20 Things That Should Be On Your Orlando Bucket List For December

20 Things That Should Be On Your Orlando Bucket List For December

For anyone who is running out of ideas on how to spread holiday cheer.

December is a time to spread holiday cheer. Finals are over and Christmas is drawing near. It's about that time where there's no more school papers, things are starting to slow down, and it seems as though everyone has more free time than ever. But what's the point of having free time when there is nothing to do? In Orlando, the holiday season brings countless opportunities to soak in all of the Christmas cheer. Luckily, I mapped it all out for my fellow Orlando residents. Get out your calendars and grab your sweaters because here is the ultimate bucket list for the rest of December.

1. "Light Up UCF" at the University of Central Florida

Ice Skating in Florida? Who would have guessed! The University of Central Florida has everything you need to get ready for Christmas. Light Up UCF has fun for all ages. Besides a public ice skating rink and a light show, visitors enjoy the Holiday Film Festival where anyone can watch movies for free. Attractions include a Ferris Wheel, a performance stage and photos with Santa. There's even a Holiday Market where you have the opportunity to support local businesses by purchasing gifts for the Holidays.

2. "Holidays Around The World" at Epcot

Get a glimpse at how 11 different nations celebrate the Holiday season during the entire month of December. With performers celebrating the sounds of various countries and food and beverages from all over, celebrating at Epcot is like no other! Purchase tickets to the annual Candlelight Processional and witness a 50-piece orchestra, a choir, and a celebrity narrator tell the biblical story of Christmas.

3. "Christmas At Gaylord Palms"

Bring the entire family to witness more than 2 million Christmas lights and acres of decorations. At Gaylord Palms, there is fun for everyone. Come see "Ice!" at Gaylord Palms where you can see two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures tell the story of how Charlie Brown rediscovers the meaning of Christmas. But bundle up! The attraction is kept at 9 degrees! The chill continues at the Alpine Rush Snow Tubing where you can slide down a tubing hill in real snow! Other attractions for the holidays include a Christmas light show, a Cirque Dreams show, and story time with Mrs. Claus.

4. "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party" at the Magic Kingdom

Marvel at the lights and decorations as the Magic Kingdom becomes a winter wonderland! Watch a parade, meet characters, watch a Frozen performance, eat yummy sweets!

5. "Winter In The Park" on Park Avenue

Experience reasonably priced ice skating for all ages on Park Avenue in Winter park during "Winter In The Park" all through the month of December. Besides "Winter In The Park," there are various other events held on Park Avenue. On Saturday, December 22nd, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art will have a free Holiday Weekend Open House from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. then again on Sunday, December 23rd from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

6. "Grinchmas" at Universal's Islands of Adventures

Visit Universal's Islands of Adventures where you can meet the Grinch, see a live retelling of Dr. Seuss's story of the Grinch, and witness all of the year round attractions at the park.

7. Sak Comedy Lab's "Invasion: Christmas Carol"

Visit Sak Comedy Lab in downtown Orlando to witness a traditional Christmas story with a twist. Each night, the cast will perform a scripted version of the Christmas Story, but an improvised character that is chosen by the audience "invades" the show. As the improvised character alters each scene, the cast must adapt their lines to make sense of the invader.

8. "Holiday Movies In The Park" at Lake Eola

On December 23th at 7 p.m., "A Christmas Story" will be playing at the Walt Disney Amphitheater. Grab a blanket and enjoy this free showing!

9. "Holiday Movie Nights" at Cranes Roost Park

Florida Hospital Altamonte will be putting on "The Christmas Story" on the Plaza lawn. Food and beverages can also be purchased!

10. "Now Snowing" in Celebration

Come to Celebration to witness "Now Snowing." Every night through December 31st there is snowfall and an event planned. There is an ice rink, horse drawn carriage rides, carolers, and even photos with Santa!

11. SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration

Meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends, shop, watch an ice skating show, see Shamu and more at SeaWorld.

12. "Singing Christmas Trees" at First Baptist Orlando

Get a glimpse at one of Central Florida's Christmas traditions. Two Christmas trees that are 40-feet tall each, carry an entire choir! The show is packed with an orchestra, singing, dancing, and lights!

