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Is it Worth Visiting Universal Studios Orlando at Christmas?

Is it Worth Visiting Universal Studios Orlando at Christmas?

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Are you planning a trip to Universal Studios Orlando for Christmas? Keep scrolling for the top Universal Studios Orlando Christmas tips and activities you won’t want to miss!
This list of things to do on a Universal Studios Orlando Christmas vacation contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

A few years ago, my family visited Universal Studios Hollywood during Christmas and we were blown away but the festive decor, holiday treats, and the fun photo ops!

So, when we decided to visit a theme park on our recent trip to Orlando in December, we knew it would include a stop at Universal Studios Orlando!

Keep scrolling to find out what to expect at Universal Studios Orlando at Christmas and see whether or not it’s the right fit for your family!

Overview of Universal Studios Orlando Christmas Offerings

Visiting Universal Studios Florida during the holiday season is like stepping into a winter wonderland with a twist!

The park transforms with special Universal Orlando Christmas events that are a must-see. Imagine seeing giant balloons from Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, where characters from movies like Despicable Me and Shrek come to life.

Image of Marcie Cheung and her son in front of a Christmas tree at Universal Studios Florida. Photo credit: Sees the Day Photography
We love Christmastime at Universal Studios. Photo credit: Sees the Day Photography

For Harry Potter fans, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter gets a festive makeover. Both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are decked out in holiday decor, and you can even sip on hot Butterbeer! Don’t miss the stunning Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, lighting up every evening.

And for a good laugh, The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular is a show that brings everyone’s favorite Grinch to the stage. It’s a holiday experience that’s both magical and uniquely Universal! There’s also the Universal Holiday Tour and the Holiday Tree Hunt.

Holiday Decorations & Ambiance

Universal Studios Orlando at Christmas is a dazzling experience that brings the joy of the season to life! As you stroll through the park, you’ll be surrounded by sparkling Christmas trees, twinkling Christmas lights, and festive Christmas decorations.

Image of Marcie Cheung and her son with Earl the Squirrel at Universal Orlando.
We were stoked to see Earl the Squirrel! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Each corner of Universal Christmas feels like stepping into a holiday postcard. Don’t forget to take advantage of the unique photo opportunities around the park. You can capture special memories with seasonal décor and even characters dressed up in holiday outfits.

The New York area at Universal Studios Florida especially sparkles with a Big Apple-inspired festive atmosphere. It’s a magical transformation that brings holiday cheer and creates a perfect backdrop for those memorable Christmas snaps. It’s like experiencing the holidays in New York City, with an extra touch of Universal magic!

Special Universal Studios Orlando Holiday Shows and Parades

Visiting Universal Studios Orlando during the holiday season is like stepping into a winter wonderland, but with a twist of thrilling theme park adventures! The entire park transforms into a festive paradise, making it a fantastic time to experience Universal Christmas.

Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s

One of the major highlights is Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s. Imagine larger-than-life balloons soaring through the streets of Universal Studios Florida.

Image of Marcie Cheung and her son at the Macy's Parade at Universal Studios at Christmas. Photo credit: Sees the Day Photography
Universal’s Holiday Parade is much cooler than we expected. Photo credit: Sees the Day Photography

You’ll see the Minions from Illumination’s Despicable Me, along with beloved characters from DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek and Madagascar.

The streets come alive each night with this parade, complete with classic Macy’s star balloons. Watch in awe as dancers in holiday costumes parade past, bringing cheer and festive vibes.

Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular

Then, there’s the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, a must-see for fans of Dr. Seuss. Seuss Landing is transformed into the whimsical world of Who-ville, decked out in all its holiday glory.

You’ll laugh and sing along with the residents of Who-ville and the Grinch himself in this live show. It’s a heartwarming, hilarious performance that captures the essence of the classic story, with a soundtrack featuring Mannheim Steamroller.

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

But the magic doesn’t stop there. Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is truly enchanting. The streets are adorned with magical decorations, and festive treats are available to add to the holiday cheer.

Image of Marcie Cheung eating Butterbeer fudge at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando.
I LOVED the Butterbeer fudge! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

As night falls, witness the stunning transformation of Hogwarts Castle with The Magic of Christmas projection show. The show is a breathtaking display of lights and effects that brings the spirit of the season to the iconic castle.

Don’t forget to sway along to the tunes of Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees in Universal Studios Florida and enjoy the seasonal melodies of The Frog Choir in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Each of these special shows and parades adds an extra layer of holiday magic to your Universal Studios visit, making it a worthwhile experience for the whole family during the holiday season.

