Last revised: August 5, 2023
By: Adam Burns
There is currently one location in Florida which hosts officially licensed "The Polar Express" events at Brightline, the state's high-speed rail service.
The popularity of the Polar Express train rides has grown significantly over the years, with some rides selling out months in advance. The experience has become a beloved holiday tradition for many families, who enjoy the combination of nostalgia, fantasy, and holiday spirit that the ride provides.
However, it's worth noting that not all Polar Express train rides are created equal, and the quality and experience can vary depending on the location and the specific train ride. It's important to do your research and read reviews before booking a ride to ensure that you're getting the experience you want.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Located at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, the Christmas Party features festive parades, fireworks, holiday-themed shows, and character meet-and-greets.
Winterfest Boat Parade
Many coastal communities throughout the country host boat parades where privately owned boats are decorated for Christmas. This event takes is held in Fort Lauderdale and features a parade of boats decked out in holiday lights and decorations.
Christmas at Gaylord Palms
Located in Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, this holiday event features an ICE! exhibit made entirely of ice sculptures, as well as holiday-themed shows and activities.
St. Augustine's Nights of Lights
This annual event in St. Augustine features millions of holiday lights illuminating the city's historic district, as well as live music and entertainment.
Busch Gardens Christmas Town
This event takes place at Busch Gardens in Tampa and features holiday-themed shows, festive lights and decorations, and a Christmas market.
Enchanted Christmas Village
Located at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, the Enchanted Christmas Village features an incredible Christmas lights display each year.
Light Up UCF
This event takes place at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando and features a holiday light show, ice-skating rink, and carnival rides.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens ZOOLights
Located at the Jacksonville Zoo the event features holiday lights, animal encounters, and a train ride at the zoo's small scale railroad which operates around the park!
Christmas Bricktacular at LEGOLAND
Held at LEGOLAND Florida in Winter Haven, this popular Christmas event features a holiday-themed LEGO display, a Christmas parade, and other festive activities.
Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade
This annual event takes place in West Palm Beach, FL, and features a parade of boats decorated in holiday lights and decorations.
Santa's Enchanted Forest
This event, now going on its 40th year, takes place in Miami, FL, and features a holiday-themed amusement park with rides, games, and a Christmas circus.
Winter Wonderland at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
This event takes place at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Jacksonville, FL, and features a holiday light display, ice skating, and other festive activities.
Mount Dora Christmas Walk
This annual event in Mount Dora, FL, features a parade, tree lighting ceremony, and other holiday-themed activities.
Christmas Boat Parade of the Islands
This event takes place in Fort Myers, FL, and features a parade of boats decorated in holiday lights and decorations.
Christmas Spectacular at Seaworld
This event takes place at Seaworld Orlando in Orlando, FL, and features holiday-themed shows, a Christmas market, and a holiday-themed fireworks display.
Downtown Miami Holiday Market
This event takes place in downtown Miami, FL, and features a holiday market, festive decorations, and other holiday-themed activities.
This is a new operation launched on May 19, 2018 that provides regional passenger service between Miami and West Palm Beach.
It originally began as "All Aboard Florida" in March, 2012 by the Florida East Coast Railway; construction began in November, 2014 and was subsequently acquired by Virgin Trains USA.
There are big plans for this new operation, including trains operating at speeds up to 125 mph as well as an Orlando extension.
If successful, and ultimately profitable, similar commuter/passenger corridors will likely be built across the country in the coming years.
Recently, the company began hosting official The Polar Express excursions under a tourist train known as the "Miami Central." They offer three different classes; Value, Standard, and Premium.
Virgin's The Polar Express events last roughly 1-hour with trains departing from the Fort Lauderdale Station at 101 Northwest, 2nd Avenue. as well as Miami.
The Polar Express Dates:
Tickets not yet on sale.