There is nothing better than sneaking the kids out the door in their pjs to a surprise destination  (except for winning our Twitter holiday travel contest).  When we took our sons and drove to Disneyworld two years ago for Christmas morning it was an easy feat to pull off because we lived in Florida at the time. 


But, visits to Mickey Mouse and Shamu are great gift ideas – no matter where you live.  There are great deals to Orlando this time of year and the city truly decks the halls for the holidays, so you won’t want to miss out on the fun.


ICE! at Gaylord Palms

Jennifer Michaels and her son enjoy ICE! in Orlando


If you want to give the family a “white” Christmas in Florida, it’s actually possible.  Put on some mittens and parkas (the resort will provide) and head to Gaylord Palms Hotel & Convention Center in Kissimmee – less than 2 miles from Walt Disney World Resort. The world-famous ICE! attraction features two million pounds of hand-carved  ice chilled to 9 degrees. Even we Chicago natives were cold! 


This amazing holiday spectacle is worth its weight in ice.  In its seventh season, this award-winning attraction is one of the few places in the world where you can observe the work of the famed ice carvers of Harbin, China.  Kids and kids-at-heart will be mesmerized by this spectacular sight.  Spending a few hours at the resort is also a great excuse to down some hot chocolate!


SeaWorld Orlando

Shamu is a big star at SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando features Shamu Miracles holiday spectacular


This holiday season, SeaWorld Orlando is the place to go.  We are headed there next month to check out the North Pole aboard The Polar Express Experience. Now through January 3rd, SeaWorld’s Wild Arctic is transformed into the North Pole. 


Classic scenes from the movie are recreated in a multi-sensory experience immersing passengers in special lighting, scent, sound and motion effects.  Guests will discover a winter wonderland surrounded by holiday cheer and amazing animal encounters. 

Plus, there are three new shows this season:

•    Winter Wonderland on Ice, an ice-skating spectacular

•    Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas, a holiday-themed comedy

•    A Sesame Street Christmas, even the little ones can celebrate the spirit of the season with Elmo, Big Bird and other Sesame Street friends


No trip to SeaWorld would be complete without a Shamu show.  As the winter air cools and the evening stars appear, families can join Shamu for a magnificent holiday show: Shamu Christmas … Miracles.  Shamu Stadium comes alive with bright lights and glowing candles as Christmas carols abound and Shamu splashes to celebrate the holiday season. This very special showing runs on select nights now through January 3.  


Note:  Check back here soon for “Holidays In Orlando: Part Two”, where I will highlight holiday happenings at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and share some secrets to holiday shopping and finding great deals in Orlando.


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