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10 Reasons to Celebrate the Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort

10 Reasons to Celebrate the Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort

The holidays are an extra special time to visit the theme parks. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is visit the theme parks. You may ask, what happens at Universal Orlando during the holidays? You can enjoy gorgeous weather, roller coasters, incredibly fun holiday festivities and so much more during holidays at Universal Orlando Resort. Although things do look a bit different this year than in past years (as expected), you can still get in the spirit and celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort.

Celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort and @timsalathiel

When Christmas time comes to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the land embraces the holiday season with spellbinding decorations, holiday entertainment, and the can’t-miss hot Butterbeer.

  • Twinkling lights and enchanting strands of garland and wreaths adorn the eaves and shop windows throughout Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Make sure to take a close look as each shop’s decorations are uniquely themed (even Knockturn Alley gets festive with a wreath).
  • You can’t celebrate properly without tuning in to hear Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees perform their holiday hits like “My Baby Gave Me a Hippogriff for Christmas” (my personal favorite) in Diagon Alley. Over in Hogsmeade, the Hogwarts Frog Choir is taking the stage with their classic carols like “Christmas at Hogwarts”.
  • Take home a piece of the wizarding world with marvelous merchandise like Hogwarts house ornaments, stockings, and sweaters.

Hot Butterbeer: This seasonal drink has the same creamy flavor reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch you know and love. It’s perfect for warming you up when the weather gets chilly.

See the New Universal’s Holiday Experience Featuring Macy’s Balloons

Although Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s won’t be making its way through the streets of Universal Studios Florida this year, you can see the balloons and floats up close like never before in this new walkthrough experience. See the larger-than-life Macy’s balloons and floats depicting holiday moments inspired by favorite films like Illumination’s Despicable Me, and DreamWorks’ Shrek and Madagascar. And say goodbye to waiting in long lines at the mall — Santa Claus is coming to Universal Studios. Dress in your holiday best and come get a (socially distanced) photo with Santa during this holiday experience.

Universal’s Holiday Tour: Get front of the line access and walking tour to the balloon experience with this add-on experience. You also get a private meet and greet with the Grinch while enjoying a hot cocoa bar, an exclusive viewing of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, and a tour of the Tribute Store. 

Meet Your Favorite Characters

After meeting the holly, jolly man in the red suit, head over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure to meet the mean, green one himself, the Grinch. You can find him and the Whos spreading holiday cheer — or grumpiness in the Grinch’s case — throughout Seuss Landing.

You can also join other holiday characters for some dancing, singing, and photos in the streets of Universal Studios. Join in on the merry and mayhem with characters like the Minions and other beloved characters from Illumination’s Despicable Me, and DreamWorks favorites like the family of Shrek and King Julien and crew from Madagascar.

Don’t worry, Universal’s other famous characters aren’t taking off for the holidays. You can still meet the towering Transformers robots in Universal Studios and encounter Jurassic World’s Blue at Raptor Encounter in Islands of Adventure.

Enjoy Holiday Decor and Festivities at Universal’s Hotels

Make your holiday vacay at Universal Orlando complete with a stay at one of the resort hotels (don’t worry, you can reassure the kiddos that Santa can still find you). Besides being a short walk, Water Taxi, or shuttle ride to the theme parks, the hotels get in on the holiday festivities, too.

  • Do the hotels decorate? You betcha. Each hotel has a uniquely themed tree in the lobby and hundreds of lights, garland, and wreaths throughout. Just walking in to check in at the front desk will immediately put you in good spirits with the warm ambiance and holiday tunes filling your ears.
  • Exclusive to the hotels are the holiday feasts they host in their restaurants. Whether you’re visiting for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, there are specialty breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals that you can indulge in.
  • Nothing screams winter snuggles like cuddling up in front of a fire. The hotels have fire pits they light nightly, which is the perfect way to wind down after a day in the parks.
  • OK, so pools aren’t exactly a “holiday” activity, however, in Florida they might as well be. The fact you can lounge by the hotel pool in the middle of winter with an umbrella drink is the best gift you could give in my opinion.

