You may not have the cold weather or snow, but if you are heading to Orlando for Christmas, here’s my favourite picks to give you the warm and fuzzy festive feeling!
Christmas at Celebration, Florida
Firstly, you have ‘snow’ on the hour (6pm – 9pm) at Market Street, which is great fun for all ages, plus ‘ice skating’ for the kids. If you are in Orlando for the first weekend in December, then the holiday home tour is a must, when home owners in Celebration open up their doors for you to wander through and admire the jaw dropping decorations, and stunning properties, there is a small charge for this, which is collected for charity, and they give you a map to find the homes. If you don’t make the home tour you can simply drive around and be blown away by just the outdoor light displays that owners put up, you will need a satnav to get back out of Celebation, as it’s very easy to get lost, make sure you head to these streets as you drive around…. Pondview Court, Jeater Bend Drive and Golf Park Drive.
Nobody does Christmas like Disney, and even if you are not staying in one of their hotels, you can still go and enjoy the atmosphere, my favourites are Grand Floridian for a traditional American Christmas with the largest Gingerbread house you have ever seen, Wilderness Lodge has an impressive 7 storey lobby, what’s even more impressive is the Christmas tree that fills it each year, great for family photos!
Christmas at Disney Springs
Disney Springs is a must visit at anytime of year, but especially at Christmas when lanterns and garlands are draped from one side of the street to the other, with a very grand Christmas tree in the centre of the shops. You can also take a stroll through the Christmas tree trail, where trees are decorated with all your favourite Disney characters… even Star Wars! The restaurants are very busy at this time of year, so expect to have to wait for a table, or eat before you go, and enjoy the many bars, my favourites are the Boathouse bar which is on the dock, at the back, or Hanger bar next door which also has a large patio area on the lake, if it’s chilly head to Edison’s!
LOVE LOVE LOVE Mount Dora at Christmas, this small town really does go for it! With a park full of twinkling lights, and gift shops and restaurants all decorated in the holiday spirit, they even shut the roads on select nights to open it up for pedestrians, with music and bands playing in the street. You also need to check out the Marina, for the past 19 years, Joe and his crew of elves at Mount Dora Boating Center have created what is arguably the city's most impressive holiday display - This year the downtown marina boasts over one million lights! It’s a 45 mile drive from the majority of vacation homes, and you will need a Satnav and be very careful when using the 429 toll road to make sure you come off at the right exit, as staying on will incur fees’ as they only accept pre-paid tolls beyond the exit that you need.
Mount Dora at Christmas