13. "Macy's Holiday Parade" at Universal Studios

After the Thanksgiving Day Parade, many floats and balloons are sent to Orlando Florida. These floats along with marching bands and Santa, come together to create a parade that most would think they would only see on TV.

14. Wekiva Island's "Winter Wonderland"

Throughout the month, Wekiva Island is spreading holiday cheer! Every single day brings new and exciting fun. On December 21st, there will be "Wine Down Wednesday" from 6 to 8. $20 gets you wine samples, appetizers and a wine glass to take home. On December 23rd at 7 p.m., the Grinch will be projected on a 16-foot screen. Hot Cocoa and popcorn will be available! There's even snowfall every night starting at 6 p.m. until December 31st.

15. Christmas at The Leu House

Leu Gardens is a 50-acre botanical garden that attracts locals all year round. During the month of December, the Leu House spreads some holiday cheer. Local interior designers decorate the estate just in time for the holidays. The Leu House Museum was a home built in the 19th century owned by four different families before it was open to the public. In honor of the holiday season, tours are held inside the 11-room estate starting at 10 a.m. to showcase the house's decorations and Christmas trees.

16. The Holy Land Experience

Truly experience the stories of the bible at the Holy Land Experience. Year round you are able to walk the streets that Jesus walked. For the Christmas season, there are special events including a re-telling of the events leading up to Jesus's birth.

17. Winter Film Festival

The Orlando Public Library is getting into the holiday spirit! On December 23rd at 11 a.m., adults are welcome to the showing of "Little Fockers."

18. Twas The Party Before Christmas

The Improv is a comedy club in Orlando for ages 21 and up. On December 22nd, at 8 p.m., "Twas The Party Before Christmas" will be showing. In its attempts to relieve some pre-holiday stress, the show guarantees endless laughter.

19. "Christmas Spectacular!" at the Stetson Mansion

Tour the Stetson Mansion and witness all of its spectacular holiday decorations. The home is transformed head to toe with decorations from around the world to celebrate the holidays.

20. Florida Citrus Parade

On December 29th at 11 a.m., Downtown Orlando will be hosting another Florida Citrus Parade. Over the past 36 years, the parade has been known for its amazing floats made from over 100,000 pieces of citrus. Crowds of up to 60,000 people come out to watch the televised event.

Cover Image Credit: cdn.com

Popular Right Now

Here's Why You Shouldn't Donate to The Salvation Army This Holiday Season (Or Ever)

No, I’m not a grinch or a scrooge. I’m just a member of the LGBT+ community that is tired of seeing my community suffer at the hands of organizations that are supposed to help us.

The holiday season is upon us, bringing mall Santas, twinkling lights, and the well-known bell ringers with their red buckets stationed outside busy department stores. The Salvation Army is a mainstay in the memories of our childhood holidays. I remember a number of years where my parents would give each of my sisters and I a handful of change to put in the shiny red bucket as we walked into Wal-Mart to shop for our family Christmas dinner. On the surface, the Salvation Army is an organization with good intentions of helping the less fortunate, especially during the holiday season. However, a quick Google search exposes the organization’s discriminatory practices.

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian denomination and an international charitable organization. Their mission statement, as stated on their website, reads: “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

Despite their insistence of nondiscriminatory practices, however, there have been several instances of discrimination, specifically against members of the LGBT+ community. In July 2017, a Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn, New York, was found by the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) to be discriminating. Three other centers in New York City were also cited as being discriminatory. Violations within the four centers included refusing to accept transgender people as patients or tenants, assigning trans people rooms based on their sex assigned at birth instead of their lived gender identity, unwarranted physical examinations to determine if trans people are on hormone therapy or have had surgery, and segregating transgender patients into separate rooms. The NYCCHR had been tipped off about the mistreatment, and testers from the commission went to the cited centers and found clear evidence of the mistreatment. One of the clinics told the testers outright, “No, we don’t [accept transgender patients].” Another clinic’s representative said, “People with moving male parts would be housed with men.”

