Tag Archives: Universal Orlando Resort

20 of the Most Unique Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

When planning for a vacation, I love to find the lesser-known things you can’t miss at that destination. It’s no different when it comes to theme parks. You probably know the highlights about Universal Orlando Resort: fun rides, hotels to stay at, delicious restaurants and entertainment, and — of course — The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This list offers twenty unique experiences at Universal Orlando Resort that you can do during your vacation.

There’s so much more you can do at Universal that you may not even be aware of. Like, did you know you can adopt a Pygmy Puff? Do you even know what a Pygmy Puff is!? Well, you’re about to find out. Whether it’s your first visit you’re planning or your 100th, I hope these spark some inspiration.

1. Try a Can of Whoville’s Who Hash

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

One of my new favorite foodie finds is over at Green Eggs and Ham Cafe in Seuss Landing with the can of Whoville’s Who Hash. Munching on your can of Who Hash while strolling through the land will make you feel as if you’re right in the middle of a Dr. Seuss book. You can also get Green Eggs & Ham Tots, Buffalo Chicken Tots, and more.

2. Have a Chat with a Volcano Spirit

If you venture inside the volcano Krakatau at Universal’s Volcano Bay, you will come across Vol, the spirit of the volcano! This trickster fire spirit is great to chat with and can be a bit playful with water when they want to be.

3. Tour the MEN IN BLACK Headquarters

Did you know that there is an immigration tour offered at MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack? This exclusive tour will allow you to explore the downstairs level of MIB headquarters. If you ask one of the agents nicely, they may have availability to take you down and meet a few of the aliens. *Note: This experience is not always available. Saving the galaxy can be quite time-consuming.*

4. Meet Characters From Your Favorite Movies

Did you know you can occasionally run into Men In Black agents, trade in your cash for bank notes with a Gringotts Goblin, or even practice your kung fu moves with Po from Kung Fu Panda? There are a ton of characters to meet that you may not even be aware of! Keep an eye out as you explore the parks to see who you can find.

5. Adopt a Pygmy Puff

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

And this, my friends, is a Pygmy Puff. They are one of the cutest creature companions in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and, when you adopt one, the shopkeepers will do a fun naming ceremony for you. You can find them at Magical Menagerie and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, and you can adopt them in three sizes!

6. Bowl a Strike in Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Even if you can’t bowl a strike (like me), it’s pretty sweet having a bowling alley in your hotelGalaxy Bowl at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is small and intimate with only 10 lanes, which is part of its charm, but it does fill up fast. Don’t forget to make a reservation ahead of time and to bring your lucky bowling socks.

7. Snap a Pic with Your Favorite Shark

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Our JAWs attraction will live on in our memories, but there is still one place you can get a taste of it. Quite literally — you can enjoy a Shark Attack drink at Chez Alcatraz. This little bar pays homage to the attraction and even has our favorite shark right next to it for pictures.

8. Brave a 125-Foot Drop Slide Called Ko’okiri Body Plunge

Your vacation is the perfect time to face your fears, right? Conquer the tallest drop slide in Orlando at Universal’s Volcano Bay. It also happens to have an awesome view… that is if you can keep your eyes open.

9. Try All Six Kinds of Butterbeer Treats

Yes, you read that right. There are six kinds of Butterbeer treats you can try in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including fudge, ice cream, potted cream and — of course — the three types of drink. *Certain Butterbeer treats are offered seasonally.*

10. Dance with a Panda

Sometimes you just need an impromptu dance party with a panda. Have no fear, Hashtag the Panda is here to help! You can meet and dance with Hashtag before racing through New York with Jimmy Fallon. You can also see a performance by the Ragtime Gals.

11. Embark on a Rum-Tasting Journey

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Take a break from the parks and unwind with a rum-tasting journey led by a Rum Captain at Strong Water Tavern at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. They also happen to have amazing empanadas. *Operations are temporarily suspended for Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. Click here for updates.*

12. Get Your Putt-Putt On

As a self-proclaimed mini golf extraordinaire, one of my favorite things to do is play a round at the Hollywood Drive-In Golf in Universal CityWalk. It’s the perfect low-key activity to end the day. Plus, the haunted and sci-fi themes of each course speak to my geeky heart.

13. See Your Favorite Movies On… Water Screens?

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

End your day at the parks with a front-row view of the nighttime show Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration in Universal Studios Florida. There’s something really epic about seeing a gigantic T. Rex from Jurassic World roaring in your face on MASSIVE water screens. *This show is available on select nights. Make sure to check the park map or Universal Orlando Mobile App for updates.*

14. Enjoy a Lunch Inspired by Dishes from Across the Globe

Right at the front of Universal’s Islands of Adventure is one of my favorite restaurants, Confisco Grille. This hidden gem (that just so happens to be in plain sight) features an eclectic menu with a mixture of global cuisines like Asian, Turkish, Mediterranean, Greek, Russian, Polish, and more. You can also find mysterious confiscated goods inside that you may recognize from the park.

15. Escape to Waterfall Cove

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

This is my kind of hidden gem when it comes to water parks. Waterfall Cove is a secluded area tucked away at the base of Krakatau (the volcano) in Volcano Bay. It makes for a peaceful escape from the crowds and has some gorgeous waterfalls that will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to an exotic location.

