Why Universal Orlando Is the Best Place To Spend the Holidays

Credit: Universal

The Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort are in full swing, and you don’t want to miss out.

Universal Orlando Resort isn’t just a theme park; it’s a universe of adventure, excitement, and imagination that captivates visitors throughout the year. Nestled in the heart of Florida, this 700-acre wonderland is a haven for thrill-seekers, movie enthusiasts, and fans of all ages. Beyond the seasonal celebrations, Universal Orlando offers a plethora of experiences that make it a must-visit destination regardless of the time of year.

Universal Studios Florida, the flagship theme park at the resort, is a cinematic masterpiece that transports guests into the heart of their favorite movies and TV shows. From the bustling streets of New York City to the whimsical world of Springfield from The Simpsons, the park is a visual feast that celebrates the magic of filmmaking. Meanwhile, Universal Islands of Adventure invites visitors to explore different islands, each dedicated to a unique theme, from the prehistoric wonders of Jurassic Park to the mythic realms of Marvel Super Hero Island.

Universal Orlando Resort

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For those looking to relax, Universal’s Volcano Bay, the resort’s water theme park, is a tropical oasis like no other. With its centerpiece, Krakatau, a towering volcano, the park boasts thrilling water slides, serene lazy rivers, and the innovative TapuTapu technology, allowing guests to virtually wait in line for attractions while enjoying other experiences throughout the park.

As the sun sets, Universal CityWalk comes alive with an entertainment extravaganza. The vibrant nightlife and diverse dining options, ranging from the lively atmosphere of Margaritaville to the sophisticated ambiance of The Palm, make it the perfect place to unwind. The lively beats of live music venues and the laughter echoing from the Universal Cinemark theater contribute to the dynamic atmosphere that defines Universal CityWalk.

Now, looking towards the Holiday season, it’s easy to understand why guests enjoy visiting Walt Disney World Resort during Christmas. We at Disney Dining spend a lot of time talking about all the Holiday offerings at Disney World, but here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t want to miss out on the Holiday season at Universal Orlando Resort this year.

Universal Orlando Minion Float

Credit: Universal

Diving into the Holidays: Universal Orlando’s Festive Transformation

Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade: The Wizarding World Comes Alive

When the holiday season descends upon Universal Orlando Resort, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade undergo a magical transformation. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter becomes an enchanting spectacle, with every nook and cranny adorned in holiday splendor. Diagon Alley, with its mystical shops and iconic Gringotts Bank, becomes a winter wonderland with snow-covered rooftops and twinkling lights. The famous dragon perched atop Gringotts breathes fire against a backdrop of festive decorations, creating a captivating blend of magic and holiday cheer.

In Hogsmeade, the charm is equally enchanting. The village is blanketed in snow, and the Hogwarts Express exudes a cozy warmth as it shuttles guests between the two wizarding hubs. The towering Christmas tree in the center of Hogsmeade, adorned with magical ornaments, radiates the spirit of the season. The enchanting atmosphere is further enhanced by the captivating “Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” show, a mesmerizing display of lights, music, and animation that unfolds against the majestic backdrop of Hogwarts Castle.

soundtrack universal orlando resort harry potter wizarding world hogwarts robes

Credit: Universal Resort

Grinchmas: A Whimsical Celebration

Universal Orlando’s holiday festivities extend beyond the wizarding world to the whimsical realm of Dr. Seuss. Grinchmas, inspired by the classic tale “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” brings the beloved characters to life in Universal Islands of Adventure. The Grinch, with his heart two sizes too small, takes center stage in “The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular,” a live retelling of the iconic story.

The show captures the essence of Dr. Seuss’s timeless tale, blending heartwarming moments with whimsical performances. Guests are transported to Whoville, where the Grinch’s redemption unfolds before their eyes. The vibrant set design, colorful costumes, and infectious energy of the performers create a spectacle that appeals to audiences of all ages. After the show, guests have the opportunity to meet the Grinch himself, allowing for interactive and memorable moments.

Grinchmas at Universal Orlando Resort

Credit: Universal Orlando

Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s

A highlight of Universal Orlando’s holiday lineup is the Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s. This spectacular procession winds its way through the streets of Universal Studios Florida, showcasing larger-than-life balloons, intricately designed floats, and a cast of beloved characters. The parade is a visual feast, bringing together the magic of Macy’s iconic Thanksgiving Day Parade with the thrills of Universal Orlando.

