber of Commerce (407.322.2212).

Student Museum Rummage Sale/Silent Auction and Annual Holiday Open House – December 5th – FREE

Serena Fisher from the Sanford Student Museum was so nice to send us this event tip. Thank you!

Where: Sanford Student Museum
When: 8am – 3pm
More info: 407. 936.1679

Also on Saturday, December 5th, the West Wing of the Student Museum will be open for a Rummage Sale/Silent Auction from 8am to 1pm. Silent Auction items include quality decor items, fine china, a handsome high quality wood CPU unit, and themed gift baskets. Other sale items include jewelry, household items, purses, books, toys, holiday decorations. Of special interest are wooden auditorium seats from the historic Sanford High School/ Junior High School. The sale and auction benefits restoration projects at the Student Museum.

The annual Holiday Open House will take place from 10AM – 3PM in conjunction with the above mentioned Historic Tour of Homes. Visiting the museum will be free! All exhibit rooms and the Teaching Gardens will be decorated for the season. For more info call 407. 936.1679.

4th Annual Illuminated Christmas Parade – December 5th – FREE

Where: First Street, Sanford
When: December 5th, 6pm
More info: Welcome Center (407.302.2586)

Don’t miss the Annual Illuminated Christmas Parade in downtown Sanford. It starts at 6pm on First Street with one of Orlando’s most famous residents, Mickey and Minnie.  On top of that there will be more than 40 entries including bands, floats, and marching units. Last but not least, Santa will be there as well. This is an exciting event for the little ones so mark your calendars. Cartoons for the kids begin at 5PM at 1st and Park Avenue. After the parade there will be a concert by the Seminole High School Band Ensemble. This is a great night to enjoy beautiful downtown Sanford and get in the spirit of the holiday season!

Holiday Open House at Gallery on First – December 6th – FREE

Where: Gallery on First, Sanford FL
When: December 6th from 2pm to 5pm

Gallery on First will be holding a Holiday Open House on Sunday, December 6th from 2pm to 5pm. This is a free event with refreshments. Join the artists at Gallery on First for a month long sale of award winning watercolors, drawings, pottery, oil acrylic and mixed media paintings. The gallery is located on 211 East 1st Street in downtown Sanford.

Holiday Pops Concert – December 6th and December 8th – FREE

Where: Fine Arts Concert Hall, Seminole State College of Florida, 100 Weldon Blvd., Sanford
When: 3pm on December 6th and 7:30 pm on December 8th
More info: Please call 407-708-2040 or visit http://www.seminolestate.edu/arts/arts-events.php

The Seminole State College of Florida Holiday Pops Concert featuring the college’s bands and choirs will take place at 3pm on December 6th and 7:30 pm on December 8th and is free to the public.  Fine Arts Concert Hall, Seminole State College of Florida, 100 Weldon Blvd., Sanford. Please call 407-708-2040 or visit http://www.seminolestate.edu/arts/arts-events.php for more info.

Cheers to the Holidaze- December 10th – FREE

Where: First Street, Sanford
When: December 10th, 5pm-9pm
More info: Welcome Center (407.302.2586)

Another fun Alive After Five event in downtown Sanford on and around First Street. This month’s Alive After Five will be the annual Holiday Event with lots of music, fun and great food and drink samples. If you want to sample food and drinks, please purchase a wristband at the booth on First and Park or First and Palmetto for $7 and you’re good to go. The event starts at 5pm and ends around 9pm.

View a video of last year’s Cheers to the Holidaze Alive After Five Event:

[wpvideo aCHI7HLv]

Breakfast (or brunch) at the Zoo with Santa – December 12th

Where: Sanford Zoo
When: December 12th, breakfast at 9:00 am and brunch at 11:00 am
More info: 407.323.4450 ext. 123

This is your chance to meet Santa at the Central Florida Zoo. This is a holiday themed family event with lots of fun activities. The little ones will also be able to share their wish list with Santa and, of course, experience up-close animal encounters. After breakfast everyone can enjoy creating a special animal treat and then watch as the Zoo Keepers give the animals these special holiday gifts that were made. Please call 407.323.4450 ext. 123 for seating times, reservations and pricing. Breakfast will take place at 9:00 a.m. and Brunch at 11:00 a.m.