16. Explore Lost Continent

An enchanted talking fountain, exotic cuisine, a bazaar filled with trinkets and treasures, psychic readings, and more. Lost Continent is one of the most richly-themed areas of Islands of Adventure with stunning backdrops for photos, and the perfect place to relax and grab a bite to eat. I highly recommend having lunch at Mythos and enjoying the excellent views of the park from the outside seating.

17. Eat Burgushi – Where the Cow and the Fish Become One

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Take the fixings of both a burger and sushi, put them together, and bam! Burgushi. Chow down on this land and sea fusion at The Cowfish in Universal CityWalk. A guest favorite is The High-Class Hillbilly-Southern Style Bar-B-Q-Shi (pictured).

18. Live Your Best Rockstar Life

I love music, which makes Hard Rock Hotel one of my favorite places to stay. One of the fun things to do is the memorabilia tour. You can see priceless items from some of your singers and bands. Feel inspired? You can rent a guitar or record player to play in your room after! *Some hotel amenities may be temporarily unavailable during your visit.*

19. Cast Your Own Spells in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Create your own magic in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with an interactive wand. You have to try your hand at the Meteolojinx in Diagon Alley (pictured). My personal favorite spell is Incendio at Flimflams Lanterns in Diagon Alley. It’s so cool at night! You may even discover some hidden spells as you progress in your practice.

20. Sing Karaoke on the Big Stage

Even if you’re afraid of being in the spotlight, singing karaoke at Rising Star in Universal CityWalk is so much fun! You get backup singers and even a hype man to help make you the star of the show. Plus, the lights are bright enough on stage so you can barely see the crowd — just in case you need a courage booster. *Check the Universal Orlando Mobile App for when Rising Star and other CityWalk venues are open.*

What are your favorite unique experiences at Universal Orlando Resort? Add to the list in the comments below if you’re an experienced veteran of the parks!

Must be 21 years of age or older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages at Universal Orlando Resort.

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Top 10 Things to Do at Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort

Top 10 Things to Do at Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

As you’re planning your vacation to Universal Orlando Resort, be sure to add in a day to spend at Universal’s water theme park, Volcano Bay. This lush, tropical oasis has four themed areas inspired by the Pacific Isles, each with a mixture of both relaxing and thrilling experiences. For those looking for adventure, the 200-foot-tall volcano, Krakatau, towers at the heart of the theme park with water slides that twist and turn throughout it like the Krakatua Aqua Coaster. If you’re looking to unwind, enjoy a slow tube ride through the Kopiko Wai Winding River. And that’s just the tip of the volcano. There are so many things to do in this island paradise, so where do you start? We’ll help get you going with the top 10 things to do at Volcano Bay.

1. Soak in the Sun on Waturi Beach

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

First things first, grab the perfect spot on Waturi Beach and enjoy a relaxing swim in the sparkling lagoon at the base of the mighty Krakatau volcano.

2. Float the Day Away in the Kopiko Wai Winding River

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Take your relaxation up a few notches with a slow float throughout Volcano Bay on the Kopiko Wai Winding River.

3. Get Drenched on the Krakatau Aqua Coaster

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Part water slide, part coaster, the Krakatau Aqua Coaster is THE must-do ride. Board a four-person canoe and cruise upwards and downwards within the volcano before taking the plunge!

TIP: Plan ahead with these Volcano Bay insider tips like how to reserve a Virtual Line experience for the slides and more.

4. Race Along the Churning Rapids of TeAwa The Fearless River

A whitewater adventure in the middle of Florida? Yes, please! You’ll need to don a life vest to take on the roaring onslaught of intense waves and choppy rapids in this river.

5. Enjoy Two Unique Raft Rides on Honuika Moana

Grab the family and get ready to go with the flow on these two twisting and turning multi-person raft slides.

6. Brave the Volcano on Ko’okiri Body Plunge

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Calling all thrill seekers! Put your courage to the test with this 70-degree drop door slide, featuring a descent of 125 feet from the top of the volcano.

TIP: If you need to try a couple of slides lower on the intensity level first, check out the Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides before you conquer the Ko’okiri Body Plunge.

7. Visit the Volcano Spirit, Vol, Inside Krakatau

Venture into Krakatau and you may get the chance to chat with the fire spirit, Vol. But watch out! This trickster is known to be playful with water.

TIP: Discover all the ways you can play while waiting virtually in line for the slides.

8. Make a Splash on the Ohyah and Ohno Drop Slides

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

The question is which one do you do first? These two serpentine drop slides will have you yelling “Ohyah!” or “Ohno!” as you plummet several feet into swirling water pools.

9. Have Fun with TapTu Play Experiences Throughout the Theme Park

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Keep an eye out for this symbol and activate fun surprises like splashes of water and light with a simple tap of your TapuTapu wearable.

TIP: Find out more ways your TapuTapu wearable makes a visit to Volcano Bay a breeze by clicking here.

10. Refuel with Island-Inspired Dishes, Signature Drinks, and Cool Treats

Volcano Bay has changed the game when it comes to food in a water park with dishes jam-packed with flavors inspired by the South Pacific. A couple of favorites are the Waturi Fusion Ice Cream and the Quinoa Edamame Burger.

TIP: Check out this guide to discover more food and drinks that await you in this tropical paradise.

What are your favorite things to do at Volcano Bay? Tell us in the comments below!

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!

15 Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

You’ve booked your vacation to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Now what? If you’re planning to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the very first time, you may need some tips for visiting the Wizarding World!

