In the Shadow of the Mouse

Secrets of a theme park obsessed local who lives next door to Mickey, with annual passes to every Central Florida park

Get your sugar rush at Sugar Factory Orlando starting December 28

I-Drive 360 is hopping with things to see, do, and eat, and on December 28 you’ll officially be able to enjoy the latest restaurant, which doubles as a candy and ice cream store: the Sugar Factory.

I had a chance to preview the food, drinks, and desserts at the Sugar Factory, which sits right at the base of the Orlando Eye, just in front of the Merlin attractions complex. Let’s take a quick tour…first, the food:

And my favorite, the signature drinks, served up in steaming goblets:

And of course a place called the Sugar Factory doesn’t skimp on desserts:

If you don’t want a meal or drink, you can also buy candy by the pound, as well as novelty items, nostalgic candy brands, ice cream cones, souvenirs, and more in the attached store. It’s another fun place to pop into when you’re visiting I-Drive 360 (and remember, the parking garage is free…BIG bonus on International Drive). I dare you to order that King Kong!

Holidays at Kennedy Space Center are outside of Orlando, out of this world

The Kennedy Space Center Visitors’ Complex is only about an hour away from Walt Disney World and the Orlando attractions area, but its holiday celebration is out of this world…literally. Holidays in Space features the “Spirit of Exploration” show, projected on the 223 foot long Saturn rocket in the Rocket Garden, celebrating the history of the space program with a special twist for Christmas time.

See the full show in the video below, but be warned: it’s something you need to see in person to truly appreciate. The scope of the rocket makes it a breathtaking experience:

w20Holidays in Space also features special decor around the Kennedy Space Center Visitors’ Complex, including a massive tree and a light-up NASA “meatball” ornament (my favorite). The special holiday decor and show all take place in conjunction with the regular attractions at the complex. The holiday fun runs through January 3, and you can also see the Atlantis space shuttle in person, take a virtual space shuttle ride, see the inspiring IMAX movie, and even meet a real astronaut, among other activities Hours, ticket prices, and other details are all on the official Kennedy Space Center website.

Top 10 Orlando holiday activities

The Christmas season at the Orlando attractions starts early and typically runs a bit past New Year’s day. There’s fun afoot in and around the theme parks and on International Drive. Here’s a little sampling of all the Orlando holiday activities:

1) Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Walt Disney World has plenty of holiday experiences scattered around its four theme parks, but the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights is a must-see this year for a rather melancholy reason. After 20 years at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the lights are leaving permanently after the 2015 holiday season to make way for the Star Wars expansion. They’re drawing crowds to say goodbye this year, and if you’d like to see them one last time, you have until January 3 to do it. Disney’s even holding nightly dessert parties if you’d like to indulge in sweets and adult beverages while enjoying the lights and music from a reserved spot.

There’s more information on the dessert parties on the Walt Disney World website, and you can enjoy a walk-through of this year’s finale display below: