December 16, 2019
Pack your bags, escape the winter chill and run away to Florida this Christmas
It’ll certainly be warmer than here in the UK, but there are plenty of opportunities to recreate a snowy vibe, with most of the holiday events set in distinctly wintry surroundings. Here’s a selection of family-friendly happenings on offer in and around Orlando.
Grinchmas at Universal Orlando Resort’s Islands of Adventure is the seasonal holy grail for fans of Dr. Seuss. Watch your favourite characters spread festive cheer in a transformed Seuss Landing zone, and if that’s not enough you can get even friendlier at The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast (tickets required). A sparkly winter wonderland sets the scene for the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular live show – which runs several times throughout the day – and you can even meet the mean green Grinch in person for the ultimate holiday photo.
An annual Florida tradition, this year’s ICE attraction at Kissimmee’s Gaylord Palms Resort presents the cockle-warming story of The Polar Express, featuring hand-carved sculptures built by a team of skilled ice artisans from two million pounds of ice. The talented sculptors from Harbin in China – home of the world’s largest ice and snow festival – spend over a month in Orlando/Kissimmee to fashion the oversized statues for the show. Watch live carving events in the Frostbite Factory, and be wowed by a host of dazzlingly illuminated animal characters. Whatever you do, don’t miss the separate Nativity area or the chance to zip down the giant two-storey ice slides.
ICE is kept at a frigid 9° Fahrenheit (-13° Celsius) to keep the ice from melting, so be sure to wrap up warm and don’t forget your hats and gloves! Visitors are all provided with calf-length, hooded winter coats for extra comfort.
ICE is already in full swing and runs until 5 January 2020. Tickets can be purchased online. Gaylord Palms Resort, 6000 West Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34746
Over to the Walt Disney World Resort, and here’s one to get Mickey fans feeling festive. Disney’s Hollywood Studios ushers in the season with Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, a holiday extravaganza stuffed with snow, special effects, fireworks and Yuletide songs. Running until 5 January 2020, you can watch recreated scenes from Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Beauty and the Beast, Pluto’s Christmas Tree and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, then celebrate with a delicious dessert party at participating restaurants alongside VIP Disney characters Chip ‘n Dale.
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! runs until 5 January 2020
Running on select nights until 22 December, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is Magic Kingdom‘s flagship event. Requiring a ticket in addition to standard theme park entrance, the celebration is comprised of several legendary individual shows including Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade – complete with marching toy soldiers, dancing gingerbread men, and floats crammed with all your favourite Disney characters – along with A Frozen Holiday Wish, starring the royal sisters Anna and Elsa who transform Cinderella’s Castle into a glittering ice palace covered with 200,00 shimmering LED lights.