I remember the first time I knew I was going to be able to go to Hogwarts and try a Butterbeer just like Harry Potter. I was overflowing with excitement, which only increased ten-fold when I found myself finally walking under the arches into Hogsmeade village. I’m pretty sure I stood there for a good chunk of time staring and taking it all in before finally making a mad dash to get everything done in a matter of hours.

Planning on how best to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time can be daunting. With two lands that span across two theme parks — Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida — and tons of things to do, eat, drink, and see in each, you can easily find yourself missing out on some of the incredible details and experiences.

Here’s a list of planning tips and can’t-miss experiences you’ll want to check out before your upcoming visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.

15 Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Don’t Try Doing It All in One Day

If you have one day to spend in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can get the majority of things done, while enjoying the rest of the theme park attractions. But, if you truly want to get the full wizarding world experience without feeling rushed, I recommend dedicating a day in Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure) and a day in Diagon Alley (Universal Studios).

Remember to Pack Your Robe and Wand

It’s not every day you can wander the streets of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley like a real witch or wizard. Make sure to add your robe, wand, and any other Harry Potter apparel or accessories to your packing list for some real epic pics. If you want to get your gear during your visit, there are many shops to check out throughout the wizarding world.

Arrive Early and Stay Late

Try to get there first thing in the morning for fewer crowds. (If you’re staying at a Universal hotel, definitely take advantage of the Early Park Admission perk!) On the flipside, if the theme parks are open later, try to stay until nighttime. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is absolutely breath-taking at night.

Ride the Hogwarts Express Both Ways

Hop aboard the Hogwarts Express and travel back and forth between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Make sure to take it both ways as each way has a different experience(You’ll need a park-to-park ticket in order to ride the Hogwarts Express.)

Don’t Miss Diagon Alley

The entrance to Diagon Alley is cleverly disguised as a brick wall in the London area, just like it’s described as in the films and books. Believe it or not, some people (like my brother’s friends) walk right by it!

Try All Six Types of Butterbeer Treats

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

You’re probably familiar with Butterbeer, the frothy drink from the films and books that is reminiscent of butterscotch and shortbread. But, did you know there are six different Butterbeer treats you can try in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, like soft-serve ice cream and fudge? (Certain Butterbeer treats are offered seasonally.)

Don’t Skip the Queues

Typically, I’m all for getting through queues quickly, but the ride queues in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are ones you don’t want to miss. You get to see the iconic rooms and details inside Hogwarts castle and Gringotts bank, and even pass through Platform 9 ¾ on your way to ride the Hogwarts Express.

See All the Shows

A choir of singing frogs AND a theater troupe who performs with puppets? What more could you want. There are five live shows —  two in Hogsmeade and three in Diagon Alley —  you can see perform daily. (Check the Universal Orlando Resort App for show times.)

Ride Both the Sidecar and Motorbike

There are two ways to ride on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, and each seat gives you a unique experience. I’ll take it one step further and say I’ve heard riding at night is, and I quote, “life-changing.”

Don’t Miss Out on Magical Experiences

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Make time for some of the more lesser-known experiences like sending a letter with a Hogsmeade stamp, mixing your own elixirschatting with a goblin, or creating your very own moving pictures at Shutterbutton’s.

Check Out Knockturn Alley

You may be too distracted by the fire-breathing dragon atop Gringotts bank when you first enter Diagon Alley and walk right by Knockturn Alley. Put your brave face on and wander into this shadowy alleyway, which gives you a taste of Dark Magic in the wizarding world.

Treat Yourself to More Than One Wizarding Treat

Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, Sugar Quills, Pumpkin Pasties, and more. Nab a few of your favorite wizarding world sweets before you leave and enjoy them while reminiscing about your trip after you get back home.

Don’t Forget Your Interactive Wand Map

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

If you treat yourself to an interactive wand, don’t forget about the map! Each wand comes with a map that shows where you can cast spells throughout Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Don’t be like me wandering around aimlessly searching the ground for bronze spell markers because you forgot it.

Explore the Shop Windows

Your attention may be pulled toward the rides or getting a Butterbeer, but make sure to take some time to do some “window” shopping. There are incredible details in each shop window that bring the magic to life right before your eyes.

Don’t Miss Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter any time of the year is quite magical, but coming during the holidays… it’s a whole ‘nother experience you won’t want to miss. Need more convincing? Two words: hot Butterbeer.

What are your favorite tips for visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?

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Top 10 Things to Do with a Baby at Universal Orlando Resort Plus Tips

When you think of a Universal Orlando Resort vacation, you probably think of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or some amazing roller coasters. But, what about for families with little ones? There is plenty to do with a baby at Universal, from rides to shows to meeting characters and more! Plus, mom and dad can still find time to do the things they want to do, too.

Seuss Landing

Seuss Landing in Universal’s Islands of Adventure is so much fun to explore with little ones. They can ride a couple of the rides, meet characters, and watch a show. The bright colors and fun surroundings also help to keep them entertained.

  • Caro-Seuss-el: All kids love carousels, right? Toddlers can sit by themselves while mom and dad stand next to them while we go around and around. Baby not ready to ride solo? There’s a carriage option that you can sit in, too.
  • Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear!This daily show features your favorite Dr. Seuss characters: The Cat in the Hat™ with Thing One™ and Thing Two™, Sam-I-am (of Green Eggs and Ham fame), The Grinch™, and the Lorax—all dancing to musical “tellings” of the good doctor’s best-loved stories. Your kids will be all smiles watching the characters dance and sing. Afterwards, you may even get to meet the Lorax!
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: This is one of our favorite books to read, and the ride is just as fun. Look out — you may get splashed.

