Accio Christmas! It’s the holiday season and The Holidays are back at Universal Orlando! The tradition continues as all the Universal Holiday favorites are returning this year; including Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” nighttime show – as well as the return of the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular and Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s.
Universal invited us out to check out this year’s event. We were welcomed by Lora Sauls, Senior Manager of Creative Development and Show Direction for Entertainment Art & Design, and Matt Flood, Senior Show Director at Universal Orlando, who gave a rundown on all the fun we can experience at the Resort this year, and explained how Earl the Squirrel, the “unofficial mascot of Universal Orlando’s Christmas”, came to be.
— Inside Universal (@insideuniversal) November 17, 2023
The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular is back and great as always. It’s the same show that you’ve grown to love over the years that features the great performances of the iconic story.
The Grinch has been one of the most popular characters during Universal’s Holidays, with the Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast being one of the most in-demand reservations. This year, the breakfast has moved over to Confisco Grille as Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous is under renovation. The breakfast allows for an exclusive Meet and Greet with the Grinch and his faithful dog, Max; as well as a sit-down meal with themed food and breakfast favorites, including a non-alcoholic beverage and specialty treats.
Christmas in the Wizarding World, “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” nighttime show is still fantastic, especially with Celestina Warbeck and her Banshees bringing in the yule time cheer in Diagon Alley. Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s continues to be a wonderful holiday tradition, with Santa punctuating the end of the parade each night with the lighting of the 80-foot Christmas Tree. If there was anything negative we’d have to say – it’s that the parade is starting to feel a tad dated, so we’d love to see a new float with some new characters added, just to give the parade a bit of a fresh feeling.
Before and after the parade, guests can meet some of the characters around New York and Hollywood for some fun meet & greets.
Other returning favorites include the Blues Bros Holiday Show, and the top-selling holiday artist of all time, Mannheim Steamroller, will return to Universal Studios Florida with live performances on December 2, 3, 9, and 10.
We’d also recommend taking some time to check out the decorations around the parks, as certain decor may feature a nod to the ghosts of Universal attractions past.
If you’re looking to get some VIP treatment this holiday season, then the Universal Holiday Tour offers some exclusive perks to your visit. Starting at $99+tax, perks include:
- Exclusive Meet and Greets with the Grinch and his faithful dog, Max.
- Reserved seating for the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular.
- Light bites, desserts and more.
- Private Meet and Greet with Santa
- Priority access to one (1) pre-selected attraction (Subject to Tour itinerary at Universal’s discretion).
- An after-hours showing of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts™ Castle.
This year’s Holiday Tribute Store returns, themed to a Post Office and featuring rooms inspired by Harry Potter, The Grinch, and Universal’s own, Earl the Squirrel. Here, you can find an assortment of holiday merchandise – including the new “Christmas at Hogwarts” line and more merch featuring Earl and his new girl pal, Pearl.
Universal has pulled back on some of the food & drink offerings in comparison to years past but they still have some delicious options available – including the returning Turkey Dinner Sandwich and the all-new Letters to Santa milkshake, which can be found over at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium.
Other activities around the resort include the Holiday Tree Hunt Price ($13+ tax, per map and ornament). The Tree Hunt is a fun scavenger hunt where guests must locate 15 themed trees across Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Universal CityWalk, to receive a special Holiday ornament.
CityWalk features a decorated Red Coconut Club for some late-night adult drinks and dancing, and a chance to meet Earl the Squirrel in Mistletoe Pines.
Plus, all eight Universal Orlando Resort hotels will be decked out with festive décor. Select hotels will even offer special holiday entertainment. For more information about Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com/Holidays.
The Holidays at Universal Orlando have become one of the must-dos in recent years, celebrating now-established traditions since retooling the event back in 2017. The event will run daily through Sunday, December 31, and is part of theme park admission.