Florida temperatures are pleasant both day and night in the fall, so locals and visitors take to the streets in November for a variety of events and activities. The state's theme parks don't usually get too crowded until Thanksgiving and offer many opportunities to kick off the Christmas holidays. November brings diverse events from beautiful tree and light displays to an international food festival filled with the finest chocolates, cheeses, and chefs.
Visiting chefs, global food seminars, and live music make this festival a perfect event for foodies. In 2019, it runs from late August toward the end of November at Epcot World Showcase in Orlando. You'll find international cuisines from African to Sushi at 35 kiosks at the Global Marketplace. Attend a variety of cheese seminars and meet celebrity chefs from around the world.
On select nights in November and December, Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World near Orlando re-opens after regular hours from 7 p.m. until midnight for the holiday event, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. The theme park celebrates with fireworks, parades, sweet holiday treats, special stage shows, and plenty of family fun.
This two-day event is usually held on the first weekend in November in the historic town of Apalachicola, an approximately 1.5 hour drive from Tallahassee. The festival features delicious local seafood, arts and crafts, live music, and seafood-related events, including oyster-eating and oyster-shucking contests and a 5k redfish run. This popular event will celebrate its 56th year in 2019 and attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Battery Park at the mouth of the Apalachicola River.
Board THE POLAR EXPRESS train in Fort Lauderdale for a journey to the North Pole. The hour-long ride recreates "The Polar Express" movie with dancing chefs that serve cocoa and treats, characters from the film, and a meet-and-greet with Santa at the North Pole. Santa and his elves greet the families, and each guest receives a silver bell from Santa's sleigh and a golden souvenir ticket.
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center at Marriott in Kissimmee—about a 75-minute drive from Tampa—presents ICE!, featuring THE POLAR EXPRESS, a Christmas event with more than 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures and tall ice slides. There's even a Nativity scene carved from ice. The show starts before Thanksgiving and lasts through the first week of January. Enjoy scenes of holiday celebrations from around the globe and visit the Frostbite Factory to watch the artists make ice carvings live. The 2019 theme is THE POLAR EXPRESS about a young child's magical adventure to the North Pole.
From mid-November through the end of January, the Nights of Lights festival turns the town of St. Augustine—nearly two hours by car from Orlando—into a dazzling holiday display About 3 million tiny white lights twinkle everywhere in the downtown historic district. Businesses and restaurants stay open late, and trains and trolleys offer tours for the season. The festival traces its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying white candles in windows during the winter holidays.
Every year for nine mid-November days, the Orlando Museum of Art is transformed into a winter wonderland filled with sparkling trees and lavish holiday decor. The Festival of Trees event showcases designer-curated Christmas trees and wreaths, along with a gingerbread village and table-top displays for purchase. Special programs include musical performances, a gala night, activities for kids, and entertainment for all ages.