Fun Things to Do Over the Holiday Break in Orlando with Kids
Most schools in Central Florida are closed for holiday break between December 23, 2019 and January 3, 2020. That leaves two weeks of family fun to be had.
From festive holiday activities to family-friendly New Year's Eve events, Mommy Poppins Orlando has you covered. Here are some ideas to help plan those days: Be sure to check our events calendar for other local things to do as they develop.
Check out our roundup of must-do seasonal events for added inspiration. And don't forget our lineup of the best holiday lights in the Orlando area. Lastly, don't miss out: Sign up for our FREE newsletter and stay up to date on the best things to do in the Orlando area with kids.
Celebrate New Year's Eve with a brick drop at Legoland Florida. Photo by Chip Litherland/ Legoland Florida/ Merlin Entertainments Group
Things to Do During Holiday Break in Orlando's Theme Park Areas
Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail — Lake Buena Vista
If you want to avoid the overcrowded theme parks during winter break but still need a Disney fix, visit Disney Springs and stroll the trail of more than 20 themed Christmas trees. While you’re there, visit the Lego store, where kids will love the Lego play areas and life-size Lego figures. Kids can also dig for dinosaur fossils at T-Rex Café, ride the Marketplace carousel and Express Train, and meet the Coca-Cola bear at the World of Coke. Tweens and teens can enjoy a bowling alley, movie theater, the NBA Experience, and more. Guests can take photos with Santa through Christmas Eve at Santa's Chalet within the Christmas Tree Trail.
Go Resort-Hopping at Disney and See the Festive Decorations — Lake Buena Vista
One of our favorite traditions is visiting the deluxe Disney resorts at Christmastime to see the stunning decorations, including a life-size gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian, and then boarding the monorail to the Contemporary Resort to see more intricate gingerbread displays. Bonus: If you visit at night, you can view the Magic Kingdom fireworks on the outside balcony at the Contemporary Resort. Other resorts worth visiting include Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge and Boardwalk Inn.
Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Theme Parks — Lake Buena Vista, Kissimmee, and elsewhere
Ring in 2020 with some family fun at the parks. Head to the Magic Kingdom for DJ dance parties and a special Fantasy in the Sky fireworks display. At Epcot, countdown to the new year again and again as you travel around the World Showcase as the clock strikes midnight in each country. Hollywood Studios is celebrating with a countdown and a special fireworks display at midnight and Animal Kingdom will have DJ dance parties during the day and a countdown at the Tree of Life at midnight. Universal Studios will have party zones, character dance parties, pyrotechnic displays and a cinematic celebration. Festivities at SeaWorld include music, entertainment, and a fireworks display at midnight. For younger kids, Legoland Florida offers a brick drop at an earlier kid-friendly hour as well as dance parties and special building activities throughout the day.
Grab your skates and head out to RDV Ice Den. Photo courtesy of RDV Sportsplex Ice Den
Things to Do During Holiday Break in the Downtown Orlando Area
Leu Gardens — Orlando
Explore this 50-acre garden oasis and enjoy its newest interactive exhibit, Nature of the Game, which includes giant chess, life-size Connect 4, I-Spy, scavenger hunts, mazes, and more. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the patio or lawn area and let the kids walk off some energy.
Orlando Science Center — Orlando
I highly recommend a visit to the Orlando Science Center over the break. With four levels of exhibits, there is something for everyone. Little ones will love the expansive KidsTown area with seven interactive play stations. Through January 5, visit the traveling Artificial Intelligence: Your Mind & The Machine exhibit, where visitors can learn what AI is and how it can be used in the future. Permanent exhibits include Nature Works, where there are several different fish, reptiles and amphibians to visit; Kinetic Zone with interactive engineering activities; Our Planet, complete with a 6-foot suspended projection sphere to learn about Earth and space science; and Dino Digs with large fossil replicas, a dig play area, and a holiday Dinos in Lights show.
RDV Ice Den — Orlando
Grab your skates and head to RDV Ice Den, which offers public ice skating seven days a week for ages 3 and older. Be sure to check its website as hours for public skating vary. You might even catch a glimpse of the Orlando Solar Bears hockey team, a minor-league affiliate of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, practicing on certain days. RDV also offers fun winter break camps for kids.
Thrill to the dazzling lights display at the Asian Lantern Festival. Photo courtesy of Central Florida Zoo
Things to Do During Holiday Break with Kids North of Orlando
Asian Lantern Festival at the Zoo — Sanford
This limited time event at the Central Florida Zoo is based on traditional Asian lanterns and showcases more than 30 larger-than-life illuminated sculptures, including a 200-foot long dragon. Each sculpture is lit by thousands of LED lights, creating an amazing ambiance. Sample from food trucks, and Asian crafts are available for sale. This event runs through January 12, 2020.
Light Up UCF — Orlando
Bring the family for an evening of holiday fun at this annual festival at the University of Central Florida, complete with snowy nights. Enjoy an outdoor ice skating rink, choreographed light show with snowfall, free holiday movies on select nights, and several rides, including a Ferris wheel, train, carousel, ice slide, and more.
Visit the Manatees at Blue Springs State Park — Orange City
Every winter, hundreds of manatees from the St. Johns River migrate to Blue Springs State Park, seekipng shelter from the cold. Visitors to the park can walk along the boardwalk and get great views of these gentle giants in the clear spring water. It is a spectalular sight to see. Blue Springs also has a small playground area, gift shop, cafe, and historic frontier house.
Winter Wonderland at Wekiva Island — Longwood
Now through New Year's Day, Wekiva Island is transformed into a Winter Wonderland with snow slides and real snow flurries. Kids will love tubing down the slides over and over again. Families can enjoy a movie on the river on select nights surrounded by thousands of lights. Also enjoy face painters and stilt walkers on select weekend days.
Enjoy a traditional holiday season, snow included, in Celebration. Photo courtesy of Town of Celebration
Things to Do During Holiday Break with Kids South of Orlando
Crayola Colorful Christmas — Orlando
Elementary-age and younger kids will love this colorful Christmas event at Crayola Experience, complete with multiple holiday activities, including a life-size snowglobe, Christmas light show starring Crayola characters, a Save Santa adventure, and more. Kids will also love the indoor color playground and dozens of hands-on activity stations offered year round.
Christmas at Gaylord Palms — Kissimmee
If you haven't yet experienced Christmastime at Gaylord Palms, add it to your calendar. There are so many holiday activities, including the famous ICE! attraction with more than 2 million pounds of ice sculptures kept at a chilly 9 degrees. This year’s theme for ICE! is The Polar Express. The resort also offers snow tubing, a Christmas tree trail, an Elf on the Shelf character breakfast, a Secret Santa scavenger hunt, a Naughty or Nice escape room, more than 2 million Christmas lights, and more.
Now Snowing in Celebration — Celebration
Through New Year's Eve this annual event brings nightly snowfall to Florida. Stroll the streets of downtown Celebration while enjoying Charles Dickens-style carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice skating, train rides, and seasonal performances that give guests a truly traditional holiday experience.