The holiday season is one of the best times of the year to visit the Universal Orlando Resort. Typically starting in mid-November and extending through the first of the year, the entire resort is transformed into a holiday wonderland.
Included with park admission, the Holiday’s at Universal Orlando takes place in both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. This annual event a number of unique shows and experiences including Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the wonderful world of Dr. Seuss (can you say Merry Grinchmas) that are free with the cost of admission.
Guests can also take advantage of a number of different holiday deals and packages as well as a special holiday tour (premium experience).
After reading this Complete Guide to the Holiday’s at the Universal Orlando Resort, you will find that a visit to Universal during the holiday season is an absolute must.
The Holidays at Universal Orlando (2023)
For 2023, the Holidays at Universal Orlando will run from November 17, 2022 until December 31, 2023. As always, this annual spectacular is included with a theme park admission ticket or annual pass.
Following is a list of the shows and experiences for the 2023 holiday season:
Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s
Floats, floats and more floats highlight this amazing parade and it’s almost like being in New York City (except for the weather of course). The hot air balloon floats in Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s will features some of your favorite Universal characters and finishing with a tree lighting ceremony with Santa Claus himself.
We highly recommend that you find a spot in front of the Macy’s store (near the Revenge of the Mummy attraction) for the best vantage point.
The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular
Straight out of Dr. Seuss lore, the Grinch and the Whos will make appearances in Seuss Landing throughout the day. The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular is one of our favorite holiday themed shows that is offered at any of the Orlando theme parks.
Guests will enjoy seeing the naughty Grinch and all the Who’s in this amazing holiday themed musical stage show. Guests will still need to access the show from Seuss Landing in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Watch The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular in our video below.
The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle
Projected onto Hogwarts Castle at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, this amazing holiday themed projection show is one that is not to be missed by wizards and muggles alike.
Although The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle runs about every 20 to 30 minutes throughout the night, Hogsmeade Village fills up quickly so make sure you get there early to find a good stop to watch the show.
Mannheim Steamroller Concerts
On four special nights (December 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 10th), guests will enjoy the a live concerts from the best selling holiday artist Mannheim Steamroller. These four live shows will be held at the Music Plaza Stage just in front of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and if you are a fan of Christmas music, this is a show that you will not want to miss.
As with all of the Universal holiday’s shows & events, the Mannheim Steamroller concert is including with your park ticket or annual pass.
The Holiday Tribute Store
The Tribute Store appears to now have become a permanent feature when visiting Universal Studios Florida (HHN Tribute Store, Jurassic World Tribute Store, etc). During the holiday’s, Universal brings back the Holiday Tribute Store where guests can purchase a variety of holiday themed merchandise as well as themed drinks & snacks.
In addition to those items referenced above, Universal will be offering the following events and experiences during this years holiday celebration:
- Holiday Tree Hunt
- Seasonal Sweets and Treats
- Seasonal Merchandise
- Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees – holiday show
- The Frog Choir – holiday show
Our Favorite Orlando Area Hotels for the Holidays
The Hard Rock Hotel (Universal Orlando)
If you are planning on staying on-site at the Universal Orlando Resort, than the Hard Rock Hotel should be at the top of your list. Out of all the on-site hotels at Universal, the Hard Rock is the closest to the park entrance and it’s just a very short walk about the back gate. And guests always get the “Rock Star” treatment.
The Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
The Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center is one of our favorite (if not our favorite) off site hotels in the Orlando theme park area. Although its right outside the entrance to Walt Disney World, it’s only 10 to 15 minutes to SeaWorld Orlando and about 20 minutes to the Universal Orlando Resort.
In addition to its fantastic rooms and amenities, the resort hosts CHRISTMAS AT THE GAYLORD PALMS which features a number of amazing holiday themed shows and experiences. Its lineup for 2023 includes:
- ICE! featuring “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
- Snow Flow Mountain (tube slides)
- Snowball Build and Blast
- Cirque: Spirit of Christmas
- The Greatest Story Stage Show
- #LIT Light Show
Check our our post CHRISTMAS AT THE GAYLORD PALMS to make reservations to the hotel and watch our video below.