We have ten days to go until it’s officially Christmas Day! At this point, we are all low on funds. What with parties to attend, gifts to exchange, dinners to cook and drinks to consume most of us are overspending. Here are tons of FREE things to do in and around Orlando to get you into the mood without spending any money!
Here Are the Best Free Christmas Events In Or Close To Orlando
This free community event features community performance, pictures with Santa, bounce park, real snow, vendors and train rides. All folded by fireworks! Avalon Aglow is held on the first Saturday of December.
Even if you don’t attend an event at Winter Park, a stroll down Park Avenue is enough to capture the essence of Christmas. All the store windows are decorated much like New York. The streets are all decorated, and there is a lovely tree.
Snow in the Park: 2018 will be the first year that Winter Park will host “Snow in the Park,” an up and coming trend for Orlando. This event will be held Friday on December 21 from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm in Central Park.
A free play, the Story of Scrooge, is coming to Central Florida for one night only on Friday, December 21, 2018, at 7:00 pm! Where? At Willow Creek Church in Winter Springs!
Annual Holiday Concert at Lake Eola
Presented by News 6 and featuring the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra. A free event, but you are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate. This event is on the first Saturday of December.
City of Orlando Christmas Tree
View the 72-foot Christmas tree at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando. The tree is lit in November, and there is a lighting event. Regardless, you can view the tree anytime. There is a daily show near the Amphitheater where the tree comes to life with music! It runs hourly at starting at 5:45 pm through 9:45 pm.
Deck the Downtown
Get festive this holiday season by participating in “Deck the Downtown”! December 1 – 31, Downtown Orlando will be “decked-out” in festive lights and window decorations. A map will guide residents and guests as they walk the streets of Downtown, enjoying the creativity and holiday spirit of each of the participating business locations.
Holiday Movies at Lake Eola Park
Grab the kids and drink of your choice and head downtown to watch a Christmas movie. Movies start at 7:00 pm. For dates and what’s showing see here: Holiday Movie at Lake Eola Park
The Nutcracker, performed by the Russian Ballet Orlando
Celebrate the holiday season with The Nutcracker, featuring unforgettable characters, dazzling costumes, onstage blizzards, timeless choreography and Tchaikovsky’s extraordinary arrangement performed live by the Russian Ballet Orlando. December 27th 7:30 pm Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park
Santa Claus at the Eola House.
Santa will be available Friday – Sunday from December 1 – December 23 at the below times:
- Friday and Saturday: 4:30pm – 9:00pm
- Sunday: 5:00pm – 8:00pm
A favorite for me. Not only are the decorations out of this world, but Gaylord Palms hosts Ice. Ice is not free, but we have been several times and find ourselves wondering around the atrium gawking at the decorations. The variety of Christmas trees alone makes a visit here worthwhile. Some of the trees are stacks of Poinsettias and some traditional art. If you are planning a Christmas dinner or just a dinner night, Gaylord Palms is an excellent choice over the holidays.
Cirque Dreams Unwrapped Stage Show
Be dazzled by an array of seasonal characters brought to life in a dreamscape of imaginative costumes and creativity in Florida. November 16, 2018 – January 6, 2019. Free seats are first to come, first served. We’ve been to Gaylord Palms many times. Don’t buy a place to watch the shows. Simply hang out. Even if you are standing, you will see the show. Grab a drink and enjoy a magical night.
Believe it or not, there is an endless amount of free Christmas activity at Disney. Sure, you can’t get in the parks for free, but that does not mean you can’t enjoy and participate in the festivities.
Disney Springs: Disney Springs might be the most festive of all the Disney resorts. Walk around Disney Springs and take in all the decorations.
Christmas Tree Trail: From November 8, 2018, through January 6, 2019, discover 27-holiday trees—each inspired by a Disney character or theme.
Beach & Yacht Club: Go here to see the chocolate gingerbread carousel. A real working gingerbread merry-go-round with almost life-size horses. Each pony has a name and theme, and the details are amazing. It is worth making a trip to the resort to see this fantastic creation.
Wilderness Lodge: Relax and sit in the rocking chairs in front of the massive fireplace with a drink in front of the fantastic (and huge) fireplace at The Wilderness Lodge
Grand Floridian Gingerbread House Display: The iconic Grand Floridian Gingerbread House celebrates its 20th anniversary this year! This life-size gingerbread house is in the resort lobby throughout the holiday season. Featuring hidden Mickey’s, gingerbread shingles, and more, this 14-foot tall display houses a sweet little shop selling freshly baked house-made items.
Note: Parking at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels is for the exclusive use of guests that are staying, but you can take a bus to any of the resorts from Disney Springs.
