Holiday travel guide to Orlando theme parks
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights-Hollywood Studios: Nov. 8, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014 on the Streets of America at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park is a massive seasonal display featuring millions of holiday lights perfectly synchronized to music. (RICARDO RAMIREZ BUXEDA, ORLANDO SENTINEL)
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Here's some of what's on tap this year. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice.
Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World -- The holidays have added sparkle at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios on Nov. 10-Jan. Millions of lights brighten up the Studios with animated displays including flying angels while snow falls overhead. The spectacle is included in regular admission to the park: $79 for adults, $68 for children. Visit www.disneyworld.com.
Epcot, Walt Disney World -- Holidays Around The World add international flavor to the season Nov. 27-Dec. 30. This cherished Epcot tradition presents costumed storytellers like Los Tres Reyes Magos (the three Magi) in the Mexico pavilion and Pere Noel in France. Other festivities include a daily character tree-lighting ceremony, a light display and the Candlelight Processional presented at the park's America Gardens Theatre with celebrity narrators, massed choir and 50-piece orchestra retelling the Christmas story in words and music. Admission is $79 for adults, $68 for children. Visit www.disneyworld.com.
Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort -- Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure celebrates Dr. Seuss' beloved holiday tale and Universal Pictures' and Imagine Entertainment's Academy Award-winning movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas on Dec. 6-Jan. 1. The park's Seuss Landing section is transformed with colorful decorations and visitors can meet the Grinch in his lair, which is outfitted with authentic movie props and gadgets. A live musical stage show re-tells the story of the bah-humbug Grinch. The festivities are included in regular admission: one-day admission at the gate is $79 for adults, $69 for children. Visit www.universalorlando.com.
Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World -- A parade featuring everything from gingerbread men and marching toy soldiers to Santa himself is one of the hightlights of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, an evening event presented on select nights from Nov. 10 to Dec. 18. Other must-sees include the Castle Dream Lights, blanketing Cinderella Castle with sparkling white lights, holiday-themed shows, meet-and-greet opportunities with Disney characters, and Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks display. Magical snow falls on Main Street, U.S.A. and complimentary cocoa and cookies are served. The party is a separate ticket event with prices starting at $53 (day of) and from $46 (advance purchase savings available on select nights only). Visit www.disneyworld.com.
SeaWorld, Orlando -- Christmas at SeaWorld, Nov. 14-Jan. 2, features festive decorations, and snowfalls at The Waterfront section of the park. Other highlights include live holiday music from classical musicians and carolers. Florida and Georgia residents pay $64.95 for admission (adults and children). For information, visit www.SeaWorld.com.
Universal Studios, Universal Orlando Resort -- Macy's Holiday Parade takes to the streets at Universal Studios from Dec. 6 to Jan. 1. The extravaganza showcases some of the most popular balloons and floats from the world-famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Another treat at Universal Studios is the tree-lighting ceremony with Santa Claus himself. The festivities are included in regular park admission: $79 for adults, $69 for children. Visit www.universalorlando.com.
Prefer to live it up on New Year's Eve? Here are some options:
* New Year's Eve at SeaWorld Orlando -- SeaWorld Orlando is throwing a New Year's Eve party with live music, fireworks and a countdown to 2010 at The Waterfront on Dec. 31. At the stroke of midnight, the Orlando sky is lit up with a fireworks display. The event is included in regular admission.
* New Year's Eve at Universal CityWalk offers a party with live performances by national acts, a gourmet buffet, champagne toast and entertainment at the clubs on Dec. 31. Admission TBD.
* New Year's Eve at Walt Disney World Resort The theme parks bid farewell to 2009 on Dec. 31 with various festive events. Epcot celebrates the New Year around the world with DJs, evening dance parties throughout the World Showcase section of the park and a special presentation of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth lasers and fireworks spectacle. Disney's Hollywood Studios celebrates with multiple presentations of the Fantasmic! spectacular, special Lights! Camera! Happy New Year! Fireworks and a DJ dance party. The Magic Kingdom offers special presentations of the SpectroMagic light parade and multiple fireworks displays. Events are included in regular park admission.