The holiday season is, indeed, the most wonderful time of year, especially at Universal Orlando Resort. Not only is it less crowded than the rest of the year, meaning shorter wait times, but there’s no shortage of festivities for guests to enjoy, from decorations to performances to character encounters.
Warm temperatures mean you can still visit Volcano Bay during the day before admiring the lights at Universal Studios by night. And don’t forget about discounted hotel rooms! Here are a few of our favorite parts of the holidays at the parks.
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Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s
Similar to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, this holiday parade features dancers and performers as well as floats and character appearances from movies including Minions, Shrek, and Madagascar. And, of course, Santa will be there!
The parade is held on certain nights from mid-November to early January. Held in the Beverly Hills area of Universal Studios, grab yourself a spot to watch it at least 30 minutes in advance.
Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
There’s nowhere quite as magical as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter during the holidays. Both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are lit up with twinkling lights and other decorations.
Buskers set up at King’s Cross Station and Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees perform a special show. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle in Hogsmeade features a holiday-themed lights show every night from dusk to the park’s closure. During the day, there’s also the Frog Choir.
The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular
Over at Seuss Landing in Islands of Adventure, the whimsical rides and stores have a little extra holiday cheer and decorations. In addition to appearances from your favorite Seuss characters, you can also find the Grinch here.
Speaking of the character, the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular is one of the holiday shows, a live retelling of the beloved story with music Mannheim Steamroller. Stick around afterward for an autograph and photo. You must be there 15 minutes early for shows, which run from mid-November to early January multiple times per day.
Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration
This may not be a holiday-specific activity, but this new show is an easy one to add to your evening at the park, starting after the earlier Hogwarts show.
Held on the lake at Universal Studios, your favorite Universal movies are showcased with moving images on water fountains along with music and even fireworks. Grab a spot on the lawn at Central Park early for the best views.
Over in the bandstand at Universal Studios, you can even catch a performance by best-selling holiday artist Mannheim Steamroller. They perform on weekends in November and December at 7 pm, so plan your trip accordingly!
Holidays at the Hotels and Other Holiday Fun
The hotels also have their own festivities like the tropical-themed gingerbread houses at the Loews Royal Pacific or the massive Christmas tree in the port at the Loews Portofino Bay.
Enjoy character encounters like the Grinch Character Breakfast, which you can purchase separately. Catch the a capella performers at Universal Studios, special food and drink like hot Butterbeer at the Wizarding World, and holiday merchandise like ornaments and scarves.
This post was produced in partnership with Universal Orlando Resort.