As theme park master planners, we never really stop thinking about the holidays. It's one of the most popular times to visit, and we get questions about it all year. This year especially, we've been hopping with excitement over holidays at Universal Orlando Resort. Ever since the resort unveiled plans for the debut of the most spectacular Christmas in the Wizarding World, we've been dreaming about how dazzling Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley will look all decked out in festive decor. Of course, there will be so much more, including a brand-new holiday parade.
The new holiday fun runs daily Nov. 18, 2017, through Jan. 8, 2018. If you needed another reason to be merry, Holidays at Universal Orlando are included with regular admission. So let's hop into everything you can expect this festive season!
Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
There will be no shortage of Christmas entertainment inside the Wizarding Worlds in Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure. As mentioned above, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley will both feature festive Christmas decorations — including garlands and lights — along the buildings and streets of the Wizarding World. As if the delight of warm, cocoa-ey butterbeer wasn't enough, you'll be tempted by delicious holiday-themed food and drinks while you listen to holiday performances from none other than the Frog Choir and Celestina Warbeck!
The trimming on the tree, so to speak, will be a new show that takes place on Hogwarts Castle at Islands of Adventure. Featuring the latest in mapped-projection technology, this new show will "cast a spell" onto the castle. The show will also feature iconic Christmas moments from the Harry Potter series.
Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s & More Holidays at Universal Orlando Festivities in the Parks
Also during holidays at Universal Orlando, a brand-new parade will be stepping off at Universal Studios Florida. More than a dozen festive balloons and 15 floats will make their debut at Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's. You'll see Dreamworks favorites from Madagascar, Shrek and Despicable Me. Yes, there will be minions. And that jolly ol' Santa too.
Grinchmas at Universal's Islands of Adventure
It wouldn't be the holidays at Universal Orlando without Grinchmas! The green sourpuss himself will be returning to Islands of Adventure for Christmas fun. Watch the green guy bring his signature snark to the Christmas Who-liday Spectacular at Seuss Landing. If you want some quality time with the Grinch, book the Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast on select days. You can read our Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast review for an idea of what to expect.
Manheim Steamroller at Universal Studios Florida
Once again, Manheim Steamroller will bring the festive sounds of modern Christmas to Universal Studios Florida. These concerts take place weekends on Nov. 18, 19, 25, 26 and Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17.
Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort Hotels
Any time of year, we absolutely love staying on-site at Universal's fabulous resort hotels, but especially during the holidays. All five Universal Orlando hotels will be decked out for the holidays and offer holiday fun, including tree lightings and menorah lightings. Plus you can enjoy all the trimmings at Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve buffets.
If you want to experience the holidays at Universal Orlando during the busiest times, we highly recommend you stay on-site at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort so you can receive the Unlimited Express benefit for all of your party for your entire length of stay. We cannot underestimate this benefit! If you can't shell out for these hotels, hop to Loews Sapphire Falls and Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort . All five of the hotels will offer early park admission to the Wizarding World, so you can get a hop on experiencing the Christmas in the Wizarding World holiday magic!
Which Ticket Should You Get During Holidays at Universal Orlando?
With so much hoppening at Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure during the holidays, you may be wondering, "Which ticket should I get?" We're very big fans of the Park-to-Park option. With the two parks so close together, it makes it easy to hop. The Park-to-Park option offers maximum flexibility to enjoy it all. And it's the only way to experience the Hogwarts Express. So if you want to experience Christmas in the Wizarding World at Hogsmeade and then hop right over to extend the merry in Diagon Alley, you'll need the Park-to-Park ticket. If you need some palm trees and sun with your Christmas vacation, then add on Universal's Volcano Bay water theme park during your visit. (Check out all of our discount Universal Orlando ticket options, and don't forget we offer discounts on the Universal Orlando hotels too!
More to Come during Holidays at Universal Orlando ...
No doubt, Universal will be announcing more holiday additions and features as we get closer to the season. We'll update this post, as well as our Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Events in 2017 with the latest and greatest. In the meantime, we'll be packing our bags for Christmas at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the new parade and all of the Holidays at Universal Orlando festivities!
Ready to visit Universal Orlando this holiday season? Pick the best dates to visit using our Orlando Crowd Calendar. Check out our Orlando planning timeline for a stress-free family vacation to the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort and other destinations.