The Complete Guide to Holiday’s at the Universal Orlando Resort (2021)


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).  

Guests can 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.

Click Here for Theme Park Tickets and Current Offers

The Holidays at Universal Orlando (2021)

For 2021, the Holidays at Universal Orlando will run from November 13, 2021 until January 2, 2022.  As always, this annual spectacular is including with a theme park admission ticket or annual pass.

Following is a list of the shows and experiences for the 2021 – 2022 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. 

During prior years, this show was located in one of the sound stages between Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.  However, new for 2021, this fun filled show will be held in the former Blue Man Group theater.  This theater will allow for greater capacity as a considerably more comfortable viewing experience.  

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 4th, 5th, 11th and 12th), 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

 

The Holidays at Universal Orlando (2020)

2020 was a unique year due to the pandemic so the Universal Orlando Resort offered a scaled back version of their holiday celebration called “Not Even The Grinch Can Steal the Holidays This Year”.

The 2020 celebration ranged from November 14th to January 3, 2021 and featured a walking tour of the Macy’s Parade balloons and floats that were housed in one of Universal’s sound stages as well as a special showing of the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.

The following video is of Universal’s Holiday VIP Tour which we experienced during 2020.

The Holiday’s at the Universal Orlando Hotels

During the holiday season it’s not only the Universal theme parks that are decked out but also the on-site hotels.  Following is a list of holiday festivities at the Universal Orlando hotels.

The Hard Rock Hotel – Holiday Events

  • Thanksgiving day breakfast and dinner buffets (11.25.21)
  • Ceremonial Christmas tree lighting (11.26.21)
  • Hanukkah Menorah lighting ceremony (11.28.21 to 12.6.21)
  • Christmas Eve dinner in The Kitchen (12.24.21)
  • Christmas day brunch and dinner in The Kitchen (12.25.21)
  • New Year’s Eve Lobby Party (12.31.21)
  • New Year’s Eve buffet in The Kitchen (12.31.21)
  • New Year’s Day acoustic brunch (1.1.22)

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel – Holiday Events

  • Thanksgiving day buffet in Trattoria del Porto (11.25.21)
  • Thanksgiving day menu in Mamma Della’s Ristorante (11.25.21)
  • Holiday Harbor Nights on the Harbor Piazza with ceremonial Christmas tree lighting (11.26.21)
  • Hanukkah Menorah lighting ceremony (11.28.21 to 12.6.21)
  • Holiday Cookies & Beverages in the Lobby (12.20.21 to 12.24.21)
  • Kids’ Holiday Crafts & Activities in the Lobby (12.20.21 to 12.24.21)
  • Strolling Holiday Carolers in the Lobby (12.20.21 to 12.24.21)
  • Christmas day buffet in Trattoria del Porto (12.25.21)
  • Christmas day menu in Mamma Della’s Ristorante (12.25.21)
  • New Year’s Eve Party on the Piazza (12.31.21)
  • New Year’s Eve Prix Fixe Menu in Mama Della’s Ristorante (12.31.21)

Loews Royal Pacific Resort – Holiday Events

  • Thanksgiving day breakfast buffet in Jake’s American Bar (11.25.21)
  • Thanksgiving day buffet in Islands Dining Room (11.25.21)
  • Hanukkah Menorah lighting ceremony (11.28.21 to 12.6.21)
  • Christmas day breakfast buffet in Jake’s American Bar (12.25.21)
  • Christmas day buffet in Islands Dining Room (12.25.21)
  • New Year’s Eve buffet in Islands Dining Room (12.31.21)
  • New Year’s Day breakfast buffet in Islands Dining Room (1.1.22)

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort – Holiday Events

  • Thanksgiving day breakfast buffet in Amatista Cookhouse (11.25.21)
  • Thanksgiving day buffet in Amatista Cookhouse (11.25.21)
  • Hanukkah Menorah lighting ceremony (11.28.21 to 12.6.21)
  • Christmas day breakfast buffet in Amatista Cookhouse (12.25.21)
  • Christmas day buffet in Amatista Cookhouse (12.25.21)
  • New Year’s Eve buffet in Amatista Cookhouse (12.31.21)
  • New Year’s Eve Celebration in Strong Water Tavern (12.31.21)
  • New Year’s Day breakfast buffet in Amatista Cookhouse (1.1.22)

Click Here to Make Reservations at any Universal Hotel

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.

Click here to make reservations at The Hard Rock Hotel.

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 2021 includes:

  • Mission: Save Christmas Featuring Elf
  • Snow Flow Mountain (tube slides)
  • Snowball Build and Blast
  • Cirque: Spirit of Christmas
  • The Greatest Story Stage Show
  • Shine Light Show

Check our our post CHRISTMAS AT THE GAYLORD PALMS to make reservations to the hotel and watch our video below.  

Click here for rates and availability at the Gaylord Palms Resort

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