Also a great idea is “Gift it Green” — visit the zoo’s green craft table where you can participate in making gifts from recycled products and  then wrap it at the green gift wrapping station.

Holiday Theatre at the Wayne Densch Performing Art Center – December 12th and 20th at 2pm

Where: Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center
When: December 12th and 20th at 2pm
More info: http://www.helenstairstheatre.com/

On December 12th there will be a showing of A Dickens Tale and on December 20th a showing of The Brave Tin Soldier. For more information and to purchase tickets, please click here.

Lake Monroe’s Illuminated Christmas Boat Parade – December 12th – FREE

Where: Veteran’s Memorial Park in Sanford, Wolfy’s Bar & Grill or anywhere around Lake Monroe in downtown Sanford
When: December 12th at 5pm
More info: 407-330-0633

On December 12th starting at 5pm, stop by the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Sanford or Wolfy’s Bar & Grill for an amazing look of the beautifully decorated and illuminated boat parade on Lake Monroe. This is a free event. Call 407-330-0633 for more info.

Seminole Town Center Mall  – Photos with Santa

Where: Seminole Town Center Mall
When: Monday-Thursday: 11 am-8 pm – Friday and Saturday: 10 am-9 pm – Sundays: Noon-6 pm
More info: http://www.simon.com/mall/default.aspx?ID=122

Through December 24th Santa will be available for photos at the Seminole Town Center Mall. As usual, photo prices will vary depending on your selected print. Children will also receive a FREE gift with each visit, while supplies last.

Here are Santa’s hours at the Seminole Town Center Mall:

  • Monday-Thursday, 11 am-8 pm
  • Friday and Saturday, 10 am-9 pm
  • Sundays Noon-6 pm

Santa will have special hours Sunday, December 16 and 23 (12 p.m.-8 p.m.) and Monday, December 24 (9 a.m.-6 p.m.).

2. (Affordable) Holiday Events in Seminole County

Little Drummer Boy: A marionette Show – November 30th – December 6th

Where: Pinocchio Marionette Theatre, Altamonte Springs, FL
When: through December 6th
More info: 407-677-8831, Ext. 100 or visit www.pinocchios.net

This holiday season the Pinocchio Marionette Theatre in Altamonte Springs, FL will entertain young and old with the Little Drummer Boy marionette show. Tickets are available for only $5 (with children under 2 free).

This show is based on traditional European puppet plays with the French version of Mr. Punch featuring a naughty main character, a silly devil, and a hungry alligator with an appetite for his wooden co-stars! Sounds quite entertaining to me 🙂

Reservations are encouraged for all performances. You may pay for your reservation when you arrive. Additional show times may be available during the week. Contact Pinocchio’s Box Office for current schedule: 407-677-8831, Ext. 100 or visit www.pinocchios.net

Festival of Trees – December 3 and 5th – FREE

Where: Lake Mary Historical Museum – 158 N. Country Club Road, Lake Mary, FL
When: December 3rd from 6:30 to 8:30 pm

The Festival of Trees in Lake Mary takes place on Thursday December 3rd from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m  and Saturday, December 5th from 10 am to 2 pm at the Lake Mary Historical Museum (158 N. Country Club Road, Lake Mary, FL). The museum will be decorated for the holidays and filled with a variety of trees donated for silent auction by community organizations and businesses including, “A Beary Merry Christmas,” a nine-foot tree covered in collectible teddy bears.

Santa’s Breakfast and Festival December 5th

Where: St. Peter’s Preschool & Kindergarten – 700 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL
When: December 5th, 8am-11am
More info: 407-333-1707

A fun event for the little ones is Santa’s Breakfast and Festival at  St. Peter’s Preschool & Kindergarten in Lake Mary (700 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL). From 8am to 11 am there will be raffles, moonwalks, pony rides, games, clowns – and of course, Santa. Advance tickets can be purchased for only $4-$6 per person, or $1 more day of event. Please call 407-333-1707 for more info.