Kidzone

Kidzone is an area inside of Universal Studios Florida with tons of play areas, splash pads, and one of the most classic rides, E.T. Adventure. It offers a great mix for babies, toddlers, and older kids, including:

  • A Day in the Park with Barney: Those of us who grew up watching Barney can now take our kids to see him and his friends. The show is so much fun with singing, dancing, and even being able to meet the characters afterward in a fun play area.

Honorable Mentions

  • Hogwarts ExpressIt’s pretty awesome to say your baby’s first train ride is the Hogwarts Express in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And what a great way to get from one park to the other with a stroller in tow.
  • Despicable Me Minion MayhemAlthough we weren’t able to experience the actual ride vehicle (the ride height requirement is 40”), there is a stationary seat option at the front where you can sit with your baby. My daughter loves the Minions and after the ride you can meet one!
  • Universal’s Superstar ParadeSpeaking of the Minions, watch them and other characters like SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and the Secret Life of Pets dance and sing in Universal Studios.

Character Meet & Greets

One of the best things to do with a baby at Universal is meet all the characters. You can find them throughout the parks, and your baby will love interacting — and in many cases — staring in awe at them while trying to capture a photo.

Best Character Moments at Universal for Little Ones

  • Having fun with SpongeBob SquarePants and friends from Bikini Bottom
  • Meeting the Lorax and other Seuss characters
  • Chatting with the Hogwarts Express Train Conductor
  • Staring up at wonder with Dad at the Transformers
  • Dancing with our favorite Minions from Illumination’s Despicable Me

Take All the Photos

Okay, so this activity is more for the parents, but you’ll be able to capture so many great memories. Besides the photos you’ll get from meeting characters and taking on certain rides and shows, there are also a ton of fun areas where you can snap a pic of your munchkin. How fun will it be for them to recreate that same pic later when they’re all grown up!

Best Photo Spots

  • Getting that iconic family vacation photo in front of the Universal Globe
  • Repping future house colors in front of Hogwarts castle
  • Welcoming everyone to Jurassic Park
  • Catching a wave on the Quiet Flight surfboard in Universal CityWalk
  • Acting silly at all of the fun Toon Lagoon photo ops (there are so many!)

Splish, Splashin’ Water Fun

It seems like almost every little one loves some water fun. There are a ton of places for baby to splish and splash in all three theme parks, at Universal Orlando’s hotels, and even in CityWalk.

Universal’s Volcano Bay

First and foremost, there’s an entire theme park where water is life. Universal’s Volcano Bay is the perfect choice and even has a special area for babies called Tot Tiki Reef, complete with a mini volcano! You can also have fun playing in the sand of Waturi Beach, exploring the caverns inside the volcano, and even trying a nibble of Waturi Fusion Ice Cream.

Splash Pads

There are splash pads throughout the parks that are fun to take a minute and cool off with. You can find them over in Toon Lagoon, in CityWalk, and over in the ultimate splash area Curious George Goes to Town. The hardest part will be trying to get your little one to leave!

Hotel Pools

I highly recommend staying at one of Universal’s hotels during your vacation to take advantage of not only easy access to the parks, but also the pools! Take a relaxing dip with baby in the morning or afternoon with the ability to go back to the room and take a nap any time you want to.

Tips and Tricks for Visiting Universal with a Baby

EATING IN THE PARKS

As any parent knows, you have to be flexible when it comes to a baby’s meals on the go. However, having certain amenities and a level of comfortability sure makes things easier for everyone. Here are a few tips to make your day even easier:

  • Bring Your Meal: You can pack snacks, baby food, water, and formula to bring into the parks. There are nursing stations located in each park, as well as high chairs available at each restaurant.
  • Stay Cool: It can get warm in Florida, but there are plenty of sit-down restaurants with A/C to cool off in. If you’re going the quick-service route outside, there are still plenty of shaded areas to sit. Remember to drink plenty of water!
  • Get Comfy: Park your stroller outside to free up space and ask a Team Member for a spot that’s comfortable for a high chair.

WHAT TO BRING & WEAR

One of the thoughts that haunts me when traveling with our baby is how much we have to bring with us. For such a tiny human being, they tend to require a lot of stuff! Here’s what we found necessary to bring (outside of the usual baby essentials) and some recommendations on what to wear, too.

  • Stroller: If you’re going to bring a stroller, I suggest bringing a smaller, more nimble one to navigate through the crowds. One of those baby-carrying packs is pretty awesome, too. You can also rent a stroller at the parks if you want to save some space when traveling. Just remember, you have to park your stroller outside of each attraction.
  • Food & Drinks: As I mentioned above, you can bring in your own food and drinks, so make sure to pack plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Hat & Sunscreen: Pack baby a hat and sunscreen to protect them from the Florida sun. Make sure to bring some for you, too!
  • Stroller Fan: I found a stroller fan to be a great addition to keep the baby cool as we walked through the parks.
  • Change of Clothes: We all know babies can have accidents or get messy while having fun. Bring a change of clothes in case you need them. There are changing spaces in every restroom, including family restrooms, which I prefer.
  • Light Jacket or Blanket: Going from the hot outside into cold A/C can be jarring for baby. Bring a light jacket or blanket in case baby needs to warm up a little bit inside, especially when waiting in Child Swap.
  • Baby Headphones: The parks, and some of the shows and rides, can get really loud. Bringing a pair of baby headphones can protect their little ears while also making them stylish.
  • Rechargeable Mobile Battery: You’ll find yourself taking tons of pictures of your little one, which will drain your battery.

