Florida Thanksgiving & Christmas 2022
By James | Last updated December 29, 2023
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Florida is a truly magical place during the holiday season. Most theme parks start the holiday season after Halloween, incorporating Thanksgiving and then continuing on through Christmas to the start of the New Year.
The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year in Florida so it is important to make sure you arrive at the parks early as often they will close when they reach capacity and it also makes sense to make dinner reservations well in advance.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck all parks reduced capacity and Disney are still insisting that guests book their dates in advance, no just turning up at the gate.
Most of the Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations are either free or included in the standard ticket admission, others are by separate ticket (as described below)
Walt Disney World
In 2022 the Christmas celebrations at Walt Disney World run from November 8 to December 22.
Disney holds Christmas holiday events in all their parks, the biggest event being the separately ticketed “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” at the Magic Kingdom.
Many Christmas events were cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some have not returned including Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Luckily both Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the Candlelight Processional have returned for 2022.
Read more about the Disney Christmas celebrations in:
- Walt Disney World Resort
- Magic Kingdom
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Disney Springs
Universal Orlando Resort
Christmas celebrations at the Universal Orlando Resort in 2022 take place between November 12, 2022 and January 1, 2023. Unlike the other parks, Universal has not introduced an admission reservation system and it often reaches capacity at this time of year.
A lot of the entertainment centres around Harry Potter and The Grinch plus there is live music concerts with “Mannheim Steamroller” and the “Blues Brothers Holiday Show”.
The signature parade, the “Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s” is in Universal Studios Florida as well as special seasonal decorations in Diagon Alley plus “Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees” and the “Holiday Frog Choir”.
Over in Islands of Adventure, you can enjoy Hogsmeade at Christmas and “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle”.
Read more about the Christmas celebrations at Universal Orlando Resort.
On select dates from November 11, 2022 to January 3, 2023 SeaWorld is transformed into a winter wonderland with special decorations for their Christmas Celebration with extended operating hours.
To visit SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, if you have a single day admission ticket, then you must still make a reservation.
In 2022 there are live shows and music concerts as well as meet-and-greets with Santa and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Read more about the Christmas celebrations at SeaWorld.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
In 2022, Busch Gardens holds their “Christmas Town Celebration” from before Thanksgiving on November 14, 2022 until January 9, 2023 with a preview on November 13 for pass holders.
In earlier years it only ran on most Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 6 pm to 10 pm plus other selected nights but for 2022 it is on every night though some attractions are still only on select days.
Like SeaWorld, it features live shows including “Christmas on Ice” and music concerts as well as meet-and-greets with Santa and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Read more about the Christmas celebrations at Busch Gardens.
Gaylord Palms Resort
Between November 18, 2022 and January 1, 2023 the Gaylord Palms resort hotel in Orlando presents their annual Christmas event. For many years the highlight has been a spectacular walk-through holiday attraction called “ICE!” carved from over two million pounds of ice. For 2022, the theme is “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”.
The Gaylord Palms has again put together an amazing collection of holiday activities, shows, and events.
Read more about the Christmas celebrations at the Gaylord Palms Resort.
In prior years, Celebration, the town that Disney originally built, ran the “Now Snowing” event which has now been renamed as “Celebration’s Winter Wonderland”.
Dates for 2022 are from after Thanksgiving on November 26, 2022 until New Year’s Eve on December 31, 2022.
Read more about Celebration’s Winter Wonderland.
Florida Theme Parks
Theme Park Ticket Guides