Light Up The Holidays – December 5th – FREE

Where: Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs
When: December 5th from  5pm to 9 pm
More info: 407-571-8863

Another magical tree and park lighting ceremony with lots of holiday entertainment will take place on December 5th from  5pm to 9 pm at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs (Altamonte Springs Drive, Altamonte Springs). This is a fun event that will certainly get you in the holiday spirit – and best of all, it’s free! Call 407-571-8863 for more information.

Holiday Movie Nights – December 7th, 14th and 21st – FREE

Where: Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs
When: December 7th, 14th and 21st at 7pm
More info: 407-571-8863

Monday nights is holiday movie night at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs. Bring a blanket and watch a great holiday movie on the lawn. The showings start at 7pm and are free! Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs Drive, Altamonte Springs- Please call 407-571-8863 for more information!

December 7th: Home Alone

December 14th: not announced yet

December 21: 3 classic cartoons Rudolpoh the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frostie the Snowman and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Santa Tuesday’s – December 8th, 15th and 22nd – FREE

Where: Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs
When: December 8th, 15th and 22nd
More info: 407-571-8863

On Tuesdays Santa will be present at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs, so bring your wish list! This is a fun event with great entertainment, food and beverages. Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs Drive, Altamonte Springs- Please call 407-571-8863 for more information!

A Visit From Father Christmas – December 11th

Where: Lake Mary Historical Museum- 158 N. Country Club Road, Lake Mary
When: December 11th at 7pm
More info: 407-585-1481

A Visit From Father Christmas is an event that takes place at the Lake Mary Historical Museum (158 N. Country Club Road, Lake Mary).  Starting at 7pm (seating at 6:30pm), Storyteller Joe Rosier will portray Father Christmas and tell stories of his many adventures bringing gifts and happiness to children around the world. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are required. $5 for adults, $2 for children 17 or younger. Please call 407-585-1481 for more information.

3. Holiday Events 2009 in and around Orlando FL

Light Up UCF 2009 – Through January 8th

Where: UCF, Orlando
When: through January 8th
More info: http://www.lightupucf.com/

This is a must go in Orlando. Check out 50 nights of music, lights and ice. UCF is bringing the winter and everything that’s fun about it down to Florida, including Central Florida’s largest outdoor ice skating rink and 100 ft ice slide. Prices are very affordable and movies are free.

The ice rink is open daily and on weekends until 12am. There will be a DJ spinning classic holiday songs as well as Top 40 hits. Sounds like a blast!

For more info visit http://www.lightupucf.com/

Ice Skating Rink at Lake Eola – December 11th-20th

Where: Lake Eola Park, Orlando FL
When: December 11th to 20th
More info: 407-898-3130

Wow, so ice skating by the lake is not only something Northerners can do these days 🙂 New this year is the ice skating rink at Lake Eola (southeast corner over water on the International Bridge). Sure, we may never see Lake Eola frozen, but it’s quite a nice idea to bring some of the major symbols of the holiday season (just think of NYC’s ice skating rink!)to sunny Florida. Also sure, unfortunately, this may not be great for the environment so I’m a bit torn… NEvertheless, I am sure this will be a huge hit (despite the rink’s small size of barely 2,500 square feet). The official opening of the rink will be December 11th. Retail and food vendors will be present. Hours are daily from 12pm to 8pm Sundays to Thursdays, and 12pm to 10pm Fridays and Saturdays (perfect to visit some of the neighboring bars for a warm drink after the ice skating adventure).

Don’t have ice skates? Don’t worry, for an additional $3 (on top of the $7 entry fee) you will be able to rent ice skates. I am glad I brought my skates from Germany, finally a worthy event to use them, as weird as it may sound to my friends back home, I will be ice skating under palms 🙂

Call 407-898-3130 for more info.

For those of you seeking more space and willing to sacrifice the outdoor experience with those nightly snow falls , visit the Maitland RDV Sportsplex Ice Den.

Maitland RDV Sportsplex Ice Den Snow Fest – December 19th

Where: Maitland RDV Sportsplex Ice Den – 8701 Maitland Summit Blvd., Orlando FL
When: December 19th
More info: 407-916-2442 or click here.