Make a Game Plan

When traveling with a baby, you will likely find yourself moving at a slower pace. The same is true when you’re trying to do the parks. My best piece of advice is to plan for multiple days at Universal Orlando Resort to make sure you can check everything off your must-do list.

Speaking of, research and plan ahead before your visit to create your must-do list. What attractions you want to ride, what shows to see, what restaurants you have to eat at, etc. I would also recommend staying at one of Universal’s hotels to make things even easier. Transportation is a breeze with shuttles or water taxis from the hotels to the parks (no getting baby in and out of a car seat!), and you can take advantage of Early Park Admission, which gives you more time in the parks with fewer crowds. It’s also great to have a place nearby where you can take the little one back for a nap, and each hotel has cribs available upon request. Let’s be honest, you’ll probably need some rest midday, too!

Take Advantage of Child Swap

This is probably one of the best things that has ever existed in the history of theme parks. Here’s how it works: Your party waits in the queue and when you get close to boarding the ride, a Team Member will direct a member of your party to wait in the designated Child Swap area with the baby. Once the rest of your group is off the ride, you can swap places and ride. This can be a great time to give your child a snack or a drink. There’s even a changing station, too, in case you need it. Some child swap locations also have great views for people watching, movies or music playing, and interactive play sets.

Visiting the theme parks with a baby will definitely change your overall experience around certain rides, shows, and more, but I personally think it makes it even more fun. You will find yourself doing new things you may not have thought of doing, while creating priceless memories with your family.

What are you looking forward to doing with your baby at Universal Orlando Resort during your vacation? Share with me in the comments below.

Top 4 Reasons to Visit Universal Orlando Resort This Spring

Top 4 Reasons to Visit Universal Orlando Resort This Spring

Ahh… spring! I always affiliate springtime with a sense of newness. Something about spring cleaning, spring training, springing forward when daylight saving time begins — it’s all the good stuff of brighter days and fresh beginnings. And, I have a feeling that will be even more necessary and even more true this year, especially at Universal Orlando Resort. To kick off the season, I’m sharing the top four reasons to visit Universal Orlando Resort this spring.

Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors of Carnaval

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

This spring, Universal Orlando is delivering all the delicious things we love about Mardi Gras — and PLENTY of new things I’m excited to explore — in the brand new Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors of Carnaval event

The event will include food, entertainment, BEADS, and even a few other Mardi Gras staples. Chef Jason Glus, one of Universal’s Executive Chefs who played a major role in developing this year’s menu says, “As chefs we wanted the food this year to bring everybody together to celebrate all the wonderful flavors from around the world. No matter what celebration, no matter what culture, no matter what ingredient we will all dine together.” 

And with a menu like this, you can sign me up for a little bit of everything!

Hungry for more? Check out our behind-the-scenes look at bringing bold flavors to Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando Resort.

Volcano Bay Reopens February 27, 2021

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort & Photo Credit: Imani Miller

Nothing says spring vacation quite like a trip to Volcano Bay. Universal’s water theme park is reopening to guests on February 27 and I personally cannot wait to grab myself some jerk shrimp mac and cheese, a Waturi Fusion ice cream cone, and some volcano-front seating to soak up some rays. 

Want to really kick up the tropical vibes this spring? Consider this 3-Day Tropical Itinerary your guide.

The weather can’t be beat

Speaking of rays, spring in Florida is L O V E L Y. We can all stow away those boots and swap them out for some sandals. I truly love nothing more than grabbing a refreshing Shark Attack from Chez Alcatraz, strolling around the streets of Universal Studios Florida, and taking a ride or two on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit on a sunny spring day. Can’t you just smell the sunscreen and hear the roller coaster screams now?

If you’re craving a full week of Florida sunshine, plan your spring break at Universal Orlando Resort! Here are some tips to maximize your trip.

All the hotel happenings

No Universal Orlando vacation is complete without a stay at one of the incredible Universal hotels — especially during the spring! I know I firmly believe that you should never miss an opportunity to swim, and Universal’s hotel pools give you plenty of opportunities to do exactly that. Plus every pool is unique to its hotel and its theming!

This year in particular I am so excited to try all of the Mardi-Gras-themed dishes and drinks at each one of the currently-operating hotels. Drinking a “Let The Good Times Roll” Hurricane while bowling at Cabana Bay Beach Resort’s Galaxy Bowl is certainly an opportunity we should all be taking advantage of!

Spring is the perfect time to hit up all of the pools around Universal Orlando Resort. Catch me poolside in between beignets all season long.

There you have it! And just think, these are just the top four reasons to visit Universal Orlando Resort this spring! Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, prepare yourself for a whole lot of jambalaya, and start planning your Universal Orlando Resort vacation!

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Experience Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors Of Carnaval at Universal Orlando Resort from Now Through March 28

At Universal Orlando ResortMardi Gras isn’t just a celebration, it’s a tradition. For over 25 years, Mardi Gras has come to life in Universal’s version of the French Quarter Courtyard in Universal Studios Florida. This year’s Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors of Carnaval will feature authentic cuisine inspired by the most iconic Carnaval festivities across the globe and the biggest spread of food and drink offerings the event has ever had. You’ll be able to experience multiple areas throughout Universal Studios, the hotels, and Universal CityWalk with food and beverages themed to international Carnaval celebrations.

