International Drive Resort Area Sparkles for the 2015 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 more than 100 hotels and resorts, six of the world's great theme parks, more than 200 restaurants, 550 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!
Through Dec. 31, 2015 (Select dates)
Waves of holiday spirit, seas of trees and twinkling lights during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration™.On select dates (Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 18-31) through New Year's Eve, guests enjoy this wintery, watery wonderland and entertainment inspired by the natural world and holiday cheer. Guests can journey to the North Pole on THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience where they can meet the jolly Santa Claus. With holiday treats from Santa to Shamu®, presents to penguins, and elves to Elmo, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration™ is where holiday memories are made. Shows include:
  • Shamu® Christmas Miracles – Experience the power and beauty of the Shamu family in this nighttime holiday show.
  • O Wondrous Night –Hear the classic Christmas story told through the eyes of the animals. With more than 30 carols, life-size puppets and a live nativity, this show will charm, entertain and delight.
  • THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience – Now boarding! It’s a wondrous journey to the North Pole aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS. The beloved holiday classic comes to life as you and your family are immersed in the heart-warming story of a young boy’s thrilling ride into an enchanted world.
  • Elmo's Christmas Wish – Sesame Street® friends have come to SeaWorld® Orlando for a festive holiday musical celebration. Join Rosita, Grover, Zoe, and Cookie Monster as they work together to help Elmo find his Christmas wish!
  • Winter Wonderland on Ice – Christmas glistens on a stage of ice, jewels and light as skaters dazzle and delight in this show-stopping, ice-skating extravaganza.
  • Sea of Trees – Take a walk through our wintery, watery wonderland. This glistening forest of more than 100 Christmas trees sparkles to music and lights up the water.
  • The Christmas Village – Artisans, festive entertainment and delicious culinary delights create a bustling market that lines Bayside Pathway. Guests can discover one-of-a-kind gifts, enjoy scrumptious holiday treats, encounter playful elves and holiday characters, sing-a-long with musicians, and marvel at a charming model train village.
SeaWorld's New Year’s Eve
Families can ring in the new year at SeaWorld on Dec. 31. At the stroke of midnight, the evening sky will shine with a vibrant fireworks show to celebrate the festivities. Details here.
Universal Studios Florida
Dec. 5- Jan. 2, 2016
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. For details on all Grinch-related holiday activities, visit
Universal Studios Florida
Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios
Dec. 5- Jan. 2, 2016
The world’s most famous parade in New York has become a traditional holiday experience at Universal Studios. 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. For details and parade times, visit
Adding to the celebration this year is the return of Mannheim Steamroller, the biggest selling Christmas artist of all time.Guests enjoy performances on select Saturday and Sunday nightsDecember 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 & 20, 2015. Check website for times.
New Year's Eve at Universal CityWalk
New Year's celebration includes six unique party zones, each with their own signature drinks. Revel in six awesome CityWalk® clubs with live music and unlimited gourmet cuisine including prime rib, tenderloin and fresh seafood. And you can rock out on Orlando's biggest outdoor dance floor. Details here.
Santa and more at the The Wheel at Icon Park
Visitors get to spend time with Santa Claus at 400 feet above International Drive. In addition to Santa themed capsules include a gingerbread house, a winter wonderland and a candy cane capsule. For $35 per person, St. Nick will take one revolution with folks, read "The Night Before Christmas" and pose for photos. In addition to a variety of lighting effects on the wheel, the attraction will participate in I-Drive 360 holiday activities such as an ice-skating rink erected in its courtyard. Details:
Celebrate Christmas like a pirate!
Get ready for a swashbuckling holiday at Pirate's Dinner Adventure! Enjoy a live action show, "Pirate's Christmas Dinner Adventure" through Nov. Dec.31. Get the details here.
Central Florida Ballet's 15th Anniversary Nutcracker production takes place Dec 12 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. at the Linda Chapin Theater at the Orange County Convention Center. Taking a hint from local theme parks, Central Florida Ballet merged the Nutcracker fairytale with a touch of Cirque and a glimmer of pyrotechnics creating an unforgettable experience. CFB's production was recognized as 'one of the top five productions in the nation' by CNN and has become known to many as the "pyrotechnic Nutcracker" thanks to it's coverage in USA Today. Ticket information:
Rosen Hotels & Resorts for the holidays
Rosen Hotels & Resorts transform into holiday wonderlands complete with Santa letters, classic holiday buffets, gingerbread houses and New Year’s Eve parties. Behind the scenes, chefs and event planners have spent all year plotting, planning and imagining ways to make this a memory-making holiday celebration at the Rosen Plaza, Rosen Centre and Rosen Shingle Creek. Check out all of the details here.
  • Cake Pop Decorating & Lunch with Santa: Guests join Santa and the Rosen Centre chefs as they show the young and young-at-heart the art of cake pop decorating at 11:30 a.m. on December 12, 13, 19 and 20. Cake pops and visit with Santa are included in the lunch buffet price of $9.95 for children and $15.95 for adults, plus tax and service charge. Chef demonstration takes place at 12:30 p.m. For reservations, call 407-996-8551.
