SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebrations 2023

By James | Last updated May 10, 2024

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SeaWorld Orlando is specially decorated for the holiday season as part of “SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebrations” from 10th November until 2nd January 2024.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration is included in the regular park admission and features a range of Christmas attractions, shows and rides plus shops, restaurants and seasonal food and drink offerings.

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The holiday season is not just about Christmas, it also includes the Jewish Hanukkah and African Kwanzaa festivities and SeaWorld is celebrating all three of them.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration Upgrades

Admission to SeaWorld Christmas Celebration is included with your regular ticket but you can purchase a number of upgrades to enhance your day as described below.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration Meet & Greets

SeaWorld has two main meet-and-greet photo opportunities:

  • Santa Claus and his elves at Waterfront
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and friends like Clarice and Bumble at Wild Arctic Plaza

Photos with Santa Claus

You can meet Santa Claus and his elves at the Shoppes at the Waterfront (last year they were at the Wild Arctic building).

Each party can meet and greet with Santa Claus one party at a time. You can even sit in Santa’s sleigh. There are a range of photo package add-ons if you want an official 6×8 inch print. Doors open all day.

Look out for the jump roping toy soldiers who perform skipping tricks and synchronised marching nearby several times a day starting at 4:30 p.m.

During the evening the Waterfront is transformed by amazing snow flurries, the first event is at 5:20 p.m.

Rudolph’s ChristmasTown

Rudolph returns for “Rudolph’s Christmas Town” at Wild Arctic where you get the chance to meet the reindeers Rudolph and Clarice plus Bumble from the TV special, ”Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.

Whilst you wait to see Rudolph you can enjoy an interactive storybook about the story of Rudolph and his friends.

Open from 12:30 p.m. daily.

Meet & Greet Priority Access

In previous years you could buy a front-of-line “Priority Access Meet-and-Greet Rudolph and Friends + Santa Claus Photo Package” pass to both meet-and-greets from $39.99 plus tax per person and you were allowed up to five people in your group.

Each pass gave you a single priority access to both Photos with Santa Claus and Rudolph’s ChristmasTown plus a 6×8 inch photo at each meet-and-greet.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration Shows

SeaWorld has introduced several new Christmas shows. Like many of SeaWorld’s regular shows they often feature a good pre-show.

When you enter the park you are given a SeaWorld map with all the main show times. You can also check on the SeaWorld app for the very latest performance times for all the shows.

Note that some of the events only take place on the specified Christmas Celebration event days whilst others take place every day during the holiday season so it is worth checking before purchasing your tickets.

Winter Wonderland On Ice

First introduced in 2009, professional ice skaters perform “Winter Wonderland On Ice” at the Bayside Stadium. Marvel at the amazing ice skaters, supported by dancing elves, reindeer and penguins.

The Sea of Trees provides the perfect backdrop to the show with sparkling lights and fountains.

Winter Wonderland On Ice takes place on select nights. There are usually two performances per night.

The second performance is followed by the Holidays Reflections: Fireworks and Fountains Finale show and one of the best viewing areas is right in the Bayside Stadium so the second performance of Winter Wonderland On Ice is usually busier than the first.

The Finale show features fireworks, water fountains, lasers, snow flurries and light projections all choreographed to holiday music.

O Wondrous Night

O Wondrous Night returns to SeaWorld. It is one of the signature shows and takes place at the Nautilus Theater twice per night. Each performance runs for around 35 minutes.

It retells the story of the Nativity with around 30 of your favourite carols, full sized puppets and live animals including a donkey and three camels.

An Elf’s Story

An Elf’s Story is a short fun acrobatic show featuring chair stacking and it takes place at Sharks Plaza.

The whole show runs for about 12 minutes. The first performance is late afternoon and it typically runs hourly, about five times.

Elmo’s Christmas Wish

Elmo’s Christmas Wish takes place at the Seaport Theater with performances starting late morning and then through to early evening.

Watch as the Cookie Monster, Rosita, Grover and Zoey try to help Elmo find his Christmas wish with songs and dancing as well as special effects like bubbles and snow.

Sea of Trees

For several years now, SeaWorld has been transforming the central lagoon into a “Sea of Trees”. At its centre is a 70 foot Christmas tree surrounded by many more trees decorated with 3 million sparkling lights. Several times a night the trees come to life in a choreographed light show set to seasonal music.

There are plenty of viewing opportunities around the lagoon to help maintain social distancing.