This first-ever, dynamic celebration of flavor and entertainment will take place daily at Universal Studios Florida from Saturday, February 6 and continue through Sunday, March 28. This eclectic global food fest will offer more than 70 delectable dishes and beverages from 13 locations around the globe. Plus, Universal Studios Florida will be decked out in vibrant décor and guests will have the first-ever opportunity to get up close with spectacular and intricately-detailed Mardi Gras floats stationed throughout the theme park. You’ll also enjoy a Big Easy bash in the streets with energetic dancers and stilt performers in extraordinary costumes, brass band musicians, countless beads and a newly-themed Mardi Gras Tribute Store stocked with new merchandise that will give guests the perfect look for this epic celebration.

Here’s a sample menu from Universal Studios to get your mouth watering!

  • Puerto Rico (Pernil & Mofongo, Picadillo Empanadas, Quesitos, Pina Verde)
  • New Orleans (Crawfish Boil, Jambalaya, Beignets, Muffaletta Sandwich, Cajun Twisted & Cajun Sausage Taters, Tropical Storm Punch, Milk Punch)
  • Trinidad & Tobago (Pineapple Trini-Chow, Pholourie, Queen’s Park Swizzle Mint)
  • Germany (Pork Schnitzel Slider, Bavarian Pretzel, Vegan Bratwurst with Beer Braised Onions)
  • Spain (Leche Frita, Paella Mixta, Charcuterie)
  • Brazil (Brigadeiros, Moqueca de Camarao, Stuffed Coxinha, Pineapple or Strawberry Caipirinhas)
  • Belgium (Belgium Liege Waffles, Brussels Frites with Roasted Garlic Veganaise)
  • Italy (Cannoli, Arancini, Italian Rainbow Cookie, Affogato)
  • Colombia (Carnitas Arepas, Limonada de Coco, Coco Loco)
  • Canada (Beef Short Rib Poutine, Sugar Shack Springtime Punch)
  • The Bahamas (Jerk Chicken, Jerk Jackfruit, Goombay Smash)
  • France (Poached Pear Creme Brulee Crepe)
  • Cuba (Cuban Sandwich, Dark Caramel Flan, Plantain Chips, Cuba Libre, Cuban Coffee)

Click here for the full menus and descriptions.

The great news is all of these dishes are served as sample sizes, so you’ll be able to try a little bit of everything. If this sounds right up your alley, you’ll want to check out the Mardi Gras Tasting Lanyard options, which you can use for multiple visits (let’s be real, you’ll want to come back to conquer the entire menu).

Universal Orlando continues to implement its enhanced health and safety procedures and guidelines focused on “screening, spacing and sanitization,” and those practices will be applied to all experiences taking place during Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors of Carnaval. Key measures include screening guests and team members, enforcing social distancing, requiring face coverings, limiting capacity and increasing the already-aggressive cleaning and disinfection procedures. Guests may remove their face coverings while actively eating or drinking, but must be stationary and maintain appropriate social distancing.

All of the excitement of Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors of Carnaval celebration is included with admission to Universal Studios. Florida residents can take advantage of an exclusive ticket offer to purchase a 1-Day, 2-Park ticket and receive three extra days free to experience both parks. Guests can also take advantage of a special offer to save up to $200 on 4-day tickets for a family of four.

With exclusive theme park benefits available to hotel guests, staying in one of Universal Orlando’s hotels is the best way to make the most of a vacation to the award-winning theme park destination. Currently, Florida residents can take advantage of nightly package rates as low as $85 per person, per night, at the all-new value property Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites for a family of 4 with a 3-night stay. Non-Florida residents can book a stay at Dockside Inn and Suites as part of a package for a family of four, with a 5-night stay.  

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Top 9 Locations for Enjoying Ice Cream at Universal Orlando Resort

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Here in Florida, it’s always ice cream weather. Whether it’s a hot summer day or the middle of a warm Florida winter, there are a variety of incredible ice cream at Universal Orlando Resort.

Let’s see, there are unique flavors like the fruity, colorful swirl of Waturi Fusion. Out-of-this-world creations… basically anything from Penelope’s Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. And you can even step foot inside a certain ice cream parlour that this young witch could only dream of back when the first Harry Potter book came out.

Here are the top nine locations to enjoy ice cream at Universal Orlando:

Brain Freezin’ D’oh-nut Sundae

Location: Lard Lad Donuts in Universal Studios Florida

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

This sundae is for the adventurous at heart. You’ll get one of Homer’s famous pink-frosted donuts, split in half and filled with your choice of vanilla or chocolate ice cream. You’re not done yet though! Choose your toppings from a variety of sprinkles, hot fudge, or cookie crumbles.

Earl Grey & Lavender Ice Cream

Location: Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

You can’t visit Diagon Alley without a stop at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. My favorite flavor is Earl Grey & Lavender, but a few other unique flavors are the Chocolate Chili, Clotted Cream and, of course, Butterbeer!

Waturi Fusion Ice Cream

Location: Koka Poroka in Universal’s Volcano Bay

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

This ice cream is four different flavors with swirls of orange, blue raspberry, strawberry, and banana. Not only is it a party for your taste buds, but its colorful appearance makes it photo-friendly and perfect for your insta.

