Orlando theme parks: Here come 2022 holidays

This is how we roll through the holidays in Orlando’s theme parks in this day and age. The scent of Halloween’s faux fog and the Sanderson Sisters aren’t even out of our clothes before someone gets all merry and bright on us.

Attractions are gearing up for the end-of-year events. Some are going the traditional route or are bouncing back from pandemic interruptions. Some have tweaked the formula or changed locations, and there are a few new-to-these-parts offerings.

There’s really no rush. Everything will still be going after, oh, say, Thanksgiving. But for you early bird celebrators, here’s a jumping-off list of Central Florida attractions with holiday plans, arranged in order of their debuts.

  • Nov. 8: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Magic Kingdom. After-hours, extra-ticket event features parade, fireworks, stage shows, dance parties, characters in very merry mode. (There are 25 select dates through Dec. 22, but the first seven evenings are sold out.)
  • Nov. 11: Night of a Million Lights, Island H2O, benefiting Give Kids the World Village. Elaborate display moves from reopened nonprofit to Kissimmee water park. (Nightly through Jan. 1.)
  • Nov. 11: Christmas Nights in Lights, Dezerland Action Park Orlando. Drive-through display debuts on north end of International Drive. Reservations required. (Nightly through Jan. 1.)
  • Nov. 11: Christmas Celebration, SeaWorld Orlando. Event, included with park admission, presents new “Holiday Reflections” fireworks, Sesame Street Christmas Parade, “Elmo’s Christmas Wish,” “Winter Wonderland on Ice” skating show, interactions with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Bumble. (Select nights through Jan. 3.)
  • Nov. 12: Holidays at Universal Orlando. Islands of Adventure stages Grinchmas and “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” plus the Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s winds through the streets of Universal Studios. Festivities are included with park admission. (Daily through Jan. 1.) Mannheim Steamroller performs at Universal Studios Dec. 3, 4, 10 and 11.
  • Nov. 18: Christmas at Gaylord Palms, Kissimmee. Grinch-themed ICE display is centerpiece of holiday programming, which also offers options for snow tubing, gingerbread decorating, Naughty or Nice Escape room and stage shows including “Cirque: Spirit of Christmas.” (Nightly through Jan. 1.)
  • Nov. 25: Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, including Candlelight Processional, Holiday Kitchens, live entertainment via storytellers and musicians, Walt Disney World. (Included with Epcot admission, daily through Dec. 30.)
  • Nov. 25: Holidays at Legoland Florida. Activities, included in Winter Haven park admission, feature seasonal characters, Lego builds, shows and treats for sale. (Event dates are Nov. 25-27, Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 22-31.)
  • Dec. 1: Holidays in Space, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Seasonal décor, holiday music across the Brevard County complex. (Through Dec. 30.)
  • Dec. 3: Holiday Ho Ho Ho-Down Christmas at Gatorland, including with regular admission. Interactive characters such as Gator Claus and Krampus Croc, live music, exhibits, holiday food, craft vendors (Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 18.)

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