Guide to Universal Orlando Holidays & Christmas in The Wizarding World

Holidays at Universal OrlandoWhat better way to bring together minions, ogres, toys and more than holidays at Universal Orlando? Even the Grinch can't resist the cheer. After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year (right?!)! You’d think it’d be tough to follow a popular event like Halloween Horror Nights, but the Holidays at Universal doesn’t disappoint. From Grinchmas to Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there’s a lot going on to spread holiday cheer. Best of all, the Holidays at Universal Orlando events are included with regular Universal Orlando admission. If you’re like us and you’re already planning a Christmas vacation at the parks, catch up on highlights from last year and what to expect during this upcoming festive season. Universal Orlando announced the festivities will take place from November 16, 2019 through January 5, 2020!

Christmas in The Wizarding World | Holiday Events in the Parks | Holidays at the Hotels | Which Ticket Should You Get? | Comments

Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Holidays at Universal Orlando - Hogwarts

You know that feeling you get when you watch Harry Potter with your family while drinking hot cocoa on a snowy winter night? That's the feeling you'll get when you see Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Universal Orlando goes all out with the level of detail. Hogsmeade in Universal's Islands of Adventures and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida both typically feature festive Christmas decorations — including garland and lights — along the buildings and streets of the Wizarding World.

Take a look at the decorations from 2018. Outside each of the store fronts, it was as though the shopkeepers decorated the garlands themselves. At Gladrags Wizardwear, for example, the garland was decorated with pink ribbons that looked as if they came from Hermione's dress. There were feathers woven into the garland at Owl Post and what looked like sugary, pastel balls at Honeydukes. 

Holidays at Universal Orlando - Hogsmeade

Our fellow froggies, the Frog Choir, will perform special concerts with Christmas songs straight from the spell books.Inside Diagon Alley, Celestina Warbeck gets in the holiday spirit with her four original songs, including the super catchy "My Baby Gave Me a Hippogriff for Christmas." 

The true showstopper of Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the projection-mapping show on Hogwarts Castle. "The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts" plays intermittently from dusk until park close each night. Muggles and wizards alike will be absolutely dazzled to see the castle come alive! There are breathtaking scenes with fairies creating the Christmas tree, the Weasley twins making mischief and more! Even if you aren't a fan of the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts, we recommend checking these shows out. They're gorgeous and really capture the unique holiday fun you see in the Harry Potter films and books.

The small viewing area can get crowded, especially on weekends and the weeks of the holidays. We recommend watching "The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts" during non-peak times, if possible. No matter which night you're attending, try waiting until a bit later in the evening (about any hour after dusk) to catch the show to avoid those early crowds.

Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s & More Holidays at Universal Orlando Festivities in the Parks

The highlight of the holidays at Universal Orlando (for us, at least!) is Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's. The parade has more than a dozen festive balloons and 15 floats for your enjoyment! You'll catch some of your favorite Universal characters making Christmas mischief, including Minions, Shrek and more! Stay tuned for 2019's showtimes!

Holidays at Universal Orlando - Parade Minions

Of course, jolly ol' Santa typically makes an appearance lighting up the beautiful tree in New York! The floats are as elaborate as ever, so bring a camera and snap as many pictures as you can! Seeing this float with your family is sure to bring the warm fuzzies. After the parade last year, you could stick around to meet the characters who hang out with their floats. We hope we'll be able to do the same again this year!

If you want a front-row spot for Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's right in front of the tree, get in place at least an hour early on busy nights. This is especially true on weekends. Our favorite spot is across the street from the tree next to the Mummy ride. From this spot, you can watch as Santa lights the tree. Your tadpoles will go crazy for this Christmas magic! Beware: TONS OF CONFETTI!

Holidays at Universal Orlando - Santa

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.

Holidays at Universal Orlando - Grinchmas Townsfolk

Last year, Seuss Landing was the most spectacularly-decorated of them all, with so many baubles and tinsel wrapped around just about everything. Don't miss the Lorax while strolling through the truffula trees!

The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular will return to warm our hearts once more. The talented performers bring this Seuss favorite to life through song and dance. Plan to be in line at least 30 minutes ahead of showtime, as you do need to walk a fair distance to the sound stage in which it takes place, even if there aren't huge crowds. Hop tip: Catch the first show of the day as it's likely to be the least crowded.

