Central Florida: Family Events for Christmas

By: Maxine Sheppard

February 21, 2013

**Updated for 2016**

Escape the chill and run away to Florida this Christmas if you like, but if you have kids in tow there’s a chance they’ll want to recreate a snowy vibe at some point. Not all of Florida’s holiday events involve wrapping up warm beside simulated scenes of ice and snow, but there’s a distinctly wintry edge to most of the holiday happenings. Here’s a selection of seasonal family-friendly events on offer in and around Orlando…

Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure is the seasonal holy grail for fans of Dr. Seuss. Watch your favourite characters spread festive cheer in a completely 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.

Grinchmas at Universal Islands of Adventure © Joshua/strangeoneout on Flickr

Grinchmas at Universal Islands of Adventure © Joshua/strangeoneout on Flickr

Grinchmas runs from 1 Dec 2012 – 1 Jan 2013

ICE at Gaylord Palms Resort

An annual Florida tradition, this year’s ICE attraction at Kissimmee’s Gaylord Palms Resort presents A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz, featuring hand-carved sculptures built by a team of skilled ice artisans from two million pounds of ice. The talented sculptors spend over a month in Orlando/Kissimmee to fashion the oversized statues for the show, and you can watch some live carving take place in the Frostbite Factory. Expect to be wowed by a host of dazzlingly illuminated animal characters and whatever you do, don’t miss 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 dress appropriately. Layer up and don’t forget your hats and gloves! Visitors are all provided with calf-length, hooded winter coats for extra warmth.

Polar bears at ICE © Theme Park Mom on Flickr

Polar bears at ICE © Theme Park Mom on Flickr

ICE is already in full swing and runs until 1 January, 2017. Tickets can be purchased online. Gaylord Palms Resort, 6000 West Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34746

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!

Here’s one to get Mickey fans feeling festive. Disney’s Hollywood Studios ushers in the season with Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, an all-new extravaganza stuffed with snow, special effects, fireworks and Yuletide songs. Running until New Year’s Eve, watch recreated scenes from Bambi, Cinderella and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, then celebrate with a festive dessert party at participating restaurants alongside VIP Disney characters.

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! runs until 31 December 2016

Virgin Atlantic operates flights to Orlando from London Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow. Visit Virgin Holidays for a complete range of Florida holidays, including fly-drives, villa holidays and inclusive theme park deals.


Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.

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