In the past five years, SeaWorld boosted its holiday spirit, and it now ranks as one of the top Orlando parks for celebrating the holidays. Every park has one or two holiday events, but no other converts as many shows to a holiday theme without requiring a separate admission for the party. While SeaWorld features holiday entertainment and deco all day long, however, the celebration truly comes out at night when Christmas lights actually mean something.
That leads to the No. 1 reason to consider SeaWorld for a Christmas party: the Sea of Trees. SeaWorld attractions surround a fairly large lake, and the park stuck perhaps 50 mildew-proof, multi-lighted trees within 40 feet of the shore, hovering above the water like a pine forest facing a once-in-a-hundred-year flood. During the day it looks interesting, but at night the lake comes alive. While the trees glow all evening, they move to music at show times – changing colors, becoming pictures, and … well … dancing. The show doesn’t have the diversity of Disney’s Electric Light Parade or the sheer volume of lights at Hollywood Studio’s festival, but the combo of trees on water is found nowhere else in Orlando, and it has enough “wow” power to compete head-to-head with its competitors.
Other SeaWorld Christmas events
- “O Wondrous Night – The Greatest Story Never Told.” It’s rare to see a nativity story that doesn’t attempt to be solemn and faithfully recreate the story of Jesus’ birth. That makes SeaWorld’s “O Wondrous Night” rare. Its storyline isn’t historically accurate, but that’s not a criticism because it clearly doesn’t strive for it. In this version, the first Christmas tree was decorated the day after Jesus’ birth, and snowy, cold weather is a major plot point in a country where winter temperatures barely dip below 50 degrees. Still, this is a celebration of the nativity, and anyone excited about Christmas will start tapping toes to usually slow and solemn carols sung like rock ballads, such as The First Noel and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
- The Polar Express Experience. If kids want to meet Santa Claus while in Orlando, this is the place to do it – the best themed North Pole experience in Central Florida. SeaWorld took a standard ride – Wild Arctic – and adapted it for the holidays. Based on the movie, guests board the fake train (a motion simulator) to get to the North Pole. Upon arrival, the enclosed and cold home to polar bears, walruses, and narwhals creates the perfect backdrop for Santa himself. Kids can unload their list of desires to “the man” in a room of fake snow beside a sled already over-burdened with presents.
- Adapted shows. SeaWorld tinkers with its usual itineraries, and even Shamu, the giant orca, splashes to a Christmas beat. SeaWorld’s funniest show, Clyde and Seamore, allows the seals and otters to present their opinion of the holiday. Pirate ships lose their sails and take on Christmas lights, coral reef forests suddenly grow bright red Christmas trees, and the Sesame Street characters celebrate the season.
- Winter Wonderland on Ice. Regardless of daytime high temperatures, an ice rink backed by the lake of trees presents a cold stage for a celebration of winter.
- Atmosphere. Most areas of SeaWorld have an abundance of sea-themed or normal Christmas decorations accented with entertainers who sing or entertain. Like other Orlando parks, it “snows” (small soap bubbles) at times.
For more information on SeaWorld’s Christmas activities and times, visit their website.