These theme park holiday 2021 events include shows at Disney parks, Universal Studios' Wizarding Wor...
This Year’s Holiday Theme Park Events Include Magical Light Shows And Festive Food

It’s the merriest time for a theme park vacay.

Courtesy of Universal Studios

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at all your favorite theme parks across the U.S. Many of your favorite parks are getting into the holiday spirit by hosting their own winter festivals and holiday-themed events. With tons of sparkling decor and delicious limited time menus with ‘Gram-worthy offerings, there is no better time to add some of the best theme park holiday 2021 events to your to-do list than right now.

The holidays are when theme parks truly pull out all the stops. Not only do you get to enjoy your favorite rides and attractions, but there are things like exclusive entertainment and special characters that only come out during the holiday season. For instance, you can get a castle pic from Disneyland 365 days of the year, but only during the holiday season is Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty Castle covered in the most gorgeous lights. It’s like an added layer of pixie dust you need to see IRL.

Many wanderlust destinations are celebrating the season with holiday events. You just need to know what’s going on and when to visit. As always, you’ll want to follow the most up-to-date domestic travel recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as any health guidelines the parks have in place. With the holidays right around the corner, you’re ready to pack your bags and head to wherever you can get delicious treats, festive souvenirs, and unique experiences you’ll remember forever. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to experience one of these 11 theme park holiday 2021 events to make your December even better.

Holidays At The Disney Parks
Rachel Chapman

The Disney Parks really know how to celebrate the holiday season. Whether you’re heading to Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California, there are festive offerings at every single park. One of the best holiday events is EPCOT’s International Festival of Holidays where you’ll get to experience how different cultures around the world celebrate this time of year. There’s also tons of delicious food all over the Walt Disney World Resort, because it wouldn’t be a Disney visit without some Mickey-shaped treats.

Speaking of food, Disney California Adventure has their Disney Festival of Holidays happening now through Jan. 9, 2022 with a festive food marketplace. The holidays at Disneyland also have a ton of themed versions of your favorite attractions, like Haunted Mansion Holiday with its The Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. Let’s not forget, Mickey Mouse and all his friends are dressed in adorable wintertime outfits for the cutest pics that deserve to be posted on the ‘Gram. You could even pick up some Disney holiday merch, like sweaters and Mickey ears to wear in your photos.

A standard one-day, one park ticket at Disneyland starts at $104 and $109 at Disney World.

Hersheypark Christmas Candylane

Now through Jan. 2, 2022, Hersheypark in Pennsylvania is celebrating with their Hersheypark Christmas Candylane. You’ll get to enjoy some holiday versions of your favorite rides, like Candymonium and Wild Mouse, with holiday lights all over the park. The Boardwalk is also decked out with a festive trail of Christmas trees for super cute Insta pics, and Santa with his reindeer will be available for photos until Dec. 24. How sweet is that?

The Christmas Candylane is part of your regular ticket admission, which starts at $48 per person.

Holidays At Universal Studios
Courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

The Universal Studios Resorts in Orlando and Hollywood are also celebrating the season now through January. In Florida, they have their own Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s that will feel like you’re at the Macy’s parade in New York City. At both parks, though, you can celebrate Grinchmas like you’re a Who in Who-ville with all your favorite characters and delicious themed food.

Of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter also has some holiday spirit with magical decor and warm Butterbeer. You can also shop for the cutest Harry Potter holiday merch from Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade. Then, finish off your night by watching Hogwarts Castle light up with a gorgeous nighttime show.

A one-day visit to a Universal Studios park starts at $109, but there are discounts for Florida and California residents.

Knott’s Merry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm has become Knott’s Merry Farm for the holiday season. If you’re visiting the SoCal park now through Jan. 2, 2022, you can enjoy festive entertainment like an ice skating show featuring Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang. There’s also holiday dining food, because it wouldn’t be a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm without some delicious snacks.

Tickets are available starting at $64 per person.

Holidays at LEGOLAND

The Holidays at LEGOLAND is happening now in California and Florida where you can meet holiday Lego characters like Santa and the Gingerbread Man. They also have a giant Lego Christmas tree you can marvel at while enjoying some seasonal treats.

One-day admission to LEGOLAND starts at $90 per person in California and $85 per person in Florida if you buy your tickets online, and Holidays at LEGOLAND is happening now through Jan. 9, 2022.

Holiday In The Park At Six Flags

The Six Flags parks across the U.S. are also celebrating with a Holiday in the Park event. Depending on which park you visit, you can experience different holiday entertainment. At Discovery Kingdom, snap a pic with a real penguin, and at Magic Mountain, they have an Insta-worthy Peppermint Path for you and your partner to take a stroll down.

One-day tickets to Six Flags start at $30 each, and the Holiday in the Park event is happening now through Jan. 2, 2022.

Kings Island WinterFest

Now through Dec. 31, Kings Island in Ohio has their WinterFest event where you can go ice skating on Snow Flake Lake or decorate some Christmas cookies with the queen of Christmas, Mrs. Claus. They also have an all-new WinterFest Wonderland Parade, or you can party it up with the Coca-Cola polar bears. WinterFest tickets start at $30 per person.

SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration
Rachel Chapman

One of the cutest holiday theme park events is happening at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration on select dates through Jan. 2, 2022. At both Orlando and San Diego, you can meet all your favorite classic Christmas characters at Rudolph's Christmastown, and Sesame Street is decked out in holiday decor as well. This is the perfect place to take your niece or nephew for the holidays to really solidify your title as the coolest.

Tickets for SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration start at $90 a person when purchased online.

Busch Gardens Christmas Town

At the Busch Gardens parks in Tampa and Williamsburg, they are celebrating with their own Christmas Town event. Similarly to SeaWorld, you can meet and greet classic Christmas movie and Sesame Street characters in holiday attire. There’s also a holiday scavenger hunt and festive dining options.

Tickets start at $40 and Christmas Town is happening now through Jan 2, 2022.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas

If twinkly Christmas lights are your favorite thing, you’ll want to visit Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas now through Jan. 2, 2022. Just for this time of year, the park is filled with over 5 million twinkling lights to illuminate the night. They also have gorgeous Christmas trees that will be the backdrop to some of your favorite holiday photos.

A one-day park ticket costs $84 per adult.

An Old Time Christmas At Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City in Missouri has everything you need to celebrate An Old Time Christmas. Now through Dec. 30, you can enjoy over 6.5 million lights in the park, a Broadway-style holiday show, and rides and attractions that are decked out just for the season.

Tickets start at just $74 per person.

The CDC recommends traveling only after you’re fully vaccinated and your vaccine has become fully effective. If you’re not fully vaccinated and must travel, check the CDC guidelines before you book. Check your destination’s vaccination and testing requirements before you depart.