Thanksgiving often symbolizes the start of Christmas festivities and this Thanksgiving you can get into the holiday spirit with some of Orlando theme parks’ most exciting Christmas events and other new attractions. And since the kids usually have some time off from school next week, it’s the perfect time to head to Central Florida and jumpstart your holiday cheer!

One of the biggest things guests can expect to experience over the Thanksgiving holiday is the soft opening of the new Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s ® Magic Kingdom ®. The park’s official grand opening isn’t until Dec. 6, but starting Monday guests can experience Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid ride, Be Our Guest Restaurant, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Ariel’s Grotto, Gaston’s Tavern and a gift shop. Also, be on the lookout for previews for the new Test Track and the Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow.

All of that is in addition to the already open Storybook Circus area of the expansion that now offers a Casey Jr, Splash and Soak Station, Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride and Pete’s Silly Sideshow meet-and-greet. The Fantasyland expansion will continue over the next few years with additions of Princess Fairytale Hall in 2013 and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in 2014.

After you’ve spent the day exploring the new Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom ® make sure you head to Hollywood Studios ® to see the incredible Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights. This breathtaking seasonal display features millions of twinkling lights as they dance to synchronized holiday music. If you’ve never seen the Osborne Family lights it really is the best way to get into the Christmas spirit. You’ll experience entire buildings sheathed in lights as well as twirling carousels, angels and even Santa and his reindeer all covered in bright and blinking Christmas lights. And that’s just part of the holiday magic, on some nights it even snows!

Beginning tomorrow, SeaWorld Orlando will be spreading the holiday cheer with their annual Christmas Celebration. Guests will enjoy waves of holiday spirit in this family-friendly event including ice skaters, the gorgeous and elaborate sea of trees, a trip to the North Pole on The Polar Express, the festive fireworks show, Holiday Reflections and much more.

Universal Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida will both begin their holiday festivities (Macy’s Holiday Parade, Grinchmas and Christmas Bricktacular) on Dec. 1. Stay tuned for more details.

To really get into the holiday spirit this Thanksgiving and to get a sneak peak at the new Fantasyland expansion at Magic Kingdom ® look for discounted Walt Disney World ® and SeaWorld Orlando tickets right here on Best of Orlando.

Orlando, FL – 11//16/12