Disney vs. SeaWorld: The Christmas Edition



All the theme parks in Central Florida have started decorating for Christmas, and their special holiday events have commenced. I recently mentioned on one of our Tuesday shows that SeaWorld has the best Christmas event in Orlando. That said, I wanted to take a moment and compare Disney’s Christmas and SeaWorld’s.



The fairest way to do this is to talk about what’s available without buying an extra ticket; Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, I’m looking at you. I say that because, at SeaWorld, their event is included with your theme park admission.

Entertainment

Entertainment is always my main focus because characters and shows improve the experience. Each park at Walt Disney World has different daily holiday offerings; let’s break down some available offerings.



Magic Kingdom

  • Characters can be found dressed in their holiday best, and trust me; they look adorable.
  • The Dapper Dans sing along Main Street, U.S.A., while wearing festive outfits and entertaining guests with classic tunes.
  • Throughout the evening, bursts of holiday magic will transform Cinderella Castle with a rotating series of designs, followed by a stunning transition in which the iconic Magic Kingdom Park landmark will shine as a Beacon of Magic, illuminating the night with an EARidescent glow.

EPCOT



  • There are holiday Storytellers at each pavilion sharing how they celebrate and how their culture plays a massive part in it all. This is something that guests of all ages can enjoy.
  • At night you can enjoy the sounds and the story of Christmas by watching Candlelight Processional.

Hollywood Studios

  • Holiday Cavalcades will make their way through the park with some of our favorite Disney characters decked out for the season.
  • The billboards on Sunset Blvd. will come to life and transform the famous Hollywood Tower Hotel into a giant pile of wrapped Christmas gifts, a gingerbread house, the ‘Hollywood Toy Hotel,’ and a frozen winter wonderland.

Animal Kingdom



  • On Discovery River, you may spot Goofy, Donald Duck, and other Disney character friends as they jingle through the jungle to the rhythm of the holidays, waving to everyone as they pass.
  • A Merry Menagerie of winter animals realized in the form of life-size, artisan-sculpted puppets. Reindeer, foxes, polar bears, penguins, and more will interact with guests. Musicians will accompany them as they create a whimsical display and playful atmosphere for guests.

As for SeaWorld Orlando, they have a handful of entertainment offerings for their Christmas Celebration that can be enjoyed throughout the day.

SeaWorld



  • Guests of all ages can enjoy the Sesame Street Christmas Parade. This parade features fantastic, festively decorated floats, and you can see characters like Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, and more!
  • You can watch Elmo’s Christmas Wish to see more of your favorite Sesame Street friends. This is a show that will have kids and adults dancing and singing.
  • At night there is a show on the water called Sea of Trees, and the lights on them dance to Christmas music.
  • They have a show called Holiday Reflections: Firework Finale to end the night. The show features dazzling lights and fireworks choreographed to holiday musical favorites.
  • As for meet and greets, guests can meet Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer.
  • One of the best entertainment offerings is Winter Wonderland On Ice. It’s an ice skating show filled with daring tricks and show-stopping performances.

There are smaller entertainment offerings throughout the park, like Santa’s elves walking around and meeting Santa on the waterfront. Looking at it this way, I think SeaWorld might win on the entertainment side.

Food



SeaWorld has food booths like EPCOT, but there isn’t much of a theme or storyline for the ones at SeaWorld. I think the Festival of the Holidays at EPCOT has better food options. Here guests can try foods served at different holiday celebrations worldwide, which can be used as a learning moment or an excuse to eat more food. Disney has more allergy-friendly and plant-based options, making their events more inclusive. SeaWorld has an Impossible Chili this year, so at least there’s that.

As for dining, they also offer a Sesame Street Christmas Breakfast. This character dining is priced at $32.99 per adult, $16.99 for children 3 to 9 years old, and ages 0 to 2 can enjoy this experience at no cost. If Sesame Street Characters aren’t your thing, that’s okay because there’s another unique dining experience. If you’ve always wanted to have dinner with Santa, SeaWorld is the place to be. The dinner price is $39 per adult and $14 per child ages 3 to 9.

Christmas Decorations

Disney has many more decorations than SeaWorld and probably better quality. I enjoy the quirkiness and brightness of the ones at SeaWorld; it makes the park feel full of life. Over at our beloved happy place, the decor is classic and gives off that feeling of home and comfort. It is hard to compare the two, but I think Disney wins the round for sure.

SeaWorld

Disney World

Overall, both parks have lovely holiday celebrations. I suggest checking out SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration to experience all the fun entertainment they offer, especially if you have younger kids in the group. Each time I visit the event, it puts me in the holiday spirit, and I leave with a massive smile on my face. It may not be as fancy or polished as WDW, but it is a blast and perfectly captures Christmas’s essence.

Have you ever been to SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration? Let us know in the comments!

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Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.













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