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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1201–1250 of 1397 comments
Nov 20, 2017 at 9:58 p.m. Davis Family Says...

Can't wait to see what they have planned this year!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:58 p.m. Married2butthead Says...

Great savings for a fun park

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:58 p.m. Paige Rolin Says...

I am so stoked about Christmas at universal!!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:58 p.m. Lisa Says...

This looks like so much fun!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:58 p.m. Dana Says...

very interesting! Thanks for the info.

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:58 p.m. Jessica Jones Says...

We have been to Disney many times but never Universal. I would love to see this in person! ❤️

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:57 p.m. JoAnna Lindsey Says...

I would love to see Universal at Christmas. I bet you get a completely different feel than you do during the summer months.

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:57 p.m. Dana Says...

would love to go someday during Christmas

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:55 p.m. Megan H Says...

I love Universal Studios!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:55 p.m. Cara Says...

We have been to Disney world multiple times but after this, I need to head to Universal.

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:55 p.m. EK Says...

Super helpful guide. Would love to visit over the holidays!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:54 p.m. Sandy Green Says...

What can I say, love ???? Disney!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:54 p.m. Lisa Says...

There is no one better than Undercover Tourist to help plan your Orlando trip!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:54 p.m. Sara Galati White Says...

I would LOVE to see Harry Potter World during Christmas!!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:54 p.m. Barb Says...

Universal Orlando is a great park but especially at the holidays. Hogwarts at Christmas is absolutely beautiful,

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:53 p.m. Jenafer Says...

Sounds like tons of fun!!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:53 p.m. Susan B Says...

What a huge help - I know how important is is to plan a theme park vacation (as Ben Franklin said, “Forewarn’d, forearm’d”).

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:53 p.m. Andrea Says...

This is so helpful!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:52 p.m. Yvonne Shaw Says...

My kids would be out of this world ecstatic to be able to do this.

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:52 p.m. Jaimie Says...

Sounds like fun!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:51 p.m. Heidi Says...

Wow!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:51 p.m. Laurel Says...

Can’t wait for our trip next month!!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:50 p.m. Kary McGee Says...

Heading to Universal Dec 16 for our family Christmas!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:50 p.m. Connie Says...

Thank so for the info! My family LOVES Universal!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:50 p.m. ladyoflarkspur Says...

Love this! I have lots of mileage miles, all I need is the room! Thank you!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:50 p.m. Heidi Says...

This looks like so much fun!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:49 p.m. Mrbacon81 Says...

What two things go together better than Christmas and theme parks!? I love Universal!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:49 p.m. Angela Powers Says...

Great info, thank you

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:49 p.m. cary Says...

Booked tickets thru you in 2016 and would love to come back again.

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:47 p.m. Kristen Says...

Christmas at Hogwarts looks incredible!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:47 p.m. Cathy F Says...

I love Universal at Christmas!!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:47 p.m. Jessica Says...

We love Universal! And Undercover Tourist makes it so simple!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:46 p.m. Dawn Costantiello Says...

The most amazing vacation destination spot in the world! We hope to visit again someday soon :)

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:46 p.m. Michelle Sanna Says...

We just got back from our Disney Vacation that we booked through you guys - it was great and everything went so smoothly.

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:45 p.m. lauren Says...

Love Undercover Tourist.

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:45 p.m. Lori Says...

Great guide. Can't wait!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:45 p.m. Susan DVM Says...

Florida is an awesome place in the winter! The theme parks are less crowded, and there are great bargins.

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:45 p.m. Didi Marie Says...

I have never been to Universal at this time of year. It looks marvelous!!!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:45 p.m. Adam S Says...

Nice! Loved Halloween in 2011, Christmas looks awesome.

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:44 p.m. Lindsey Dippold Says...

Undercover Tourist has the best information I can find! Thank you!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:43 p.m. Kshitiz Teotia Says...

Amazing insights on different activities within the parks and really enjoy Disney for what it is

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:43 p.m. Kitkat Says...

I kind of wish I was going during Christmas. It’s so pretty! But I’ll take the smaller crowds in February any day. ????

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:43 p.m. Erin P. Says...

Would love to visit during the holidays! Thanks for the info!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:42 p.m. Jason Says...

Amazing guide!!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:42 p.m. Husevin Says...

Vacation goals!!!!!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:42 p.m. Crystal Says...

So much great info!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:42 p.m. playdreamthink Says...

I am hoping to visit there in late December, hopefully the week between Christmas and New Years. Thank you!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:42 p.m. A.J. Says...

Heading there in a few weeks. Can't wait!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:42 p.m. Karen Says...

Next year is the year we will visit the park for the holidays. SO excited!!

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Nov 20, 2017 at 9:41 p.m. Josh Says...

Looks like a lot of fun! Wish we could make it this year...

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