Head one hour East on I-4 from Tampa Bay and as soon as you see the Mickey Mouse Electric Pole you’ll know you’re approaching a magical place. The central part of Florida is renowned for its theme parks and endless days of fun, at this time of year however they all have something a little extra special to offer. If this is your favorite time of year and you are looking for annual holiday traditions, then head to Sea World!
This year Sea World have a whole program of holiday themed shows and areas within the park, and even make it snow. You can spend your regular day at the park and see the normal shows and then in the evening the park is transformed into a Christmas wonderland. As you enter the park you sill see the huge lit Christmas tree and also the park map and show times, if you are strategic with your planning you can fit everything in nicely. The Sea Lion and Otter show is completely transformed and cleverly written with an appearance from the big man himself, from here you can make your way over to Shamu stadium via the Christmas markets. The Christmas markets have lit displays of penguins and polar bears, along with stalls offering gifts and food. Shamu’s Christmas – Miracles is a scaled down version of the normal show but has a couple of extras that make it feel very festive.
Head on over to huge Sea World lake and then grab yourself a hot chocolate and stand in the artificial snow that is blown over the stores in front of the tower. Stay where you are though because there is a grand display of trees on the lake that provide a musical and light show to your favorite holiday songs. A Sesame Street Christmas and The Polar Express experience are also great additions to the program and you can also have your photo taken with Santa.
The finale of your evening however should be the Winter Wonderland on ice show that is followed by one of the best fireworks displays at any theme park.
One piece of advice, if you want to avoid costly food and dining options at the park, before you head in continue on up I-4 to exit 83 and head East to Lake Eola Park. This is a great multipurpose downtown park with jogging trails and great picnic spots; you can even feed the ducks.
However you choose to plan your day and whether you eat in the park or not, Sea World did a phenomenal job of putting together a festive wonderland this year and even if you don’t have children, this really puts a holiday feel in the air and will have you leaving the park feeling like a child again yourself.