They are having a Snow Fest from 2pm-6pm on December 19th ($13 admission adults, $7 ages 13 and younger). RDV Sportsplex Ice Den, 8701 Maitland Summit Blvd., Orlando. Call 407-916-2442 for more info or click here.

ICE! at Gaylord Palms Resort – Through January 3rd

Where: Gaylord Palms Resort, 6000 W Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL
When: through January 3rd
More info: Click here to visit the main web site for more info

Another icy event that needs to be mentioned at this point is ICE! at Gaylord Palms Resort (6000 W Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL). This event has also become quite a classic in Central Florida (7th season this year) and is very popular among old and young.

Who says Christmas in Orlando is all about theme parks, swimming pools and sunshine? How about an entire attraction hand-carved from ice and chilled to 9 degrees? Gaylord Palms Resort, Orlando’s holiday headquarters, presents this amazing holiday spectacle, created from nearly TWO MILLION pounds of ice!

This award-winning attraction is one of the few places in the world where you can see the work of the famed ice carvers of Harbin, China. Tickets are around $18 for adults and $10 for children.

Click here to visit the main web site for more info

This year new: Noche Latina at ICE! On December 4th from 9:30pm to 11:30pm with fun Latin Christmas traditions, music (Parrandas) and typical food (tembleque, pudin de pan and arroz con dulce among others) and drinks (coquito anyone?)! Tickets to the event are $19.99 for adults and $9.99 for children. A portion of the ticket’s proceeds will benefit the new scholarship fund for the Hispanic Business Council of the Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce.

Leu Gardens Holiday House – through January 7th, 2010

Where: Harry P. Leu Gardens, 1920 N. Forest Avenue, Orlando, FL
When: through January 7th, 2010
More info: www.leugardens.org or call 407-246-2620

The Leu Gardens are not only a special place to visit throughout the year: this holiday season the Leu House Museum has been decorated beautifully for the holidays in an Art Deco style by Seminole Community College Interior Design Students and Ron’s Miniature Shop & Museum. The museum will be open daily from 10am to 3:30pm, the gardens from 9am to 5pm. Guided tours are available every half an hour. Admission is $5 which included your visit to the gardens and $1 for kids. Special Tip: Monday mornings from 9am to 12pm, admission is free!

Holidays at the Waterhouse – through January 10th, 2010

Where: Waterhouse Residence Museum, 840 Lake Lily Dr, Maitland, FL
When: through January 10th, 2010
More info: (407) 644-2451, or visit www.maitlandhistory.org.

Maitland Historical Society presents Holidays at the Waterhouse. The Waterhouse Family is ready to celebrate Christmas Eve with Victorian tree decorations, gifts, a holiday meal on the table and more. Traditions represent a combination of both Victorian and typical Floridian Christmas decor. Guests will find an extra treat on their tour as they search for the annual visitor, the Waterhouse Mouse!

Orlando Repertory Theatre – Dear Santa – through December 20th, 2009

Where: Orlando Repertory Theatre, 1001 E Princeton Street, Orlando, FL
When: Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm & 7pm and Sundays at 2pm
More info: 407-896-7365 or visit www.orlandorep.com

In the mood for some holiday theatre? Then definitely visit the Orlando Repertory Theatre in Orlando and see “Dear Santa”. Below is the synopsis…

It is the time of year to peek into the magical and timeless world of the North Pole, bustling workshops, cheerful elves and the jolly old leader himself, Santa Claus. Santa’s efficient, yet frenzied Chief of Staff, the ditzy housekeeper with a secret crush, the high-pressure sleigh salesman and the workshop foreman who does not quite command the English language all combine to keep the place running like clockwork, with the exception of a few mishaps. Soon, a request from one child’s letter throws everything off course and the answer lies in rediscovering the Christmas spirit. Fun for the whole family.

“Now Snowing” in Downtown Celebration – through December 31st, 2009 – FREE

Where: Market Street, Town of Celebration, Celebration, FL
When: through December 31st
More info: 407-566-2200 or visit www.celebrationtowncenter.com

This is an event I enjoyed quite a bit, even though it’s obviously not really snowing in Florida. It does put me into some sort of holiday mood though, the lights in Celebration are always amazing, and so is strolling through the streets.

