Don’t miss these one of a kind holiday celebrations in Orlando this December
The holiday season is a crazy time of year. It seems there is more traffic and everyone is rushing around putting up holiday decorations, shopping for the perfect gifts, preparing for holiday parties and checking things off the end-of-year to do lists. All this doesn’t leave much time for getting together with friends, right?
Have you ever half-jokingly said to a friend “See ya’ next year” during the month of December?
Don’t wait until next year. GO have a good time with friends at these fun holiday celebrations in Orlando. Lots of great events to choose from and here are my favorites:
1. GO Holidays Around The World!
Epcot Holidays Around The World offers a variety of holiday activities and the impressive Candlelight Processional, the story of Christmas narrated by celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg, Marlee Matlin and Isabella Rossellini, accompanied by a 50 piece orchestra and choir. Dining Packages available, including a 3 course lunch or dinner at participating restaurants will also get you first access to the show. Since eating and drinking around the world is the foodie thing to do at Epcot, Disney brings us Tastes From Around The Globe. Sample France’s classic bûche de noël au chocolate and gingerbread ice cream, Germany’s Stollen fruit cake, America’s Peppermint Bark, the popular sweet and savory sweet potato waffles with roasted turkey, practically a whole holiday meal in one, plus many more holiday treats as you travel along the World Showcase. Now through December 30.
2. GO to the Movies!
Holiday movies are as much a Christmas tradition as Santa and Christmas trees. This time of year, the weather is just right for a picnic and movie in the park (sorry rest of the country, but this is why we love living in and visiting Florida!). Pack your blanket, picnic basket and bottle of wine. Or, if being indoors is your preference, check out Enzian Theater or your local cineplex.
- ^ AMC Theaters: Catch a double-feature of A Christmas Carol and Christmas in Connecticut at AMC Fork & Screen Dine in Theater at Downtown Disney or Universal Cineplex Sunday December 7, 2p or 7p, and you’ll have plenty of dining options after the show.
^ Casselberry Movie in the Park: Friday December 12, dusk, Arthur Christmas. Free admission. Lake Concord Park behind City Hall, 95 Triplet Lake Drive, Casselberry FL.
^ Mount Dora 2nd Friday Movie in the Park is showing the Disney movie we all love, Frozen, December 12, dusk. Free admission. Donnelly Park, 530 N. Donnelly St, Mount Dora FL.
^ Enzian Theater, offers comfy seats and great food and beverage in a chic independent theater. Catch It’s a Wonderful Life on Saturday December 13, noon, and The Polar Express on Sunday December 14, 11am. The Enzian Bar is a great spot for drinks before or after the show. 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland FL.
3. GO Foodie!
So many great Food & Beverage events this month for foodies to rejoice!
- ^ GO Beer Tasting at Rosen Plaza Winterfest: if you love beer, this is the holiday celebration in Orlando for you. Saturday December 6, 5p-8p, sample craft and seasonal beers in your commemorative mug, international foods and a special root beer garden for the kids. Live entertainment and a DJ round out the festivities. Purchase tickets online or at the door. 9700 International Drive, Orlando FL.
^ GO Big Band at Shingle Creek Big Band Dinner Show: Have a Swinging Holiday Celebration with Michael Andrew & the Atomic Big Band’s one of a kind holiday swing band show on Saturday December 6 and Celebrate A Holiday Blast from The Past with three Rock/Roll Hall of Fame Groups, Charley Thomas & the Drifters, Delores K. & the Crystals, Jay Siegel & the Tokens on Saturday December 20. Feast on a sumptuous dinner buffet and dance the night away. Call 407-996-4470 for reservations.
^ GO Wine Tasting at one of the top wine stores in town Tim’s Wine Market is not holding anything back on their popular wine tasting events at the Windermere location this December. On December 6 “Big Dog” Cabernet Blind Tasting enjoy various Cabs ranging in price $10-$100 blind and see if your tastes match your pocket! On December 10, the Quintesa Tasting & Blending Event offers a vertical tasting of this prized wine and you get the rare opportunity to blend your own. Trust me, don’t miss it! On December 18, it’s all about Bubbles with Sparkling Wine and Champagne tasting just in time for holiday festivities. These events sell out so get your tickets now by calling 407 876 9463. 428 Main St Windermere FL.
^ GO Wine Pairing at The Food & Wine Experience at Hemisphere Steak & Seafood offers a multi-course wine pairing dinner with Frog’s Leap Wine on Friday December 12. Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport, 9300 Jeff Fuqua Blvd, Orlando FL.
^ GO for Truffles at K Restaurant’s 10th Annual Holiday Truffle Dinner Monday December 15, 7pm. Award-Winning Chef Kevin Fonzo is sure to wow with this multi-course dinner featuring wines and truffles from the Piedmont and Burgundy regions. $95++ per person. Space is limited. Call 407-222-8264.
4. GO Running!
With all the holiday goodies (calories) being consumed, it’s important to stay active, and there’s no better way to do it than wearing reindeer antlers or a Santa hat at these fun runs:
- ^ Track Shack’s Vanessa Welch Reindeer Run, at SeaWorld Orlando on Saturday December 13, at 7:15am, is a favorite holiday tradition. Wear your best holiday costume and prepare for a scenic 5K run or walk around the beautiful park listening to the sounds of holiday music. Holiday treats await at the finish line’s runner’s wonderland. 7007 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando FL.