Seasonal Treats & Dining

Visiting Universal Studios Orlando at Christmas is not just about the thrilling rides and festive parades; it’s also a culinary adventure! The theme parks transform into a foodie’s holiday paradise, serving up an array of festive food and drinks that truly bring the holiday spirit to life.

Seuss Landing turns into a Grinchy delight with Grinch Hot Chocolate Bombs, Grinch Cookies, and even a Grinch Ice Cream Sandwich. Don’t miss the Grinch Green Popcorn and Grinch Cotton Candy at various carts, or the Red & Green Icee for a frosty treat.

Over at Holidays at Universal Studios Florida, you’ll find mouth-watering options like the Turkey Dinner Sandwich and the 3 Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich at Battery Park’s Yule Enjoy.

For dessert, try the Chocolate Pressed S’mores or indulge in the Earl’s Salted Caramel Acorn Bomb. The EggNog Bar offers a classic holiday favorite with options like Classic Nog and Fire Nog.

The dining experience extends across the resort with unique holiday treats at the Croissant Moon Bakery, TODAY Cafe, and San Francisco Pastry Company. Look out for the Vegan Cookie Butter Snowflake, Butter Pecan Yule Log, and Holiday Pinecone. Even Voodoo Doughnuts joins in with their festive Penguin doughnut.

For a truly memorable holiday celebration, join The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast. It’s an opportunity to dine with the mean, green one himself and Whos too!

Enjoy a sit-down meal of festive food and fun, perfect for families looking to immerse themselves in the Universal Christmas experience.

Every corner of Universal Studios Florida is buzzing with holiday treats and themed menus, making it an ideal destination for those looking to indulge in the flavors of the season. The variety and creativity of the festive food offerings add a delightful touch to the overall holiday atmosphere at the park.

Holiday Crowds and Planning for Universal Studios Orlando in December

Visiting Universal Studios Orlando during the Christmas season is an unforgettable experience, but it’s also a popular time for holiday festivities. The Universal theme parks are decked out in holiday decorations, and the special events make holidays at Universal a magical time.

Image of crowds at Universal Studios Orlando during Christmas. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung
Christmas is a popular time to visit Univeral Orlando. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Crowd Levels

During Christmas, expect the parks to be busier than at other times of the year. Many families and fans of the Universal Christmas experience come to enjoy the festive atmosphere, so the parks can get quite crowded, especially near the major attractions.

Navigating the Crowds

To make the most of your visit, try to arrive early in the morning when the parks first open. This strategy helps you get ahead of the crowds. Also, prioritize your must-see attractions and hit them first. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, head to The Wizarding World areas early on to avoid long waits.

Ticket Prices and Costs

During the holiday season, ticket prices and hotel rates at Universal might be higher than at less busy times. It’s always a good idea to check ticket prices and hotel rates in advance and book early.

If you’re on a budget, consider visiting just before or after the peak holiday dates to enjoy the festive decorations with fewer crowds and potentially lower costs.

Remember, planning and a bit of strategy can go a long way in ensuring you enjoy the Universal Christmas festivities to the fullest, even with the bigger crowds and higher prices.

Pros of Visiting Universal Studios Orlando During Christmas

Visiting Universal Studios Orlando during Christmas is like stepping into a holiday wonderland. The Universal theme parks transform into a festive paradise, filled with dazzling Christmas lights and themed food that bring joy to everyone. It’s a unique time to experience the magic of the holidays at Universal.

Image of Marcie Cheung and her family celebrating Grinchmas at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Florida. Photo credit: Sees the Day Photography
Dabbing at Grinchmas! Photo credit: Sees the Day Photography

The Harry Potter Christmas celebration in The Wizarding World is a sight to behold. Imagine the streets of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade covered in snow, with decorations that make you feel like you’re part of the story.

Plus, the Holiday Tree Hunt is a fun activity for all ages, where you search for beautifully decorated Christmas trees throughout the parks.

And let’s not forget about Santa Claus! Seeing Santa in the magical setting of Universal adds an extra layer of excitement to the Universal Christmas experience.

The holiday events, from parades to shows, are specially designed to celebrate the season, offering unique entertainment options that aren’t available at any other time of the year.

Finally, the seasonal merchandise and souvenirs are perfect for remembering your holiday trip. From exclusive ornaments to festive apparel, you’ll find plenty of special items to take home.

In short, visiting Universal Studios Orlando during Christmas is definitely worth it for the enchanting atmosphere and one-of-a-kind holiday experiences.

