Snow? In Florida? It’s real and it’s spectacular.
Most people travel to Central Florida in the winter to get away from the snow, but there are actually a few places in the Sunshine State where you can escape the frigid temperatures and catch snowflakes on your tongue.
OK, most snow in Florida is actually made from tiny soap bubbles commonly referred to as “snoap,” (so maybe don’t catch them on your tongue) but if it means getting to see snow without enduring sub-zero temperatures, we don’t care what it’s made from.
Whether you’re a local, vacationing at one of Florida’s world-famous theme parks, or, like us, looking for any excuse to leave winter behind, here are seven fun-filled holiday destinations where you can play in the Florida snow this winter.
Top Picks for You
Walt Disney World
WHERE: Lake Buena Vista
There’s only one place to see snow at Disney World this year, and it’s actually outside of the park gates. Visitors to Disney Springs–Disney’s shopping, dining, and entertainment complex–can enjoy nightly snow flurries as they work through their Christmas list. Look for it in Town Center, West Side, and The Landing areas of Disney Springs, along with toy soldiers on stilts, snowflakes on skates, and DJs spinning holiday tunes.
INSIDER TIPIf you really want to get in the Christmas spirit, pick up a map for the free Christmas Tree Stroll while you’re at Disney Springs.
Harry P. Leu Gardens
Dazzling Nights looks a bit like if Alice had fallen down the rabbit hole and landed in Wonderland during winter. For the holiday season, the 50-acre botanical garden is transformed into a three-quarter-mile trail with lights, music, interactive elements, and, of course, snow. Guests pass through nine immersive areas, including a glowing forest, a collection of 10-foot-tall ornaments, and a 65-foot-long tunnel of light. As you exit the path, you’ll be greeted by a gentle snowfall and Christmas music. The event is scheduled to run through January 3.
Universal Orlando Resort
Every corner of Universal Orlando is given a festive, tinsel-strewn makeover for the holiday season, which runs through January 3. There are even a few spots to catch a magical snowfall (no matter how high the temperatures climb). In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, snow falls from the rooftops of the always-wintry Hogsmeade and during performances by the singing sensation Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees.
In the New York area of Universal Studios Florida, snow caps off every Blues Brothers show. You’ll encounter flurries at the exit of Universal’s Holiday Experience Featuring Macy’s Balloons, a walkthrough attraction where you can get an up-close look at holiday balloons and floats.
There aren’t many places in Florida where you can meet Santa, see snow, and support a good cause, but Jolly Creek has all of that and more. Ticket prices begin at $19 per person and include an evening of Christmas lights, holiday photo spots, crafts, festive foods, live music, and snow! When the live performers play White Christmas or Let It Snow, snow begins to fall from the sky. Guests can even request a bit of snow on demand if they’re on Santa’s nice list. A portion of proceeds from the event, which runs through January 2, will go toward the Second Harvest Central Florida Food Bank.
INSIDER TIPJolly Creek takes places at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures and you can add a nighttime airboat ride to your visit for an additional fee.
Gaylord Palms Resort
Gaylord Palms Resort has almost as many Christmas events going on this year as Santa has toys in his bag. Aside from being done up with millions of lights and a towering tree, Gaylord Palms is putting on an atrium light show, serving up breakfast with the Grinch, and debuting two all-new events: I Love Christmas Movies and Snow Factory. The former lets guests step into classic holiday films like Elf and A Christmas Story, and Snow Factory is a play space where visitors can tube down an icy hill and even make snowballs. The snowy fun goes on daily until January 3, and most events do require a ticket purchase.
WHERE: Dade City
Snowcat Ridge is, unsurprisingly, Florida’s only alpine snow park. Ski bunnies can tube down a 60-foot-tall, 400-foot-long snow hill (and be carried back up to the top on a “magic carpet” lift). There’s also an Arctic Igloo area where younger guests can take a ride down the bunny slope and kids of all ages can play in the snow and build a snowman. General admission starts at $24.95 per person and includes two hours of tubing and all-day access to the Arctic Igloo and the Alpine Village with food, shopping, and a cozy campfire.
Give Kids the World Village
Give Kids the World Village is a non-profit resort that provides cost-free vacations to critically ill children and their families who wish to visit Central Florida. They’ve been unable to fulfill those wishes this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, so they created the brightest, sparkliest fundraiser ever and turned the village into a walkable winter wonderland. During Night of a Million Lights, 45 of the residential villas that are typically reserved for wish families have been decorated with more than three million lights (donated by Disney World) and other festive decor.
A nightly snowfall takes place at the entrance of the event near the Banyan Park villa complex. Villas are sponsored and decorated by partner companies like SeaWorld, Universal Orlando, and Kennedy Space Center. Ticket prices start at $15 for kids and $25 for adults and proceeds will go toward granting even more wishes once the village reopens.