Chocolate Brownie Bark Sundae

Location: The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen in Universal CityWalk

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

This one lives up to its restaurant’s name. Chocolate ice cream, chocolate brownies, chocolate fresh whipped cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate brownie bark, and — wait for it — chocolate sprinkles. I definitely recommend sharing with your significant other, or you know, a small army.

Emack Attack Sundaes

Location: Emack & Bolio’s Marketplace at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

After a day in the parks, hang out at Emack & Bolio’s Marketplace for scoops of this legendary ice cream from Boston. You can get creative flavors like Deep Purple and Grasshopper in handcrafted sundaes or get them in candy-coated cones.

Baked Alaska

Location: Bigfire in Universal CityWalk

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Before you dive into this cold treat, we’ll need to heat things up. Torched tableside, this Baked Alaska has chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream inside. I think that’s one of the things I love about Baked Alaska. You get both fire and ice working together to create one tasty treat.

Strawberry and Peanut-Butter Ice Cream

Location: Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Harry Potter and his friends enjoyed strawberry and peanut-butter ice creams. You and your friends can do the same with a cup of this delicious hard packed ice cream available in Hogsmeade at the Three Broomsticks.

Classic Banana Split

Location: Schwab’s Pharmacy in Universal Studios Florida (seasonal)

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Sometimes you just can’t beat a classic. Stop by for a scoop of your favorite flavor or a sundae like hot fudge or my go-to, the banana split. It’s the perfect way to take a break and cool off.

Milkshakes!!!

Location: Across Universal Orlando Resort

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Basically, it’s ice cream in a sippable, mobile container, and we here at Universal Orlando have perfected this creamy delight. You can get milkshakes all across our destination, from the whimsical creations over at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen to the classic hand-spun at Mel’s Drive-In to even the “spiked shakes” at The Cowfish.

What is your favorite place to grab ice cream at Universal Orlando Resort? Share in the comments below and explore all of Universal Orlando’s dining before your vacation to discover even more sweet treats.

5 Reasons to Stay at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

One of the consistent challenges of vacation planning for large families is finding a resort that can — both comfortably and affordably — accommodate a family of six in one room, while also offering unique theme park benefits. Those options have been somewhat limited and few and far between. Until now. We are sharing five reasons to stay at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites.

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

This challenge is no more for families today with our newest hotel Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites. This hotel (and its sister property, Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites) is the perfect value option for families of all sizes and comes packed with benefits for everyone. Having already stayed at Surfside Inn and Suites, I can personally tell you the Endless Summer Resort product exceeded all my family’s expectations. The quality of the food, rooms, service, and amenities were impressive and made our staycation so enjoyable.

Here’s everything you need to know about Dockside Inn and Suites:

Spacious Rooms

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

Dockside Inn and Suites has two towers painted with colors reminiscent of a sunset. These towers will be equipped with over 2,000 rooms, with over half of those rooms being spacious 2-Bedroom Suites that can accommodate up to six people, meaning families on a budget can pay for one suite for the whole family.

Let’s deep-dive into those suites a bit more. The 2-Bedroom Suite is honestly a game-changer; they mean families like the one I grew up in don’t have to buy multiple rooms to accomodate the whole crew. 

There’s privacy between the bedrooms, a sizable kitchenette area with a mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee maker, a perfect picnic table for meals and hanging out, and a bathroom with separate bath and vanity areas so multiple people can get ready at once. These suites also feature three queen-sized beds, two TVs, and free WiFi. Sign me up for all of this.

The Price is Right

While the size is pretty incredible, here comes one of the best parts about Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites — the price. During our value season, rates begin as low as $79 per night for Standard Rooms and $120 per night for the 2-Bedroom suites, based on a four-night stay. My question for you is: how can you beat that? And I haven’t even mentioned…

The Theme Park Benefits

By staying at Dockside Inn and Suites, you have access to so many great perks throughout Universal Orlando…Early Park Admission (you’ll feel like you have the park practically to yourself!); complimentary transportation (five minute ride from my hotel to everything the Universal Orlando theme parks have to offer? I’m in!); and a room key that does so much more than open doors (purchases throughout the destination, complimentary club-to-club access in CityWalk, and a future keepsake from your vacation). Check out all the details here.

All-American Dining

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

When I am on a vacation at a theme park resort, convenience during my hotel stay is a big factor for my family and me. In order to maximize our time at the parks, we need a hotel that has food and drink options for the entire family at a reasonable price. Dockside Inn and Suites strikes the perfect balance for this need. 

Pier 8 Market is the casual dining food court and market that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Pier 8 Market menu is super affordable, with most dishes priced under $12 (see what I mean by “reasonable price”?)! The hotel has an amazing lobby bar, the Sunset Lounge, that serves specialty cocktails and has its own craft beer, and a large pool bar, the Oasis Beach Bar.

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

The Vibes – Kick Back and Relax

Image: Universal Orlando Resort
  • TWO Pools (Pool Number Two Coming in 2021!)
  • Universal Studios Store
  • Universal Orlando Vacation Planning Center
  • Fitness Center
  • Car Rental Desk
  • Game Room (Coming in 2021)
  • Self-service guest laundry

This hotel was designed by the same creative minds that brought you everything you love about our theme parks, giving you an immersive experience only available at our destination. It’s exactly what my large family was looking for when I was growing up and now it’s here!

So, when will you be checking in at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!

