Holiday events around Florida — And a giveaway!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Florida attractions are bursting with holiday lights, fun events, parades, activities for kids and their families, and even more holiday lights! Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, Disney World, resorts and cities all have family-fun holiday events. Check out some of the Florida-style fun — and then leave a comment for a chance to win tickets to Coconut Grove Candy Cane Village!
Tonight, my family and I are headed to Busch Gardens for Christmas Town. Busch Gardens is calling it their biggest Christmas celebration ever. We can’t wait! There is real snow for the kids to play in at SnowWorld, caroling aboard the Busch Gardens train Christmas Town Express and riding the smaller kiddie train at Jingle Bell Junction, and Penguin Point where we can watch the little birds swim in their habitat. (My boys’ two favorite things are trains and penguins.) We’ll also look for Sesame Street characters to pose with for pictures, the strolling snowmen and even Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus in their home. There are also ice-skating shows, local choirs and a light show. I know my husband is looking forward to the closing finale concert by Jars of Clay (!), and Jimmy Osmond and his family will be there to sing too. There are even snacks and drinks at Christmas Town Village and dining with Santa’s wife at Mrs. Claus’ Family Feast.
Christmas Town is on every Friday through Sunday, 6-11 pm, through Dec. 23. Tickets are $39.99 plus tax for adults and $14.99 for kids, or buy online in advance and save $5. Busch Gardens annual pass members pay only $24.99 and and $9.99 for kids. You also can get discounts if you buy a day pass or get a promotional code from Chik Fil-A, Coca-Cola at Wal-Mart or Fantastic Sam’s. A portion of the proceeds benefits the local All Children’s Hospital.
This is a brand-new festival that I think is going to become a new tradition for South Florida. Candy Cane Village is a larger-than-life winter candy land. Families will enjoy 20 carnival rides, a food court, local vendors for last-minute gift shopping and lots of fun decorations. I think kids will love seeing the 40-foot-tall Nutcracker and his giant 15-foot cupcake and 20-foot ice cream cone, and the 30-foot-tall gingerbread man with two 15-foot candy canes at the outdoor “ice” skating. Imagine ice skating and falling “snow” in the subtropics! Santa Claus will be there too, in his Gingerbread Forest full of lights. Live holiday performances will make this event a party.
Candy Cane Village takes place in Peacock Park on Dec. 21, 5-10 pm and Dec. 22-23, 2-10 pm. Tickets are $20 per person and free for kids 2 and under. But you could win a family 4-pack of tickets to Candy Cane Village! Please leave a comment below about your favorite holiday event that your family loves.
My family has enjoyed going to SeaWorld at holiday time to see the festive decorations and see the special holiday shows. My sons especially love seeing the Polar Express and meeting Penny Penguin. The Sea of Trees at the lake is always beautiful with more than 100 trees lighted and choreographed to music.
This year, we want to see O Wondrous Night, a live show about the Christmas story. I’d love to see Winter Wonderland on Ice (if my boys will sit through it), and I’m sure they will want to see Shamu Christmas Miracles and A Sesame Street Christmas.
The Christmas Celebration event takes place on certain days through Dec. 31 and is included with admission. However, you can add Show Express to your ticket and get reserved seating at the special holiday shows, all-day dining, front-of-the-line access to the Polar Express Experience and a holiday photo.
My family loves MVMCP so much that we have made it a holiday tradition to go. Please click to see my separate post about our previous visits.
Gaylord Palms isn’t a resort my family has been to yet, but when I heard about what the hotel is doing, it sounded like so much fun. (A local blogger posted Instagram pictures of taking her kids there and said it was fantastic!) Gaylord Palms has ICE!, two million pounds of ice sculptures featuring the zany characters from Madagascar, plus an ice slide for guests! There is ShrekFeast where you can have a meal with Shrek and his pals and character meet-and-greets with Madagascar buddies. Gingerbread cookie decorating, beautiful decorations and a 54-foot Christmas tree are also fun for families.
Several cities in Florida have boat parades during the holidays, when boaters decorate their crafts with lights and idle down the waterways. The Winterfest Boat Parade in Fort Lauderdale is the one I grew up with, so that will always be THE boat parade to me. Every year, there is a celebrity Grand Marshal, and this year it’s Deborah Norville from Inside Edition. The crowds are crazy, and it pays to get tickets to the stands at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park for great viewing. (One year, I sat under a bridge on a slope and got a sore back!) Otherwise, if you can find a spot along the parade route early enough, seating is free.
Please leave a comment about your favorite holiday event, anywhere, for a chance to win tickets to Coconut Grove Candy Cane Village! I’ll randomly draw a winner on Friday, Dec. 14.