If you’re in Orlando around the holidays, you’ll find the city overrun with holiday decorations and special events. Fill an empty evening or afternoon without shelling out the kind of cash you’ll spend on a Disney holiday event by hitting up one of these lesser-known options around the city.
1. ICE! at the Gaylord Palms
Every year the Alpine Village at the Gaylord Palms hosts a walk-through ice exhibit. This year, the theme of the event is The Nutcracker. In the chilly 9-degree space you’ll find two million pounds of ice sculptures carefully carved by hand. The exhibit spans six rooms and includes four ice slides, The Frostbite Factory live carving zone, and a clear crystal ice nativity for the finale.
Adult visitors can also check out the On the Blocks ICE Bar while they’re there. Admission to the bar is separate.
2. Light Up UCF
Light Up UCF is a holiday event held at the CFE Arena. Attractions include an ice rink pavilion, arctic glide slide, Ferris wheel, and Light Up Express. The Winn Dixie community Stage hosts the UCF Marching Knights as well as local musicians and high school bands and choirs from around Central Florida. Classic holiday films are shown on an outdoor screen Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Beginning at 6pm every night, a holiday light show illuminates the area with thousands of lights strobing in synchronization to holiday tunes.
3. Legoland Florida Resort Christmas Bricktacular
On weekends throughout December, the Legoland Florida Resort hosts a special Christmas celebration that includes a 30-foot-tall Lego Christmas tree, Lego Santa, and Lego toy soldiers. Visitors can participate in the Lego model build activity and help construct a tree that will ultimately stand more than 20 feet tall by Christmas. A Lego Santa scavenger hunt offers even more fun as families search for Santa in Miniland USA.