International Drive Resort Area Dazzles for the 2013 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 111 hotels and resorts, six of the world's great theme parks, more than 200 restaurants, more than 500 shopping outlets and entertainment complexes are all decked out for the season.
Holiday fun!
Holiday traditions and joyful celebrations transform the I-Drive area Orlando into a holly jolly destination guaranteed to have your family singing carols all the way home.
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: Single cash fare, $2.00 per ride; kids cash fare ages 3-9, $1.00 per ride; senior cash fare age 65 and over, $.25 per ride. 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!
Nov. 23 - Dec. 31, 2013 (Select dates)
Waves of holiday spirit splash over you during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration! Carols fill the air, a sparkling sea of trees lights up the water and skaters dance on ice. Here in a wintery, watery wonderland, you can journey to the North Pole on THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience, and enjoy stunning live shows inspired by the natural world. With everything from Santa to Shamu, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is where the season meets the sea. This event takes place select dates November 23 through December 31, 2013. Call 888-800-5447 or visit for more details.
Universal Studios Florida
Dec. 7- Jan. 4, 2014
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. Be sure to explore every nook and cranny of this wintry wonderland, as its filled with special touched Dr. Seuss fans are sure to adore.
Grinch fans enjoy a live, musical stage show that tells the world-famous story of the grumpy Grinch 1-888-467-7677.
Universal Studios Florida
Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios
Select dates Dec. 7- Jan. 4, 2014
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. Parade Times: Dec. 7 - 25 at 5 p.m; Dec. 26 - 31 at 8 p.m.; Jan. 1 - 4 at 5 p.m. 407-363-8000.
Adding to the celebration this year is the return of Mannheim Steamroller. They're the biggest selling Christmas artist of all time, and guests enjoy performances on select Saturday and Sunday nights in December. Whether you’re a longtime fan or discovering their enchanting orchestral sounds for the first time, it’s a holiday experience you can’t miss. Dates: Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 at 6 p.m.
Holiday entertainment
Grand Menorah Lighting and First Hanukkah Festival at Rosen Plaza Hotel
Dec. 1, 4 - 7 p.m.
Join Rosen Plaza and Chabad of South Orlando for its first Grand Menorah Lighting and Hanukkah Family Celebration! Enjoy a community event featuring a variety of family-themed activities including food stations, dreidel spinning contests, Hanukkah arts and crafts, traditional entertainment, and raffles and prizes, all in an interactive streetmosphere. Food stations include kosher cotton candy, delicious sufganiyot (donuts), and a Latke Cook-Off by the Rosen chefs. Hotel guests and the general public are invited to the free event. Some activities may require tickets. Contact 407-996-9700 or for more information.
Rosen Hotels & Resorts Holiday Kickoff and Signature Tree Lighting Event at Rosen Inn International
Dec. 5
6:30- 9:30 p.m.
Enjoy Christmas characters, Santa, falling snow, and an Interactive DJ. A special dance performance by the Sanford Soda Pops will bring in the season. Cost is free and reservations are not required. Call 855-887-7600 for details.
Ice Skating at Rosen Centre
Dec. 6-7, 13-15
Fridays & Saturdays: 4-9 p.m. / Sundays: 11a.m.- 4 p.m.
Bring in the winter season with Ice Skating rink located poolside. Kids' activities such as face painting, balloon art, interactive DJ, and a custom photo booth will also be available. Some additional charges may apply. $16.00 per adult including skates (10 and up), $10.00 per child (6-9 years old). Call 407-996-9840 for details.
Rosen Plaza Free Holiday Events
Dec. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21
Enjoy a holiday musical celebration at Rosen Plaza. Classical string duo with holiday carolers at 6 p.m. Then Solid State Jazz Trio performs in the Lobby Bar from 8-11pm. The event is free and open to the public and all hotel guests. Call 407-996-9700 for details.
Free Events
Dec. 9-19 7-9 p.m.
Each property will have a Santa letter writing area with a North Pole Mailbox for kids to send letters to Santa. Open all day. Free. Call 855-887-7600 for details.
New Year’s Eve at SeaWorld Orlando
Dec. 31, 2013
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. 407-351-3600.
New Year’s Eve at Universal CityWalk
Dec. 31, 2013
This 30-acre entertainment complex with themed restaurants, nightclubs and shops, hosts one of Orlando’s hottest New Year’s Eve parties. 407-363-8000