What Is the Best Holiday Event at a Theme Park?

December 7, 2021, 7:17 PM · What is your favorite holiday event at a theme park? It's time to open nominations for the next category in our 21st annual Theme Park Insider Awards, and this year we have added a category for Best Holiday Event.

Just to clarify, in case anyone feels like getting technical here, we are talking about year-end festivities such as Christmas, New Year's and any of the other year-end holidays that parks celebrate. (Still waiting for that Saturnalia event, though.) And the event must have happened this year - no nominations for canceled events, please.

Beyond that, the criteria for deciding your nominee are yours. We want to hear your top pick for the best theme park holiday event anywhere, and you will find the nomination form in the Theme Park Insider email newsletter this week.

If you have not signed up for our newsletter yet, you can do so here. The newsletter comes three times a week - on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays - and includes links to the most recent front-page stories on Theme Park Insider as well as our latest ticket discount and hotel deal links.

If no event gets a majority of the nominations, we will have a run-off vote with up to 10 finalists on the Theme Park Insider home page later this month. Then we will announce the winners in all 10 categories of the 21st annual Theme Park Insider Awards on January 1, 2022.

Campaign for your favorite in the comments, if you would like, and thank you, as always, for being part of the Theme Park Insider community.

Replies (7)

December 7, 2021 at 11:24 PM

Oh, I miss the Osborn Lights at the Studios....

For current, I'll go the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion overlay, still a classic.

December 8, 2021 at 8:09 AM

For me Sea World/BGT are the best in Florida and SDC/Dollywood are the best outside of Florida. Sea World and Disney both took major L's this year with SWO not having O Wonderous Night and MK cutting a very noticeable amount of performers out of the parade.
I don't go to upcharge events so that pretty much disqualifies MK for me, I just went this year because I managed to get a free ticket. With the half capacity/double the price I will admit the event overall was much more enjoyable with so many less people there but that was the only reason. I think WDW overall as a package has a lot of holiday stuff but when you break it down into each individual park the parks themselves aren't decked out nearly as much as most others.
UO's holiday event may as well not exist. Other than the Grinchmas show (which is like a high school play, I don't get the fandom) and changing the music, as well as some tinsel in Suess Landing, they don't do much of anything.

SDC and Dollywood are on another level for their holiday events, it just feels like those parks are made for that type of thing (especially SDC).

This may shock everyone but I actually think SF does really good holiday events. Maybe its because SFOG is my "home" SF park and the weather is actually nice in November/December so the park is more enjoyable but i've always liked their HITP (although this years isn't as good as years past because of so many rides being closed). From what i've seen on youtube most all of the other SF parks do a really good job as well.

December 8, 2021 at 9:44 AM

You're right the_man, Six Flags does not get credit for their Holiday in the Park events. SFGAdv in particular puts on a solid event every year, and my "home" park SFA looks to be really stepping up their offerings this year with far more shows than they've advertised in the past (though they appear to be partnering with a nearby church, so I expect them to be far more religiously focused than some may be comfortable with). I'll be attending SFA's media preview on Sunday, so will report on their expanded event next week.

Cedar Fair does some solid events too, and KD's Winter Fest is decent with the highlight being a makeshift ice skating rink installed on International Street (though they didn't do that last year due to COVID).

However, the best local event I've been to has to be BGW's Christmas Town. The park is almost completely rethemed around the holiday with millions of lights and decorations. BGW pulls out all of the stops, and puts on a variety of shows that span the gamut from highly religious hymns to a Scrooge-focused show.

December 8, 2021 at 7:45 PM

My favorites are the Nightmare Before Christmas, at Disneyland, and the candlelight Procession at Epcot.

December 9, 2021 at 12:39 AM

Knott's Merry Farm is really solid (this is becoming The Knott's Wheelhouse, it appears) but I'm planning to check out the SeaWorld (San Diego) offering for the first time this year and am looking forward to that as well.

December 9, 2021 at 9:00 AM

For Orlando, Sea World always gets my vote (although I haven't been yet this year) but Disney has been disappointing with a capital D so far this year. for instance, was at Epcot last night and kept wondering where the decor went. Other than the tree at front of world showcase, you'd never even know it was the holidays. i think they are letting spaceship earth carry the load with their newfound light package.

December 13, 2021 at 5:32 AM

Not every game is worth playing. I used to be very disappointed when I couldn't find a match for a long time until I came to know this great game space. drift hunters is a game with cars to decorate in your style. Would you like to have your car?

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