Around Town: Holiday Happenings

ginger bread cookie inflatable floating thru city streets at thanksgiving parade

Check out fun things to do in Orlando for the holidays from theme parks to theater to ice skating to more.

  • Tree Lighting Event: Presented by Baldwin Park JC and BPFF
    • Date:November 30th, 2018
    • When: 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM
    • What: Come celebrate with Baldwin Park for the FIRST Tree Lighting Ceremony in conjunction with the Baldwin Park First Friday Festival. The event is free to attend, and will be held in the Baldwin Park Village Center on November 30th, at 5:30pm. Stroll the festival enjoying the music, artist and vendor booths, food trucks, Santa, and local businesses. At 7:30pm, join us near the Jake Street fountain to view the lighting of the tree. Vendor booths and food trucks will be available to enjoy until 9:30pm.
  • Winter Garden Christmas Parade
    • Date: December 1st 2018
    • When: 10 AM – 1 PM
    • What: Bring a lawn chair or blanket and head to your favorite spot for this annual event. A long-standing Winter Garden holiday tradition will delight spectators and bring in holiday cheer! Don’t forget to look for the Big Guy himself at the end of the parade!
  • Winter Wonderland
    • Date: December 1st, 2018
    • When: 4:30 PM – 9 PM
    • What: Tis’ the season for joy and celebration! Stop by the Winter Springs Town Center and enjoy the festivities this holiday season! It all kicks off with one of the longest-running traditions in our city, the 37th annual Holiday Parade featuring local talent and business. Gather around the Christmas Tree for the 15th annual Christmas Tree Lighting! The Winter Wonderland event will follow with entertainment by local youth and our Winter Springs Dancers with Class. Santa will visit with the local children by the tree, and a fun-filled kids playland will keep your little ones merry all evening long! If you are interested in being a vendor or need additional information, please contact Melissa Sileo, Recreation Programs & Community Events Coordinator, at
  • Elf The Musical
    • Date: December 1st-30th, 2018
    • What: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear…” Buddy the Elf has spent his entire life at the North Pole. When he discovers that he is not really an elf, he sets off for New York City to find his true identity. Faced with the harsh reality that his real father is on the naughty list and his half-brother does not even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the magic of Christmas. This modern holiday classic is sure to have everyone embracing their inner elf.
  • Light Up SoDo! 2018
    • Date: December 2nd, 2018
    • When: 2 PM – 6 PM
    • What: Its that time of year! Sleigh bells are ringing are you listening?! Light Up SoDo! 2018 is coming back to SoDo District and we can’t wait to light up the plaza with you! ? This event is Family-Friendly AND Pet-friendly so grab the kids and your furry friends and head on down to the SoDo Shopping Center for a night full of Holiday Fun! This year we have tons of fun activities for everyone in your family! Get ready to experience Face Painting, Writing Letters to Santa, Stilt Walkers, Train Rides, Princesses, Bounce Houses, Ornament Making, Wreath Making, Ballon Artist, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus ????, performances by MoMo Brown Band and SO MUCH MORE!
  • 4th Annual Champagne & Cheese Festival – Sunday, Dec. 2nd
    • Date: December 2nd, 2018
    • When: 1 PM – 4 PM
    • What:It’s that time of the year, again! Our 4th Annual Champagne & Cheese Festival is on Sunday, Dec. 2nd. We always strive to make each event better than the last one, and we are very excited with the line-up for this year’s event (see below)!  Max McCalman joins The Wine Room Team! We are very excited to have Max McCalman as a permanent member of our management team. Max is a world-renowned cheese expert, and a James Beard Award-winning author and he is the first Maitre Fromager from a North American restaurant. Max travels around the world to judge cheese competitions and consults with cheesemakers and retailers.
  • Popcorn Flicks in the Park: Miracle on 34th Street
    • Date: December 7th, 2018
    • When: 7 PM – 10 PM
    • What: This film is a part of our Popcorn Flicks series, which takes place in Central Park, Winter Park once a month and it’s FREE and open to the public!