Cons of Visiting Universal Studios Orlando During Christmas

Visiting Universal Studios Orlando during Christmas can be super fun, but there are a few things to think about. First, since it’s the holiday season, there are usually more people, which means you might have to wait longer for rides and shows. It can get really busy!

We spent most of our time wearing long pants and sweatshirts. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Also, even though it’s Florida, the weather can be a bit unpredictable in winter. Some days might be chilly or even rainy, so you’ll want to pack a jacket or poncho just in case.

Lastly, because it’s a popular time to visit, things like hotels and special holiday events might cost more. So, if you’re planning a trip during Christmas, it’s good to plan your budget a bit more carefully.

5 Tips for a Magical Christmas Experience at Universal Studios

Book the Grinch Character Breakfast (if you REALLY want photos with the Grinch)

The wait times were typically 4-5 HOURS long every time we checked during the 2.5 days we spent in the parks.

If that’s high on your bucket list, I’d splurge and reserve the character breakfast so you’re guaranteed a photo without waiting in that crazy line.

Snap Some Pics at the Holiday Photo Ops

One of the cool things about Universal Orlando is that they know families want to take a bazillion photos, so they provide some really cute backdrops.

Image of a boy in front of a Christmas truck at Universal Studios Orlando CityWalk.
We had to get a pic with this cute Christmas truck at CityWalk. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

They have holiday set ups all across both parks and CityWalk. It’s perfect for your Christmas card photo!

Take Advantage of Mobile Ordering for Festive Treats

If you’re a foodie, I highly recommend taking a look at the holiday treats and figuring out which ones you want to try. Then, when you want to get one, use the mobile ordering feature on the app to get it.

The lines at some of the food places can be really long, so mobile ordering is a great way to cut down on your wait time.

Buy Your Grinchmas or Holiday Clothing Before You Go

We saw tons of cute Grinch outfits for families, but they were all items that people packed for their trips. It was actually sort of slim pickings when we looked at the gift shops.

I recommend checking Etsy for family-matching shirts with either a Grinch or Harry Potter theme. And it’s also fun to bring holiday hats. We saw a bunch of Grinch ones that people didn’t get in the parks.

Stay at a Universal Hotel for a Festive Lobby

We stayed at the Loews Sapphire Falls and they had gingerbread houses and a huge Christmas tree in the lobby. It was a great way to get us in the holiday mood as soon as we arrived!

Holidays at Universal Orlando FAQs

What is Universal’s Holiday Tour?

Universal’s Holiday Tour is a special guided experience offering exclusive access to holiday attractions, shows, and a chance to meet The Grinch and Santa.

Do I need separate theme park admission for holiday events?

You need regular theme park admission to access holiday events at Universal Studios Orlando.

Does Universal Citywalk do anything for the holidays?

Yes, Universal CityWalk is decked out with festive decorations and offers holiday-themed entertainment and dining experiences.

Do Universal Orlando resort hotels decorate for Christmas?

Yes the lobbies of resort hotels are all decked out for the holidays!

Where can I get a Holiday Tree Hunt brochure?

You can pick up a Holiday Tree Hunt brochure at select merchandise locations throughout Universal Studios Orlando.

Is there a Christmas day breakfast buffet?

Yes, several restaurants in Universal Orlando offer a special Christmas day breakfast buffet, but reservations are recommended.

Is Christmas at Hogwarts castle worth it?

Absolutely! The Christmas projection show on Hogwarts Castle is a magical experience not to be missed, especially for Harry Potter fans.

Can I meet the one and only Grinch?

Yes, but be prepared to wait! Lines were typically 240-300 minutes long when we went in mid-December.

How can I get Santa priority access?

Santa priority access can be obtained through the Universal’s Holiday Tour or by staying at select Universal Orlando Resort hotels.

Universal Studios at Christmas Wrap-Up

Am I glad that we visited Universal Studios Orlando at Christmas? ABSOLUTELY! It was extra magical and I loved all the extra photo ops, treats, and decor.

Were there downsides? Of course. The weather was a bit cooler than I had hoped (I ended up wearing the same sweatshirt and wool leggings every single day) and we definitely had to fight some crowds.

So, was it worth it? That’s totally subjective based on personal preferences. For our family, YES it was worth it and we’d go again at this time.

Looking for more Universal Studios Orlando content? Check out How Many Days Do You Need at Universal Studios Orlando?, Universal Studios vs. Islands of Adventure: Which Orlando Park is Right for You?, Universal Studios vs Disney World: The Ultimate Family Vacation Showdown, and 13 Must-Read Tips for Universal Studios Orlando First-Timers!

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