Well, can you guess what’s happening at this daily event? Yes, it snows, that’s right! You have to see it for yourself, so take a trip down to Celebration! The snow begins at 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm for ten minutes. Best of all, just like snow in real life, it’s free 🙂

Margeson Theater: On Stage – Every Christmas Story Ever Told – through December 27th, 2009

Where: Margeson Theater, 812 E. Rollins St., Orlando
When: Wednesday and Thursday: 7pm – Friday and Saturday: 8pm – Sunday: 2pm
More info:  Box Office: (407) 447-1700, x 1 – Box Office Hours: Monday through Saturday from 10AM to 5PM

Produced by the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre company this play seems qite interesting to me. It promises to tell us every Christmas story ever told, in 90 minutes…
You can purchase tickets online at www.orlandoshakes.org.

History Center Holiday at Heritage Square – December 2nd – FREE

Where: Orange County Regional History Center, 65 E Central Blvd, Orlando
When: December 2nd, 5:30pm
More info: Call (407) 836-7010 for information, or visit www.thehistorycenter.org

Don’t miss the lighting of downtown Orlando’s Heritage Square! The major himself will flip the switch at around 6pm. Right after you’re invited to visit the History Center. Entertainment at this free event starts at 5:30pm and the event will end around 9pm.

Holiday Family Movie at Leu Gardens – December 4th

Where: Harry P. Leu Gardens, Winter Park, FL
When: December 4th, 6pm (movie starts 8pm)
More info: 407-246-2620 or visit www.leugardens.org

Movie night at Harry P. Leu Gardens! This year’s movie will be “Four Christmases”. Bring your blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets. The gardens will open at 6pm, the movie starts at 8pm. Tickets are $7 for adult and $2 for children and can be purchased at the door. Of course the showing is weather dependent so hopefully it won’t snow, errr, rain…

Festival of the Nativity – FREE

Thanks to Erica for this tip! Sounds a lot like Christmas…

Where: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – 3001 SOUTH Apopka-Vineland Road – Orlando, Florida 32835
When: Friday, December 4th: 6pm – 9pm – Saturday, December 5th: 4pm – 9pm Sunday – December 6th: 3pm – 9pm
More info: http://www.orlandonativity.org/

It’s a display of beautiful, global nativity sets that different families share for this weekend and much more……

  • View Nativity sets and artwork – from all over the world – owned and created by members of the community
  • Listen to Christmas music performed live by local musicians
  • Participate in activities for children and families

On Stage – Nutcracker featuring Central Florida Ballet – Dec 18, 2009 – Dec 21, 2009

Where: Orlando Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive, Orlando, FL
When: December 18th-21st, 2009
More info: 407-849-9948 or visit www.centralfloridaballet.com

What would the holiday season be without seeing a performance of The Nutcracker. You can do exactly that at the Linda Chapin Auditorium inside the west concourse of Orange County Convention Center.

Christmas in the Park – December 3rd – FREE

Where: Central Park Stage on Park Avenue, Winter Park FL
When: December 3rd at 6:15pm
More info: 407-645-5311

Christmas in the Park in Winter Park starts at 6:15 p.m. on the Central Park Stage on Park Avenue.

The Morse Museum of American Art will light Central Park with century-old Tiffany windows from its renowned collection at the 31st annual Christmas in the Park. The leaded-glass windows set the stage for a performance of seasonal favorites by the 150-voice Bach Festival Choir.

Tree Lighting And Holiday Stroll – December 4th – FREE

Where: Park Avenue, Winter Park FL
When: December 4th at 5pm
More info: 407-599-3399

Another free Christmas event in Winter Park: The Tree Lighting and Holiday Stroll starts at 5 pm on Park Avenue. Call 407-599-3399 for more info.

Popcorn Flicks – December 4th – FREE

Where: Central Park Stage, Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL
When: December 4th at 7pm
More info: 407-629-1088

Holiday movie night at Central Park! On December 4th there will be a free outdoor screening of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “White Christmas” starting at 7 p.m. Bring your blankets!