The Ultimate Guide to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Have you ever dreamed of going beyond the grounds of Hogwarts? Do you remember the excitement as you would read about the thrilling and wondrous adventures in the Forbidden Forest? Well, get ready for your dreams to come true at Universal Orlando Resort

Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan, roller coaster enthusiast, or are looking forward to the latest Universal Orlando Resort attraction, you need this guide to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

THE QUEUE: 

For the first time ever, you will get to venture to the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Alan Gilmore, Art Director for the Harry Potter film series, joined Universal Orlando Resort in making this truly immersive and magical experience for all guests to enjoy. Here are some tips and things to keep an eye out for that the team included…

  • Make sure to enjoy the views as you walk in because you can spot Hogwarts castle, Hagrid’s hut, and a view of the ruins that you’ll soon enter.
  • When you enter the ruins, you’ll spot statues of rare magical creatures found in the wizarding world.
  • You’ll see some incredible drawings in this room that are definitely worth your attention.
  • In the ruins, you may encounter some familiar faces who will help prepare you for your journey. 
  • Once you reach the fireplace, you’ll may spot footprints belonging to a small fiery creature.
  • These ruins seem uninhibited, but act as a holding space for some of Hagrid’s belongings, such as a curious collection of eggs.
  • Keep an eye out for Hagrid. It seems he’s been up to something.
    • Notice scratch marks and burn marks on the walls?
    • Looks like Hagrid left teddy bears and blankets?
    • Did you spot the page in The Monster Book of Monsters?
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

HAGRID 

You’ll meet Hagrid face-to-face in Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, as he takes you through the Forbidden Forest for a Care of Magical Creatures class. As you climb aboard a magical motorbike, you’ll experience how it feels to be a beloved student of Hagrid. The team at Universal Orlando left no detail untouched when it comes to this animatronic version of the beloved half-giant…

  • Hagrid stands at 7 feet, 6 inches tall.
  • His movie-real costume weighs about 50 lbs.
  • If you look at Hagrid’s hands, you’ll find dragon-skin gloves.
  • Does Hagrid look real? That’s because he’s Universal Orlando’s first human-like animated figure
    • Meticulous work went into placing individual hair strands – including eyebrows and lashes.
    • Incredible attention to detail was taken to recreate Hagrid’s likeness from the films, including a meticulously hand-sculpted face, digital scans of Hagrid actor Robbie Coltrane’s teeth, and careful placement of individual hair strands -including eyebrows and lashes. 
    • See more Hagrid facts here.
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

MAGICAL CREATURES YOU’LL ENCOUNTER

Get ready to encounter some of the Wizarding World’s magical creatures. As we all know,  Hagrid, Hogwarts gamekeeper and Care of Magical Creatures professor, has a soft spot for even the most ‘seriously misunderstood’ creatures. You’ll encounter lots of these creatures along your journey through the Forbidden Forest…

  • Fluffy, Hagrid’s Three-Headed Dog
    • In this new adventure, Fluffy weighs 8,000 Ibs, which is roughly as big as two standard Muggle cars.
  • Blast-Ended Skrewts
    • Described as a cross between scorpions and elongated crabs, Skrewts aren’t afraid to attack other Skrewts they encounter. They have incredibly strong armor that can’t be penetrated by spells – proving to be a challenge for Hagrid since they hatched.
      • FUN FACT: Manticores and Fire Crabs were the magical creatures Hagrid used to create Blast-Ended Skrewts. 
  • Magorian, the Centaur 
    • A Centaur is a magical creature with a human head, torso and arms, joined to a horse’s body. They are, however, their own species and should be treated with great respect.
  • Devil’s Snare
    • This perilous plant from the wizarding world has been known to strangle people, who touch it, with its dexterous vines. Devil’s Snare flourishes in damp, dark environments and it has a strong dislike of light and fire.
      • Remember, “Devil’s Snare, Devil’s Snare is deadly fun, but will sulk in the sun.”
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog
  • Cornish Pixies
    • Cornish pixies are electric blue tricksters who love to create mischief – often at the expense of others. They’re about 13 inches tall and you’ll find more than a dozen pixies throughout this adventure. 
  • Fire Crab 
    • Make sure you keep an eye out at the end of a tunnel in Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure as you’ll get a glimpse of a heavily jeweled shell of a Fire Crab.
  • Manticore
    • You may see a drawing of this dangerous creature that has an animal head, a lion’s body, and scorpion’s tail.
  • Gnomes 
    • They’re hard to spot, but you may hear these mischievous garden creatures as you’re headed toward the Forbidden Forest.
  • Salamanders 
    • Traces of these fire-dwelling creatures can be found around heated areas of this attraction.
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

THE COASTER

For the first time, students will get to fly to the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Not only is this an incredibly immersive ride but this roller coaster is literally a record-breaker. See for yourself what makes Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure a record-breaking roller coaster…

  • Longest roller coaster in Florida at 5,053 feet long 
  • Coaster with the most launches in the world, with 7 launches
  • Enjoy a true free fall vertical drop at nearly 17 feet
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Other roller coaster facts: 

  • Enjoy two unique ride experiences as you can ride Hagrid’s motorbike or the adjacent sidecar
  • This attraction reaches a maximum height of 65-feet 
  • There is a 73-degree spike that goes backward in one-movement 
  • This attraction is 3 minutes of non-stop ride time 
  • There are over 1,200 real trees that were used to recreate this enchanted forest.

Are you excited to experience your own journey to the Forbidden Forrest after reading our guide to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure? Book your Universal Orlando Resort vacation, choose a seat on the motorbike or in the sidecar, and experience all this for yourself! 

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!