The launch of the holiday season may feel a little different this year, with families wondering how to safely celebrate the remaining months of a year dominated by a global pandemic. There’s plenty of holiday cheer to be found at SeaWorld, as the park announces a robust lineup of holiday events. These thoughtfully curated events will leverage SeaWorld’s commitment to safety to provide guests with a safe, festive, and enjoyable holiday experience. SeaWorld is wholly committed to the health and safety of guests, employees, and the animals in their care. SeaWorld works diligently alongside State and local health officials, outside consultants, and attraction industry leaders to continuously enhance their already comprehensive safety, health, and cleanliness standards.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration launched on November 14th, with festive celebrations scheduled for select dates through December 31st. SeaWorld is transformed into a winter wonderland, with the aid of 3 million lights to set a magical ambiance. The Christmas Celebration features the award-winning “Winter Wonderland On Ice”, an ice-skating showcase sure to spark amazement. Guests will meet classic Christmas characters, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Santa Clause.
Foodies will delight in holiday treats and culinary specialties, available throughout the park. From seasonal bakery confections to gourmet hot chocolate, guests will be able to enjoy delectable holiday favorites. On select dates, SeaWorld’s Holiday Market will offer one-of-a-kind gifts, treats, and delicious goodies. A charming model train, mischievous elves, crackling fire pit, and holiday entertainers will lend cheer to the Market.
Old and New Winter Classics
When people think of SeaWorld, the first thing that comes to mind may not be winter. It is a “sea” themed park, after all. In the Orlando heat, one could spend forever dreaming of a white Christmas. However, the holidays create visions of festive revelry at SeaWorld every year. In addition to year-round attractions to educate, entertain, and enlighten guests, SeaWorld puts on exciting annual holiday shows, creating lasting memories for years to come.
This year, SeaWorld is introducing new holiday performances to embrace the holiday spirit. “It’s a Wonderful Night: A New Story to Tell” is a show that features more than 30 beloved carols. The extravaganza will premiere in the park’s Nautilus Theater, and will operate at limited capacity, employing all physical distancing guidelines. Like other much-loved Christmas celebrations at the park, “It’s a Wonderful Night” will feature classic tunes on a festive stage.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration will also feature an ice-skating show, “Winter Wonderland on Ice.” The thrilling showcase will be accented by a colorful light show, winter-themed backdrop, and physical distancing for guests’ safety. Guests can also visit the “Sea of Trees” in the SeaWorld Lagoon, a visual wonderland of music and lights, providing a 360-degree view of the park. There, guests can enjoy the glowing lights of the forest reflecting off the water. They can dance to holiday carols as they admire the winter scenery, and a colorful centerpiece soaring over the water.
For another cinematic experience, guests can enjoy “Rudolph’s Movie Experience.” This short film will be playing at the top of every hour inside the Sea Port Theatre, and will operate at limited capacity with physical distancing. Guests strolling through the expansive ChristmasTown will feel like they are part of the beloved holiday story, complete with appearances from Rudolph and Bumble.
Santa Claus will be perched on his sleigh in the Wild Arctic, offering photo opportunities from a safe distance, separated by a plexiglass partition. In addition to the park’s enhanced health and safety measures, guests visiting Santa Clause will enter one at a time, and will remain at a safe distance.
If guests want to feel like they are really in the North Pole, they can hit the ice in an all-new outdoor experience. For an additional price, guests can rent ice skates and cruise along SeaWorld’s central lagoon and through the winter wonderland. To be able to skate, guests are required to wear crew-length socks and gloves, which are available for purchase inside the park.
Once visitors have worked up an appetite, they can enjoy holiday-themed snacks from several sites around the park. On select dates, guests can also visit The Christmas Market along the park’s Bayside Pathway, which will give them a chance to sample holiday goodies amid the backdrop of a train village frequented by Christmas elves. Nearby, visitors can listen to music from the gazebo stage and look out onto the Sea of Trees while enjoying their snacks.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration will feature specialty food and beverage options, transforming the park into a gourmet seasonal market. Libation options will include specialty cocktails, like the Winter Wonderland Hot Toddy with cider and whiskey, and Peppermint Cocoa. Meal options will include a Traditional Christmas Dinner Stack with turkey and sides. Guests will also be able to opt for other options, like pork sliders. At the market, guests can also try specialty holiday desserts, like peppermint bark cheesecake. Guests will also be able to sample everything by purchasing the Christmas Celebration Tasting and Brew Sampler Lanyard.
Guests looking to go the extra mile can even book a special holiday meal with Santa, or breakfast with the Sesame Street characters. These unforgettable events will include protective foodservice barriers, widely spaced single-party tables, and extra sanitation. Guests will be able to book special “Meet-And-Greets” with Rudolph and his friends, or get a photo op with Santa and the gang.
This year’s other festive additions include a Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah celebration put on by the Sesame Street characters. Hanukkah celebrations will take place from December 10th through December 18th, and Kwanzaa celebrations will run between December 26th and January 1st. SeaWorld Orlando will also host a New Year’s Eve event on December 31, with a fireworks show and park-wide entertainment to ring in the new year.
Safety First for the Holidays
SeaWorld’s management, led by Marc Swanson, and it’s board, led by Board Chairman Scott Ross, continues to prioritize guest safety. SeaWorld has worked with various leaders to enhance their already strict cleanliness standards, safety, and health protocols. These guidelines will continue to be modified based on evolving methodologies, public health and governmental directives, and advancing scientific knowledge on the transmissibility of COVID-19.
SeaWorld is dedicated to providing guests with fun and memorable experiences, while addressing important health and safety needs during this time. Health and safety remain of utmost importance, as the SeaWorld team collaborates to provide the most effective, concise, and appropriate guidance. SeaWorld’s board of directors, led by Scott Ross, has worked closely with the management team to ensure that all staff and guests remain safe.
To ensure guests’ safety, SeaWorld has implemented various protocols. SeaWorld requires visitors to make date-specific reservations, ensuring that capacity limitations are met at all times. Guests and staff undergo temperature checks when arriving on-site, adhering to the CDC temperature recommendation of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Face coverings must be worn inside the park, and must cover the nose and mouth.
SeaWorld employees receive COVID-19 training based on guidelines from the Center for Disease Control. The parks also feature reminders about physical distancing throughout with lines marked in queues, and modified seating arrangements in theatres and on rides. Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance and exit points of rides to increase visitor safety and comfort. Physical distancing considerations are being enforced by restaurants within the park, which have adjusted seating arrangements to better accommodate guests.
For over a month, SeaWorld guests can revel in the happiest time of the year with festive shows and events. Most activities are included in the regular admission price. However, guests who want to enjoy ice skating or food and drink will need to purchase those items and experiences separately.
Guests can make reservations as late as the day of their visit, if tickets are available and the park has not yet reached capacity. For families still trying to decide how to spend their holidays, or hoping to learn more about what SeaWorld holiday events will entail, more information can be found at www.seaworldorlando.com/christmas. The website also includes more detailed information about COVID-19 precautions, as well as information about reservations and bookings.
Although the holidays may appear different this year, the sentiment is unwavering. Sharing joy, laughter, and heartfelt memories are the cornerstones of the holidays. SeaWorld is ensuring that these sentiments will be bountiful through the park’s Christmas Celebration.