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

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15 Things Only Lake People Will Understand

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people. Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look. Every year when summer rolls back around, you can't wait to fire up the boat and get back out there. Here is a list of things you can probably identify with as a fellow lake-goer.

1. A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day not at the lake.

It's your place of escape, where you can leave everything else behind and just enjoy the beautiful summer day. No matter what kind of week you had, being able to come and relax without having to worry about anything else is the best therapy there is. After all, there's nothing better than a day of hanging out in the hot sun, telling old funny stories and listening to your favorite music.

2. You know the best beaches and coves to go to.

Whether you want to just hang out and float or go walk around on a beach, you know the best spots. These often have to be based on the people you're with, given that some "party coves" can get a little too crazy for little kids on board. I still have vivid memories from when I was six that scared me when I saw the things drunk girls would do for beads.

3. You have no patience for the guy who can’t back his trailer into the water right.

When there's a long line of trucks waiting to dump their boats in the water, there's always that one clueless guy who can't get it right, and takes 5 attempts and holds up the line. No one likes that guy. One time my dad got so fed up with a guy who was taking too long that he actually got out of the car and asked this guy if he could just do it for him. So he got into the guy's car, threw it in reverse, and got it backed in on the first try. True story.

4. Doing the friendly wave to every boat you pass.

Similar to the "jeep wave," almost everyone waves to other boats passing by. It's just what you do, and is seen as a normal thing by everyone.

5. The cooler is always packed, mostly with beer.

Alcohol seems to be a big part of the lake experience, but other drinks are squeezed into the room remaining in the cooler for the kids, not to mention the wide assortment of chips and other foods in the snack bag.

6. Giving the idiot who goes 30 in a "No Wake

Zone" a piece of your mind.

There's nothing worse than floating in the water, all settled in and minding your business, when some idiot barrels through. Now your anchor is loose, and you're left jostled by the waves when it was nice and perfectly still before. This annoyance is typically answered by someone yelling some choice words to them that are probably accompanied by a middle finger in the air.

7. You have no problem with peeing in the water.

It's the lake, and some social expectations are a little different here, if not lowered quite a bit. When you have to go, you just go, and it's no big deal to anyone because they do it too.

8. You know the frustration of getting your anchor stuck.

The number of anchors you go through as a boat owner is likely a number that can be counted on two hands. Every once in a while, it gets stuck on something on the bottom of the lake, and the only way to fix the problem is to cut the rope, and you have to replace it.

9. Watching in awe at the bigger, better boats that pass by.

If you're the typical lake-goer, you likely might have an average sized boat that you're perfectly happy with. However, that doesn't mean you don't stop and stare at the fast boats that loudly speed by, or at the obnoxiously huge yachts that pass.

10. Knowing any swimsuit that you own with white in it is best left for the pool or the ocean.

You've learned this the hard way, coming back from a day in the water and seeing the flowers on your bathing suit that were once white, are now a nice brownish hue.

11. The momentary fear for your life as you get launched from the tube.

If the driver knows how to give you a good ride, or just wants to specifically throw you off, you know you're done when you're speeding up and heading straight for a big wave. Suddenly you're airborne, knowing you're about to completely wipe out, and you eat pure wake. Then you get back on and do it all again.

12. You're able to go to the restaurants by the water wearing minimal clothing.

One of the many nice things about the life at the lake is that everybody cares about everything a little less. Rolling up to the place wearing only your swimsuit, a cover-up and flip flops, you fit right in. After a long day when you're sunburned, a little buzzed, and hungry, you're served without any hesitation.

13. Having unexpected problems with your boat.

Every once in a while you're hit with technical difficulties, no matter what type of watercraft you have. This is one of the most annoying setbacks when you're looking forward to just having a carefree day on the water, but it's bound to happen. This is just one of the joys that come along with being a boat owner.

14. Having a name for your boat unique to you and your life.

One of the many interesting things that make up the lake culture is the fact that many people name their boats. They can range from basic to funny, but they are unique to each and every owner, and often have interesting and clever meanings behind them.

15. There's no better place you'd rather be in the summer.

Summer is your all-time favorite season, mostly because it's spent at the lake. Whether you're floating in the cool water under the sun, or taking a boat ride as the sun sets, you don't have a care in the world at that moment. The people that don't understand have probably never experienced it, but it's what keeps you coming back every year.

Cover Image Credit: Haley Harvey

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