Holiday Fountain Show: Always a crowd favorite, the Plaza fountain features special shows with dancing water and dazzling lights choreographed to classic holiday tunes. Performances run nightly at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. November 22, 2018 – January 1, 2019
Light Up the Holidays: The City of Altamonte Springs, Duke Energy and Magic 107.7 light up Cranes Roost Park with fireworks, Santa and Mrs. Claus, train rides, holiday performances and more. The fireworks go off between 6:30 and 7 p.m. December 1, 2018
Holiday Light Displays: Enjoy over 200,000 lights on more than 100-holiday displays powered by Duke Energy. The highlight in the park is the 60-foot tall Christmas tree with more than 8,000 energy-efficient LED lights, 2,600 ornaments and over one mile of garland. Displays can be viewed nightly until January 1, 2019. The lights get turned on each night at dusk.
Now Snowing, Central Florida’s original and premier “Snowing” event, offers one of the area’s only synthetic ice rinks, individual community performances by some of the area’s top young talent, and special concert events throughout the season. Now Snowing is a month-long Winter Wonderland Spectacular featuring strolling Charles Dickens style Carolers, photos with Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice skating, train rides, and nightly snowfall at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 pm. It’s a real throwback to the traditional family style holiday.
December 1 & 2, 2018. 10 am – 4 pm, Entrance is free, free parking across the road from the park. BBQ pork sandwiches, chicken filets, community groups have baked goods, drinks, hotdogs, gator, sweet pickles, etc. Pioneer demonstrations – broom making, blacksmiths, basket weaving, rope making, spinning, quilting, lace making, wood carving, and many more. Large craft fair with over 150 crafters with handmade items, the Christmas Post Office will have a booth, so you can get your Christmas cards hand stamped, antique engine and tractor display, and much more.
Holiday Film Festival: Enjoy classic holiday films screened outdoors on a giant two-story movie screen Don’t forget chairs and blankets!
Holiday Light Show: Guests and skaters get immersed in a magical glow, as lights pulse and strobe in perfect synchronization to festive holiday music.! The shows begin at 7 pm daily and continue hourly through closing. And, there is snow on the hour!
There are other activities at Light Up UCF that are not free but inexpensive. For example, Ice Skating is only $12.
Mount Dora offers up many Christmas events that are worth checking out. Are you ready to share the 2018 Christmas season with us in Mount Dora! The Lights will be on during weekends until the Art Festival in February. Celebrate the 2018 holidays against a backdrop of two million+ sparkling lights in beautiful downtown Mount Dora! Here are events:
- 38th Annual Light Up Mount Dora
- 27th Annual Mount Dora Christmas Walk
- 59th Annual Christmas Parade
- 29th Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade
- 42nd Christmas Tour of Homes
- Children’s Christmas in the Park with Snow
There are also many other activities such as the Polar Express. While not free this is great for kids!
Festivities include LIVE MUSIC on 3 Stages, Holiday Vendors, Carnival Games, A Magic Show, Pictures with Santa, 15+ Gourmet Food Trucks, LIVE Wrestling Acts & much more! Here are some additional events going on in Sanford:
- Christmas in the Square
- Movie Night at Tuffy’s Bottle Shop
- Christmas Parade
- Winter Wonderland Movies
- Island Winter Wonderland:
- Snow Slide
- Stories w/ Santa
- Snow Flurries
- Thousands of Lights
- Decorations Galore
This year it will be Saturday, December 29th! The Orlando Citrus Parade, an annual tradition started in 1980, has grown to become one of the largest sports affiliated parades in the nation. Currently planned and produced by Florida Citrus Sports and Parades R Us, the event occurs each year between the Camping World Bowl and the Citrus Bowl games during the last week in December.
Highlights of the Orlando Citrus Bowl Parade include high school, and college marching bands, specialty performance groups, Disney cartoon characters, giant helium balloons, and huge citrus floats decorated with oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and tangerines.
Note: You do not need a ticket to watch the parade.
Looking for the perfect holiday gift for someone who loves to travel? See Fifty Fabulous & Fun Gifts Under $50 for Travelers!
Looking for more posts on Florida? Start here:
- Coco Key Water Park – Orlando Florida
- Disney World Resorts on A Dime
- Five Best Airboat Rides Near Orlando
- Florida Scalloping Essentials You Will Need To Scallop
- Homosassa – Is It Better Than The Crystal River?
- Rainbow River – Why You Should Visit
- The Crystal River – Scalloping and Swimming With Manatees
- The Dome Houses of Cape Romano – Marco Island Florida
- Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo
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