The holidays are officially in full swing at Central Florida’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s the latest from Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and beyond:
Walt Disney World
- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party season has officially begun at Magic Kingdom! This year’s Christmas parties feature holiday-themed overlays for Space Mountain, Mad Tea Party, Tomorrowland Speedway, and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, as well as a brand-new nighttime spectacular on Cinderella Castle, “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks.” Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party runs on select days now through Dec. 22.
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom got a holiday makeover of its own, complete with new and fabulous decorations and entertainment in every section of the park. One of the most notable new additions is the “Merry Menagerie,” a group of handcrafted artisan puppets that depict adorable winter animals. These creatures and their handlers can be seen (and petted!) on Discovery Island throughout the day during the holiday season.
- The relocated bag check and security area for Epcot recently opened to guests. This new area makes entering the park and going through the security process even easier for guests, especially those who arrive via monorail from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). This update allows those who arrive from the TTC to keep from having to get their bags checked twice.
- A new exhibit has opened in the Morocco pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase, detailing the history of two modern races, as well as ancient inhabitants of the Sahara. The exhibit, titled “Race Against the Sun: Ancient Technique to Modern Competition,” includes immersive experiences, photo-ops, and more.
- The holidays have also appeared at Universal, with plenty of merry mischief for everyone in the family. Guests can experience Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, or take in a viewing of Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s – and we can’t forget the holiday staple, “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular.” Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort runs now through Jan. 5.
- The opening year for Universal Orlando’s third theme park, Universal’s Epic Universe, has finally been revealed. Fans can look forward to their next ‘epic’ adventure when the park opens sometime in 2023. The new park will be located on a 750-acre site near the Orange County Convention Center, and will feature its own entertainment district, restaurants, hotels and shops.
- Universal Orlando’s newest value resort, Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, now has an official opening date. Guests will be able to enjoy the relaxed, beachy vibe of Dockside Inn and Suites starting March 17. Bookings are available now.
- A new surcharge has been added to guest pick-ups via Uber at Universal Orlando Resort. Guests will now be charged an extra $4 for their pickup by Uber, which is passing along the charge from Universal. This new collaboration between Universal and Uber will lead to a new guest lounge inside the Universal parking garage, as well as new signage and staff. Lyft does not have the charge.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is returning to spread holiday cheer starting Nov. 23 and running through Dec. 31. This year’s celebration will introduce the brand-new Sesame Street Christmas Parade, featuring floats decorated for the occasion. Also new for this year is Sea Lion High’s Christmas Pageant, a show featuring the hilarious students and faculty of Sea Lion High.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
- Christmas Town is back at Busch Gardens Tampa, and with it comes new festive fare, holiday entertainment, character encounters, and holiday lights. New for this year, guests will get to experience Tigris, the park’s newest coaster, covered in millions of Christmas lights. This year’s Busch Gardens Christmas Town runs now through Jan. 6, 2020.
Catch more theme park happenings, news, and updates here next month or every day at AttractionsMagazine.com.
Brittani Tuttle is a writer with Attractions Magazine, the only publication that covers all the major theme parks and attractions worldwide. In addition to the magazine, there is “The Attractions Show” online, an email newsletter, podcast, app and more. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit AttractionsMagazine.com.on her blog: www.mycardsandhowtheygrow.wordpress.com.