SeaWorld Orlando has unveiled another year of Christmas cheer as their holiday celebration drapes the entire theme park with countless colorful lights and enough lively entertainment to fill each evening with festive fun. Whether religious or not, all guests can enjoy the vibrant displays that transform SeaWorld into a winter wonderland by night.
An impressive amount of Christmas decor can be found throughout the park, particularly enjoyable after dark, all included with park admission. On select nights through December 31, the park shows off its most wonderful time of the year with a few new additions for 2013 making their holiday season even brighter.
It’s impossible to miss the giant Christmas tree and snow man that greet guests upon entering SeaWorld Orlando, immediately thrusting everyone into the holiday spirit.
Just down the path, a zany pair of Santa’s elves pose for pictures and play games like hide-the-presents with children, just a small part of the lively street entertainment found throughout the event.
The Christmas Marketplace lines the waterfront with booths selling souvenirs and holiday treats. New in the area this year is a miniature train set transporting Christmas trees from the North Pole farm.
Tip: Avoid the S’mores. They’re a gooey mess in all the worst ways.
Just as day turns to night, a new Sea of Trees lighting ceremony takes place featuring a few “local” Christmas council members, pulling audience members in to thank them for their community contributions to this bayside town. It’s all part of the story that’s designed to bring guests together as if they are all neighbors.
In the end, a child is chosen to ring the bell to light the Sea of Trees for its first performance of the evening – one of the most impressive sights at SeaWorld’s Christmas celebration.
Video: Sea of Trees lighting ceremony and performance at SeaWorld Orlando
A Christmas time evening at SeaWorld Orlando flies by quickly with so much to see in a schedule that offers back-to-back entertainment for several hours. It’s easy to simply wander the park enjoying the many decorations, with lots of colored lights brightening up nearly every corner.
The park even has a few “Let it Snow” moments throughout each evening in select areas.
Wild Arctic is gets a holiday overlay each year turning into The Polar Express, a simulator attraction that bounces along to clips from the 2004 film. Those wanting to skip the rather rickety, dated ride can simply bypass it through the gift shop and go straight for its post-show area that features a photo op with Santa Claus himself.
SeaWorld’s newest themed addition Antarctica has sadly received very few decorations for the Christmas season, only adding snowmen and signs at its entrances.
Each evening during SeaWorld’s Christmas celebration can easily be ended by a series of shows beginning with O Wondrous Night. Those who aren’t religious may want to skip this one (as I did this year). Its production value is high and it features talented singers and dancers along with unique live animals – but it also feels a lot like going to church. The video below offers a few highlights from its debut two years ago.
O Wondrous Night highlights from new 2011 SeaWorld Orlando Christmas show
From there, Shamu Christmas Miracles offers non-stop energy featuring SeaWorld’s famous Orcas jumping in time with Christmas music and colorful fountains.
The last stop of each evening for everyone attending SeaWorld’s Christmas should definitely be the Winter Wonderland on Ice show immediately followed by Holiday Reflections, the fireworks finale. The ice skating show has a little something for everyone, with talented skaters showing off their best movies while also offering plenty of visual appeal and flair through creative (and often quite leggy) costumes.
Though they may take a fall or two during their acts, these skaters are good at what they do, showing off a skill that isn’t too common in the warm climate of Florida.
It all ends with a series of big bangs as fireworks erupt from behind the ice skating rink immediately following the show in a flurry of reds and greens to end the evening.
Younger ones attending SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas celebration can look forward to seeing Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas show featuring sea lions as well as new show for 2013 called Elmo’s Christmas Wish. There’s a little something for guests of all ages in this park that really goes all out decorating for the season.
More information about SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas celebration can be found on their web site.
More photos from SeaWorld Orlando Christmas 2013: