All of SeaWorld San Diego is currently aglow with bright lights, brilliant decorations and Christmas cheer. From November 18th to January 6th, SeaWorld San Diego Christmas Celebration is taking place with unique holiday-themed shows, wintry decor all over the park and specialty treats and dishes served up just for the season.
SeaWorld San Diego Christmas Celebration
SeaWorld San Diego puts its own special flair on the holiday season. The annual Christmas celebration is taking place from November 18 to January 6, and it’s a great place to immerse yourself in everything festive and fun. The usual touch pools, theme park rides and aquariums are available throughout the park. Holiday-themed activities are included in the day’s admission.
Santa’s Christmas Village offers a dance party, sing-a-long and Santa meet n’ greet. Play reindeer games and indulge in seasonal treats in Rudolph’s Christmastown. Enjoy one of the Christmas shows throughout the day, including the new O Wondrous Night – The Greatest Story Never Told! As the Day Trips TravelingMom, I’ll share my tips for exploring SeaWorld San Diego Christmas Celebration in one day.
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Santa’s Christmas Village
A delightful first stop – Santa’s Christmas Village, located just right of the front entrance. Quaint chalets serve up holiday-themed treats and cuisine and there is a stage for live music and performances from local community groups. Santa’s Elves’ host a dance party and Christmas sing-a-long. We met Cookie and Gizmo on our visit while they were greeting guests!
Santa’s chalet is located here as well. Guests can check in and receive a pager instead of standing in a long line. Feel free to roam the area, have a snack, play a few Reindeer Games or visit Santa’s real reindeer. You’ll be notified by pager when it’s time for a visit with Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick. There are plenty of shopping areas with seasonal gifts located all over the park, including a special shop in Santa’s Christmas Village.
TravelingMom Tip: If you want to spend time with Santa, I recommend getting that pager first thing. Wait times can be upwards of an hour.
Eating at SeaWorld
Looking for an extra special treat? Consider kickstarting your day at Breakfast with Orcas and Santa. We enjoyed the Dine with Orcas buffet lunch several years ago; it was a wonderful meal, combined with an educational show. I would recommend booking these meals in advance, as they do sell out. As we discovered last spring during SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival, the food at SeaWorld is highly rated and not the typical “amusement park” fare. There are seasonal dining kiosks set up around the park offering specialty dishes like turkey pot pie and holiday mac n’ cheese.
TravelingMom Tip: If you plan on being in the park from open to close, consider purchasing the All-Day Dining Deal. For one low price, you can eat all day at select restaurants (and the food is really good!)
Seasonal Shows & Attractions
We visited SeaWorld Christmas Celebration mid-week and crowds were light. Weekends and in the days leading up to and following an actual holiday, the park will be very busy. Shows in the smaller stadiums including Dolphin Island Christmas show and Clyde & Seamore’s Christmas Special will be packed to capacity and employees will turn guests away. Be sure to avoid choosing a seat in the “Splash Zone” when the weather is less than warm!
TravelingMom Tip: Consider purchasing Reserved Seating, available through the SeaWorld app or at guest services. Otherwise plan on arriving 20-30 minutes early at each stadium to find a seat.
O Wondrous Night
My family and I had the chance to see the newest SeaWorld San Diego Christmas show O Wondrous Night – The Greatest Story Never Told! This is a beautiful presentation, with Gospel-style singing, puppets and live animals. This new presentation is sure to bring in crowds. It’s recommended to show up 20-30 minutes prior to show time.
TravelingMom Tip: At around 35 minutes, this show is a bit longer than most. If you have a small child who can’t sit still this long, you may want to skip this one. My six year old was enthralled but my toddler did get a bit squirmy towards the end of the show. I should have brought her a snack!
Holiday Lights are Bright
My family got a big kick out of the special holiday-theming inside some of the exhibits, especially Shark Encounter. The queue glows with seasonal lights and decor, and palm trees inside the exhibit are wrapped up with Christmas lights. My kids were questioning how the employees did this over the shark tank without falling in!
After dark, the park truly comes to life. You’ll see the Christmas spirit with lights and decorations throughout the park. SeaWorld’s Tree of Lights is SoCal’s largest Christmas tree at 320-feet tall. This eyecatching string of lights drapes the iconic Skytower – a Christmas tradition since 1969.
The classic Red-Nosed Reindeer is greeting visitors at SeaWorld San Diego Christmas Celebration, alongside Bumble and Yukon. You’ll find unique treats, “reindeer games” and a Holly Jolly Marketplace with Rudolph merchandise at Rudolph’s Christmastown. The Misfit Brass plays popular Christmas songs and host a tree lighting ceremony each night.
It Does Sometimes Rain in Southern California
SeaWorld is in beautiful and temperate San Diego, alongside Mission Bay. November and December can be quite chilly, with cool winds off the water. Make sure to check the weather conditions and bring a warm jacket and beanie. Fortunately there are plenty of areas around the park to warm up with a hot cup of cocoa or a slice of freshly baked pie.
TravelingMom Tip: If you plan on riding Journey to Atlantis or sit in the “Splash Zone” of any of the shows, bring a rain parka as well!
SeaWorld San Diego Tickets
TravelingMom recommends purchasing SeaWorld San Diego park tickets before your visit to save time and money at the gate via this link from our affiliate, Undercover Tourist.
Make It a Day Trip
Shows take place all over the park throughout the day and some of the show times overlap. Plan ahead and check the entertainment guide online to see times on the day of your visit. On busy days, take advantage of the Quick Queue or Quick Queue Junior passes that will allow shorter wait times for rides (purchase via the SeaWorld app or at guest services).
If you’ll be at the park from opening to closing, I highly recommend purchasing the All-Day Dining Deal. There are six participating restaurants throughout SeaWorld and you can eat as often as once every hour for a reasonable flat fee. I’m partial to the Calypso Bay Smokehouse, where the barbecue aroma will draw you in!
Rent a locker to store jackets during the day so you won’t have to carry them. Many activities don’t happen until night fall, therefore it’s worth it to stay and play after dark. With so much to see this holiday season, plan to stay late. You’ll want to enjoy all that SeaWorld San Diego has to offer for their Christmas Celebration!