Holiday Events at Orlando’s Disney World and Universal for 2021

October 27, 2021

Celebrating the winter holidays in Florida may seem a bit odd with its warm weather but Orlando’s theme parks make the season magical. If you’re having a tropical holiday vacation, Disney World and Universal Orlando have a variety of family-friendly events for groups to enjoy. Plan a holiday family reunion, vacation with friends, a trip for your school or community youth group, or even a seasonal corporate retreat for your company.

Keep on reading to learn more about the best ways to celebrate the holidays with a group in Orlando!

Santa during a holiday event at Disney's EPCOT
Santa at Disney’s EPCOT. image courtesy of Brian McGowan on Unpslash.

How to Travel

The holiday season at Orlando’s theme parks is exceptionally busy. So you’ll want to have your group transportation streamlined. Falcon Charter Bus has worked with groups of all sizes to provide efficient transportation to theme parks throughout Florida. A minibus or charter bus rental is one of the best ways for large groups to travel in Orlando, especially during the packed holiday season. Taking multiple cars into the parks can be a nightmare, but consolidating everyone onto a charter bus so that no one is stuck looking for parking or searching for their car can make your trip much smoother. The charter bus rentals in the Falcon network include compact minibuses and spacious full-sized buses equipped with amenities like WiFi, TVs with DVD players, and reclining seats to keep you comfortable in inevitable theme park traffic.

Leave the holiday gridlock up to your Falcon Charter Bus and your professional driver. The Falcon Charter Bus team is available 24/7 at 407-274-9808 to help you organize an Orlando charter bus rental for your holiday trip.


Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort includes three parks, Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. Volcano Bay doesn’t have a seasonal holiday event but the other two parks have separate holiday celebrations, as well as a shared, resort-wide event. Keep in mind that you’ll need a 2-Park ticket to get the full holiday experience at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.

Universal’s Holiday Parade

Universal Studios Florida

This holiday parade features festive balloons and floats with all of your favorite film characters. You’ll see Minions from Despicable Me, beloved characters from Shrek, and a few familiar faces from Madagascar. The colorful holiday floats are usually accompanied by dancers and performers making their way through the streets of Universal Studios Florida. The holiday parade is included in your ticket and runs nightly through the park’s seasonal festivities. 

The Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando
The Hogwarts Express traveling to Hogsmeade in Universal Orlando. Image courtesy of Aditya Vyas on Unsplash.

Christmas at Harry Potter World

Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is split between Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Hogsmeade is located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley is in Universal Studios Florida. With a 2-park ticket, you can travel Park-to-Park on the Hogwarts Express between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. All of the Harry Potter holiday shows are included in your ticket price. During the holidays, the magical areas are illuminated in lights and Christmas decor, a light show is displayed throughout the evening on Hogwarts Castle, and seasonal performances are put on by The Hogwarts Frog Choir. Be sure to grab some butterbeer to complete the holiday feeling!


Islands of Adventure

You can’t celebrate the holidays with The Grinch. Universal’s Grinchmas takes over the Seuss Landing area of Islands of Adventure, making it a winter wonderland. Sing along to festive songs with the Whos of Who-ville, enjoy a live retelling of the Grinch’s story, and snap photos with the mischievous antihero himself at the All The Books You Can Read Bookstore. Holiday shows are included in your ticket but just note that in-person photo ops with The Grinch are subject to change due to the ongoing health situation.


Walt Disney World Resort

The Walt Disney World Resort is already considered one of the most magical places on earth and that becomes especially true during the winter holidays. The resort is home to 4 main theme parks: Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom Park.

Along with holiday celebrations inside of the park, the resort also hosts additional events at the Disney Springs dining and entertainment area. Each theme park has its own selection of holiday celebrations and you’ll need a Park Hopper ticket to see as much as possible. It’s also highly recommended that you spend more than one day, if possible, at the Disney Resort to get the full holiday experience.

There’s a long list of holiday events at Disney, but here are a few of the most popular:

Fireworks and a light show in Magic Kingdom Park
Fireworks and a light show at Cinderella’s Castle in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Image courtesy of Chuck Givens on Unsplash.

Disney Very Merriest After Hours

Magic Kingdom

The Disney Very Merriest After Hours is made up of two festive events: Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks and the beloved ​​Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade. This annual holiday parade kicked off in 1994 and is one of the oldest winter traditions at Magic Kingdom. During the parade, you’ll see all of your favorite Disney characters decked out in their holiday’s best marching through Main Street alongside Toy Soldiers to the tune of holiday classics. The parade includes floats covered in twinkling lights, Christmas decorations, and even snow! Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks is one of the best fireworks displays all year. The show lights up the night sky above the park in a dazzling display that visitors of all ages will love.

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays


If you’re looking for an international spin on the holidays, Epcot is the park for you to visit. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays includes booths throughout the park that sell seasonal fare from around the world. The festival also includes festive cultural performances including Chinese lion dances, Hanukkah storytelling, and Mexican Las Posadas.

Tree of Life Awakenings

Animal Kingdom

The World of Avatar (Pandora) in Disneys’ Animal Kingdom is one of the most magical locations in all of the parks. During the holidays, Pandora’s Tree of Life is illuminated in photo projections that tell holiday stories as a festive score plays in the background. As you stroll through Animal Kingdom, be sure to look out for the animal-inspired luminaries and lanterns placed throughout the park. These carefully crafted holiday decorations are handmade by local artists and are a beautiful homage to Disney’s most important residents, its animals.

Dinosaur Gertie at Echo Lake in Hollywood Studios
Dinosaur Gertie at Echo Lake in Hollywood Studios. Image courtesy of Alyssa Eakin on Unsplash.

Flurry of Fun

Hollywood Studios

One of the best parts of Hollywood Studios’ Flurry of Fun is the fun holiday decor in Echo Lake. Dozens of life-size Christmas tree ornaments float in the water alongside Each Lake’s mainstay, Dinosaur Gertie. Gertie usually gets a holiday makeover and a large Christmas tree is located near the Hollywood Studios entrance to start your holiday visit right. The Flurry of Fun continues into the park with seasonal decorations in Toy Story Land, a light show displayed in the Hollywood Tower Hotel, and sing-a-longs with Disney characters like Elsa from Frozen.

Christmas Tree Stroll

Disney Springs

The Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll features character-themed trees scattered throughout the complex. You’ll see trees decorated with characters like Mickey and Minnie, The Muppets, and several Disney princesses. Disney Springs also has holiday decor, live festive entertainment, and photos with Santa Claus.


Enjoy the Holidays in Orlando with Falcon Charter Bus

Whenever you’re ready to book your holiday group transportation, a Falcon Charter Bus rental expert will be available to help you. Rent a charter bus in Orlando to help your winter trip run as smoothly as possible. Give us a ring 24/7 at 407-274-9808 to get answers to any of your rental questions and to get a free, personalized price quote.