Come Do Your Holiday Shopping

Another great perk about coming to celebrate at Universal? You can do your shopping at the same time, too. We’ve got a ton of unique themed gift shops throughout our entire resort destination. You can find popular finds, including some of my favorites like a classic Jurassic Park T-shirt, an interactive wand to cast spells in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and basically any piece of merch with the Grinch’s face on it.

And if you really want to amp the shopping up 10 levels on the festive scale, then you have to check out these new experiences:

  • For the first time ever, the Holiday Tribute Store is opening its door in Universal Studios with four rooms decked from wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, and shelf-to-shelf with holiday goodness. Enjoy traditional goodies in the Bavarian Holiday Festival room; whimsical finds you can only find in the Grinch-inspired room; magical gifts and decor in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inspired room; and holiday snacks and treats from Earl the Squirrel’s Tree Farm.
  • As you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift in the parks, why not make it a scavenger hunt as well? Purchase a brochure for the Holiday Tree Hunt and discover 16 themed trees throughout Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Universal CityWalk. Collect all 16 stamps and you’ll get an exclusive holiday ornament prize.

Indulge in Holiday Feasts and Treats

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

My favorite part about the holidays, as my waistband can attest to, is the food. With elaborate feasts, endless amounts of sugary treats, and the excuse to have as much hot cocoa as I want, I live for the holiday food and drinks.

  • New this year is the Holiday Treat Trail. Grab a trail brochure, gather your treat stamps, and enjoy favorites like the holiday ornament doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut. Once you finish, you get a special completion treat on us!
  • Stop by the Holiday Tribute Store to try holiday treats and snacks you can only get from Earl the Squirrel’s Tree Farm.
  • Universal CityWalk is the place to get whimsical holiday goodies like eggnog cocktails, Peppermint Beignet Sundae from Pat O’ Brien’s, the savory Caribbean dish of Brown Stew Chicken from Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom, and more.
  • As I mentioned above, if you’re looking for a full holiday feast, look no further than Universal Orlando’s hotels.

Gingerbread Milkshake: It’s the very definition of Christmas in a cup. This milkshake from The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen has gingerbread, vanilla soft serve, caramel, cinnamon, chocolate ganache, and topped with a gingerbread-man cookie.

Take Advantage of Florida “Winter” Weather

Instead of having to worry about wearing extra layers of clothing, all you have to worry about is an extra layer of sunscreen. Florida “winter” is the perfect time of the year to get outside and enjoy cooler temperatures while soaking in that gorgeous sunshine. Nothing beats being able to lay out by the hotel pool in the dead of winter. Plus, less clothes packed also means more room for shopping goodies! If you’re really craving a brisk winter wind with a bite, I suppose you can ride Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit first thing in the morning…

Need Packing Help? Check here for recommendations on what to pack for the parks and hotels yearn round, as well as a handy checklist to keep you organized.

Instead of Sleigh Rides, Do Thrill Rides!

There’s one thing I can guarantee your holiday vacation will have that others won’t: roller coasters! Don your Hogwarts house scarf and fly through the Forbidden Forest on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Put Santa’s sleigh to shame by racing through the air at 67 miles per hour on The Incredible Hulk Coaster in Universal’s Islands of Adventure. And you have to try singing Jingle Bells on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit over in Universal Studios — it really takes Christmas caroling to the next level.

Capture the Best Photo for Your Holiday Card

The holiday season is all about creating lasting memories with your family and friends. I mean, it’s the one time of the year where families still send an actual card with photos wishing everyone “seasons greetings”. Universal has the perfect backdrops for all your holiday photo needs. Ditch the traditional fireplace and snap a pic in front of a fire breathing dragon instead. Make it whimsical with the colorful twists and turns of Seuss Landing, complete with festive decorations. And you can’t beat a matching family PJs pic in front of the Universal Globe.