This isn’t the first time the Salvation Army has discriminated specifically against transgender people. In 2014, a transgender woman from Paris, Texas fled her home due to death threats she received related to her gender identity. The police told her, “Being the way you are, you should expect that.” She went to Dallas and found emergency shelter at the Carr P. Collins Social Service Center, run by the Salvation Army. The emergency shelter allowed her to stay for 30 days. Towards the end of her 30-day stay, she began looking for other long-term shelter options. One option many of the other women staying in the shelter had recently entered was a two-year housing program also run by the Salvation Army. When the woman interviewed for the program, she was told she was disqualified for the program because she had not had gender reassignment surgery. The counselor for the program later claimed there was a waiting list, but it came out that two women who arrived at the emergency shelter after the transgender woman had already entered the program. The transgender woman filed a complaint with Dallas’s Fair Housing Office, which protects against discrimination on the basis of gender identity. She was able to find other housing through the Shared Housing Project, a project that aims to find transgender people with housing who are willing to support those without.

The Salvation Army’s Christian affiliation drives the organization’s statements and beliefs. The church has a page on its website dedicated to its decided stance on the LGBT+ community that seems to paint a nice picture. Their actions, however, tell a different story. There have been several accounts reporting the Salvation Army’s refusal of service to LGBT+ people unless they renounce their sexuality, end same-sex relationships, or, in some cases, attend services “open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline.” The church claims it holds a “positive view of human sexuality,” but then clarifies that “sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage.” This belief extends to their staff, asking LGBT+ employees to renounce their beliefs and essentially their identity in order to align with the organization. The Salvation Army believes that “The theological belief regarding sexuality is that God has ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman and sexual activity is restricted to one’s spouse. Non-married individuals would therefore be celibate in the expression of their sexuality.” Essentially, gay people can’t get married. Unmarried people can’t have sex. Therefore, gay people are forbidden from being intimate with one another. This is unfair to ask of any employee, especially considering that one’s relationship status does not interfere with how well anyone can do their job.

If you are still looking to donate to a non-homophobic and transphobic organization this holiday season, here are some great pro-LGBT+ organizations with outreach similar to that of the Salvation Army:

  • Doctors Without Borders: medical and emergency relief
  • Habitat for Humanity: homelessness and housing
  • Local homeless shelters: search the National Coalition for the Homeless’ website for shelters near you!
  • Local food bank: find your local food bank through Feeding America here.
  • The Trevor Project: a leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT+ young people ages 13-24.
Cover Image Credit: Ed Glen Today

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Dear Elf On The Shelf, I Hate You. Love, Me

Love them or hate them, Elf on a Shelf is here to stay.


Every year it's the same thing. Families stuff themselves on Thanksgiving and then the next day brings, no not sales, but…The Elf on a Shelf. I spent about seven blissful years not having to worry about the little red visitor (no, not THAT visitor) who invaded my home every Christmas season. But, once I remarried and had 2 additional sons, my sister in law just had to introduce them to that Elf. He (or she if you have daughters) watches your kids during the day and then returns to the North Pole every night to tattle, I mean, tell Santa how the kids are behaving. Of course, the elves need assistance getting around, so now, every night until Christmas Eve, my husband and I (and many other parents) are forced to move these little creatures around the house to make our children behave.

I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten to move the elves (yes, we have been blessed with more than one. It seems my boys each want their own private surveillance). I would wearily climb all the way up to my bedroom and settle down as if for a long winter's nap, and it would hit me. It was back downstairs for me. Now it is after midnight and I am pacing around my house trying to find a new and innovative way to hide these little buggers. There are so many places that an elf can hide where it cannot be touched (did I forget to mention that touching them means certain death and some pissed off children?). But, nothing gets the adrenaline pumping in the morning than to realize that you have forgotten to move them, and your kids are stirring in their beds.

It reminds something one of my friends said, "I can't believe anybody would celebrate a holiday where a jolly prowler breaks into your house and leaves gifts." Ah, Squidward, if you think that's bad, try three tiny stalkers invading your home for a few weeks.

And just the other day, one of my sons made the most interesting observation: "Mommy, I saw a tag on the elf. How come he's a toy?" Now the real fun begins.


Related Content

Facebook Comments