While this year hasn’t made it easy to go out, explore, and hang out in large groups during the Yuletide season, it has presented businesses with creative ways to still bring holiday cheer for those that are healthy and willing to go out and see holiday setups around their towns.
Below we have assembled a list of spots across Central Florida that are open to the public for visitation for the holiday season:
- With locations spread throughout North America, “Magic of Lights™ is a unique and dazzling drive-through holiday lights experience to celebrate the season. Pile everyone into the car and experience Magic of Lights from the safety and comfort of your own car as you wind through the sparkling path. At every turn, the magical route is overflowing with spectacular light displays that bring your favorite holiday themes and characters to life.” Fortunately for Florida, Daytona International Speedway is one of the locations hosting the event. Just pack some friends, family, and your pets in a car and witness the light show experience. Only one ticket is required per vehicle. Tickets can be purchased online for $25 per vehicle, and the experience will be open through Jan. 2.
- Located just 30 miles north of Orlando, Mount Dora is a hidden gem in Central Florida named after Ms. Dora Ann Drawdy in 1883. With a relatively small population of roughly 15,000 residents, ironically, one of the city’s largest tourist lures is its annual Light Up Mount Dora Christmas festival. While the festival is not happening this year, visitors may still see the over 2 million lights at Donnelly Park every night through the first weekend in February.
- Held at the Waterford Lakes Town Center in Orlando, this annual winter wonderland includes amusement rides, holiday-inspired eats, thousands of lights, and Santa’s Workshop. Admission to this event is free! Beginning December 21st, the event will be open every day through Jan. 3.
- The second drive-thru light experience on our list takes you to Melbourne, FL. Open through Jan. 3., visitors are immediately engulfed by the holiday spirit with over 3 million lights on display. The 1.1-mile driveable route through Wickham Park also features a 200-foot “Light Tunnel” that drivers are sure to enjoy when passing under. Tickets are $15 per vehicle, and anyone who brings an unwrapped toy for the Toys For Tots drive will receive a discount at the gate. Families can also book a private Hayride at the park.
- Featuring a full-on “I Love Christmas Movies” immersive walkthrough experience, tubing on the Snow Flow Mountain, breakfast with the Grinch, a snowball build and blast exhibit, and much more, the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee is hosting one of the coolest events for the holidays. While staying at the hotel is not required, tickets to this event are limited and tend to go fast. Dressed in lights head-to-toe, this large event is not one to miss whether you’re perusing the grounds or in the event! The event is open every day through Jan. 3.
- Held at the Celebration Town Center just outside of Kissimmee and Orlando, the Disney-inspired town is filled with lights. Featuring the mighty popular “Nightly Snowfall,” Celebration Express Train, and Horse Carriage Rides, this small town is a lovely winter wonderland escape for all families. Due to COVID-19, the Nightly Snowfall will not follow a schedule to avoid crowds from gathering; instead, Celebration will do unannounced “surprise” snowfalls. Fees do apply to the carriage rides and express train activity. It’s “Now Snowing-Celebration’s Winter Wonderland is currently taking place and will only run through New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31.
Wherever you decide to go this holiday season, be sure to stay safe and practice social distancing.
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William is the Managing Editor at FloridaInsider.com. His years of experience in journalism, broadcasting and multimedia include roles as a Writer and Web Producer. He graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science and Communication.