Southern California theme park fans tend to spend a good deal of their holiday time at Disneyland Resort, Knott’s Berry Farm, and/or Universal Studios Hollywood, but just a couple hours south there’s another popular destination that does it up right each Christmas season: SeaWorld San Diego, where the annual SeaWorld Christmas Celebration is happening right now. This year’s event includes festive decorations throughout the park, interactions with a number of recognizable characters, and even a couple brand-new shows.
I spent a full day at SeaWorld San Diego this past weekend enjoying as many of the holiday season offerings as I possibly could, and I ran out of time before I could see everything, which tells you just how much is going on there during this time of year. Most of the exterior SeaWorld Christmas Celebration activity takes place in two distinct areas: Rudolph’s Christmastown and Sesame Street Christmas Village, both of which play home to several outdoor shows throughout the day, including the terrifically talented and entertaining Misfit Brass Band, who play holiday musical favorites as their elf friends dance along.
Watch Misfit Brass Band at SeaWorld San Diego Christmas Celebration 2019:
Over in the Mission Bay Theater, guests can gather indoors to watch “Cirque Christmas,” an all-new show wherein “acrobatic acts and dancers come together to celebrate the season.” I was particularly amazed by the tumblers and balance beam acts, and there’s also a hip-hop-style dance troupe included in the proceedings.
Watch "Cirque Christmas" at SeaWorld San Diego Christmas Celebration 2019:
Rudolph’s Christmastown is also home to Storytelling Time, which sees the elves reading the famous “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” story in the form of a children’s book, and viewers of all ages are welcome to sit back and enjoy.
Watch Storytelling Time at SeaWorld San Diego's Christmas Celebration 2019:
The main new attraction at SeaWorld San Diego’s Christmas Celebration this year is “Winter Wonderland On Ice,” which reminded me a bit of the “Merry Christmas, Snoopy!” ice skating show at Knott’s Berry Farm. The official description says “Christmas comes to life as skaters jump, twirl and glide to the sounds of the season.” At 25 minutes, this is the longest of the holiday-themed shows in the park this year. The skaters are all very accomplished and Santa Claus himself makes a show-stopping appearance.
Watch "Winter Wonderland On Ice" at SeaWorld San Diego's Christmas Celebration 2019:
Back in Rudolph’s Christmastown one last time, dusk is time for the Tree Lighting Ceremony, which actually brings Rudolph out on stage to assist with the show. The red-nosed reindeer partners with Santa’s elves and the Misfit Brass Band to sing along to his classic song and bring SeaWorld’s “dancing” Happiest Christmas tree to life as night falls.
Watch Tree Lighting Ceremony at SeaWorld San Diego's Christmas Celebration 2019:
In the Dolphin Amphitheater, catch “Dolphin Island Christmas” and at Sea Lion & Otter Amphitheater there’s the tried-and-true favorite “Clyde & Seamore’s Christmas Special.” And in Sesame Street Christmas Village, there’s also Santa’s Cottage (where kids and families can meet with Jolly Old Saint Nick), Storytime with Mrs. Claus and Friends, a Merry Magical Christmas Sing-a-Long, and even an Elves Dance Party. Like I said, there’s more Christmas stuff to do at SeaWorld San Diego than I could accomplish in a single day, so if theme parks stuffed with holiday goodness are your thing, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is definitely an event to check out.
SeaWorld Christmas Celebration 2019 runs from now through Sunday, January 5 at SeaWorld San Diego in Southern California. For more information and advance ticketing resources, be sure to visit SeaWorld’s official website.
Mike has been fascinated by theme parks and Disney all his life. He has worked in the entertainment journalism field since 2015, after spending a decade as a film projectionist at one of Hollywood’s most prestigious movie theaters. He resides in Burbank, California with his wife and cat.