Celebrating Christmas in Orlando!

211A2A98-0936-4E36-A64F-296F4D8FE766Since Thanksgiving is officially behind us and December is less than 24 hours away, you know what that means. Trees adorned with lights, stockings hung with care, colors of the red/green/silver/gold variety ubiquitously displayed, and of course, Christmas music in the air. This is truly one of my favorite times of year because it conjures up joyful childhood memories and brings family together. And although Christmas is only one day, I try to milk it for a while – weeks, really – in advance to soak up this short, sweet season.

This year will be my second Christmas in Orlando, and so I want to share a few fun, or jolly, things to do in the area to get hyped for Christmas!

#1: Take a ride on The Polar Express

One of my absolute favorite holiday movies is The Polar Express. I used to glance out our window when I was little hoping that the train would pull up in front of the house. Now, there’s no need to keep it to the imagination. The Polar Express Train Ride – Orlando takes riders on a trip to the North Pole from our very own Mount Dora! The ride replicates scenes from the movie, and you even get your golden ticket punched and hot chocolate served by dancing chefs. They do it all – you just gotta believe!

The last train departs on Dec. 30.

#2 Deck the halls – downtown

If you’re in the mood for a more downtown vibe, the city of Orlando is putting on tons of fun holiday events around Lake Eola. From movie screenings to concerts to parades, there’s so much to do to ring in the season downtown.

Events run through the month of December.

#3 Meet Santa at the Mall at Millenia

If you need a cheerful break from gift shopping, stop and take a moment to check out the extraordinary North Pole display at the Mall at Millenia. It’s free, and you’ll get some awesome photos of the jolly old elf! Get there early, though, as wait times to climb up to five hours close to the holiday. Hashtag your Santa photos with #MyMillenia, and you might get featured on their social!

Santa will be there until Christmas Eve.

#4 Take a Disney trip – they have all the Christmas things

OH BOY. You probably saw this one coming. 🙂 Disney World has so many festive activities and shows to get you in the Christmas spirit, and my family has made it a point year after year to visit the happiest place on Earth during the most wonderful time of the year. Whether it’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party hosted at the Magic Kingdom, the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, the Sunset Seasons Greetings projection show at Hollywood Studios or the adorable Disney-themed Christmas trees on the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail, there’s no shortage of holiday cheer at Walt Disney World.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – select nights through Dec. 21
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays – runs until Dec. 30
Sunset Seasons Greetings – showing until Jan. 6
Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail – open until Jan. 6

And that’s all I got! I’ve already checked out some of the events on this list, but I have a lot to squeeze in before the big day. Have a Christmas idea or tradition? Leave a comment below, and be sure to follow me on Instagram for holiday fun around the City Beautiful.

XO,
Elizabeth

 

 

Prepping for a Disney World visit!

A5DA5C88-755B-42AE-904F-A66CCA26B498As you might know by now, I absolutely love Disney World. I maintain that getting an Annual Pass earlier this year was one of the best decisions I’ve made since moving to Orlando. No matter how many times I visit one of the four main parks, I always find something new and exciting. Whether you’re an Annual Passholder like me, or somebody visiting a park for the first time, I thought I’d offer some tips on prepping for the big day.

#1 Download the Disney World app. Like, right now.

This app is an absolute game-changer. Not only can you view wait times for rides and showtimes, but you can reserve dining, book FastPasses, view annual pass blockout dates, and order food from park restaurants. It’s a necessity.

#2 Get FastPasses!  

It’s not a secret that wait times for Disney rides can get pretty long, so if you have certain rides in mind that you really want to ride, book a FastPass. You can do it directly through the app! I’d recommend doing this as far in advance as possible, as your options will be limited the day of. Keep in mind that for most Passholders, you can only book passes in one park per day. For example, if you get a FastPass for Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom, you can’t get one for Avatar Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom on the same day. Good to know for park hoppers!

#3 Going to Magic Kingdom? Wait.

Magic Kingdom is my favorite Disney park for so many reasons, but let’s be real. It gets crazy with crowds and wait times. My tip for visiting this iconic park is to wait and go later in the day. Out of the four main parks, it’s the one open the latest (typically closing between 10 p.m. and midnight, depending on the day), so you still have plenty of time to enjoy the sights and rides if you head over in the early afternoon. At this point, you’ll have surpassed the hottest part of the day, lighting will be better for photos, and you’ll be inclined to stick around for the magical firework show since you just got there!

Not a fan of fireworks? Hit up some rides! The wait times plummet during the show, and it’s always cool to be on a roller coaster with fireworks painting the sky.

#4 Remember your parking spot!

As the Disney team members like to remind eager guests on the tram, Disney World has 15,000 parking spots. Usually, my husband will text our row number to me so we don’t forget (ex: Rapunzel 237). If you do it as soon as you park, you’ll have no stress trying to remember it when it comes time to head home.

#5 Pack your Mickey or Minnie ears!

Enough said. 🙂

 

Thanks for reading, and I hope you get to the Happiest Place on Earth soon!

XO,
Elizabeth