The show added a few new touches last year that delighted returning fans and pleased new Who-liday fans! While definitely a tadpole-centric show, it is a blast for any fans of the Grinch. (And OMG ... Max is played by an adorable, live dog. What a good boy!)


Festive Food & Drinks at the Holidays at Universal Orlando

Drinking Butterbeer is a must-do whenever you visit the Universal parks. While year-round Butterbeer is served cold or frozen, you can get hot Butterbeer during the holiday season! Think more along the lines of hot chocolate (but butterscotch) rather than a carbonated cream soda, which is what the classic, cold Butterbeer tastes like. You can find it inside The Leaky Cauldron, Three Broomsticks, Hog's Head Pub, the Hopping Pot and the Fountain of Fair Fortune.

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.

Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort Hotels

Holidays at Universal Orlando - Cabana Bay Beach Resort Christmas Tree

Any time of year, we absolutely love staying on-site at Universal's fabulous resort hotels, but especially during the holidays. Expect all six Universal Orlando hotels to be decked out for the holidays and look out for tree and menorah lightings. Plus, enjoy all the trimmings at Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve buffets.

Holidays at Universal Orlando - Loews Royal Pacific Resort

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. Watch out for the expected busiest days using our Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar. We recommend considering a stay at one of the hotels offering Universal Express (or purchase it separately) the weeks of Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day and on weekends. We cannot underestimate this benefit!

If you can't shell out for these hotels, hop to Loews Sapphire Falls, Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Universal's newest hotel, Aventura! While they don't offer Unlimited Express, these hotels (all of Universal's hotels) offer one-hour early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal's Volcano Bay. If you stay on-site, you can get a hop on experiencing the Christmas in the Wizarding World holiday magic! What's even more magical is to book your Universal Orlando hotel room at a discount, so hop to it!

Which Ticket Should You Get During Holidays at Universal Orlando?

Holidays at Universal Orlando - Grinch and Max

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. Don't let the time of year trick you ... it's still plenty warm in sunny Florida (especially for you snowbirds) and the water is heated.  (Check out all of our discount Universal Orlando ticket options, and don't forget we offer discounts on the Universal Orlando hotels too!)

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. 

Related: Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Events

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Nov 22, 2017 at 5:28 p.m. Simsillysue Says...

This is a place I would take my son to make lots of memories!!

Nov 22, 2017 at 5 p.m. Wyntear Says...

Sounds Great!

Nov 22, 2017 at 4:44 p.m. Walters Says...


Nov 22, 2017 at 4:41 p.m. jASON wALTERS Says...


Nov 22, 2017 at 4:39 p.m. Stephanie Says...

My trip is planned for September and this almost makes me want to push it to December.

Nov 22, 2017 at 4:34 p.m. Amie Says...

I'm crazy excited and this webstie has been so helpful in helping me make my surprise Universal Studio Christmas Vacation. #25days

Nov 22, 2017 at 4:22 p.m. Acorn Says...

I would love to visit this year during the holidays. Maybe Spring Break instead.

Nov 22, 2017 at 4:02 p.m. Adeline Says...

Thanks for all the great information!

Nov 22, 2017 at 3:47 p.m. Jeff Says...

We are dying to go see this can't wait

Nov 22, 2017 at 3:27 p.m. Millie Collado Says...

This site helps our family be able to afford visiting a park at least once a year. Love it so much!!!

Nov 22, 2017 at 3:19 p.m. Krock Says...

It looks beautiful!

Nov 22, 2017 at 2:47 p.m. CoryB Says...

Love Disney at Christmas time, it is so pretty!

Nov 22, 2017 at 2:33 p.m. Javid Says...

Love the Hogwarts Christmas Video!!! Makes me want to go!!!

Nov 22, 2017 at 2:14 p.m. Ginnell Says...

Hope we can see it some day!!

Nov 22, 2017 at 2:13 p.m. Carole Wood Says...

Haven't been for over 20 years but it was fantastic and I hope to go again. This place looks Fantastic

Nov 22, 2017 at 1:22 p.m. Tallulah Rabbit Says...

What a beautiful set up! This has definitely helped me to consider going at this time of year!

Nov 22, 2017 at 12:51 p.m. Sarah B Says...

Someday we will spend our holidays in Orlando with our savings from Undercover Tourist!

Nov 22, 2017 at 12:46 p.m. Tglane Says...


