My family and I began our traditional theme park holiday activities at SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration over Thanksgiving Weekend.
Prior to our visit, we purchased the reserved show seating package online for the Christmas Celebration in order to minimize our waiting in the lengthy shows’ lines and to ensure a good view for the shows.
We arrived at SeaWorld mid-afternoon on a beautiful day with temperatures in the mid 70’s. Our first stop was to obtain our reserved seating tickets and complimentary lanyard at guest relations. While at guest relations, we also acquired a Ride Accessibility Pass (RAP) for our son. For details and tips about the RAP, visit our website here.
My son and husband are huge fans of the new roller coaster, Mako, now Orlando’s tallest and faster coaster. It was the attraction our son, without hesitation, pointed to on the map when we asked him what he wanted to do. The posted wait for Mako was 40 minutes so we presented the RAP to the ride attendant and they gave us a return time.
We decided to go to Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen and have a snack while we waited for our Mako return time. Located near Shamu Stadium, Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen offers a delicious selection of soft pretzels including a meatball pretzel twist, cinnamon sugar pretzel nuggets and pretzel-wrapped bratwurst. Guests can also purchase a variety of beverages including soda, beer, wine and frozen cocktails.
The first Christmas Celebration performance on our schedule was O’ Wondrous Night. This amazing show is our family’s favorite Christmas show. SeaWorld claims this is the “greatest story never told” and I must agree.
It is a splendid musical performance and play about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem as told from the perspective of the animal puppets.
Over 30 Christmas songs are performed by immensely talented singers and actors. At the end of the show live animals including camels, doves, alpacas, sheep and goats appear on stage along with the performers.
I highly recommend this show for all families.
Our second Christmas Celebration performance was Winter Wonderland on Ice, a fantastic ice skating show featuring popular Christmas songs.
Water fountains and dancing trees on the lake behind the ice rink add to the brilliant show and fireworks that appear at the end. The Hot Chocolate song during this show is a family favorite. I always hold my breath and the audience gasps when the pair skaters perform their amazingly daring spins.
The rest of our evening did not go as planned. Our son had been up since before 5:00 am and he was becoming overwhelmed with all the excitement of the shows. Those factors combined with him not eating much for dinner, our son asked to leave the park at 7:30.
We purchased a hotdog and nachos from Shamu Stadium and took a break, hoping this would help ease his anxiety. The 8:00 Shamu Christmas Miracles show was about to start and we tried to convince him to go to this show (he usually loves it). However, he was very insistent about leaving.
As a parent of a child with autism, one of the first things you learn is to choose your battles. Forcing our son to stay was not a battle we wanted to engage. We decided to leave the park, but walked through the Christmas Market along the Bayside Pathway on our way out of the park.
The Christmas Market has seasonal food and beverage booths including hot chocolate, barbeque, snacks and holiday craft brews. Merchandise and live entertainment can also be found in the Christmas Market.
A new addition this year is Rudolph’s Christmas Town. Guests can meet and greet Rudolph, Clarice and other characters from the timeless television special, including Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snowman.
Back again this year in the Christmas Market is the extensive model train exhibit with numerous trains and scenes that would appeal to any train enthusiast. There is also a fire pit with seating close to the water’s edge where guests can enjoy the Sea of Trees shows and live Christmas Carolers throughout the evening.
Unfortunately this visit we were unable to enjoy Shamu’s Christmas Miracles, Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas and Elmo’s Christmas Wish shows. We hope to go back to SeaWorld before the end of the year and see these shows during our next visit.
What we did partake in this visit to SeaWorld was amazing and we had a wonderful time at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. I highly recommend you make this event a part of your family’s traditional holiday celebration.
Maureen is married and has a son with autism. She and her family visit an Orlando Theme Park nearly every weekend. Maureen created AutismAtTheParks to help vacationers who have a family member with a developmental disability to better navigate and enjoy the theme parks. She is also a contributor to the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Periscope.
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