From the classic characters of the Macy’s parade, including Snoopy and the Minions, to Universal’s own beloved figures like the mischievous and lovable characters from “Despicable Me,” the parade is a celebration of pop culture and holiday cheer. The meticulous choreography, catchy music, and the sheer scale of the floats create an immersive experience that transports guests to the heart of a festive celebration.

Mannheim Steamroller: A Symphony of Holiday Sounds

The holidays are not just about what you see but also about what you hear. Universal Orlando ensures that guests are serenaded with the sounds of the season by hosting live performances from Mannheim Steamroller. As the top-selling holiday artist of all time, Mannheim Steamroller brings its signature blend of classical and rock music to Universal Studios Florida on select dates during the holiday season.

The performances, held in a festive setting, add an auditory layer to the holiday experience. The melodies of timeless carols and holiday classics resonate through the park, creating a harmonious backdrop to the visual splendor of the decorations and festivities. Guests can find joy in the shared experience of live music, enhancing the overall sensory delight of the holiday celebration.

Delightful Culinary Offerings: A Feast for the Senses

Holiday-Themed Treats: From Whimsy to Tradition

Universal Orlando’s holiday celebrations extend beyond the visual and auditory senses to indulge the palate with a delectable array of holiday-themed treats. The culinary offerings are a testament to the resort’s commitment to providing a comprehensive and immersive holiday experience.

The Holiday Loaded Vegan Sweet Potato is a savory delight that caters to the diverse tastes of visitors. Offering a unique twist on traditional holiday flavors, this dish reflects Universal Orlando’s dedication to inclusivity and culinary innovation. The Turkey Dinner Sandwich, a holiday-infused creation, combines familiar ingredients in a portable and flavorful package, allowing guests to savor the essence of a holiday feast on the go.

Earl’s Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Acorn Bomb is a testament to the resort’s creativity in crafting holiday-themed beverages. This decadent treat combines the comforting flavors of hot chocolate with a playful presentation, adding an element of whimsy to the culinary offerings. The Grinch-themed treats, including Grinch Cookies, a Grinch Ice Cream Sandwich, and a Grinch Hot Chocolate Bomb, are not just indulgent treats but also playful nods to the festive characters that define the holiday season at Universal Orlando.

Letters to Santa Holiday Shake

Universal CityWalk, the vibrant entertainment and dining district, plays a crucial role in the overall holiday experience. The all-new Letters to Santa Holiday Shake at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen is a culinary masterpiece that exemplifies the resort’s commitment to culinary innovation. This shake, featuring coquito ice cream, dulce de leche, and a chocolate Christmas card, is a symphony of flavors that delights the taste buds.

The presentation of the shake goes beyond mere indulgence; it becomes a visual spectacle that complements the festive atmosphere of Universal CityWalk. The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, with its steampunk-inspired design, provides the perfect backdrop for this holiday-themed creation. The shake is more than a culinary offering; it’s an experience that combines flavors, aesthetics, and the joy of celebration.

The Holiday Tribute Store

The Holiday Tribute Store at Universal Orlando is more than a shopping destination; it’s a journey through themed rooms that capture the essence of the holiday season. Themed as the “Universal Tribute Store and Post,” this year’s store transports visitors to the Hogsmeade Owl Post, Who-ville Post Office, and Earl’s Garage Delivery Hub, creating a whimsical and festive shopping experience.

Each room is meticulously designed to evoke the magic of the holidays. From Christmas at Hogwarts sweatshirts to interactive snowy owl plush toys, the store offers a curated selection of merchandise that extends the holiday spirit beyond the parks. Guests can browse through a variety of items, from Grinch plush backpacks to Earl the Squirrel spirit jerseys and plush, creating a seamless connection between the immersive experiences within the parks and tangible mementos of the holiday celebration.

If you’re looking for Holiday souvenirs or even gifts for your favorite family members and friends, you don’t want to miss out on the Holiday Tribute Store.

Universal Studios Orlando enterance

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Beyond the Parks: A Universal Celebration of the Holidays

Festive Atmosphere at Universal CityWalk

The holiday spirit at Universal Orlando extends beyond the theme parks to Universal CityWalk. As the entertainment and dining district of the resort, CityWalk transforms into a festive hub, offering seasonal food and beverage options and special entertainment. The lively atmosphere, combined with the dazzling holiday decorations, creates a vibrant and celebratory ambiance.