  • The Nutcracker, presented by Orlando Ballet
    • Date: December 7th – 16th, 2018
    • What: Orlando Ballet presents the cherished holiday tradition, The Nutcracker! Let your imagination fly as you join Clara on a spectacular journey through waltzing snowflakes, mischievous mice and dancing confectionery with the iconic Sugar Plum Fairy! With Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score filling the Walt Disney Theater, and a magical glittering Christmas tree on stage, this beloved production is a seasonal delight, not to be missed! Please note, ALL performances sold out in advance in 2017, so book early to avoid disappointment.
  • Winter Spark Baldwin Park: Presented by Florida Hospital
    • Date: December 8th, 2018
    • When: 14 PM – 8 PM
    • What: This family-friendly event begins with a small holiday festival (4-8pm) with artists, vendors, food, and an opportunity for pictures with Santa & Mrs. Claus. At 7pm sharp, a fantastic lighted parade will march down New Broad Street toward the lake. Be sure to stay after the parade to enjoy music and holiday shopping until 8pm
  • Apopka Christmas Parade
    • Date: December 8th, 2018
    • When: 10 AM – 12 PM
    • What:  The Foliage Sertoma Club of Apopka Presents the 42nd Annual Apopka Christmas parade, themed for 2018, “An Old Fashioned Christmas.” The parade kicks off Saturday, December 8th at 10 a.m. Parade Route runs northbound on Park Avenue from First United Methodist Church of Apopka to Votaw Road. Sign up now to be a part of this holiday tradition. Applications can be obtained thru the Sertoma Club by calling 407-886-4331. Application entry forms are due by November 20 or before all 100 parade positions are filled.
  • Grand Floridian Gingerbread House Play Date
    • Date: December 12th, 2018
    • When: 10 AM – 1 PM
    • What:Experience the sights and sounds of the season with us at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa! We’ll enjoy the giant gingerbread house, glistening Christmas trees, and photo opportunities galore followed by lunch in one of the resorts many lovely restaurants. Restaurant reservations are highly recommended and can be made directly with Disney at FIT4Mom Celebration mamas are encouraged to make lunch reservations at the Grand Floridian Cafe. All gingerbread cookie treats and restaurant meals must be purchased, but it is free to visit the gingerbread house and enjoy the resort’s spectacular decorations.
  • Christmas at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
    • Date: December 13th,- 17th 2018
    • What: Join us for a weekend holiday celebration at the Fort in Walt Disney World! We are staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground in the Cabin loop in mid December to see the theme parks and 800 camp sites decked out in decorations for Christmas time. The one bedroom cabins with full kitchen hold up to 6 travelers and are a fun fantastic value for on site lodging. Fort Wilderness is a Disney World original since 1971 with 750 acres of pristine nature with fun on site for the whole family. We secured a group rate of $338.40 per night plus taxes for a Fort Wilderness cabin for 1 to 4 nights over December 13-17, 2017 ($100.00 per night lower than prevailing rates). We also secured discount rates for theme park tickets! To make a group rate reservation or for more information, contact Disney Destination Specialist David Hartman at (305)453-9208 or
    • Date: December 15th, 2018
    • When: 2PM – 6 PM
    • What: Enjoy Central Florida’s favorite winter family event! During SNOW FEST, attendees can ice skate, play in REAL snow, learn to Curl, enjoy a snow slide for kids, train rides, bounce houses, live DJs, and get their faces painted. SNOW FEST is on Saturday, December 15, from 2:00-6:00 p.m. at RDV Sportsplex Ice Den! Admission is $20 for ages 3+ and includes four hours of ice skating and skate rental, real snow, a snow slide for the kids, bounce houses, live DJ’s, train rides, face painting and plenty of family fun! The Orlando Curling Club will teach guests how to curl for no additional charge. Skip the line and purchase your tickets online at! Group reservations are encouraged with special pricing for parties of 10 or more. Call 407-916-2550 for more information.


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Written by Megan Darrow

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