Florida decks the halls…
Christmas is hotter than ever in Florida!
Thinking of Christmas in Florida? You’re in the right place. There’s no place in America quite like Florida for Christmas. It’s warm, sunny and there’s always room in the sand for one more. So come on over to my neighborhood where we replace egg nog with margaritas and shrimp cocktail with stone crab. This is Florida living. Flip flops welcome.
After living in the sunshine state for more than 17 years, I’ve learned a few things about Christmas Florida style. So, I’m bringing you the best of Florida for Christmas. It’s over the top, bigger than big, and yes…there’s even snow! Here are my absolute favorite, worth your money, worth your gas, and worth your time, places to go, play and sleep in Florida for Christmas.
Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Orlando
Location, location, location! For starters… Situated minutes from world-famous attractions like Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World, this luxury resort property is bringing hospitality to another level. It even blows most Las Vegas casino-hotels out of the water.
4.5 acres of live botanical gardens beneath an indoor atrium emulating 4 different Florida landscapes will raise your brows and drop your jaws. With live animals like Florida alligators, marine life, reptiles, and a complete waterway system of streams and waterfalls, you are getting the grand tour of Florida wildlife.
Now deck these halls with boughs of holly, and you get the most festive hotel in all of Florida, all inside a climate controlled paradise. Think that’s sweet? They have a light spectacular, live Christmas performances and since they are partnered with Dreamworks, they even have character meet and greets with Shrek and friends!
This is all included with your hotel reservation…WIN! But the magic doesn’t end there. Take a stroll to Holiday Hall and enjoy Gingerbread crafting and Ice with the classic Frosty the Snowman! You have never seen anything like this before. This cartoon exhibit made entirely of sculpted ice, complete with ice slides, is the coldest place in all of Florida.
FOR MORE INFO ON GAYLORD PALMS ORLANDO CHRISTMAS SEE MY COVER STORY ON THE HOTEL GUIDE
OR VISIT GAYLORD PALMS
Sea World, Orlando
I have been to every single theme park in Florida during Christmas, many, many, many times. The magic is not at Disney alone. If you want a smaller crowd with a huge splash (literally and metaphorically) and a bit more magical on the wallets, then hit Sea World. This place is AWESOME for Christmas!
For an AWESOME PHOTO ALBUM on this event click here,
Ricky Brigante’s Flickr page totally rocks this better than I could
Here’s why: Beautiful lights and festive characters all throughout the park, Christmas market food stands with traditional treats, special Christmas shows throughout the evening, and the crowd is bearable (unlike other well known parks with hours of wait time in lines).
For more information on Sea World Christmas Celebration, Orlando click here
Busch Gardens Christmas Town, Tampa
This is my official pick of the year right here. Moms if your’e reading this, you know what I mean when I say, “this place is serving memories that will last a lifetime”. Oh and surprise, they are under the same company as Sea World. No they don’t pay me to say that, again this is pure truth from a local.
WOW! This is Busch Gardens’ second year of Christmas Town and it blew me away over, and over, and over, again. Every single part of this entire park is made into a different winter wonderland theme. There are lights, lights, and more lights than I could’ve dreamed of, over a million if your’e counting.
The Santa’s House was over the top awesome, it was so magical that it was impossible not to believe in the magic of Christmas; complete with elves, Mrs. Clause, cookies and a special photo with the main man. Another totally cool attraction in the park is the snow! Go tubing, snowball throwing, and play with your family in the enclosed Snow World Presented by Coca-Cola.
For more info on Busch Gardens Christmas Town click here
St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights
America’s only medieval city lights up for the holidays. This is one of the most romantic and festive places to be in the United States, and one of the most historic. This year St. Augustine celebrated it’s 450th birthday and marked 500 years of American soil discovery. With family fun places like the Colonial Quarter, the Pirate and Treasure Museum, the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park and Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum and Ghost Tour; there is fun for the whole family.
Here’s a little locals tip, stay at the St. Francis Inn, the staff is amazing, the digs are historic and close to everything, and the breakfast is just downright awesome. The great owners there at St. Francis are Irish bred and if you know The Fairytale Traveler, then you know how much I LOVE Irish hospitality. It really comes out at the St. Francis Inn. If you go, tell little Mr. Zeke I said hello.