A city full of fun and adventures year-round, Orlando, Florida transcends festive and becomes downright sensational at the theme parks during the holiday season.The seasonal magic is endless and wildly contagious thanks to the decor and holiday-themed attractions. Because there are so many theme parks in Orlando, there’s a lot to know about them and how best to enjoy. It’s safe to say we’ve been to a park or two during the holidays over the years, and have learned quite a lot! From us to you this season, here’s a useful guide to help visitors make the most of a holiday theme parks visit.
8 Tips for a Sensational Holiday Theme Parks Visit
1. Enjoy All the Complimentary Holiday Attractions
The best gift of all during the holiday season is that the entrance to the parks is the same price. Yes, you heard correctly, it does not cost more to get into the parks once they’re all decked out. Some of the parks have extra attractions and events that visitors can attend for an additional price, but for the most part, every holiday-related activity is free! Which means, you’ve got plenty to take advantage of! Some complimentary highlights include:
- Magic Kingdom town decorated for the holidays in Walt Disney World
- Jingle Cruise in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World
- ‘Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season’ in EPCOT
- SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration
- Christmas Bricktacular at LEGOLAND ORLANDO
2. For the First Time Ever, There Will be Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Never before has the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, in Universal Studios Orlando, changed for the holidays, but this holiday season it will. From November 18, 2017 – January 6, 2018, you can expect festive decor, new holiday food and drinks, and special entertainment. The castle is going to be dressed for the holidays as well, with inspiration taken from the films. We can’t wait for this! There is no extra cost to enjoy!
3. Timing Can Make a Difference
Holidays in Orlando’s theme parks mean one thing always – lots of people. Though there’s no sure-fire way to figure out when the parks will be the least crowded during the holiday season, generally speaking, early November is less crowded, but keep in mind not all of the attractions have begun, and the decorating won’t be finished yet. Another time frame that is often slightly less busy is November 26 – December 17. If you can only go a certain date, not to worry, we’ve got a useful tip on avoiding the crowds below.
4. Do The Opposite of Everyone Else
The holiday magic exuding from the parks is contagious – everyone wants to experience it! Especially on the weekends, but also during the week, the parks will be full of visitors. To maximize your trip, head to the parks slightly before they open, get in a few hours while the lines are shorter and before the park becomes busier. If you’re staying in a resort nearby, you might consider going back to your hotel to enjoy the amenities during the middle of the day. You can then plan to return in the mid to late afternoon and stay until closing.
5. Become Familiar With The Fastpass Program
Many of the parks have various programs that allow visitors to skip the lines or jump ahead. Some of these programs are complementary, and some are for a fee. Walt Disney World offers the Fastpass program, which is free. You can learn and familiarize yourself with it here. Universal Studios, on the other hand, offers the Universal Express Pass which costs extra. You can learn about it here.
6. Buy All Tickets Online, Ahead
Park tickets are almost always less expensive online. This will range, and the discounts might not be steep, but every dollar counts when you’re visiting Orlando during the holiday season!
7. Get Appy
Every single park has its own app now, and these apps are immensely helpful! As you make your way through your Orlando trip, use the apps to check out wait times for rides, where to eat, tips for parents, and all sorts of fun stuff.
8. Stay Near the Action!
One of the most strategic decisions you can make while planning your trip is to stay near the theme parks you’ll be visiting. Orlando is a large city and is very spread out; you won’t want to waste precious time in the morning getting to the park, especially if you’re going to get there first thing.
For those planning on spending a lot of time at Walt Disney World, book a stay at the nearby Grove Resort & Spa Orlando. Featuring all residential-style suites and a buffet of amenities, The Grove will provide the perfect midday reprieve from the parks, allowing you to rejuvenate for round two! Or three. Or four…!
We hope these tips help guide your planning and enhance your enjoyment!