Orlando’s Ultimate Holiday Travel Guide: Festive Fun and Insider Tips

The Encore Resort Blog
December 6, 2023
December 6, 2023

Orlando comes alive with the spirit of the holidays, and as far as we locals are concerned, there’s no place more magical. From theme parks, festivals and celebrations to ice skating and scoping out the best in holiday décor, the merry-making never ends during the holiday season in Central Florida. We’re here to share our insider tips on when you can enjoy the busy time, the holiday happenings, and the steals and deals to keep your wallet happy.

When to Visit Orlando Busy Season vs. Slow Season

Group of friends having dessert near the Christmas Tree in EPCOT
© Disney
The playground for all ages known as Orlando is action-packed year-round. However, there are better times to visit and enjoy all it has to offer – while still being crowd-manageable. Truth be told, if school is in session and the kiddos are in class, Orlando is slightly less busy. Aside from pulling your children out of school, check out these optimal times to visit Orlando theme parks during the holiday season.
Year after year, the best time to visit Orlando’s theme parks is in September – just after the new school year begins and kids have returned to school.

Theme Park Holiday Festivities in Orlando

Below is our list of the top festive events and fun things to do at the theme parks near our Florida vacation homes:
From November 9 through December 22, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom hosts celebrations for all ages with this very special Mickey event. From Cinderella’s Castle sparkling in white lights and magical snowfall on Main Street to a celebration with Disney characters, a Frozen show, and Holiday Treats and Specialty Eats, there is something for everyone. Enjoy live entertainment, fireworks, and a holiday parade. This event requires an entry ticket.
From November 19 through December 30, join in a spirited celebration of joyful traditions as Epcot features 15 Holiday Kitchens serving seasonal sweets. Surround yourself in the wondrous sights, sounds and flavors of the season as celebrated by cultures near and far. The seasonal festivities include the Candlelight Processional, the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show and live musical performances.
Candlelight Processional at EPCOT's International Festival of the Holidays
© Disney
The Grinch at Universal's Islands of Adventure
© Universal
This resort-wide celebration of the season will have you experiencing Christmas at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. See Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley in all of their holiday spirit. Enjoy Universal’s Holiday Parade and catch the live retelling of Dr. Seuss’s classic holiday tale starring The Grinch in the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular.
Starting November 10, 2023 to January 2, 2024, take in the magical Sea of Trees with special performances, music, and a wintery atmosphere. Children can have dinner with Rudolph and meet Santa Claus.
From November 25, 2023 through January 1, 2024, immerse yourself in a dazzling display of lights that will ignite the holiday spirit in everyone.
Starting November 24, 2023 through January 6, 2024, Leu Gardens transforms into a magical winter wonderland with a 3/4-mile stroll through glittering lights
Celebrate the holidays from November 11th, 2023 through January 7th, 2024, with festive shows, twinkling lights, and holiday shopping.
Couple walking through Leu Gardens in Orlando decorated with Christmas lights
© Dazzling Nights at Harry P. Leu Gardens. Photo Credit: Quay Hu
Girl riding down the ice slide at the Gaylord Palms Christmas event
© Gaylord Palms. Photo Credit: Christina Dworkin
From November 18, 2023 to January 7, 2024, engage in holiday-themed creative play, crafts, and colorful fun for the whole family
From November 1 – 16, 2023 through January 3, 2024, ICE! is back at Gaylord Palms. This year the annual exhibit features scenes from the classic holiday movie A Christmas Story, all hand-carved from 2 million pounds of ice.

Elevate Your Orlando Holiday with Encore Resort’s Luxurious Vacation Homes

The playground for all ages known as Orlando is action-packed year-round. However, there are better times to visit and enjoy all it has to offer – while still being crowd-manageable. Truth be told, if school is in session and the kiddos are in class, Orlando is slightly less busy. Aside from pulling your children out of school, check out these optimal times to visit Orlando theme parks during the holiday season.
A large family watching something exciting in their Encore Resort home movie theater room.

Essential International Travel Tips for a Magical Orlando Experience

Planning an international trip to Orlando can be exciting, and staying informed can make your visit even smoother. Here’s what you need to know:
Family brining their luggage into their Encore Resort home
For any questions or assistance, Encore Resort’s team is ready to help you plan your perfect Orlando vacation.

Family Fun in Orlando Tips for Keeping the Kids Ecstatic on Vacation

Orlando vacations can be a dream come true for families, especially with a few tips to keep the little ones delighted:
Kids dressed in Hogwarts attire, walking around Hogsmeade village in Universal Islands of Adventure
© Universal

Book Your Vacation Home Accommodations

Booking with Encore Resort at Reunion offers the chance to enjoy the comfort and amenities of our guard-gated community. Featuring modern, beautifully decorated 3 to 13-bedroom homes, you’ll enjoy your very own backyard pool, in-unit washer/dryer, and fully equipped kitchens, plus resort-style amenities like an AquaPark and concierge services. Come to Encore Resort for your next holiday vacation and take your getaways to new levels.
The Luna Family all dressed in Christmas attire

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