Getting to Know Holidays at Universal Orlando 2022

Trim up the tree with Christmas stuff, like bingle balls and Whofoo fluff because it is time for the Holidays at Universal Orlando! In this article, we will look at all the different winter holiday offerings at the resort, from Christmas festivities to New Year’s Eve plans. Universal’s offers are included with park admission unless otherwise specified and run from November 12 through January 1, 2023.

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Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Florida’s lavish Universal 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 plus a special appearance by Santa at the end. Guests in the New York area of the park can watch the Christmas tree lighting as Santa makes his way past. Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s performs daily, around 5:00 p.m. Check with Universal Orlando’s app for performance times.

Also in New York are the Blues Brothers who perform a medley of Christmas favorites and re-imagined classics. Performances occur throughout the day, check the Universal Orlando app for performance times.

Universal’s Holiday Tribute Store returns in 2022 with new merchandise, food, and themed experiences. No additional details have been announced at this time, including themes and location. For an idea of what to expect check out last year’s Holiday Tribute Store. The Holiday Tribute Store is open during normal park hours.

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 3, 4, 10, and 11 at 7:00 p.m. at Universal Studios Florida’s Music Plaza Stage.

Accio Christmas! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley celebrates Christmas with traditional English-inspired rustic decorations and a special Christmas show. 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.

(photo by Mike Sperduto)

Islands of Adventure

Seuss Landing is home to the guest’s favorite Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular show. This theatrical musical 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. Grinchmas is approximately 30-minutes long and is performed daily starting around 11 a.m. through the early evening. Whos from the show and other Seuss characters roam Seuss Landing interacting with guests and posing for photos throughout the day.

(photo by Michael Carelli)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade also decks the halls for Christmas and features two special Christmas shows. The Hogwarts Frog Choir performs classic Christmas songs acapella with their amphibious companions. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle nighttime show is a 12-minute-long projection show on Hogwarts Castle featuring Christmas scenes and music from the Harry Potter movies. Frog Choir performs throughout the day, check with Universal Orlando app for showtimes. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle is performed daily from dusk till the park closes.

(photo by @HedgehogsCorner)

CityWalk & Resorts

Christmas Tree Hunt sends guests throughout CityWalk and the theme parks in search of themed Christmas trees. Purchase a map ($12) 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. Christmas Tree Hunt is offered daily during participating stores’ hours.

(photo by Michael Carelli)

Enjoy themed cocktails and a festive atmosphere in the Green & Red Coconut Club located on the second floor of CityWalk, next to Bob Marley’s Tribute to Freedom. Similar to HHN’s Dead Coconut Club, this themed overlay to the lounge will feature craft cocktails and fun decorations. Operating information along with menus are TBA.

All of Universal’s hotels have Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve activities throughout the season.  Each resort features holiday meals, tree lightings, and menorah lightings while select resorts feature carolers, parties, and more. For the most up-to-date list of activities visit Universal’s Hotel Holiday Activities page.

Upcharge Experiences

Universal offers two add-on experiences during the Holidays.

Universal’s Holiday Tour is a 4 1/2 hour group tour of several Universal holiday offerings. Guests receive:

  • Reserved seating for Grinchmas
  • Meet and greet with the Grinch and Max the dog
  • Photo with Santa
  • Priority access to one attraction
  • Private performance of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle show
  • Food, snacks, and drinks at stop at Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendus

Tour prices range from $79.99 to $119.99 per person plus tax on select days only during Thanksgiving time and in December.

The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast is a character meal inside Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendus featuring The Grinch and other Seuss characters. Breakfast runs on select days from November 12 through December 29. Reservations include the breakfast buffet and one digital photo download of a character encounter (don’t worry, your camera is still free). Adult tickets cost $41.99 per person plus tax, children cost $26.99 per person plus tax.

These add-on experiences can be booked online or through a Touring Plans Travel Agent.

Touring Tips

  • Grab a spot for the Universal Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s at least 15 minutes prior to show time on quiet days, and 30 minutes on busy days. Parade spots around the Christmas Tree in New York fill up first; for a last-minute parade viewing spot go to the lagoon side of the Transformers building.
  • Crowds for Manheim Steamroller will be large, especially for Saturday performances. Arrive 30 minutes before show time for Music Plaza access, and at least an hour for the closest spots.
  • Grinchmas performs hourly starting around 11 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.

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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.

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