The Universal Studios Orlando Christmas Guide for 2023
By James | Last updated December 29, 2023
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The Universal Studios Orlando Christmas events will be celebrated in full swing at CityWalk, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. They all celebrate Christmas with a number of special events up to January 1, 2024.
All events are included with a standard admission ticket plus there are a couple of separately purchased add-ons including a character breakfast buffet and a holiday tour.
Universal Studios Orlando
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All three venues are decorated for Christmas, especially Hogsmeade™ and Diagon Alley™ as part of the “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” with special treats, garlands, decorations, lights and live entertainment.
Of course Christmas would not be complete without warm Butterbeer™.
Universal Studios Orlando Christmas Holiday Tree Hunt
There’s the Holiday Tree Scavenger Hunt where you buy a stamp card and you then have to hunt for the 16 highly themed Christmas trees.
There are seven trees in each of the two parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure plus two in City Walk so you will need a park-to-park ticket to complete the hunt.
Collect a stamp at each location and once you have completed the scavenger hunt, there is a nice limited-time tree ornament as a gift.
Universal Studios Christmas Treat Trail
In previous years and hopefully this year, operating across both parks and CityWalk was the Christmas Treat Trail.
Get the special map which shows the location of five special holiday treats including a churro, doughnut and a cinnamon coke drink.
Once you have purchased all the qualifying items you receive a special complimentary sweet treat.
Universal Studios Orlando Christmas Theme
Like many theme parks there is a giant Christmas tree covered in baubles.
Universal Studios Mannheim Steamroller Concerts
On select nights, Mannheim Steamroller perform in concert at the Music Plaza stage starting at 7 p.m. The concert is free with a regular admission ticket.
In 2023 the concert dates are across two weekends on December 2, 3, 9, and 10.
There is no reserved seating so arrive early if you want to sit down. There is always standing room behind.
Universal Studios Orlando Christmas Holiday Tribute Store
Much like they do for Halloween, Universal opens a Holiday Tribute Store in the New York area, between “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Revenge of the Mummy”.
Spread over four themed rooms you will find a range of holiday gifts, as well as merchandise commemorating the Dr Seuss’ Grinchmas and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
In 2023, themes include Santa’s Workshop where you can see Earl the Squirrel as well as the Grinch’s Lair and the Yule Ball.
In the last room, you can buy drinks, sweet treats like cookies and brownies and edible Christmas lights in three different flavours; butterscotch, cinnamon and peppermint.
You can also “Meet and Greet with Santa” at the Holiday Tribute Store.
Universal Studios Christmas Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s
One of the highlights at Universal Studios Florida is the “Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s”. This has some of the signature giant inflatable characters and floats from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
The parade sets off around dusk with marching bands from around the country. You can see toy soldiers, stilt walkers, clowns, snowmen, elves and of course, Santa Claus. It finishes outside the facade of Macy’s Herald Square where the tree lighting ceremony takes place.
One of the big differences from earlier years is that the cleverly illuminated floats are now self-propelled. This is rather than being pulled by pick-up trucks and with a new soundtrack.
Universal started to introduce some of their own characters into the parade. This includes some of the Minions plus Gru and family from Despicable Me, the Grinch and characters from Madagascar and Shrek.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Christmas Themes
Diagon Alley is specially decorated for Christmas with thousands of Christmas lights and garlands.
Universal Studios Islands of Adventure Christmas Events
The Christmas entertainment continues at Islands of Adventure with the Grinch, the Frog Choir and the amazing “Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle”.
Grinchmas at Universal
Visit Seuss Landing which is transformed into the festive town of Whoville.
The story of the Grinch is brought to life in the “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular”. You can meet the Grinch himself along with Max, Cindy Lou and the Whos in “The Grinch & The Whos”.
In the evening there is a Seussian-tree lighting ceremony and a musical show telling the tale of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.
“The Grinch™ & Friends Character Breakfast” is held in the Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous. You can enjoy a buffet breakfast including Green Eggs and Ham.
Don’t forget to get a digital download photo from one of the character interactions.
The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle
A light and music show at Hogwarts Castle first debuted in 2017 and in “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” the castle facade is transformed by a 7 minute projection show using 24 hidden projectors.
The show runs multiple times each evening at 20 minute intervals.
Holiday Frog Choir
The Frog Choir perform special Christmas songs as well as traditional songs in Hogsmeade.
Universal Studios CityWalk Christmas
As well as decorations, there are also some pop-up stores selling Christmas ornaments and food including the “Mistletoe Pines Village”, next to Voodoo Donuts.
Here you can grab photos with holiday themed billboards, get a hot cocoa and buy a range of holiday themed food treats.
Mistletoe Pines Village is open from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. each day.
Universal’s Holiday Tour
One of the new events is a Holiday guided tour. This gives you priority and exclusive access to a number of venues over a period of around 4 1/2 hours.
The tour is offered on select dates between November and January 1 and gives you:
- meet-and-greet with The Grinch and his dog Max
- reserved seating for the Grinchmas™ Who-liday Spectacular
- snacks including cookies, Who Hash, Chicken & Waffles, Popcorn Shrimp, plus non-alcoholic beverages and a hot cocoa bar at Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous™
- meet-and-greet with Santa including one My Universal Photos digital download per party
- priority access to one attraction
- an exclusive showing of “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle”
You also require a park-to-park theme park ticket. Passholders can get a discount.
To reserve you place at either the Universal’s Holiday Tour or the The Grinch™ & Friends Character Breakfast. You need to either call 1–866–346–9350 or you can book online at the official Universal Orlando Resort web site.
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