Winter Park Christmas Parade – December 5th – FREE

Where: Downtown Winter Park, Park Avenue, Winter Park
When: December 5th at 9am
More info: 407-599-3399

The Winter Park Christmas Parade will take place on December 5th at 9am. This event s free and fun for the entire family.

Avalon Aglow – December 5th – FREE

Where: Avalon Park, 13001 Founder’s Square Drive, Orlando
When: December 5th starting at 4pm
More info: 407-658-6565

Avalon Park also has its own holiday parade. It will take place on December 5th starting at 4pm (until approximately 9pm) and is dubbed Avalon Aglow. After the parade there will be fireworks. This is a free holiday event for the entire family.

Holiday Sidewalk Sashay (Orlando Christmas Parade) – December 12th – FREE

Where: Lake Eola Park, Orlando
When: December 12th, starting at 3:30pm
More info: 407-898-3130 or visit orlandochristmasparade.com

The Orlando Christmas Parade has a new name: Holiday Sidewalk Sashay. The reason: The popular free holiday event in downtown Orlando is going green! This is great news and I think the scaled down version of the parade will be just as fun for everyone. No more diesel power floats but rather gold carts and wagons. After all, the parade is 65 units long on a half-mile route so the going green initiative should have an effect! The Sashay starts at 3:30pm and features marching bands, twirlers, dance troops, and of course Santa.

Pretty cool: if you can’t attend the parade, you will be able to watch it online!

Orlando Holiday Brew Fest – December 4th

Where: Heritage Square Park, 65 E. Central Blvd., Orlando
When: December 4th, 6pm
More info: 407-383-2331 or visit http://www.floridabeerfestivals.com

Looking for a Holiday Party? Then check out downtown Orlando on December 4th for the Orlando Holiday Brew Fest. Starting at 6pm there will be unlimited sampling of the finest beers, so if you like beer and parties you won’t want to miss this event!

$25 advance, $35 at the gate (21 or older)

Light Up Winter Garden – December 4th – FREE

Where: Downtown Winter Garden, Plant Street, Winter Garden
When: December 4th at 6pm
More info: 407-656-4155

On December 4th Winter Garden will have its own winter festival with street lighting, sledding and entertainment. This free event starts at 6pm.

Christmas Concert – December 4th

Where: The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe, 8300 Vineland Avenue, Orlando, FL
When: December 4th
More info: 407-239-6600 317

The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe (8300 Vineland Ave., Orlando) will have a Christmas concert starting at 7:30 p.m. The concert is $10 for adults and free for children 11 and younger.

The Music Department at the Basilica will perform a concert titled “Christmas with the Basilica Choir.” The eight singers in the choir are professional musicians in the Orlando area and are under the direction of William Picher, director of music and organist at the Basilica. Music will include sacred and secular music from both Advent and Christmas sources as well as a holiday sing-a-long.

Breakfast with Santa – December 5th

Where: Waterford Lakes Tow Center – 413 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL
When: December 5th 7:30am-11am
More info: 321-229-2642

Breakfast with Santa will take place at the Waterford Lakes Tow Center – 413 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL from 7:30-11 a.m.

The Kiwanis Club of East Orange County’s 12th annual event will feature a pancake and sausage breakfast with juice, coffee, and hot chocolate. Chorus and dance teams from local schools will be performing. Proceeds will benefit the club’s service leadership programs.

$5 for adults, $3 for children. Call 321-229-2642 for more info.

Festival of Trees – December 5th-7th and December 12th-13th

Where: Museum of the Apopkans, 122 E. Fifth St., Apopka
When: 12/5: 6-8 pm – 12/6: 3-4 pm – 12/7-12/1210 a.m.-4 pm – 12/13: 2-3 pm
More info: 407-884-0391

The Festival of Trees in Apopka promises to be a fun and free holiday event.

