Florida Life

A Forest of Fantasy: the Festival of Trees

For many Central Floridians, myself included, the Festival of Trees is the best way to kick off the holiday season. This week long event is held at the beautiful Orlando Museum of Art. The museum becomes a veritable enchanted forest full of custom decorated trees donated by organizations throughout Central Florida. These trees are extremely creative and imaginative bringing delight to anyone who sets eyes on them.

This snowy white delight greets visitors

Throughout the duration of the Festival, the trees, gingerbread houses, and wreaths are sold with all proceeds benefiting the non-profit Orlando Museum of Art. The vast majority of trees and displays are sold during the event’s kick-off gala, however, anyone with the means can purchase any available displays during the festival. There is also a raffle and auction held during the festival with the chance to win special packages from local businesses. My pockets aren’t deep enough to take part is the purchase of the trees or the auctions, however, I found many Christmas treasures in the two gift shops set up specifically for the event.

Santa always looks his best at the Festival of Trees

This event is fantastic for families and art lovers alike. There are special areas for kids, including a place to meet Santa. I have fond memories of visiting the festival with my mom to whom I owe my passion and love of Christmas. Throughout my visit this weekend I caught myself having a small tear in my eye thinking about our visits here together and also the visits with my nephew when he was the only one, and is now one of four.

For art lovers the Festival of Trees presents an opportunity to view Christmas trees as works of art. From elementary schools to professional decorators, the collection represents the diversity of the Orlando area. In addition, three of the museum’s rooms continue to display world-class art and are accessible to the Festival of Trees patrons. I ventured into one of the rooms towards the end of my two hour visit and let my mind open while viewing modern interpretations of fairy tales and other folk tales.

In fact, this year’s theme for the Festival of Trees is “Once Upon a Time”. I became enthralled by the theme, being a fairy tale and Christmas lover; it was a perfect pairing. Many unique representations of classic stories adorned the beautiful trees, none more so than Alice in Wonderland. However, one theme proved to be a show stopper: Walt Disney World’s Christmas tree display presenting New Fantasyland. I found myself spending many moments snapping photos and exploring all the details of this arrangement. I wandered throughout the festival and continually found my way back to the New Fantasyland Christmas tree display. To hear the comments and adoration of children as they explored the display brought a huge smile to my face. (many more photos at the end of this post)

This is a must-do Orlando holiday event! Whether you are a local or a visitor this is one tradition that I hold dear to my heart and strongly encourage you to visit. It captured my imagination as a child and continues to fill my heart with warmth as an adult. Plus, the Orlando Museum of Art is located in one of my favorite areas of Orlando. To explore the Festival of Trees takes about two hours, so make a day trip out of it and make time to visit the rest of museum, the rest of the beautiful Loch Haven Park, or venture over to Orange Ave or Park Ave both of which offer some of Orlando’s best shops and restaurants.

Enjoy the rest of my photos below…

The 2012 Festival of Trees runs from November 10 – 18th. The admission is $10, plus $5 parking. There is a cafe that is hosted by Panera Bread Co. The hours of the festival are 10am – 5pm, and special events are also offered during certain nights. Click here for more info.

2416 North Mills Ave Orlando, Florida

407 896 4231


How can I not love this ornament?!

“Jingle Bowls” by Tupperware
One of the many, many Alice in Wonderland trees
My favorite gingerbread house, look at all the detail!

Again, how can I not love it?

And now… the New Fantasyland Christmas tree display

Behold all the lovely details and decorations, many items are ornaments and toys that can be purchased in Walt Disney World

Love the gifts beneath the tree
Everyone loved the glass slipper ornament, I am a proud owner of my own

More fun Christmas gifts
One of my favorite parts, look at all the Disney books! Perfect for Belle.
Playing with the colors


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