Sesame Street The Nutcracker starring Elmo and Tango

At the Seafire Grill you can watch a 26 minute animated holiday special featuring Elmo and Tango from Sesame Street.

There is a continuous showing from park open to close as Elmo and his puppy Tango tell the Christmas story of the Nutcracker.

Sesame Street Christmas Parade

In Sesame Street Land, the Christmas Parade happens each afternoon with three or four performances per day.

Here you can see a parade of specially decorated floats with many Sesame Street characters including Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Bert and Ernie.

SeaWorld Reserved Seating

Standard admission to all the shows is included in your park admission but you can buy a “SeaWorld Reserved Seating” package from $14.99 to $69.99 per person plus tax depending upon date. Each ticket gives you reserved seating to one performance of each show on the selected date.

You must arrive at least 15 minutes prior to show time at the following venues:

  • Orca Encounter™
  • Dolphin Stadium
  • Seaport Theater
  • Sea Lion & Otter Stadium
  • Nautilus Theater
  • Bayside Stadium

Reserved seating to the Christmas shows, O Wondrous Night and Winter Wonderland on Ice is available starting at $19.99 per person.

SeaWorld Reserved Seating + Quick Queue® Unlimited

You can also buy a special “Reserved Seating + Quick Queue® Unlimited” pass which gives you all the benefits of the SeaWorld Reserved Seating plus unlimited front-of-the-line admission to all the main rides. Note that both the Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin® and Wild Arctic® rides are currently closed but the attractions are still open.

Prices range between $19.99 and $89.99 per person plus tax during the SeaWorld Christmas Celebrations.

For a limited time, for an extra $10 you can purchase the Reserved Seating + Quick Queue® Unlimited upgrade including a one-time front of line access to Ice Breaker.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration Market & Food

At the Artisans Hall in Waterfront, you will find “The Christmas Store” where you can purchase exclusive festive gifts. You will also find Christmas themed gifts at many of the other gift shops in SeaWorld.

Like Busch Gardens Christmas Town, there is a new holiday menu for both food and drinks this year. As well as the normal festive offerings there are over 40 special delights available from over a dozen festive food booths.

The booths open at 5:00 p.m. and are located around the park. You will also find stilt walkers, musicians and a model train village as you make your way around the park.

Food Booths

  • Smore’d-up Beignets — beignets topped with graham cracker crumbs, mini marshmallows and Hershey’s chocolate sauce
    Shrimp Po’Boy — crispy beer-battered shrimp, crunchy cabbage, sliced tomato and creamy remoulade souce
  • Bison Burger — with bacon onion jam and a cheddar cheese syringe
  • The Main Event — fried turkey breast, andouille sausage stuffing, cranberries and brown gravy
  • Merry Christmas Pretzel — Christmas tree shaped soft pretzel
  • Santa’s Red Velvet Cake — red vanilla cake and cream cheese frosting
  • Christmas Bread Pudding — brioche, white chocolate, raspberry sauce and whipped cream
  • Winter Snowballs — stuffed doughnuts, whipped cream and sprinkles
  • Five Golden Rings — Tito’s vodka, elderflower, lemonade and golden turmeric
  • Christmas Elixir — Tito’s vodka, Granny Smith apple, pomegranate, pineapple and club soda
  • Mistletoe Margarita — tequila, triple sec, cranberry, lime and sour mix

Food Prices and Options

Prices per item typically range between $5.99 and $14.99. If you are planning on trying more than a couple of dishes or drinks then it might be worth thinking about buying a Christmas Celebration Tasting and Brew Sampler.

A Christmas Town 5-Item Food & Beverage Sampler is $40.00 plus tax or $55.00 plus tax for a Christmas Town 10-Item Food & Beverage Sampler.

Annual pass holders can buy a 12 punch lanyard for the price of a 10 punch lanyard.

Each time you purchase an item using your lanyard, the cast member punches a hole through your card so a five punch lanyard entitles you to five food or drink items. They are good for the duration of the entire Christmas Celebration event so they do not have to be used up all on one night if you plan to visit again. Note they are only valid at participating locations and you will need to be 21 or over and show ID to obtain alcoholic beverages.

As well as the food and drinks, there are special holiday merchandise and gifts, which are only available during the Christmas Celebration event.

Note that the Bayside Pathway which used to host some of the Christmas activities is currently closed whilst the Pipeline roller coaster is under construction.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration Ice Skating

From 2020, the outdoor ice skating rink at the Bayside Stadium that is used for the Winter Wonderland On Ice evening shows is available to guests during the day.