The event showcases decorated trees by local merchants and organizations up for bid in a silent auction. There are also wreaths, holiday vignettes and a plant boutique. This is a juried show and ribbons and certificates will be awarded on Dec. 13 after the auction ends. Proceeds will be distributed among several projects including scholarships and historic plaques for designated Apopka buildings.

Holiday on the Drive – December 12th

Where: Gazebo at Albert Park, College Park, FL
When: December 12th at 6:15pm
More info: www.onthedrive.org/holiday.htm

Holiday on the Drive is College Park’s free Holiday event starting at 6pm.

Look for Santa Claus in the Gazebo at Albert Park after his arrival by fire truck at 6:15 p.m. Enjoy the holiday season with activities all along Edgewater Drive including storefront decoration contest, season of giving food drive and Edgewater High Band and Choir performances.

Afternoon with Santa – December 12th

Where: Magnolia Park, 2929 Binion Road, Apopka, FL
When: December 12th, 1pm
More info: 407-886-4231

Afternoon with Santa is a fun holiday event for the little ones in Apopka starting at 1pm.

The event is targeted for children ages 10 or younger, but all family members are welcome. Activities include holiday crafts, a visit with Santa, games and moonwalk. Bring a camera to take photos.

$3 per child and free for adults

Santa Salutes the Stars – December 12th

Where: Lake Eola Amphitheater, Orlando FL
When: December 12th 5:30pm to 8pm
More info: 407-898-3130 or www.orlandochristmasparade.com

Since 1991, this Holiday TV Special has aired in homes across the country as an hour television show produced from the brick streets of Downtown Orlando. This year, the outdoor Lake Eola Amphitheater stage will sparkle in holiday lights during the nighttime show taping featuring celebrity singers and dancers from the world of entertainment. Santa and his merry gang of helpers will have a crowd of thousands dancing in their seats from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Saturday night after the Sashay.

Christmas Open House – December 24th

Where: Morse Museum of American Art, 445 N. Park Ave., Winter Park
When: December 24th, 9:30 am-4 pm
More info: 407-645-5311

The public is invited for free tours of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s century-old leaded glass windows and his celebrated 1893 chapel. During the holidays, the museum features the 1902 Tiffany window “Christmas Eve,” in which a figure resembling Father Christmas holds the Christ Child. The window was designed by Thomas Nast Jr., the son of the famous Harper’s Weekly political cartoonist, for his sister’s home.

4. Orlando Theme Park Holiday Events

Last but not least, what would the holiday season in Orlando be without its fun and magical theme park events? Unfortunately most of these events are a bit pricier than the average community event so I won’t focus too much on the events here but rather provide you with a more info link.

Christmas at Magic Kingdom® – through early January, 2010

When visiting the Magic Kingdom this holiday season you will be impressed with the Cinderella castle that features 200,000 “drem lights”.On top of that, the theme park has been beautifully decorated for the holidays. As we draw closer to the holidays there will be special daytime holiday show of “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Parade” with toy soldiers, gingerbread men and, of course, Mickey and Minnie.

MORE INFO: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – through December 18th, 2009

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is an event that you can attend after the regular park hours, starting at 7pm. The party requires a separate admission. Dates: December 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 18. The show features snow on Main Street, “Christmasy” Disney characters, special stage shows and fireworks. Guests can also enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and cookies.

MORE INFO: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/

Christmas at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® – through early January, 2010

Disney’s Hollywood Studios are featuring the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Quite an interesting story:

The spectacle was originally the creation of Arkansas businessman and philanthropist Jennings Osborne. It began 20 years ago when Jennings strung 1,000 red lights as a Christmas gift to his daughter Breezy. Soon, their 22,000-square-foot home was covered in millions of lights … and the display continued to grow and glow. After the home exhibit grew larger over several years, the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered the display to be turned off. The million-light display was transported to Disney-MGM Studios in 1995, where the spectacle continues to grow larger and brighter each year. Some of Osborne’s original creations still sparkling brightly at the park today are a giant Mickey Mouse light, dozens of flying angels and Santa Claus light designs. In 2006, the lights took a high-tech turn… with a light-show synchronized to holiday music (hence the addition of the word “Dancing” to its official title!).