^ Not a morning person? Santa’s Twilight 5K, on Saturday December 20 at 7pm, in Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont FL, will have you running along a luminaries lit course, wearing glow necklaces, and at the finish line Santa will be waiting with hot chocolate and cookies. Sweet!
5. GO Retro!
Retro Rad Diva Emily Ellyn from Food Network “Next Food Network Star”, “Cupcake Wars” and many morning shows around the country, is back for the 3rd Annual Retro Holiday Entertaining Event on Saturday December 13, 4:30pm-6pm. Learn all the tips and tricks for entertaining in true retro style from this incredibly engaging chef and larger than life personality. Gather your girlfriends, don your best 1960’s outfit and come sip holiday cocktails and nosh on fabulous hors d’oeuvres. Every guest receives a photo/recipe card set to take home. Call 407-996-4470 for reservations. This is one of the many fantastic holiday events at Rosen Shingle Creek, 9939 Universal Blvd, Orlando FL.
6. GO on ICE!
- ^ Gaylord Palms ICE, through January 4, 2015, is an indoor winter wonderland not to be missed. Play around two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures and four thrilling slides! This year featuring The Nutcracker, a 54-foot-tall Christmas tree, snow tubing, milk and cookies with Mrs. Clause. Then GO have drinks with friends at On the Blocks ICE Bar. 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee FL.
^ Rosen Centre Holidays on Ice select dates through December 31, delight in a professional ice skating show under the stars accompanied by Holiday music and an amazing lights show or take your own spin around the ice rink. Enjoy one of the many restaurants on property, including favorites Everglades for a fine dining meal of regional specialties and Café Gauguin for an amazing buffet. The kids will love Cake Pop decorating and Lunch with Santa and Dinner and Letter Writing with Santa on select dates. 9840 International Drive, Orlando FL.
^ Winter in the Park December 5 – January 11, 2015, you can ice skate in Central Park (without a flight to NYC!) West Meadow, Central Park, Winter Park FL. Hours vary. Make a day of it with a stop at favorite restaurants along Park Avenue. Stop at Prato for a great pizza, Luma on Park for a fantastic chic dinner, Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen for the best coffee drinks, The Wine Room for a fun tasting and Peterbrooke Chocolatier for their famous chocolate popcorn and awesome gelato.
^ Celebration Now Snowing: Can you believe snow falls nightly in the town of Celebration FL? – without all the mess! – now through January 3, 2015. Take a spin around the ice rink, get your photo with Santa, ride on a horse-drawn carriage and the Celebration Express train. In addition, Orlando Sentinel Celebration of Voices on December 6, a special Radio Disney Holiday concert on December 13 and the Countdown to Christmas Concert with National Recording Artist Jason Castro (American Idol Finalist) on December 20. Complete the day with dinner at one of the various restaurants around the Town Center including favorite Celebration Town Tavern. 701 Front St, Celebration FL.
7. GO Universal!
If you missed the Thanksgiving parade in NYC, check out the Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios! Catch a show by award-winning Manheim Steamroller on select nights, see the mean green one, The Grinch, at the Who-liday Spectacular at Islands of Adventure and check out the wackiest holiday decorations. Now through January 3, 2015. End your day with dinner at one of the many fun eateries at City Walk like Antojitos or the new Catfish, the only Sushi Burger Bar in town.
8. GO See Millions of Dancing Lights!
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a spectacular display of millions of multi-colored lights synchronized to holiday music in the way Disney does best. Sip on hot chocolate and holiday cookies and then visit one of my favorite theme park restaurants, The Hollywood Brown Derby. Now through January 4, 2015.
9. GO House Hunting!
Driving around looking at holiday decorations in your neighborhood is great, but these homes are spectacular. GO tour them and get ideas for your own home or simply ooh and ahh. That’s ok too! Then be sure to add a delicious dinner to make it a holiday celebration!
- ^ Stetson Mansion Christmas Spectacular, now through January 15, 2015. The largest, most opulent home, built in Florida before the 20th century, the 1886 home of John B. Stetson, maker of the American cowboy hat, got the designer holiday treatment with 20 Christmas trees, a “frozen” room and a cowboy Christmas room. Reservations required. 1031 Camphor Ln, Deland FL. Stop by Cress Restaurant by award-winning chef Hari Pulapaka for an out of this world experience.
^ Christmas at the Casa Feliz, the Happy House, a favorite historic home in Winter Park FL, welcomes visitors for hot cocoa and cookies, holiday carolers, tours of the home and visits with Santa. Daily 6-8:30pm. 656 Park Ave North, Winter Park FL. Winter Park is home to many award-winning restaurants so be sure to stop in and have a meal to remember.
Plenty of options for one of a kind events that are sure to create lasting holiday memories. Don’t put off getting together with friends because the holidays are too hectic. Choose one (or more) of these outings and GO have a Happy Holidays!