Nov 22, 2017 at 12:29 p.m. Sue Davis Says...

Oh how I wish I could get to Orlando for the holidays !

Nov 22, 2017 at 12:21 p.m. Robin Marcus Says...

We've done Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party, but we haven't taken the kids to universal yet. As they get older, we've been thinking we need to check out Universal, and now you've convince me it needs to be a holiday trip - maybe Christmas gift to spend New Year's Eve at Universal! Is the "magic" factor there, as it is with all things Disney?

Nov 27, 2017 at 11:07 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Robin,

The magic factor is definitely there, especially with all of the new holiday happenings inside The Wizarding World! This is a great year to hop over to Universal for the holidays.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 22, 2017 at 11:57 a.m. Sara Veenstra Says...


Nov 22, 2017 at 11:56 a.m. Soccermonsters Says...


Nov 22, 2017 at 11:37 a.m. Belinda Hughes Says...

Daydreams coming true.

Nov 22, 2017 at 10:03 a.m. Emma Raggett Says...

Going to Orlando next year in November, so excited to see the Christmas shows!!

Nov 22, 2017 at 9:37 a.m. Lstohlman Says...

I always buy my tickets at undercover tourist.

Nov 22, 2017 at 7:54 a.m. ChrisLee Says...

What a great site. All the tips!

Nov 22, 2017 at 7:53 a.m. Pete Says...

Love this site. Love Orlando parks during the awesome atmosphere.

Nov 22, 2017 at 6:30 a.m. Susan Lin Says...

Need Disney tickets! Please Black Friday please!!

Nov 22, 2017 at 5:46 a.m. Shelly Says...

After reading this, I can't wait to go see it!

Nov 22, 2017 at 5:41 a.m. Queenbg Says...

Would love to go see this. I love Harry potter

Nov 22, 2017 at 5:15 a.m. dhogomori Says...

this would be the perfect theme park during the holidays.

Nov 22, 2017 at 5:12 a.m. Breanna D Says...

Absolutely amazing! We went New Years (2016 going into 2017) and had an amazing time. So worth it.

Nov 22, 2017 at 4:36 a.m. Grace Says...

Undercover Tourist is the best site for both Disney and Universal Studios events.

Nov 22, 2017 at 3:49 a.m. Brittany Says...

I actually bought a 1-day 1-park ticket to Universal before all the Christmas details came out and now I'm wondering is it possible to upgrade tickets? My reservation email from Universal says all sales final but do they do upgrades instead?

Nov 22, 2017 at 3:46 a.m. Kathryn Says...

Looks fantastic

Nov 22, 2017 at 3:36 a.m. Rajesh Says...

Simply the best and easiest tool to plan for a vacation with family. Saves lot of time and gets good deals.

Nov 22, 2017 at 3:19 a.m. Ace Says...

Have never been to Universal. That would be amazing

Nov 22, 2017 at 3:17 a.m. Jane Says...

This makes me want to head over to Universal, but only during a slow time where I can see all the sights.

Nov 22, 2017 at 3:13 a.m. Diane Says...

Thanks for the detailed Information!

Nov 22, 2017 at 3:02 a.m. Hufflepuffer Says...


Nov 22, 2017 at 2:42 a.m. Karen Says...

This is awesome! One my bucket list to visit!

Nov 22, 2017 at 2:36 a.m. Jeana Ondrovich Says...

Looks Amazing! Great Blog

Nov 22, 2017 at 2:27 a.m. tlg588 Says...

Great post

Nov 22, 2017 at 2:19 a.m. Larry Alworth Says...

I have never been to Universal in Orlando but this blog tempts me to make the trip

Nov 22, 2017 at 2:19 a.m. Theresa Bricker Says...

LOVE Christmas in Universal!!!

Nov 22, 2017 at 2:09 a.m. Tung Van Says...

There is amazing for Christmas time with family

Nov 22, 2017 at 2:04 a.m. Ginny Alworth Says...

Looks like an exciting time to visit Universal

Nov 22, 2017 at 1:57 a.m. Big Hutch Says...

Alot of good advice and tips

Nov 22, 2017 at 1:56 a.m. jbrickey11 Says...

Can't wait to go back!

Nov 22, 2017 at 1:49 a.m. Cathy Parks Says...

Trying to plan a last minute trip for the Holiday!

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