International Drive Resort Area Dazzles for the 2012 Holiday Season!

The International Drive Resort Area pulls out all of the stops each holiday season to make this Orlando vacation destination one of the most popular in the country for holiday travelers. Filled with fun for the entire family, the area's 100 hotels and resorts, five of the world's great theme parks, more than 150 restaurants, more than 485 shopping outlets and entertainment complexes are all decked out for the season.
Holiday Dazzle on I-Drive!
I-Drive's Holiday Dazzle kicks off a month of holiday activities with the lighting of its 45-foot tree at Pointe Orlando.  The tree will be on display during the holiday season.  Sponsored by the I-Drive District.
More holiday fun!
Throughout I-Drive, decorations, special holiday entertainment and visits from Santa at many hotels and restaurants greet visitors who are celebrating their holiday in the area. Meet the Grinch, have a holiday dinner with Pirates, have a photo taken with Santa, shop at the area’s world-famous retail outlets, visit the area’s world-famous theme parks.
The nostalgic I-Ride Trolleys, decked out in wreaths and garland and playing holiday music, travel throughout the I-Drive area and are a yearly Central Florida tradition in Orlando’s tourist corridor. Visitors will enjoy parking the car and using the popular trolleys to travel throughout the area from 8 a.m. until 10:30 pm daily. Special hours for Christmas Eve: 8 am to 8 pm; Christmas Day: 10 am to 10:30 pm; New Year’s Eve: 8 am to 1 am. During the ride, visitors may stop for shopping, dining, entertainment or attractions. Affordable for the entire family, the trolley fare is $1.50 per person, per ride with accompanying children riding free (age 12 and under). Unlimited ride passes are also available. For additional information and downloadable maps, click “Trolley” on this site.
For holiday vacation planning, the following is a sampling of the area’s not-to-be-missed holiday events:
Holiday fun at the theme parks!
Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios
Dec. 1-Jan. 1, 2013
The world’s most famous parade in New York has become a traditional holiday experience at Universal Studios. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Macy's Holiday Parade features some of the most popular balloons and floats direct from the famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Complete with a tree lighting ceremony by Santa Claus each day of the holiday season. 407-363-8000.
Dec. 1- Jan. 1, 2013
Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure is transformed into a bah-humbug haven by the Grinch. The entire Seuss-themed island is colorfully decorated for the season and guests are invited to meet the Grinch in his lair, which is outfitted with authentic movie props and gadgets. Grinch fans enjoy a live, musical stage show that tells the world-famous story of the grumpy Grinch. Meet the Grinch in person and have a photo taken! 407-363-8000.
Returning this year, Mannheim Steamroller will perform at the Holiday Village nightly on December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18. And don’t forget to visit Santa and enjoy tree lightings at all three of the Universal resort properties.
Nov. 23-Dec. 31, 2012
SeaWorld's annual Christmas celebration Nov. 23-Dec. 31, includes an all-new holiday show this year: "O Wondrous Night - The Greatest Story Never Told," based on the "Christmas Story" and told through the eyes of live animals. Holiday favorites will also return this year: Winter Wonderland on Ice is an ice skating extravaganza featuring towering water fountains and magnificent fireworks. The popular nighttime holiday show, "Shamu Christmas Miracles," is also back this year. Other events include: The Polar Express Experience, A Sesame Street Christmas, Holiday Reflections: Fireworks and Fountains Finale, Clyde and Seamore's Countdown to Christmas.
Holiday entertainment
Rosen Hotels and Resorts plan holiday events including:
• Holiday Performances and Santa Visit Fridays
(Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14 and 21), 6-10 p.m.
Sing along with gleeful holiday carolers, and then be sure to check in with Santa Claus to see whether you've been naughty or nice. The "Solid State Jazz Trio" rounds out a festive evening with smooth holiday jazz.
• "A Classical Holiday" Entertainment
Saturdays (Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22), 6-7 p.m.
Featuring presentations from local artists who will share classical harp and violin selections, accompanied by holiday carolers.; 407-996-9700 
• Holiday Lobby Entertainment and Culinary Events
Fridays (Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and 14), 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Enjoy roving carolers performing standard holiday favorites. Then, learn tips and tricks from the pros during a hands-on tasting event conducted by an experienced team of award-winning chefs and beverage professionals. Cost is $25 plus tax per adult. Space is limited; reservations recommended.; 407-996-9840
• Lobby Nutcracker Dance Performances
Fridays (Nov. 30, Dec. 7, and 14), 6-9:30 p.m.
Enjoy selections from The Nutcracker Ballet performed by the Elizabeth Parsons School of Dance and Windermere Ballet Community Theatre.
• Holiday Entertaining and Tree Fluffing Retro Rad Style hosted by Emily Ellyn
Saturday, Dec. 8, 5-6:15 p.m.
Have fun making retro holiday hors d'oeuvres and cocktail recipes with Emily Ellyn, previously featured on the 2012 Food Network Star. Guests will enjoy holiday cooking demonstrations, food and cocktail making and sampling, a photo with Chef Emily and will go home with recipe cards. Cost is $25 plus tax per adult. Space is limited; reservations recommended.; 407-996-9939  
Fantasyland Productions presents North Pole Musical at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday. Dec. 6-16. 407-374-3587. 
New Year’s Eve at SeaWorld Orlando
Dec. 31, 2012
SeaWorld Orlando celebrates its connection to the sea, sea life and the world as it rings in the New Year. A spectacular musical celebration and bold fireworks display send a wave of welcome to the New Year ahead. 407-363-2259.
New Year’s Eve at Universal CityWalk
Dec. 31, 2012
This 30-acre entertainment complex with themed restaurants, nightclubs and shops, hosts one of Orlando’s hottest New Year’s Eve parties. The evening features live performances by national acts, an expansive gourmet buffet, a champagne toast and live entertainment at its nightclubs, including the groove, an electrifying dance club; CityJazz, a hip jazz venue; Jimmy Buffett’s Magaritaville and others. 407-224-4233.