This year's Christmas and holiday events at Disney, Universal and other top theme parks
Published: November 4, 2010 at 2:58 PM
Here's the round-up, for your holiday vacation planning:
Walt Disney World
The holiday season starts at Walt Disney World on November 8, with the debut of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios and the hard-ticket Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party runs selected evenings until December 19. The Epcot events run through Dec. 30, and the other events continue until January 3, 2011.
All events except Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party are included with park admission. For more information, visit disneyworld.com/holidays.
Universal's actually holding off until after Thanksgiving for its celebrations, in deference, I suppose, to its premier attraction, the Macy's Holiday Parade, being the focus of New York's Thanksgiving celebration. The Macy's parade runs daily at Universal Studios Florida from Dec. 4 through Jan. 1, 2011.
Over at Islands of Adventure, Grinchmas runs for those same days, featuring the Grinch and Whos from Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" in stage shows and meet-and-greets.
In addition, Mannheim Steamroller will play at Universal on Dec. 4, 11 and 18. All events are included with park admissions.
SeaWorld Orlando debuts a new "Sea of Trees" Christmas tree display and Christmas Market shopping area this year. The park also returns its many holiday attraction overlays:
- Polar Express Experience (replacing Wild Arctic)
- Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas
- Shamu Christmas… Miracles
- A Sesame Street Christmas
In addition, SeaWorld is offering the Makahiki Christmas Luau, which requires a reservation and additional charge. All other holiday events are included with park admission. The holiday shows take place Friday through Sunday, Nov. 26-Dec. 12, and then daily from Dec. 17-Jan. 2.
The holidays start on Nov. 12 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Highlights include the "it's a small world" Holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday overlays, as well as the Christmas Fantasy Parade, "Believe in Holiday Magic" fireworks and the crystallized Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle. Big Thunder Ranch transforms into Santa's Reindeer Round-Up, where the kids can queue up for a visit with Santa.
All events are included with park admission and run through Jan. 2, 2011.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood will again truck in several tons of real snow for its annual Grinchmas celebration, which runs Dec. 11 and 12 and continued daily from Dec. 18 through Jan. 2, 2011. The park will also offer meet and greets with the Whos and the Grinch, a nightly tree-lighting ceremony and celebrity readings of Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Visitors on the park's Studio Tour will ride past the original movie sets where the "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" movie was filmed.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
The Virginia theme park reopens as ChristmasTown, starting the day after Thanksgiving and running Friday through Sunday through Dec. 12 and daily from Dec. 18 through Dec. 31.
New at the park this year is the Miracles show in Il Teatro di San Marco. The Deck the Halls, O Tannenbaum and Rejoice shows also return, as do holiday lights displays throughout the park. (Many regular attractions are open, too.)
Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas runs from Nov. 6 to Jan. 1, 2011. This year marks the final season for Dollywood's Babes in Toyland show. In addition to the Polar Express Experience and Lighted Christmas Parade, the following shows also return this year:
- An Appalachian Christmas
- Carol of the Trees
- Christmas in the Smokies
- Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs
- O' Holy Night
- Twas the Night Before Christmas
Visitors who purchase a full-priced one-day ticket online will receive a free meal voucher, valid anytime after 3 p.m. at Hickory House BBQ, Victoria's Pizza, Red's Diner or the Sweet Shoppe.