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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251–300 of 1397 comments
Nov 30, 2017 at 7:39 p.m. Melanie Fox Says...

Looks even more amazing at the holidays - life goals!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:37 p.m. Tom Lamphere Says...

Love this info !!!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:37 p.m. Emtru Says...

Grinchmas was a lot of fun! The whoville characters walk around in great costumes and drape guests with tinsel and garlands wishing everyone “Happy Who-lidays!” Go to for discounted tickets. They also have a 2 day pass- get 1 free option for Universal.

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:37 p.m. Sharon Dorsey Says...

Wow! Looks like they went all out this year!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:35 p.m. Kayleigh Says...

WOW I would love to see this sometime!! Definitely adding it to my list!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:34 p.m. Jen M. Says...

Our trip to Universal Studios and stay in Loews Royal Pacific Hotel were wonderful! Unforgettable and great trip indeed! My daughter's wishes were all granted vising The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:33 p.m. Tori Says...

Ahhh I wish I could be at Universal for Christmas ????

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:33 p.m. Amy Says...

Would love to visit Universal! I haven't been since I was a kid.

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:31 p.m. Devra Says...

I've never experienced Christmas time at Universal.

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. concordmonica Says...

Hope to see Hogwarts at Christmas someday. Looks awesome!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:28 p.m. LaKiesha Woods Says...

We love Universal Orlando!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:28 p.m. denise denise Says...

awesome article!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:27 p.m. Melony Kuechler Says...

Can't wait to visit Harry Potter!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:26 p.m. Terry Bourg Says...

I love Universal!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:24 p.m. Matt Says...

Ready to go back

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:23 p.m. Tom M Says...

I'd love to see the special decorations... especially if I could sneak past the crowds somehow ;-)

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:23 p.m. Dave G Says...

Bought tickets through UCT for Orlando and it was a great way to go! Did it again even. :)

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:23 p.m. Lisa Lovato Says...

The holidays at Universal Studios look magical!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:22 p.m. JSeffy Says...

very cool!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:22 p.m. JSeffy Says...


Nov 30, 2017 at 7:22 p.m. katiejane Says...

I'd love to see Universal around the holidays!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:21 p.m. Heather L Says...

Looks like fun! Sign me up.

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:19 p.m. Steve Bass Says...

Can't wait to go!!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:19 p.m. vanjust14 Says...

I can't wait to visit in December 2018!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:19 p.m. jetfan214 Says...

kids cannot wait to try Universal

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:19 p.m. Rachael Seaberg Says...

Great read!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:18 p.m. Sarah Says...

Won't be there until January - sad I'll miss out on the holiday festivities!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:16 p.m. Heather Pittore Says...

I love this!!!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:16 p.m. Jenna Says...

Absolutely Beautiful!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:14 p.m. Ngozi Says...


Nov 30, 2017 at 7:13 p.m. Tara Says...

Just got back and we're already planning a springtime visit! Maybe next year we can do a holiday visit. We were right on the edge this time, and got to see Seuss Landing all decked out. Want to see the whole thing!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:13 p.m. Laura Turner Says...

I am so happy I checked out this blog-

I love love seeing all the Christmas decorations at my favorite places

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:11 p.m. Kristi Says...

This looks like fun

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:10 p.m. disneynutsss Says...

Looks Awesome!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:09 p.m. nicole butt Says...

The photos make me want to have an Orlando Christmas!!!!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:08 p.m. Sarah O Says...

Universal is such a blast.

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:08 p.m. Sonia Lamp Says...

Looks amazing!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:06 p.m. Vmidd Says...

How exciting it would be to win a trip!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:05 p.m. Gaill Williams Stone Says...

Universal looks great all dressed up in it's Christmas decorations. I haven't been since 2003 and would love to bring my family. My oldest is a big Harry Potter fan and my middle one would love the Hulk Coaster.

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:04 p.m. Ashley Dennerlein Says...


Nov 30, 2017 at 7:03 p.m. Angela Kirschman Says...

Looks amazing. Hoping to take my family someday!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:03 p.m. Kathy Jo Horan Says...

I am so excited to do universal Christmas. I think Harry Potter world will be amazing !!!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:03 p.m. Steve Christianson Says...


Nov 30, 2017 at 7:03 p.m. Chris John Says...

I need to get back to Universal (and Disney) during the Holidays!!!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:02 p.m. M Rutherford Says...

Love the information! Thank you!!

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:01 p.m. MSGTexasMom Says...

Had so much fun the last time, looking forward to going again.

Nov 30, 2017 at 7:01 p.m. 2togoNebraska Says...

Someday we might just make it to Orlando for the holidays. Right now, we are planning a June trip with our grandson.

Nov 30, 2017 at 7 p.m. Andy B Says...

Have not been to Universal Studios in many years and would love to win this..

Nov 30, 2017 at 6:59 p.m. Lisa Lefrancois Says...

Loved this place.. would love to go back with my kids

Nov 30, 2017 at 6:59 p.m. Kari Combs Says...

Looks so fun!

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