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Have a holly jolly Christmas — the theme parks are ready if you are

Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm


By Peter Covino

Lifestyles Editor

Finally, it is beginning to feel like fall, well it did Friday, and that means it should be a good weekend to visit the theme parks.

It may not feel quite like Christmas in Florida weatherwise, but the Disney parks are already dressed up for the holidays. And with cooler temperatures (and before the holiday crowds arrive en masse) there is not a better time to go.

I haven’t been over to WDW since Epcot Food & Wine, but the has already started falling at the  Magic Kingdom:’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. There is a party night Sunday and well as Thursday and Fridy, this coming week.

Beginning at 7 p.m. (after regular park hours), guests with special event tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party can enjoy all the holiday

splendor with lively stage shows featuring Disney characters all dressed up for the holidays, a unique holiday parade and favorite holiday traditions including complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, and snow flurries on Main Street, U.S.A.

The night also includes a holiday “Celebrate the Magic” castle projection show and Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season nighttime fireworks spectacular.

The event continues on select nights through Dec. 20.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios one of the most popular events is underway, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights featuring millions of dancing lights, plus animated displays and 3-D effects.

A new addition to this festive favorite, Glow with the Show Ear hats will place guests in the middle of the

seasonal display by illuminating and changing colors and patterns to synchronize with every

spectacular moment. The yuletide show takes place nightly on the Streets of America through Jan. 5, 2014.

Over at Epcot, the Candlelight Processional, the annual holiday reading of The Christmas Story by a celebrity narrator accompanied by a mass choir and 50-piece orchestra also will be back, beginning Nov. 29 through Dec. 30. Showtimes are  5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. at America Gardens Theatre.

Whoopi Goldberg and Ashley Judd highlight the list of narrators this season.  The Candlelight Processional is included with Epcot admission. Guests also can purchase a Candlelight Dining Package, which combines lunch or dinner at select Epcot restaurants with guaranteed seating for the Candlelight Processional and VIP viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Here in Osceola County, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is gearing up for the Old Spice  Classic on Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 28-Dec.1.

Eight teams are taking to the court at HP Field House.

The Old Spice Classic is one of the nation’s premier preseason Division I men’s college basketball tournaments, with this year’s lineup featuring Butler, LSU,

Memphis, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Sienna, St Joe’s and Washington State. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit


I Haven’t received any releases yet on the annual holiday events at Universal Orlando (Hey, what’s up media relations guys?), but both of their major events should be or will be up and running soon.

Grinchmas, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, is the Dr. Seuss way of celebrating Christmas, complete with the Grinch and plenty of Whos.

And The Macy’s Holiday Parade, with floats from  The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, plus marching bands, Santa and more returns to Universal Studios.

Both are really nice events, if you have never been, and I will keep you posted when the lastest info is sent over by the Universal guys.

Arabian Nights

If you love the show over at Arabian Nights,  the popular dinner show attraction will once again have a Christmas show this year.

Tickets are now on sale for the Arabian Nights Christmas show, “Amirah’s Wish.” This holiday tradition will run from Dec. 1-31.

Arabian Nights’ Christmas show began in 2004 and has quickly become a favorite for families in Orlando during the holidays, with many repeat visitor

“Arabian Nights’ Christmas show is the perfect way to enjoy the holiday spirit with the entire family,” said Arden Tilghman, President of Arabian Nights. “Our show wraps the most unique styles of horsemanship, acrobatics and aerial performance from around the globe into a fun, season spectacle.”

Audiences at “Amirah’s Wish” will find a completely different story line from Arabian Nights’ new show, “The Royal Celebration,” which debuted in July.

Christmas show tickets cost $66.99 and up with a 25% discount for booking online at Tickets are also available at all Florida Walgreens stores in Florida. Paper tickets can be purchased in advance from any cashier, and then reservations made by phone.

Arabian Nights features world-class equestrian entertainment and some of the top Arabian horses in the world. The champion Arabians performing in the show come from Al-Marah Arabians, the historic horse farm owned by Mark Miller, who is also the owner of Arabian Nights. Miller’s family is only the third family to have had control of this herd in its 200-plus year history.

Arabian Nights is located at 3081 Arabian Nights Blvd. in Kissimmee.

For more on Arabian Nights, please visit the all-new website,



Ice! featuring Frosty the Snowman returns to the Gaylord Palms Resort Nov. 23 and continues through Jan. 5.

The frigid event features Frosty and his Friends on a quest to the North Pole.

More than two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures as well as ice slides are kept solid  in sub-freezing temperatures. Gaylord supplies those needed warm coats.
NEW in 2013, you’ll enjoy a bonus area featuring “Artisans in Action” – a LIVE ice carving zone! Take a fun journey through the Frostbite Factory and watch a masterful ice carver from Harbin, China up close as he creates amazing sculptures before your eyes. Your awe-inspiring experience concludes with the wonder and majesty of the Nativity scene in ice. It’s all part of Christmas at Gaylord Palms