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Orlando feels festive regardless of the time of year, and things get only merrier during the holidays. For an extra dose of holiday cheer—or if you’re skipping the holidays entirely—venture out to one of these Orlando places that are open for business on December 25.

ALSO: 10 great Orlando attractions that aren’t Disney

ATTRACTIONS

Disney characters dressed in their holiday finest parade down Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom during "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade." The festive processional is one of the happy highlights of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, a night of holiday splendor with lively stage shows, a unique holiday parade, Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season nighttime fireworks, and snow flurries on Main Street, U.S.A. The special-ticket event takes place on select nights in November and December in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Ryan Wendler, photographer)

Disney characters parade down Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom during “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.” | Photo courtesy of Ryan Wendler

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party transforms Disney’s Magic Kingdom, into a winter fairytale complete with an ice-covered Cinderella’s Castle, lively stage shows and a parade that brings snow flurries to Main Street, U.S.A. Visitors can even score free cookies and hot chocolate throughout the park.

New this year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, a nightly event that brightens the darkness with fireworks, special effects and holiday music.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without the Macy’s Holiday Parade, which fills the streets of Universal Orlando Resort with the same balloons you saw at the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, plus additional floats and entertainment.

At Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure, the popular Dr. Seuss book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is brought to life in the heartwarming live stage show, “Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular,” starring The Grinch and the Whos from Whoville. Grinchmas is part of Universal Orlando Resort’s Holidays celebration, running fromDec. 3 to Jan. 1 and featuring live entertainment that the whole family can enjoy.

The live stage show, “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular,” is part of Universal Orlando Resort’s Holidays celebration.

Experience a dazzling retelling of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. The theme park’s Seuss Landing presents the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, featuring original music by Mannheim Steamroller through January 1.

You could buy your kids a LEGO set for Christmas (and curse as you step on them in the middle of the night) or you could bring them to LEGOLand Florida’s Christmas Bricktacular, featuring a life-sized Christmas tree, Santa, reindeer and sleigh all made out of, well, you know.

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration’s makes a splash with its live shows. This year’s theme is Rudolph, so be on the lookout for the red-nosed fella and his friends around the park.

RESTAURANTS

The luxurious Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando is serving up a Christmas lunch buffet and a four-course sampler dinner at its Boheme Restaurant.

Get your entertainment and food in one place when you make reservations for Loews Portofino Bay at Universal Orlando Resort. The hotel’s casual Trattoria del Porto offers a holiday buffet with carving stations, pasta, seafood, desserts and second buffet just for kids.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World

Even if you don’t splurge on a room at the swanky Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World, treat yourself to a mealat the resort’s restaurant Ravello. The Italian-inspired Christmas Day buffet includes carved meats, roasted duck, pasta, a kids’ buffet and more.

The Columbia Restaurant in Celebration (the Disney planned community just south of the parks) will offer a selection of Christmas features in addition to its usual Cuban and Mediterranean fare.

Dig into the holiday buffet at Rosen Centre Hotel, featuring everything from turkey and ham to seafood and desserts.

 

HOTELS

Photo courtesy of the Dolphin Hotel

Photo courtesy of the Dolphin Hotel

Linger in the lobbies of Disney’s side-by-side Swan and Dolphin hotels for in instant happiness boost. The Swan features a life-sized Santa scene made from 2,000 pounds of chocolate. Not to be outdone, the Dolphin’s lobby boasts a 45-foot-tall Christmas tree with falling snow.

Get your cold-weather fix during ICE! at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, an incredible display of hand-carved ice sculptures. This year’s theme is Charlie Brown; also look for the traditional Nativity scene.

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Tagged: Disney, Family time, Florida

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Dalia Colon

Dalia Colon

Dalia is a multimedia journalist in Tampa and the Smart Travel Insider for VISIT FLORIDA. Follow her on Twitter @daliacolon.

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