Visitors can explore the diverse dining options, from the laid-back vibes of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville to the upscale elegance of The Palm. The live music venues, including the iconic Hard Rock Cafe, contribute to the dynamic energy of CityWalk during the holidays. It becomes a destination not just for those seeking a culinary adventure but also for those looking to immerse themselves in the festive spirit outside the confines of the theme parks.

Holiday Cheer Across Universal Orlando’s Hotels

The celebration of the holidays extends to Universal Orlando’s eight unique hotels, each offering a distinct theme and atmosphere. The hotels are not just places to rest after a day of adventure; they are integral parts of the overall holiday experience. From Loews Portofino Bay Hotel’s Italian-inspired elegance to the retro charm of Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, each hotel is adorned with festive decorations that complement its individual theme.

Special holiday feasts and activities at the hotels provide guests with an array of options to partake in the holiday festivities. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s celebrations are marked with unique menus and events, offering guests a chance to create cherished holiday memories within the comfort of their chosen accommodations. Menorah lightings, themed décor, and seasonal entertainment, such as Christmas tree lightings and strolling carolers, ensure that the holiday spirit is felt throughout the resort.

Some hotels go the extra mile by incorporating unique entertainment elements into their holiday celebrations. Whether it’s a character breakfast with holiday-themed appearances or special performances in the hotel lobbies, Universal Orlando’s hotels aim to make every moment of the holiday stay memorable. The attention to detail in the holiday decorations, from themed Christmas trees to festive lighting displays, adds to the overall ambiance of warmth and celebration.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort

Credit: Loews

Special Offers and Extended Celebrations

Universal Orlando’s commitment to making the holiday magic accessible to a broader audience is evident in its special offers and promotions. The “Get 2 Days Free with a 2-Park, 3-Day Ticket” promotion allows U.S. and Canada residents to extend their holiday celebration with five days of festivities at Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure for the price of a three-day ticket. This promotion not only makes the celebration more accessible but also encourages visitors to immerse themselves fully in the magic of the holidays.

The option to upgrade tickets to include Universal Volcano Bay adds an extra layer of excitement to the holiday experience. This water park, known for its immersive theming and exhilarating attractions, provides an additional dimension to the overall holiday celebration, allowing guests to balance thrills with relaxation. The tropical paradise of Volcano Bay becomes a retreat within the larger universe of Universal Orlando, offering a different kind of escape during the holiday season.

For those looking to extend their holiday getaway, the 20% discount on a four-night stay in the 2-bedroom suites at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites & Surfside Inn and Suites, and the family suites at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort sweetens the deal. These accommodations, designed to cater to different preferences and budgets, offer guests a comfortable and convenient home base for their holiday adventures.

Minion Land at Universal Orlando

Credit: Discover Universal

Don’t miss out on everything Universal Orlando has to offer this Holiday season.

Universal Orlando Resort stands as a testament to the idea that magic knows no season. While its holiday celebrations are a dazzling showcase of festive cheer, the resort’s allure extends throughout the year, offering an immersive and thrilling experience for visitors of all ages. From the cinematic wonders of Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure to the aquatic adventures of Universal’s Volcano Bay, the resort is a multifaceted gem that sparkles in every season.

During the holidays, Universal Orlando undergoes a breathtaking transformation. Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade become winter wonderlands, Grinchmas adds a whimsical touch, and the Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s turns the streets into a festive spectacle. The live performances by Mannheim Steamroller, the delectable holiday-themed treats, and the immersive shopping at the Holiday Tribute Store create a sensory symphony that elevates the holiday experience.

Beyond the parks, Universal CityWalk becomes a hub of entertainment, and the resort’s hotels are adorned with festive decorations, offering special feasts and activities. The special offers and promotions make the holiday celebration accessible to a wider audience, inviting guests to extend their stay and fully immerse themselves in the magic.

Universal Orlando Resort isn’t just a place; it’s an experience that transcends time and season. Whether you find yourself caught in the thrill of a roller coaster, enchanted by the magic of Hogwarts Castle, or savoring holiday treats under twinkling lights, Universal Orlando Resort is a destination where every moment becomes a memory, and every memory is a celebration.

About Brittni Ward

Brittni is a Disney and Universal fan; one of her favorite things at both parks is collecting popcorn buckets. While at Disney World Resort, Brittni meets the princesses and rides Kilimanjaro Safaris. At Universal, Brittni enjoys the Minions and watching Animal Actors on Location! When not at Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando, Brittni spends time with her family and pets.