Oh, Christmas Tree! Holiday card photos are typically in front of the tree, but how often do you see a photo with an 80 ft. tree? The tree in Universal Studios is the perfect spot for a family pic. Add a fun twist by getting a photo of your reflection in one of the giant ornaments.

Ditch the Holiday Stress

This year, more than ever, we all need to escape the reality of the day to day and find what joy we can this holiday season. Which means we also deserve to ditch the stress we typically feel around this time with the shopping, the decorating, the cleaning up for visitors, the cooking, the calories, school winter break, working, and all 50 of the different family activities you have to navigate… Let Universal Orlando take that stress off your shoulders and be your home away from home for the holidays.

You’ll be pampered at our hotels with comfy beds you don’t have to make every day. No need to drive when you’re here with Water Taxis and shuttles that get your around. There is an endless number of fun toys, trinkets, and apparel you could ever want for your Christmas list all in one place. There are dozens of restaurants with all varieties of cuisine for you to enjoy a meal at and not have to wash dishes after. Also, calories don’t count on vacation so… Universal has the decorations, the tree, the eggnog, and the songs. All you have to do is let loose and have fun, safely.

Are you ready to celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort?


Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort are happening now through Jan. 3, 2021, with hot Butterbeer and beautiful weather staying even longer! Now pack your bags, the kids, presents, whatever you need for your holiday vacay, and get ready for some festive fun. Don’t forget to spread the holiday cheer on Twitter and Instagram with #UniversalHolidays when you get here.

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!

2018 Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort Returns Nov 17, 2018- Jan 6, 2019

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

If you missed the incredibly-popular holiday festivities last year at Universal Orlando Resort, we have great news for you—it’s all returning this year! 2018 Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort will run from November 17, 2018, until January 6, 2019.

Come celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit all the Whos down in Whoville with Grinchmas, and watch some of your favorite characters in the new Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s.

And those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle is back. Revel in a dazzling projection of holiday spirit nightly in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

While in Hogsmeade, take in the festive décor, listen to the Frog Choir sing holiday themed songs and grab a Hot Butterbeer. Then head over to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida to see more stunning holiday decorations throughout London and Diagon Alley.

And you won’t want to miss the talented Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees sing their holiday hits.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s is returning to the streets of Universal Studios Florida. This colorful parade fills the streets with music, confetti, and some of your favorite characters, including the Despicable Me Minions, Shrek and Fiona, King Julien, the Penguins of Madagascar, and more!

And, of course, there’s a visit from Santa as he rides high in the sky on a beautiful float, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season.

Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Grinchmas is returning to Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Hear the tale of the Grinch and help the Whos down in Whoville save Christmas during a wonderful live stage show. Sing along to all your favorite songs and get into the Grinchmas spirit.

You can even start your morning off with breakfast with the Grinch himself (reservations required). Then stroll through Seuss Landing, all decked out for Christmas by the bustling Whos as they get their final preparations in order for Christmas.

Mannheim Steamroller

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Fan-favorite Mannheim Steamroller will be returning to perform live on the Music Plaza Stage. Their performances will take place on select night during the months of November and December.

Resort-Wide Celebration

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

The festively decorated on-site hotels at Universal Orlando will be just as beautiful this year. Each resort has décor specific to their location and provides a wonderful backdrop for family holiday photos.

You can meet Santa Claus, watch tree lightings, indulge in special holiday treats, and see all the decorations – all while on vacation.

Right now, you can save up to $100 on a Universal Orlando vacation package.

This vacation package allows you to experience everything we have to offer for the holidays. You won’t want to miss a holiday experience like this.

Holiday Stay and Play Package

  • 5-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • 3-Park 5-Day Base Ticket to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure AND Universal’s Volcano Bay
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and select rides at Universal’s Volcano Bay one hour before the park opens (valid theme park admission required).
  • Access to select live entertainment venues at Universal CityWalk

*Click here for full details and restrictions.

Start planning your trip now for 2018 Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort—and get ready to take your holidays to the next level.

