Parades, fireworks, candlelight processions, tree-lighting ceremonies, animal shows, concerts -- the theme parks have scheduled a raft of holiday activities this season.
All the events require purchase of park admission, but unless otherwise noted, are included at no extra charge. Except for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, the holiday events will take place during regular park hours, although some parks will extend their hours during the holidays. Here is a sampling of events:
"Christmas Bricktacular" features a 30-foot tree built of forest-green bricks, in the Beginning section of Legoland, near the entrance. A different family will be chosen each day through Dec. 31 to help light the tree.
Holiday Fanfare runs Dec. 3 to Jan. 1 at both parks. Universal Studios has a nightly Macy's Holiday Parade, with a tree-lighting ceremony and giant helium character balloons.
Universal Islands of Adventure will feature the live stage show Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular, starring the Grinch and the Whos from Whoville. There also will be meet-and-greets and character breakfasts with the Grinch.
Information: Main number 407-363-8000; tickets 407-224-7840; www.UniversalOrlando.com/holidays.
Magic Kingdom: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is an after-hours event requiring separate admission. Some of the park's attractions are open during the party, which also includes a parade, fireworks, a "snow fall," meet-and-greets, and live entertainment with Disney characters. Hours are 7 p.m.-midnight; remaining dates are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Dec. 18. Admission: $62.95; $57.95 ages 3 to 9; $6 per ticket discount if purchased in advance. In addition, there will be a light show with Disney characters at Cinderella Castle, with the castle transformed into an ice palace at dusk through Jan. 3.
Epcot: Candlelight Processional, a retelling of the story of Christ's birth with choir, orchestra, and celebrity narrator, takes place every day at 5, 6:45, and 8:15 p.m. through Dec. 30. The event is included with park admission; dinner packages with reserved seating are extra. In addition, the World Showcase has storytellers who share holiday traditions from their homelands.
Hollywood Studios: The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, a display of Christmas decorations and millions of lights that dance to holiday music, takes place every night through Jan. 7.
Animal Kingdom: Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade is at 4 p.m. daily through Jan. 3.
Information: Tickets 407-939-1289; http://disneyworld.com/holidays
SeaWorld Orlando's Christmas Celebration newest holiday show is O Wondrous Night -- The Greatest Story Never Told, with carols and the Christmas story told through the eyes of animals. Other shows are Winter Wonderland on Ice, an ice-skating show with fountains and fireworks; Shamu Christmas -- Miracles, the killer whale show; Clyde and Seamore's Countdown to Christmas, involving sea lions, otters, walruses and an elf; A Sesame Street Christmas, with dancing and sing-alongs, and a fountains and fireworks finale. The park also offers the Polar Express Experience, the Sea of Trees, the Makahiki Christmas Luau ($46), and Santa's Fireside Feast ($29.99 adults, $19.99 ages 3-9, $5 discount for pass holders). Holiday events take place nightly Friday through Dec. 31.
Information: 888-800-5447; www.SeaWorldGetAways.com.