Christmas Dinner in Orlando? Of Course You Can!

Orlando Combination Ticket Packages , Orlando , Eating and Drinking , Expert View Column , Seasonal Events
A table decorated for Christmas with red flowers and gold place settings
By’s Florida Experts, Susan and Simon Veness
Take note of these options for a proper dinner on Christmas Day

While it’s exciting – and pretty cool – to be spending Christmas in Orlando, it does come with an essential question that goes right to the heart of the festive period: Where can I get a proper Christmas dinner?

It’s a key question for two primary reasons:

First, not everywhere will be open on Christmas Day, even though Orlando has the reputation for being open 24/7, 365 days of the year. You WILL need to book in advance in most instances for those who ARE taking bookings for December 25.

And second, not everywhere will offer the kind of roast turkey meal, with all the trimmings, that we expect from our traditional Yuletide dining fiesta.


A roast turkey, brussel sprouts, mashed potato and stuffing on a table


As a quick aside, it may surprise UK visitors to know that our full turkey dinner is not necessarily shared by our American cousins on the day itself. In fact, they tend to look at the Thanksgiving holiday in November as their main roast extravaganza of the year, and Christmas is more likely to feature a standing rib roast, prime rib or even fish.

There will definitely be Christmas dinner offerings in many restaurants and hotels for the day in question; you’ll just need to be selective if you want the more traditional British style.

Of course, for those staying in a villa, this might not be as big an issue as for visitors in the hotels. Each villa kitchen will have everything you need to do the full meal justice, including a nice big oven for that roast bird. You just need to know where you can get the essential fresh turkey. The frozen variety will be available at most supermarkets, including the ubiquitous Publix, but not everyone will offer the fresh version, hence you will either need to order in advance or get in early on Christmas Eve morning.


The exterior of a Publix supermarket with palm trees in front and a blue sky behind


Your best bet is to visit either Whole Foods or Fresh Market and pre-book your turkey in advance, for collection at least two days in advance. The Orlando Whole Foods can be found on Turkey Lake Road (how fitting is that?!), on this link, and you can even order a whole oven-ready meal, with turkey included. Just be sure to know your full villa address.

For all the Fresh Market locations in Florida (of which there are almost 50), look up this link.

However, for those who don’t have the necessary kitchen facilities – or those who just don’t want to do the cooking – there are plenty of options that don’t involve any of the hot stove or washing up responsibilities. Many hotels offer a tempting buffet choice, with a selection of roast carveries to underpin a wide range of dishes, and you don’t need to be staying there to take advantage of their fare (although you will need to book).

Among them are a quartet of Universal Orlando Resort hotels, featuring a truly mouth-watering array. Take your pick from:


A bird's eye view of a table decorated for Christmas with plates of turkey, stuffing, roasted vegetables and pie.


For those staying on or near International Drive, choose from any of Café Tu Tu Tango (featuring a carving station, all-you-can-eat side dishes and dessert, 11am-4pm), Mia’s Italian Kitchen (a three-course prix fixe dinner featuring fresh-carved ham, 11am-10pm) and the smart Castle Hotel, with a three-course holiday menu and drink specials from December 20-26.

The Rosen Hotels group are also well worth keeping an an eye on, as each of the Rosen Centre, Rosen Plaza and Rosen Shingle Creek resorts all turn on the culinary style for special occasions and will be serving either a Christmas Brunch or Buffet that can be booked in advance.


A hotel lobby lined with decorated and lit Christmas tree and Christmas garlands


In the Lake Buena Vista area, closest to Disney, you can also enjoy a full Christmas dinner or a multi-station brunch at the Caribe Royale Orlando, while the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek serves up a full turkey-headlined buffet spread at its Harvest Bistro (5-10pm).

If there’s one special location for that big dinner splurge this year, though, it has to be the Grande Lakes Resort, where the upscale Ritz-Carlton hotel has a variety of tempting dining options. This lovely resort is set within self-contained grounds not far from the theme parks and is beautifully decorated for the festive season, and its restaurant choice includes two distinct Christmas options. The Michelin-starred Knife & Spoon restaurant offers a Christmas Day a la carte menu, as well as steakhouse favourites, while Highball & Harvest will serve up a full buffet choice, including a variety of roast meats.

Sister resort the JW Marriott is no slouch either, with a Christmas Buffet on offer at Citron restaurant (7am-11pm) and award-winning Italian cuisine venue Primo featuring the Christmas Feast of the Seven Fishes (5.30-10pm).


An outdoor seating area at dusk, surrounded by palm trees and rocks


For another special occasion choice, look up the two superb offerings at the swanky Waldorf Astoria Hotel in the Bonnet Creek area of Walt Disney World, which will deck the halls with holiday menus at two of its acclaimed eateries, plus serve up festive cocktails at St Nick’s Holiday Bar.

At the award-winning Bull & Bear, enjoy Chef’s holiday favourites with an optional wine pairing programme, featuring Hawaiian Salt Crusted Prime Rib with a decadent assortment of sides and a rich chocolate dessert. Available on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Or try Oscar’s Brasserie, which will offer a family-friendly buffet of classic holiday fare from 5-10pm on Christmas Day, featuring honey glazed ham, roast natural turkey and roast prime rib.

Finally, there is also one highly recommended Disney Springs restaurant that always makes a real feature of the traditional dinner, and that is the Irish extravaganza of Raglan Road. A long-time favourite, Raglan Road offers both the full turkey platter as well as its regular menu, alongside a selection of new local craft beers and seasonal cocktails.

The set Christmas dinner is $39.99 for adults and $19.99 for children and consists of butter and herb roast turkey, roast garlic mashed potatoes, duck fat roasties, honey glazed carrots, bacon glazed Brussels sprouts, sausage meat and walnut stuffing and red wine jus with cranberry sauce. And if that doesn’t sound like a Christmas feast, we don’t know what does!


A plate of turkey, brussel sprouts, stuffing and cranberry sauce in front of a basket of bread and a glass of wine


But, whatever you choose, you can be certain of a great Orlando Christmas – just remember our warning about booking in advance!

Okay, that’s our headline array of Christmas dining choices for this year. Now tell us YOUR favourite Orlando dining experiences on the Community Facebook page, on Twitter or Instagram.


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Orlando Combination Ticket Packages , Orlando , Eating and Drinking , Expert View Column , Seasonal Events