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SeaWorld Orlando trip report – November 2013 (the holidays are here as SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration begins)


Last Saturday, after a day of running errands, finding Thanksgiving recipes, and last minute grocery shopping, we couldn’t wait to get down to SeaWorld for the opening night of their Christmas Celebration and have some much needed fun.

We arrived at the park, sailed through the ticket gate, and hurried our way to the first Christmas show of the night: Clyde & Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas. The Christmas decorations throughout our walk were very festive: large nutcrackers, snowman light poles, and even elves that worked outside their workshop while interacting with guests.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.

[wptouch target=”non-mobile”]Remember, you can click any image to view it full-screen. And don’t miss the complete photo gallery with over 40 new images at the bottom of the post.
We stopped for a moment to listen as the elves asked everyone for background information on the squirrels that kept stalking them. Kids were entertained as the elves explained that they were concerned the squirrels might mess up their workshop and ruin Christmas.

We arrived at the Sea Lion & Otter Theater 30 minutes before show time as recommended by the guide, only to find the theater filled almost to capacity. As we took our seats in the nosebleed section, we settled in to watch the antics of the mime. He certainly didn’t disappoint us, and we all laughed along as he stole a girlfriend from one guest and a beer from another. When he led the Christmas sing-a-long, complete with flash cards for the words, the laughter was really flowing.

The show didn’t disappoint either. It was full of laughs as Clyde and Seamore journeyed to the mall (getting stuck in traffic on I4 was hilarious), shopped for all their Christmas presents (Clyde taking Glamor shots was awesome — he smiled for the pictures and everything!), and decorated their “house” for Christmas.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.

As the show ended, snow fell on the crowd (Florida snow made out of bubbles, that is) and everyone quickly jostled to leave the theater.

The Christmas shows were scheduled very close together – so close, in fact, it was impossible to see them all in one night. We debated on going to the most popular show in the park “O Wondrous Night”, but it was scheduled so close to Shamu Christmas Miracles that we were afraid we’d miss Shamu, and that wasn’t an option for us. As we oohed and aahed over the Christmas lights that were turning on, we made our way towards the Nautilus Theater to work out our options.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.

It was 90 minutes until the “O Wondrous Night” show time, and already the line for the show was enormous. I talked to a SeaWorld team member who gave us the tip that the best time to come to the show is 15 minutes AFTER the first show starts. You’re guaranteed a spot in line that way, but you’ll still have an hour wait (there’s no getting away from the long wait, apparently).

We opted to catch the Sea of Trees performance — absolutely incredible effects — on the way to the Shamu show.


After discovering the shortage of seats at the Clyde & Seamore show, we decided to arrive at Shamu much earlier than the park-recommended 30 minutes until show time, and were very glad we did. We arrived an hour early, just as they started letting people into Shamu Stadium. This time we were able to secure a better seat, but it still wasn’t the primo seats you’d expect to get when you arrived that far before show time.

With 45 minutes still to go, we looked around and noticed the 5,000 seat theater was already mostly full.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.

To bide time before the main event, they showed Christmas karaoke on the big screens, and they had a live musician performing Christmas carols. With all the entertainment, my kids, normally easily bored, stayed completely entertained.

The Shamu show itself was wonderful, featuring great music, an amazing light show, and of course the high jumping killer whales stealing the spotlight. We saw quite a few people quickly scurrying away when the splashing began, so be warned: the splash zone for this show is truly a splash zone for the show.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.

After the Shamu show, we tried to see the Polar Express Experience (housed in the building where you’ll find Wild Artic the rest of the year).

Unfortunately, everyone at the Shamu show had the same idea. By the time we got there, the line stretched throughout the queue, so we opted to skip the experience. We did get to see a great a cappella group entertaining guests nearby though.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.

Next, we decided to stroll through the Christmas Village.

Here we found lots of individual enjoyments: a massive model train display, lots of fast casual food spots with holiday goodies (hot chocolate, hot toddies, s’mores, and more), and we stumbled across some wintery penguin characters ready for photo ops.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.

Our final destination was the Holiday Reflections fireworks show at the Bayside Stadium. At first we thought this was odd, because the Winter Wonderland on Ice show was happening at the Bayside Stadium, and it was still going 10 minutes before the fireworks were scheduled to start. Nevertheless, we found some empty seats on the sides of the stadium, and we proceeded to wait and see if the show was running late or what exactly was going on.

To our surprise the fireworks started immediately after the end of Winter Wonderland on Ice – there wasn’t a break between the two shows at all.

Although you would be able to see the fireworks anywhere in the park, but the best vantage point is inside Bayside Stadium. Here we saw the fountains, the Christmas trees in the lagoon, and the fireworks themselves, all beautifully synchronized to Christmas music.

SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration 2013.

It was a simply dazzling ending to a wonderful holiday evening at the park. We left as excited as when we arrived, knowing that we would be able to come back for another visit and experience the rest of the Christmas attractions that SeaWorld Orlando has to offer.


I hope you enjoyed this trip report! To see a formal listing of everything SeaWorld is doing for the holidays, check out this blog post. Otherwise, you can view all of our blog posts filed under SeaWorld, or you can catch up on all of our trip reports.

Tip: Experience the most popular holiday from the best seats (thus avoiding a bit of the hassle we ran into) by purchasing Christmas Show Seating. This new offering provides guests with reserved seating at Shamu Christmas Miracles, O Wondrous Night, Winter Wonderland on Ice, and Clyde & Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas, plus front-of-the-line access to THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience.

SeaWorld Orlando trip report – photo gallery

Click any image to view it full-screen. When the full-screen image is open, click to the right or use the right arrow on your keyboard to advance through the gallery.


[sws_author_bio user=”SalinaBristor” size=”105″ authorposts=”More OI posts by Salina” name_format=”About the author”] [/sws_author_bio]

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Sarah Leece
Sarah Leece
November 25, 2013 5:48 pm

We seen them gettin put up a couple of wks ago I’m so glad iv seen this thank u

November 26, 2013 5:01 pm

Great Article!  Would you recommend purchasing the Christmas Show seating package?  We are travelling from Australia and have one chance of seeing all the great show.  We are travelling between Xmas and New Years.  Thanks

November 27, 2013 5:48 am
Reply to  Matt

@Matt The reserved seating package is a new feature, so I haven’t heard any specific feedback about it. But, if it’s like most similar theme park offerings, it likely comes down to what your budget is verses the amount of planning you want to do. Having reserved seats will allow you to keep less of a rigid schedule when you’re on-site, so you won’t have to get to shows 30 to 40 minutes ahead of time, etc.  If having a little more time to relax is worth the price for your family, it’s probably a great deal. If that doesn’t… Read more »

julie y
julie y
December 22, 2013 4:10 am

Thank you for a great report and some very helpful tips!!! We are coming next December from the UK, are the Seaworld celebrations,and Christmas market, only on at weekends?We are hoping they are on through the week too,as we are only in Flirida for 10 days!!

December 22, 2013 12:01 pm
Reply to  julie y

julie yThe SeaWorld Christmas shows are only on select dates. For 2013, you can see those dates here: The Christmas Market (I believe) is open every day.

December 29, 2013 12:56 pm

Great article . Was there to and.totally agree on a fabulous time
Of.wondrous night is a fabulous show . Loved tha the plus the skating is a must do event
I loved sitting on the Christmas market with a bud and the Christmas tree dancing spectacular right next to us
Well written article
I’m from.the.UK. And totally recommend this fabulous event

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