Siera is a travel agent with Destinations in Florida, Universal Studios Travel Agency of the Year 2010, 2011, & 2012. She would love to help you plan your next Universal Orlando vacation at no cost to you. Contact Siera today at siera@destinationsinflorida.com or at 734-771-1290 for more information or your free, no obligation quote. 

2016 Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort By the Numbers

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2016 Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort By the Numbers

Have you ever wondered how many miles it takes for the balloons to travel from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York to Universal Orlando Resort? Or just how many feet of garland are draped over the resort every holiday season?

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Well, Universal’s Art & Design team just shared some festive figures on the holiday cheer they spread throughout Universal Orlando each year:

  • 100,500 – Lights on the tallest Christmas tree
  • 56,000 – Cubic feet of helium used in Macy’s Holiday Parade each year
  • 50,000 – Linear feet of garland strung about Universal Orlando each year
  • 7,000 – Lights on the Universal Studios Florida arch wreath
  • 1,081 – Miles The Macy’s balloons travel from New York City to Universal Orlando
  • 1,000 – Pounds of confetti used in Macy’s Holiday Parade each year
  • 864 – Feet of garland on the Universal Studios Florida arch wreath
  • 222 – Performances of “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular”
  • 90 – Performers in Macy’s Holiday Parade
  • 80 – Approximate feet of the tallest Christmas tree
  • 12 – Balloons in the Macy’s Holiday Parade

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Come on out and see a holiday celebration of epic proportions for yourself with Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort, now through Jan. 1.

Siera is a travel agent with Destinations in Florida, Universal Studios Travel Agency of the Year 2010, 2011, & 2012. She would love to help you plan your next Universal Orlando vacation at no cost to you. Contact Siera today at siera@destinationsinflorida.com or at 734-771-1290 for more information or your free, no obligation quote. 

Spend the Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort

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© 2014 Universal Studios

If you are thinking about planning a vacation with your family this year, Universal Orlando offers a variety of events and activities to help you enjoy the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort. Along with the exciting attractions in the parks like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can enjoy holiday events like Grinchmas and Macy’s Holiday Parade.The Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort will begin on December 6, 2014 and run every day through January 3, 2015.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure is home to Grinchmas, a wintery wonderland throughout Seuss Landing. You can enjoy a live retelling of the classic Seuss story in “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular,” complete with the Whos from Who-ville and an original music score from Manheim Steamroller. You can even meet The Grinch and the Whos!

At Universal Studios Florida, the Macy’s Holiday Parade runs down the streets every evening with the same larger-than-life balloons that are used in the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. This year will feature a new addition, Chloe The Clown “Balloonicle,” that combines a towering balloon with a self-powered vehicle that roams the streets of Universal Studios. You can also see colorful holiday characters, fantasy-filled floats and a tree-lighting ceremony by Santa Claus.

Mannheim Steamroller, the masters of modern Christmas music, will return to the stage at Universal Studios to spread Christmas cheer. They will perform holiday hits at the Music Plaza stage on December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21.

All of the incredible holiday entertainment inside the parks—including Mannheim Steamroller—is included with regular Park-to-Park admission to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

If you’ll be around for New Year’s Eve, Universal CityWalk is the place to be! You can enjoy “a dynamic New Year’s Eve celebration which includes non-stop entertainment, unique party zones—each with their own entertainment and signature drinks—along with six different clubs with live music, unlimited gourmet cuisine, and Orlando’s largest dance floor.”

If you are planning a Universal Orlando vacation, you can save up to 30% off one of the four on-site hotels. Plus, you can take advantage of great perks like early park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and complimentary transportation to the parks. You will also receive complimentary unlimited express passes if you stay at one of the deluxe on-site hotels.

Siera is a travel agent with Destinations in Florida, Universal Orlando’s agency of the year in 2010, 2011, and 2012. She would love to help you plan your next vacation at no cost to you. Request your free, no obligation quote on the right side of the page or email siera@destinationsinflorida.com for more information.