Orlando theme parks get decked out for the holidays

Ready  to party? How about  joining the fun with the kids at the biggest, most spectacular holiday parties?

Whether you want to join Mickey and Minnie, the Grinch, Shamu for holiday festivities or even catch the Macy’s Parade if you missed it over Thanksgiving, Orlando has got plenty to please and you might still have time to grab a deal. (Get discounted tickets online from Undercover Tourist)

Let the kids help plan and you’ll all have more fun. A tip to keep the kids going strong while you take in the spectacle: keep a water bottle and snacks in your back pack so you don’t have to wait on line when you are hungry or thirsty.  Also collect Disney pins.  You can trade with others and they are great souvenirs.

(You can find these and other tips from local and visiting kids in my new book The Kid’s Guide to Orlando.)

Even resorts get into the act big time. Christmas at Gaylord Palms Resort ICE!  includes more than two million lights, a two-story tall ice slide and characters from the DreamWorks films carved out of ice.

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At Walt Disney World:

--Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom requires an extra evening ticket but includes special  holiday fireworks, Cinderella Castle bathed in over 200,000 lights,  a parade and holiday entertainment with your favorite characters.

--The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s  Hollywood Studios features millions of lights synchronized to holiday music complete with twirly carousels, angels and Santa and his reindeer all coming to life.  No Extra ticket needed.

--Holidays Around the World at Epcot lets you enjoy entertainment and traditions from around the world with stories and songs while Epcot’s Candlelight Processional is held nightly that retells the Christmas story with a celebrity narrator accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir of high school students and adults.

At  Universal Orlando:

--See Macy’s Holiday Parade featuring floats and balloons from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in The Big Apple. Other events include A Barney Holiday and Blues Brothers Holiday Show.  Admission is included in regular price.

--Grinchmas  Wholiday Spectacular at Universal’s Islands of Adventure is baded on the Dr. Seuss Tale and blockbuster movie.  There’s a live show and you can even have breakfast with your favorite Dr. Seuss characters and meet the Grinch himself (extra charge for breakfast.)   Admission is

At SeaWorld:

--SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration transforms the park to a bona fide winter wonderland with a Sea of Trees, ice skaters and even the chance to take a journey to the North Pole on the Polar Express Experience.

At LEGOLAND-Florida:

--The Christmas Bricktacular  weekends in December includes a more than 30-foot tall LEGO  Christmas tree made with 270,000 green LEGO and DUPLO bricks and a LEGO Santa Scavenger hunt, and  special holiday entertainment: The Countdown to Kids’ New Year’s Eve Christmas week  features nightly fireworks over Lake Eloise. Watch with special #D viewing glasses and the fireworks explode into millions of tiny LEGO bricks. (Included with park admission.) The New Year’s Eve festivities are designed for young families, with 7 p.m. fireworks.

At Busch Gardens

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay on weekends  includes all things holiday including a Celebration Village, Jungle Jubilee, Candy Cane Lane, special Sesame Street show, holiday treats and of course thousands of twinkling lights.  Included in admission.

Have a candy cane for me.

Read more about  Eileen’s  recent visit to Walt Disney World at  her trip diaries