Happy New Year Orlando Style readers! If January was any indication of what we can expect for the rest of the year, it looks like we’re in for a great time! 2017 is set to be another memorable, fun-filled year and I’m going to be right here every month bringing you all the highlights. For now, it’s time to wind the clock back to December and find out how the city of Orlando celebrated this past holiday season and the start of a new year. Here are a few of my favorite recaps, just in case you missed it!
From November 25th-December 31st, SeaWorld’s Annual Christmas Celebration returned with all the wonderfully festive attractions they’re known and loved for! Guests sang along with holiday carols that filled the air, a sea of lighted trees sparkled over the lake in a wintery, watery wonderland, and world-famous skaters twirled on ice. With festive food, stunning live shows, and delightful entertainment inspired by the natural world, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration saw the creation of many new and unforgettable holiday memories.
For many, December is a time of Christmas carols and Santa Claus sightings, but for others it means the return of Spooky Empire! From December 2nd-4th, the annual weekend, dark side of comic con event featured an array of activities including a tattoo festival, a film festival, celebrity autographs, a zombie walk, a costume and cosplay contest, live music, performances, a game room, seminars, and creepy cars among many other fun and exhilarating activities. Attendees enjoyed a variety of celebrity guests including icons from your favorite horror films such as Michael Myers, Jason, Freddy Krueger and more!
The Festivals of Speed returned to the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes on Sunday, December 4th for its 11th annual event! Attendees experienced an extravagant display of luxury lifestyle with a showcase of over 300 exotic cars, motorcycles, watercrafts and luxury brands. The event has become known for its unique diversity, showcasing both vintage and contemporary vehicles of all makes and models placed for display amongst the splendor and hospitality of the beautiful Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Proceeds of The Festivals of Speed show benefitted the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.
On December 10th, Orlando rocked in the holidays with the top strings sensation Violectric at the annual “Violectric Holiday Show” at the Walt Disney Amphitheatre in Lake Eola Park. The free and public concert featured all your favorite holiday songs mashed up with classic rock tunes and modern hits in a fun and energetic show. Event festivities also included a VIP Pre-Party presented by Old Forester and an End of Prohibition After-Party with a 1920’s theme costume contest. In place of a ticket, attendees brought non-perishable food items that were donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
On January 1st, visitors of Gaylord Palms’ annual ICE! event had their final chance to explore the award-winning attraction before it was melted away and gone for another year. This year’s theme was Charlie Brown and attendees delighted in discovering the meaning of Christmas through the interactive hand-carved ice sculptures and displays. Everything in the attraction was carved by a team of 40 skilled artisans and required the use of 2 million pounds of ice.
From January 4th-8th, runners and Disney-lovers united for the highly anticipated Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Registered attendees headed out on the most magical course on earth during the final race of the weekend — a 26.2 mile run. The run took runners through four Walt Disney World theme parks and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. From the Magic Kingdom Park and the wild adventure of Animal Kingdom Park, to the excitement of Hollywood Studios and the classic thrills of Epcot, it was a marathon adventure unlike any other on earth.
Every Saturday afternoon during the month of January, Lakeridge Winery held its famous Winter Music Series. The beloved event featured live bands on an outdoor stage and in the new Wine & Cheese Bar upstairs. This year they extended the live outdoor shows hours, much to the delight of attendees. The selected musicians were all fantastic performers, hand-picked from the wealth of talent located throughout Central Florida. Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks and a variety of food was available for purchase, along with complimentary Winery tours and tastings.
With the return of Praise Wave Music Festival on January 14th, guests were able to enjoy a celebration of Christian fellowship and fun at SeaWorld Orlando. Uplifting, live concerts from the hottest names in Christian music lit up the stage at Nautilus Theater for three consecutive Saturdays. In between live performances by award winning artists such as TobyMac, Francesca Battistelli and Skillet, guests also enjoyed SeaWorld’s thrilling rides, shows and world class attractions.
Wizards, witches and muggles from around the world came together for A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. From January 27th-29th, all general admission park guests had the opportunity to attend Q&A sessions with select film talent and enjoy special panels and demonstrations regarding various aspects of the Harry Potter stories. Attendees also delighted in experiencing interactive and unique exhibits at the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo, which featured various brand partners from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. In-between the celebration, guests were also able to visit Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios.
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