Getting to Know Holidays at Universal Orlando 2021

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Trim that tree, light up the kinara, bust out that dreidel, and perform those feats of strength – it’s the holidays! Universal brings back several guest favorite performances along with returning activities and a new VIP tour option. So trim up the tree with Christmas stuff like bingle balls and Whofoo stuff, Christmas time is here!

Grinchmas

Islands of Adventure’s guest favorite Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular live theatrical show returns from its COVID hiatus for 2021. The show combines elements from the How the Grinch Stole Christmas 1966 Chuck Jones TV special and the 2000 Jim Carey movie to re-tell the famous book’s story for modern theme park audiences.

Guests enter from Seuss Landing in Islands of Adventure, between the One Fish, Two Fish ride and Circus McGurkis counter service restaurant, and then walk behind Toothsome towards the former Blue Man Group theater. This 1000 seat theater is the new home to the show and features more seating, comfortable chairs, dedicated restrooms, and snack space.

Seuss Landing is decorated with Christmas cheer from, who else, the Whos! The Whoville residents roam the land throughout the day, posing for photos and interacting with guests.

Grinchmas shows start around 10:45 a.m. and run every hour until approximately half an hour prior to park close. Check with Universal Orlando’s app for that day’s showtimes. There is no set schedule for the Whos in Seuss Landing, but expect to find them from the late morning through late afternoon around the High in the Sky Seuss Trolly Ride.

Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s

Universal Studios Florida’s lavish Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s stars dozens of dancers, floats, characters, and those gigantic unique Macy’s balloons. In addition to original floats and holiday characters, the parade also includes familiar faces from Despicable Me, Shrek, and Madagascar films. Santa closes up the parade on his own float and those standing in New York will be able to see him light the park’s tree.

Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s performs daily, around 5:00 p.m. Check with Universal Orlando’s app for that day’s showtimes.

Mannheim Steamroller

Photo courtesy Hunter Underwood.

New-age neoclassical instrumental group Mannheim Steamroller returns to perform classic Christmas music on select nights. The band blends traditional classical music with synthesizers and rock music to create modern interpretations of Christmas tunes. Mannheim Steamroller’s concerts are included with park admission and viewing spaces fill up quickly.

Mannheim Steamroller performs December 4, 5, 11, and 12 at 7:00 p.m. at Universal Studios Florida’s Music Plaza Stage.

Christmas in the Wizarding World

(photo by Hunter Underwood)

Accio Christmas! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter celebrates Christmas with traditional English-inspired rustic decorations and several new shows. In Diagon Alley, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees sing original Christmas songs such as My Baby Gave Me a Hippogriff for Christmas, A Witch and Wizard’s Wintry Wondrous Land, and Nothing Like a Holiday Spell.

Over in Islands of Adventure, the Hogwarts Frog Choir performs classic Christmas songs with their amphibious companions. Daily after dusk, the walls of Hogwarts magically light up with images of family, friends, and the Yule Ball with The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle nighttime show.

Celestina Warbeck and Frog Choir shows perform throughout the day, check with Universal Orlando’s app for showtimes. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle is performed daily from dusk till park close.

Christmas Tree Hunt

Returning from 2020’s holiday lineup, the Christmas Tree Hunt sends guests throughout the theme parks in search of themed Christmas trees. Purchase a map (around $10) and hunt for Christmas trees in shops at Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and CityWalk. Collect a stamp at each store and once your map is filled guests receive an exclusive tree ornament.

The Christmas Tree Hunt is offered daily during participating stores’ hours.

Holiday Tribute Store

Image courtesy Universal Orlando 2021.

Walk through a winter wonderland inspired by your favorite Christmas traditions and classics with the Universal Holiday Tribute Store. This year’s store will feature the Hogwarts Yule Ball, the Grinch’s lair, and other themed rooms featuring unique holiday merchandise. Make sure to stop in the final room for unique food and beverage items you can only find at the Tribute Store!

Universal’s Holiday Tribute Store is open with Universal Studios Florida park hours.

New! Universal’s Holiday Tour

Running select days November 21 through January 2, this new guided tour takes guests to the most popular holiday activities throughout the resort. Included are reserved spots for the Universal Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s and Grinchmas, meet and greet opportunities with the Grinch and Santa, and special after-park hours viewing of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.

Prices range from $69.99 to $79.99 per person plus tax. Park-to-park admission is not included.

Holiday Treats

Okay but seriously, let’s talk food – what are the winter holidays without some sweet treats? Universal’s culinary team switched from the sinful to cheerful with unique food items in CityWalk, Tribute Store, hotels, and around the theme parks. Last year’s food offerings included gummy Christmas lights, hot chocolate bombs, sticky buns, roasted nuts, special Voodoo Donuts, and so many cakes.

Touring Tips

  • Grab a spot for the Universal Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s at least 15 minutes prior to show time on quiet days, 30 minutes on busy days. Parade spots around the Christmas Tree in New York fill up first; for a last-minute parade spot snag a spot on the lagoon side of the Transformers building.
  • Crowds for Manheim Steamroller will be large, especially for Saturday performances. We suggest arriving 45 minutes prior to showtime for Music Plaza access, 90 minutes prior to showtime for the closest spots.
  • Grinchmas performs hourly starting at 10:45 a.m. till half an hour prior to park close. Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to show time, 45 minutes on busy days, to guarantee a seat. We suggest visiting the first or last shows of the day for the least crowded shows.
  • The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle starts at dusk and continuously runs every 20 minutes. We suggest arriving anytime around and after dusk to see the show.

Looking to spend a Universally great time this holiday season? Visit the Touring Plans Travel Agency for your booking needs. As a special gift, you’ll receive a year of the Universal Orlando TouringPlans subscription for free!

What is your favorite aspect of the Holidays at Universal Orlando? Leave them in the comments below! 

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Joseph Matt

Avid amusement park and video game fan. Enjoys picking up rare beers at breweries, exploring cities, cooking, and sports.

10 thoughts on “Getting to Know Holidays at Universal Orlando 2021

  • November 12, 2021 at 2:22 pm
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    Great article, and I especially appreciate the touring tips. Any idea if Universal’s Cinematic Celebration is still happening on Mannheim Steamroller convert nights?

    Reply
    • November 16, 2021 at 6:33 pm
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      Matt, we don’t know at for this year but it has NOT in the past.

      Reply
  • November 13, 2021 at 8:04 pm
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    I love you.

    Reply
  • November 13, 2021 at 9:46 pm
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    Are there times to meet the Grinch? I saw last year you had to have a reservation. Any news on this year?

    Reply
  • November 14, 2021 at 12:41 pm
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    Are the Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s times reflected in the Personalized Touring plans evaluations? It looks like the Macy’s parade is at 5:30 until 12/2 then 5pm according to Universal’s app.

    Reply
    • November 14, 2021 at 11:14 pm
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      In the past, the Macy’s Parade has been at different times (like at 8 PM during the most crowded days around Christmas), so I would not assume that the 5 PM time will apply to every date this season (although it might). Our Personalized Touring Plan software should include an announced or predicted time for this parade. I suggest that you revisit your plans close to your touring dates in order to take advantage of the most up-to-date park hours, show times, wait time estimates, etc.

      Reply
  • November 21, 2021 at 10:00 am
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    If you do the holiday VIP tour, does that include any rides without waiting on the lines? Or does it only include shows and meet and greets?

    Reply

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