For $15 you can rent a pair of ice skates for 30 minutes on the ice. Note that you must wear crew length socks (up to mid calf) and gloves both of which are available for sale if you didn’t bring them with you.

Guest must be 3 years or older and the guest ice skating is available from 11:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Guests under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a paying adult. All participants must sign a liability waiver and all guests under the age of 18 must have an adult present when they sign.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration Character Dining

There are two options for character dining and reservations are required:

  • Dinner with Santa
  • Sesame Street Christmas Breakfast

Make sure to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your dining time.

Dinner with Santa

“Dinner with Santa” is an all you care to eat holiday buffet dinner at the Sea Harbor Pavilions behind the Bayside Stadium.

The meal ends with a meet-and-greet with Santa himself and a photo.

It takes place on select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays plus Christmas week.

There is a large choice of food offerings including:

  • chef salads
  • warm spinach and artichoke dip with corn tortillas
  • turkey with gravy and citrus cranberry relish
  • prime rib with horseradish
  • smokey bacon and maple brussel sprouts
  • herbed butter roasted red potatoes
  • green bean casserole
  • pecan crusted sweet potato flan
  • assorted freshly baked holiday desserts

Dinner with Santa costs from $39.00 for adults and from $14.00 for children aged 3 to 9. Children under 3 are free but still require a reservation.

All prices are exclusive of tax and gratuities.

There is a special children’s menu and there are also gluten free options.

Sesame Street Breakfast at SeaFire Grill

The “Sesame Street Breakfast at SeaFire Grill” is an all you care to eat holiday buffet breakfast with appearances from some of your favourite Sesame Street characters and Santa.

It only takes place on select Saturdays and meal time is at 9:00 a.m.

There is a large choice of breakfast offerings including:

  • carved brown sugar glazed ham
  • bacon and turkey sausage links
  • biscuits and sausage gravy
  • scrambled eggs
  • omelets
  • french toast sticks
  • potato tots
  • freshly cut seasonal fruit
  • yogurt with a toppings bar
  • assorted cereals
  • freshly baked pastries
  • assorted beverages including milk, juice, Coca-Cola products, tea and coffee

Sesame Street Christmas Breakfast costs $32.99 for adults and $16.99 for children aged 3 to 9. Children under 3 are free but still require a reservation.

All prices are exclusive of tax and gratuities.

There are also gluten free options.

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration Private VIP Tour

For the ultimate day at the SeaWorld Christmas Celebration, SeaWorld is offering their “SeaWorld Christmas Celebration Private VIP Tour” from 5:00 p.m. until park close.

The tour costs $179.00 per person (aged 3 and over) and gives you:

  • your own private tour guide
  • festive holiday souvenir
  • unlimited front-of-line access to rides
  • reserved show seating including signature Christmas shows
  • priority access to photo opportunities with Santa and other characters
  • complimentary Photo Key (one per party)
  • reserved Dining with Santa
  • souvenir hot chocolate mug with free refills

Note that park admission is not included in the price of the tour and there is a minimum of two guests per booking.

Guests under 3 are free but still require a reservation and guests under 18 must be accompanied by a paying adult. Parties of more than 12 people may have to pay additional fees.

Merry Mini Camp (Grades 1–5)

The ultimate children’s entertainment package is the “Merry Mini Camp” which runs over three days. It is strictly for grades 1 to 5 (infants aged around 6 to 11).

The camp includes:

  • three days of fun holiday activities and crafts
  • up-close animal encounters
  • secure camper pick-up and drop-off system
  • complimentary t-shirt and water bottle

The price is $225.00 per child plus tax and the camp features enhanced safety procedures such as temperature screenings upon arrival, limited capacity, increased cleaning, face coverings and physical distancing throughout.

Polar Express

Starting in 2007 each Holiday season, the Wild Arctic helicopter simulator ride was transformed into ”The Polar Express Experience at SeaWorld” based on the Warner Bros. Pictures film starring the character voiced by actor Tom Hanks. Riders boarded the ‘train’ to take them to the North Pole which was specially decorated with a Christmas tree, sleigh and Santa Claus himself.

The new ride used to run from mid November until early January and then after that it reverted back to the normal Wild Arctic theme but the Polar Express ended in 2016 when Rudolph was introduced.

The Wild Arctic ride has now closed and it is not clear if it will re-open or be replaced.