Holiday Light Shows: Christmas Displays and More in Orlando for 2021
For many Orlando families, visiting local Christmas lights is a treasured holiday tradition. It’s a great way to get in the Christmas spirit, and Orlando has no shortage of options. From dazzling displays at the theme parks to lighted boat parades, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to see Christmas lights here in Central Florida.
Get an exclusive view of Give Kids the World Village as it's tranformed into a wonderland of lights at Night of a Million Lights; stroll through illuminated forests and watch dancing light displays at Leu Gardens' Dazzling Nights; or venture to Mount Dora for the town's amazing seasonal lights. Read on for the very best holiday light displays around Orlando and Central Florida.
For those wanting to enjoy the magic of holiday lights while maintaining social distance, there are a couple of drive-thru events, including Magic of Lights in Daytona and the Space Coast Lightfest in Melbourne, detailed below. Looking for other fun Christmas events in the area? Be sure to visit our Orlando Christmas Activities and Holiday Guide.
Christmas magic is colorful at Hogwarts Castle. Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando
OUR LATEST VIDEOS
Holiday and Christmas Lights at Orlando Theme Parks
Lake Buena Vista
Christmas at Walt Disney World Resort is completely magical. At Magic Kingdom, Cinderella's Castle is transformed with cheerful light projections, and guests can get exclusive after hours time at the park during Very Merriest After Hours. Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life shimmers each night with sparkling lights. Take in the festive decor and holiday food at Epcot during the International Festival of the Holidays. Visit Disney Springs to stroll through a Disney-themed Christmas Tree Trail. (Make sure to hit up the resorts— each uniquely and meticulously decorated.)
Experience the magic of Christmas...Harry Potter-style at Universal Orlando. Both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are transformed with thousands of lights and holiday decorations. Plus, visit a real life Whoville at Seuss Landing for Grinchmas, complete with whimsical holiday lights and decor, and a Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular show. CityWalk and the surrounding resorts are also beautifully decorated for the holidays; take a trip on the complimentary water taxi to check them out.
SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration has more than 3 million lights twinkling for the holidays. Guests can watch a Sesame Street Christmas Parade, enjoy seasonal shows, visit Santa in the Wild Arctic and more. Cap off the visit by walking through a holiday wonderland in the Sea of Trees, where more than 100 trees light up the water and dance to holiday music.
Legoland's holiday celebration includes a FUNderland complete with a 360-degree light show and a giant Lego Chrismas tree. Kids can visit with Lego Santa and other holiday characters and take photos with a lifesize Lego snowman and a reindeer-led sleigh, built with thousands of bricks.
You won't want to blink at Night of a Million Lights! Photo by the author
Holiday and Christmas Lights in Central Florida
While not technically holiday lights, this lantern festival at the Central Florida Zoo is worth a visit this holiday season! The festival features more than 30 large, illuminated sculptures representing traditional Chinese elements. There is also live entertainment, food, and authentic crafts.
If you haven't experienced Christmas at Gaylord Palms, add it to your calendar this season. Enjoy holiday activities and things to do, including Mission: Save Christmas with Buddy the Elf, a Cirque Spirit of Christmas show, Snow Flow Mountain, Shine Light Show with thousands of dancing lights, Christmas Tree Trail, and much more.
Cranes Roost Park is transformed into a water fantastical with some impressive stats: It boasts more than 100 holiday displays with more than 200,000 lights. Plus there's a 60-foot Christmas tree with more than 8,000 lights, 2,600 ornaments, and a mile of garland. There is also a nightly fountain show complete with dancing water and lights choreographed to holiday music. Enjoy special events throughout the holiday season as well, including Light Up the Holidays and Santa Tuesdays.
Leu Gardens is bringing back its wonderland of lights again this holiday season. This 3/4-mile experience includes more than a million sparkling lights, a shimmering forest, interactive elements, a light maze, and more. Photo opportunites will be available under a 30-foot tall Christmas tree.
Families with little dinosaur fanatics will want to add this to the holiday to-do list. Every 30 minutes between 11am and 3:30pm, the DinoDigs area transforms into a festive light display choreographed to music. Each show lasts 4 minutes with a surprise ending.
Daytona International Speedway isn't just for racing. During the holiday season, visitors can enjoy a holiday lights extravaganza from the comfort and safety of their own cars. More than a million lights are on display, including a candy cane lane, snowflake forest, a tunnel of lights, and more fun holiday-themed displays.
Mount Dora is simply breathtaking at Christmas time, with more than 2 million sparkling lights in Donnelly Park and throughout the downtown area. Take a short walk down to the Mount Dora Boating Center and Marina to view its beautiful light display overlooking the lake. Mount Dora also offers several holiday events, including Snow in the Park and the Mount Dora Christmas Parade.
Watch as Give Kids the World Village is transformed into a winter wonderland of more than 3 million lights. New this year is a dancing light show, a tram tour with storytelling, holiday marketplace, tree trail, and more. There will also be a visit from Santa!
Enjoy more than 3 million lights while never leaving your car at this holiday drive-through attraction. This annual, family-oriented event features twinkling lights and animated displays, as well as a 200-foot lighted tunnel. Bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Kids and get a discount on tickets at the gate. On certain dates, guests can stroll through the lights rather than drive through.
A lighted boat parade ushers in the season in Ormond Beach. Photo courtesy of Tomoka River Christmas Boat Parade
Lighted Parades in the Orlando Area
Daytona Beach —Saturday, December 4
This annual lighted boat parade takes place along the Halifax River in Daytona, with local boat owners and organizations teaming up to spread holiday cheer. Popular viewing areas for the parade include the Chart House Restaurant, Daytona Marina and Boat Works, City Island, Manatee Island, and Halifax Harbor Marina.
Mount Dora —Saturday, December 4
Families can marvel at boats decked out in holiday lights at the annual lighted Christmas Boat Parade on Lake Dora. Afterward, stroll along the paths of the Mount Dora Boating Center and Marina, which is covered in an ornate light display. There is plenty of space to view the parade and observe social distancing.
Leesburg —Sunday, December 5
This annual Christmas event includes a lighted holiday boat parade, food vendors, live entertainment, and Light Up Venetian Gardens. Vendors will be set up at 5pm, entertainment starts at 5:30pm, Light Up Venetian Gardens starts at 6:00pm, and the boat parade begins at 6:15pm.
Ormond Beach —Friday, December 10
Watch decorated boats parade down the Tomoka River, complete with holidays lights, festive decor, and music. Spectators should bring one unwrapped toy to donate. Food trucks will be onsite.
Kissimmee —Saturday, December 11
Enjoy this annual nighttime holiday parade featuring music, dancing, and thousands of lights. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to find a spot as this is a popular event.
Sanford —Saturday, December 11
Bring the family out for an evening of festive fun at the annual downtown Sanford illuminated Christmas parade.
Belle Island —Monday, December 20
Decorate your bike and/or golf cart to ride through Belle Isle for a holiday parade. Bike parade begins at 6pm and golf cart parade begins at 8pm. There will be food available for purchase in between parades.