  • Dinner and Santa Letters: Girls and boys can work up an appetite writing their holiday wishes to Santa, who will be on hand for a visit, followed by a scrumptious dinner buffet. Dinners are planned for 5 to 8 p.m. December 11, 12, 18 and 19. Reservations are $10.95 for children and $23.95 for adults, plus tax and service charge. Santa and letter writing activity are included with the purchase of the dinner buffet. For reservations, call 407-996-8551.
  • New Year’s Eve Dinner and Party: Indulge in a gourmet four-course meal prepared by Everglades’ Chef Fred Vlachos in an atmosphere that pays homage to the Florida Everglades. Price is $64.95 per person, plus tax and service charge, and includes a bottle of wine or champagne (one per couple or two glasses per person).Then head to Sam & Bubbe’s Lobby Bar and revel to live coverage of Times Square festivities on nine 75-inch TVs, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight, all included with the dining experience.For reservations, call 407-996-8551.
  • 7th Annual Lobby Celebrations: Visit the beautifully decorated lobby of Rosen Shingle Creek on select Friday nights in December for selections from The Nutcracker Ballet narrated and performed by Elizabeth Parsons School of Dance and Windermere Ballet
  • Community Theatre. On Saturday nights, join us in the lobby and tap your toes as Miriam and Val’s School of Dance and The Sanford S.O.D.A. POPS presents a variety of ballet, tap and contemporary holiday dances. Festivities take place 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19 and are complimentary.Holiday dining specials will be available at a variety of hotel restaurants.
  • Gingerbread Display and Competition: Rosen Shingle Creek partners with The Florida Hospital Foundation to present the Second Annual 2015 Gingerbread House Display hosted by Rosen Shingle Creek’s Executive Pastry Chef David Ramirez (also winner of the Food Network USA Pastry Challenge). Guests can enjoy the culinary gingerbread house collection, featuring Orlando’s finest area chefs and enthusiasts who are participating in this one-of-a-kind competition. The contest benefits the Florida Hospital Foundation to raise donations for a Transplant House at Florida Hospital Orlando opening its doors in 2016. Gingerbread Houses will be installed in early December and be on display through Dec. 25.
  • Christmas Tree Display: Rosen Shingle Creek puts on an encore display of a very special collection of Christmas Trees decorated by each of its Non-Profit Partner Organizations. Each organization works tirelessly to raise money to benefit children and the community. Trees, carefully designed by teams representing these organizations, are on display Dec. 1-25.
  • Sleepover and Shop for the Cause: Rosen Shingle Creek has partnered with Bloomingdale’s for a special overnight stay package to benefit a very special charity. Rates start at $169/night, plus tax, and include buffet breakfast for two at Café Osceola, 30% off services at The Spa at Shingle Creek, greens fees at Shingle Creek Golf Club and select hotel dining, as well as a special gift and 15% discount shopping pass from Bloomingdale’s at The Mall at Millenia. Rosen Shingle Creek will donate 5% from package sales and Bloomingdale’s will donate 10% from tracked sales to the Florida Hospital Transplant Bartch House. To book, call 407-996-6338.
  • Family New Year’s Eve Party: Children and teens looking for an entertaining way to ring in 2016 can enjoy a DJ with dance floor, photo booth, pool tables, pinball, foosball, arcade games, and Ping Pong right at Rosen Shingle Creek. The New Year’s Eve pre-show and Ball Drop will be televised on a big screen. Wristbands to access the party are $10 and include party favors and unlimited soda. Food and beverages will be available for purchase during the event. Event is open to overnight and dining hotel guests only. Dec. 31, 2015, 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Jan. 1, 2016. To book, call 407-996-3663.
  • New Year’s Eve Restaurant Party: After the buffet at Café Osceola, a party will be brewing at Headwaters Lounge, featuring DJ, televised ball drop, hats and party favors and a dance floor. Event is for dining and hotel guests. Must be 21 years old. Champagne toast, cash bar and cash snacks will be available during the event. Event is open to hotel overnight and dining guests only. Dec. 31, 2015, 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Jan. 1, 2016.
Rosen Plaza is adorned inside and out with millions of twinkling lights, oversized glistening ornaments and more holiday décor to delight the young and young-at-heart. Visitors are invited to stop by and enjoy the displays, which also include the daily lighting of a five-foot Menorah during Chanukah. And you can ring in the new year with the New Year’s Eve Celebration Stay Package thatoffers a one-night all-inclusive stay that includes dinner for two at Jack’s Place, Club 39 At The Plaza New Year’s Eve Party including ball drop and champagne toast and Café Matisse’s breakfast buffet for two.Available Dec. 31 for $225 plus tax. Reservations can be booked at 407-996-9702.
 December 2015