MORE INFO: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/

Holidays Around the World at Epcot® – through December 30, 2009

Out of the theme parks this would be one of my favorite events as it features Holidays Around the World. Learn about Santa in other countries and the many traditions around Christmas. The park also observes Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. As in any Disney Park, lights and beautiful decoration isn’t missing and you will get to enjoy some amazing holiday shows, including the Candlelight Processional, a musical performance by a mass choir and 50-piece orchestra. As special bonus there will be celebrity narrators telling the story of Christmas.

MORE INFO: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/

Christmas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® – through early January, 2010

Visitors will enjoy Mickey’s daily “Jingle Jungle Parade” and a sparkling 65 foot Christmas tree and the entrance of the park. Of course there will also be plenty of Disney characters dressed in holiday attire and the and the village has been decorated beautifully and is full of holiday activities and fun.

MORE INFO: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/

Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney® – through December 24, 2009

Last but not least, this is the only free event at the theme parks (well, because it technically isn’t in a theme park). If you don’t want to spend too much but still have a piece of Disney’s magic, visit Downtown Disney and admire their amazing light decoration and holiday flair with daily Santa photo opportunities while strolling along the stores and walks.This is also a great place to find gifts for those not living so close to Disney & Co.

MORE INFO: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/

MACY*S Holiday Parade at Universal Studios – through January 1st, 2010

Couldn’t be at the real MACY’S parade in NYC? Then visit Universal Studios and have your own piece of this holiday favorite, featuring some of the most popular balloons and floats from this world-famous Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

MORE INFO: http://www.universalorlando.com

Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure – through January 1, 2010

Seuss Landing™ is transformed into the wintry wonderland of Grinchmas™… featuring the incredibly popular live musical performance of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” This hilarious and heart-warming live show stars The Grinch™ himself and features music recorded by Mannheim Steamroller, along with a whole town full of singing and dancing Whos. Then stroll around the Whoville Wonky Tree Lot and take in the whimsical Wholiday decorations.

MORE INFO: http://www.universalorlando.com

Christmas in the City at Universal CityWalk – through January 1, 2010

And here’s the free event at Universal Studios: Christmas at Universal City Walk. Experience the magical holiday lights and music while strolling along City Walk with its bars and restaurants.

Phone: (407) 363-8000 – 1000 Universal Studios Plaza, Orlando, Florida 32819

MORE INFO: http://www.universalorlando.com

Christmas at SeaWorld

Of course the holiday season is also celebrated at SeaWorld. Just as the other parks you will get to enjoy beautiful decoration and lights. On top of that SeaWorld is offering the following events and activities. Please confirm on the SeaWorld Web site below.

  • New Polar Express Ride at SeaWorld: A simulated expedition to “Santa Town”
  • Festivities at The Waterfront – through December 25, 2009
  • Makahiki Christmas Luau – through early January 2009: Hawaiian style Makahiki Christmas Luau
  • Frosty Friends Sleepover – December 4, 2009: Overnight adventure for the little ones.
  • Shamu Christmas… Miracles: The daily Holiday Shamu Show
  • MORE INFO: http://www.seaworld.com/orlando/
  • “Christmastide” Holiday Fountain Show

Address: 7007 SeaWorld Drive, Orlando, FL 32821 – Phone: (800) 327-2424 or (407) 351-3600
MORE INFO: http://www.seaworld.com/orlando/

About The Author

Claudia

Hi, my name is Claudia! I live, work and play in Sanford, FL. To top it all off, I am also totally in love with Sanford! My husband Jose and I are Realtors in Sanford, FL and help people realize their dreams of home ownership. We have two sons, Nicolas (2011) and Lukas (2013). I am originally from Germany, moved here in 2004. In 2008 I started Sanford365.com. I love everything that says creativity. Design is my passion, no matter if Graphic, Web or Fashion Design - and I am also into photography :) I'm also very social and love to hang out with my family and friends, be it for a kids play date or a fun night out ;)

3 Comments

  1. Powlow

    Very good site, i will come back 🙂

  2. youdie74

    woow.. a great christmas.. any suggest for this weekend Memorial Holiday

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