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Theme parks become even more magical during the holidays with sparkling lights, festive entertainment and delicious holiday foods from around the world. This year, clients’ favorite theme parks are adding new surprises to guarantee that guests have the merriest time ever.
Disneyland and California AdventureHolidays at the Disneyland Resort marks the return of the beloved A Christmas Fantasy Parade and the Believe in Holiday Magic fireworks show, complete with magical snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A.
Sleeping Beauty Castle is covered in lights for the season, and Haunted Mansion Holiday (which blends the Haunted Mansion with “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) continues its one-of-a-kind combination of Halloween and Christmas. But other attractions are getting holiday makeovers too, including It’s a Small World Holiday in Disneyland and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl and Mater’s Jingle Jamboree in California Adventure.
In California Adventure, the popular Disney Festival of Holidays showcases the tastes and sounds of celebrations from around the world with traditional holiday foods and multicultural performances, including the colorful Disney Viva Navidad street party featuring The Three Caballeros: Donald Duck, Panchito Pistoles and Jose Carioca.
“The Festival of Holidays brings together the holidays celebrated this time of year with authentic dance and music groups, and our Disney characters,” said Susana Tuber, creative director for Disney Parks Live Entertainment.
Holidays at the Disneyland Resort runs Nov. 9, 2018, to Jan. 6, 2019. Disney Festival of Holidays runs Nov. 9, 2018, to Jan. 8, 2019.
LegolandThe Christmas Bricktacular at Legoland Florida Resort features a 30-foot-tall Lego Christmas tree and photo ops with a life-size Santa and a reindeer made of thousands of Lego bricks.
“The holiday season shines bigger and brighter than ever this year as Legoland Florida Resort’s popular Christmas and New Year’s events return for their eighth year of yuletide fun,” said Chloe Boehm, public relations executive for Legoland Florida Resort.
In Heartlake City at Legoland California Resort, the Lego Friends are planning the perfect holiday party in a fun-filled holiday show, and during “The Yule Tides,” a new show in Fun Town, Santa’s elves don’t just make toys; they also make music. Plus, there’s a holiday-themed dive show at Sea Life Aquarium and holiday-themed games and story time at Legoland Castle Hotel.
Holidays at Legoland Florida Resort runs Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16 and 22-25, 2018. Holidays at Legoland California Resort runs Nov. 17, 2018, to Jan. 1, 2019.
SeaWorldSeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration at its parks in Texas, California and Florida promise delicious food, stunning live shows, delightful holiday shopping and joyous entertainment that bring together family fun and holiday traditions, all included with park admission.
A sea of lighted trees transforms SeaWorld San Diego into a wintery, watery wonderland this holiday season. Families can celebrate with dolphins and pilot whales in a special holiday performance at Dolphin Amphitheater, as well as laugh along when sea lions spoof traditional television Christmas specials in “Clyde and Seamore’s Christmas Special.” Plus, the all-new live nativity musical “O Wondrous Night” tells the story of Christmas with live animals and more than 30 holiday songs. Families can also step inside a giant snow globe for a unique holiday photo and enjoy a buffet breakfast with SeaWorld’s killer whales and a special visitor from the North Pole.
On select nights, SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration “brings the season to the sea” with the Shamu family of killer whales swimming to a seasonal soundtrack in the nighttime holiday show “Shamu Christmas Miracles.”
Additionally, ice skaters glide through towering fountains of water and a sea of lighted trees in “Winter Wonderland on Ice.” Plus, little ones will love “Elmo's Christmas Wish,” a musical celebration with Sesame Street characters.
With 9 million lights, SeaWorld San Antonio’s holiday celebration features the largest Christmas light display in Texas, as well as the country-themed Ho Ho Hoedown to welcome Santa into the park each day. Plus, families can share a Christmas feast with Rudolph and his friends or with Santa and Mrs. Claus during two special dining experiences.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration in San Diego runs Nov. 17, 2018, to Jan. 5, 2019. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration in Orlando runs Nov. 17 to Dec. 31, 2018. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration in San Antonio runs Nov. 17, 2018, to Jan. 6, 2019.
Universal Universal Orlando Resort celebrates the holiday season with wizards, Whos and Minions.
“Last year, we added Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and made our holiday parade even bigger and better,” said Robyn Ryan, director of travel industry sales for Universal Orlando Resort. “Based on last year’s popularity, agents should definitely book their clients’ Universal Orlando Resort holiday vacation as soon as possible.”
For the second year, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade (at both Universal Orlando Resort in Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood in California) and Diagon Alley (at Universal Orlando Resort) magically transforms with holiday spirit, which is further enhanced in Hollywood by a nightly snowfall. The celebration features seasonal food and beverage items — including hot Butterbeer — and festive entertainment culminating in The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, a spectacular display of lights and projections on the castle’s facade.
Clients can celebrate Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood around the 60-foot Grinchmas tree, where The Who-liday Singers perform an a cappella mix of Christmas favorites and pop rock.
At Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Florida, “The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular” is a musical retelling of the classic holiday story. Along with enjoying a buffet, guests can pose for photos with the Grinch during The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast in Seuss Landing. Theme park admission and reservations are required for this separately ticketed dining experience.
Holidays at Universal Orlando and Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood run Nov. 17, 2018, to Jan. 6, 2019. Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood runs Dec. 1-2, 8-9 and 14-30, 2018.
Walt Disney WorldWalt Disney World’s holiday celebration includes Sunset Seasons Greetings, a projection show that lights up The Hollywood Tower Hotel with Disney friends such as Olaf from “Frozen” and the “Toy Story” gang. Toy Story Land, the resort’s newest area, will also have some special holiday surprises.
“For many of our guests, there’s no better place to gather together with the ones you love and celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes of the season,” said Joann Delgin, director of travel agency sales for Disney Destinations. “Travel agents can provide extra value by recommending new experiences to enjoy or booking special dining reservations for their clients.”
The annual Epcot International Festival of the Holidays celebrates the traditions of all 11 World Showcase nations with Holiday Kitchens serving seasonal recipes from around the globe. Plus, the spectacular Candlelight Processional returns to Epcot with celebrity narrators, including actor Neil Patrick Harris, former baseball player Cal Ripken Jr. and Aulii Cravalho (the voice of Moana in “Moana”), who tell the story of Christmas accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and choir.
On select nights, the separately ticketed Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in Magic Kingdom invites guests to experience exclusive holiday entertainment and meet their favorite characters (including Jack Skellington, who appears as Sandy Claws only during this time of year).
Holidays at Walt Disney World Resort runs Nov. 6, 2018, to Jan. 6, 2019. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party runs Nov. 8 to Dec. 21, 2018. Epcot International Festival of the Holidays runs Nov. 18 to Dec. 30, 2018. Candlelight Processional runs Nov. 22 to Dec. 30, 2018.