Events, Guest Stories

My Favorite Things to Do at Universal Orlando Resort’s Holidays

December 28, 2017
Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Katelyn Darrow

I love getting into the holiday spirit, which means I wear my Santa Hat nonstop and blast my Christmas music playlist on repeat.

If you’re looking for a special way to experience the ~holiday cheer~, you need to visit Universal Orlando Resort ASAP! Between meeting the Grinch in Seuss Landing, sipping Hot Butterbeer in snowy Hogsmeade, and watching the floats at Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, there’s no better place to celebrate.

Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort -Katelyn Darrow

Part 1: Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s

I grew up in New Jersey, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City was only a hop and a skip away. Seeing Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s felt like a little piece of home. The floats were larger than life, the performers brought the magic, and the music had me dancing along! My favorite part was looking up to see the huge balloons passing overhead.

“In the original creative sessions, what we talked about were our memories and what we cherished as children. What you’re seeing is what we thought traditional Christmas was,” Lora Sauls, Senior Show Director of Creative Development Entertainment, explained. “From the balloons to the floats, we wanted to make it bigger and better this year.”

Gingy Balloon - Universal's Holiday Parade Featuring Macy's

With 15 floats and over 100 performers, this is Universal’s largest-ever Holiday Parade. The parade is performed daily in Universal Studios Florida and is an extravaganza that all ages can enjoy. Make sure to stay until the very end to see Santa Claus on his iconic float!

Part 2: Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Next up is Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. With festive decorations, new seasonal spins on two shows, and exclusive Christmas merchandise (including stockings and ornaments), celebrating the holiday season in the spirit of the wizarding world will have every Muggle overflowing with joy.

Christmas Decor Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

“This has been something we’ve wanted to do for years and years. Ever since The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade opened in 2010, we were thinking about Christmas. It’s such an amazing, magical time just by itself,” Mike Aiello, Senior Director of Entertainment Creative Development, said in regards to the planning process.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter added two holiday-themed musical shows in both parks. In Diagon Alley at Universal Studios, you can catch Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees singing unique Christmas songs. Her catchy lineup will delight every Harry Potter fan. My favorite tune was “My Baby Gave Me A Hippogriff for Christmas,” because I found myself humming it for the rest of the day.

Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees - Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

In Hogsmeade at Universal Islands of Adventure, the Hogwarts Frog Choir performs three new holiday songs, along with a revitalized version of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”

Once the sun sets, the parks are dazzling with Christmas lights. If you’ve ever had a chance to visit Hogsmeade, you’ll know that it is perpetually covered in snow. With the added holiday décor, I felt like I was in a winter wonderland.

At the end of the night, I found a spot in front of Hogwarts castle and was ready to see Universal’s state-of-the-art projection show, The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle. All of my expectations were blown away! I saw the castle come alive with scenes inspired by the Harry Potter films, from dancing at the Yule Ball to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes mischief.

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle - Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort

I truly felt like I was a part of the wizarding world. The show is ongoing from dusk until park close, so everyone has a chance to see the enchanting display. I recommend checking it out later in the evening to avoid the initial crowds. The combination of Harry Potter and Christmas was perfection!

Hot Butterbeer in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Part 3: Grinchmas in Seuss Landing at Universal Islands of Adventure

While seeing Santa Claus is pretty cool, nothing beats meeting the Grinch! Even though I’m a teenager, my inner-child was on full display. I might have aged out of Dr. Seuss’s demographic, but I think fans young and old can still enjoy the classic story of How The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!

Grinchmas in Seuss Landing at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Plus, your visit to Seuss Landing will be extra special since this area is decked out for the holidays in unique seasonal decor. You might even see the Whos of Whoville make an appearance!

The Whos during Grinchmas at Universal's Islands of Adventure

While I was in Seuss Landing, I watched the “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular,” a live retelling of Dr. Seuss’s classic holiday tale. After a long day of riding rollercoasters and walking around the parks, this was the perfect way to relax while still being entertained. “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular” is performed several times throughout the day, so be sure to download the Official Universal Orlando Resort App or grab a park map at the front of the park to see daily show times.

Grinchmas at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

So… are you ready for the holiday festivities at Universal Orlando?! Between the exclusive shows, festive food, and enchanting decor, there is something for every teen to enjoy.

It’s not too late to plan your trip! Come visit now through January 6 to experience the holiday fun. Or if your holiday plans have you elsewhere this year, put it on your calendar for next year and plan ahead!

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