Guides and Tips

6 Insider Tips to Know Before You Experience Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort

December 19, 2017
The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle

It’s that time of year – the time for Christmas trees, an endless amount of cookies, hot chocolate and quality time with family and friends. If you’re in the Orlando area and looking for a fun holiday activity, look no further than Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort running now through January 6.

From beloved classics like Grinchmas and Mannheim Steamroller to exciting new experiences like Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s – there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.

Since the parks do get busy during the holiday season, it’s best to come with a plan so you can see and do everything you want to do. To help with your planning, here are 6 insider tips to help maximize your visit.

1. Watch The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle Later in The Evening

Instead of rushing to Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure to see the first showing of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, head over for a later viewing before the park closes for the day. The first official showing is at 6:30 PM now through Dec. 17 and then 7 PM Dec. 18 – Jan. 6.

Fireworks at Universal Orlando

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle runs intermittently until park close – so take your time, enjoy the new decor throughout the parks and grab a Hot Butterbeer (my favorite type of Butterbeer).

Entrance to Hogsmeade at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

2. Take the Scenic Route to Universal’s Islands of Adventure

I know what you’re thinking – “you want me to walk?” Just trust me! Although boarding the Hogwarts Express is a popular route, by walking to Islands of Adventure from Universal Studios Florida, you’ll be sure to reach your daily step goal.

Once inside Islands of Adventure, hang a right and head through Lost Continent to the main entrance of Hogsmeade. This is the quickest way in, not to mention, you’ll be able to walk through Grinchmas in Seuss Landing where you’ll see beautiful Christmas decorations from the bingle balls to whofoo fluff.

3. Arrive Early and Grab a Hot Chocolate for the New Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s

Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's

What is the holiday season without a parade? And the new Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s is one that you really don’t want to miss. With 16 new balloons and 15 floats, the parade is truly larger-than-life.

To get the best view, my tip is to hunker down along the streets of New York or Hollywood Blvd. at Universal Studios at least a half hour to 45 minutes before the start time of the parade. That way you’ll be up front and center in the streets of New York, where it snows! Can you imagine snow in Florida? Let me tell you – it’s magical.

4. Take a Closer Look at the Details

Decor in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

When enjoying Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, make sure you take a close look at the decor throughout the lands. The decor on the individual storefronts are specially themed for each shop. For example, the garland on Spindlewarps Wool Shop in Diagon Alley includes balls of yarn!

In addition, if you look at the Santa float during Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, you’ll see a wish list wrapped around the globe that includes items that our Entertainment Team Members want for Christmas this year.

5. Dress Up For Grinchmas

And by dress up, I mean transform into a lean, mean, green machine. Grab your Grinch hat, gloves, shirt and frown before you make your way to the live retelling of Dr. Seuss’ Holiday classic in the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular. That way you’ll feel in character when you sing along with the holiday music you know and love.

Grinch Merchandise

6. Rock Out to Mannheim Steamroller

If you’re a fan of live Christmas music with a rockin twist, you need to see Mannheim Steamroller. Make sure to plan your visit on a night when they are performing at Universal Studios Florida.


For all my fellow Floridians, I have a bonus tip just for you.

7. Best Time to Experience it All is Before or Right After the Holidays

Yes, you read that right. Even theme parks experience the holiday rush, so I recommend planning a day trip (or staycation at one of our amazing on-site hotels!) either before or after Christmas and New Year’s. Our holiday celebration runs now through Jan. 6.

Universal's Holiday Parade

I hope these tips help you have the best holiday season ever at Universal Orlando Resort. If you have any insights from visiting yourself, comment below. Be sure to grab your tickets to join in on the fun and have a wonderful holiday season.


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