5 things to know about SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration

The sights, sounds and flavors of the Christmas season are already taking over SeaWorld Orlando. And speaking of flavors, we get to spotlight a new culinary expert this year.

1. Chef Jose Vargas is SeaWorld Orlando’s executive sous chef. He has been with the company for about six months, meaning this is his first year influencing the park’s Christmas offerings. “This is unlike anything I’ve ever done,” he said with a smile. “But this is what I’ve always wanted to do.”

2. Vargas — while demoing his festive donut-packed bread pudding at Sharks Underwater Grill — says he owes a huge part of his culinary experimentation to time spent on cruises. “When I go on vacation, I’m going into the kitchens cooking with the locals,” he told Spectrum News, noting that he has visited nearly 20 islands. “I have been (cooking) since I was 15 years old and I’ve done nothing else.”

3. For SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, you might notice some colored-glass-like, hard candy garnishes. That’s because Vargas says he is inspired by Jackson Pollock’s abstract art. The delicate toppers celebrate his unique influence on the theme park’s festivities.

4. SeaWorld has more than a dozen holiday food and drinks facilities peppered throughout the park. A good chunk of the bites and sips are brand new this year, from Frozen Egg Nog Delight, to Arroz com Dulce.

5. Meanwhile, after a 2-year hiatus, SeaWorld Orlando announced the return of “O Wondrous Night,” taking center stage at Nautilus Theatre several