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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love Universal Orlando’s 2022 CHRISTMAS Celebration!

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the 2022 Christmas Celebration at Universal Orlando! Each year Universal Orlando goes all out when it comes to the Christmas season and this year they went bigger than ever. Today we’re going to look at some of things which we absolutely loved, starting with…

# 6 – Green & Red Coconut Club

We RAVED over the incredible transformation of the Red Coconut Club in Universal CityWalk into a fully themed Dead Coconut Club for Halloween Horror Nights (we even did a whole article on it.) When Dead Coconut Club closed after the spooky season on November 1st, no one knew what was going to replace it. All of a sudden a small display was set up in a window inside Universal Studios Florida. The display featured the logo for the Green & Red Coconut Club.

Green & Red Coconut Club. (photo by Michael Carelli)

It wasn’t long after when Universal Orlando confirmed that the Red Coconut Club venue would once again be getting a transformation for the Christmas season.

Green & Red Coconut Club. (photo by Michael Carelli)

Universal CityWalk has spent the last several years going through a reboot with the removal of many third party vendors and replaced them with Universal-run restaurants (including Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, Bigfire Restaurant, and Red Oven Pizza Bakery.) They also brought in some absolutely fantastic third-party run venues including our beloved Voodoo Doughnut, Hot Dog Hall of Fame (created by the people behind The BOATHOUSE) and Hollywood Drive-In mini golf.  In fact, the entire ground level of CityWalk has pretty much gone through the level of transformation that Downtown Disney did when it became Disney Springs. A totally different space filled with great new areas. Now it is clear Universal was also targeting the second level of CityWalk to get an overhaul as well, with the night club The Groove closing down to make room for an escape room concept, and the Red Coconut Club having these wonderful re-themes..

Green & Red Coconut Club. (photo by @skipperhoss)

Inside the club there are decorations and photo-ops everywhere.

Green & Red Coconut Club. photo by Michael Carelli)
A Tiki that back in May was in the year-round Halloween shop in Lost Continent (left), and is now in the Green & Red Coconut Club. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Green & Red Coconut Club. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Green & Red Coconut Club. photo by Michael Carelli)
Green & Red Coconut Club. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Green & Red Coconut Club. photo by Michael Carelli)
Regular and “secret” bar menu for Green & Red Coconut Club. (photo by @KPrry490)
Noel Nui Nui and Candy Cane Pina Colada. (photo by Alicia Stella)

The Green & Red Coconut Club also keeping a new Universal tradition with its own Mold-A-Matic machine, featuring a green Santa Claus.

Green & Red Coconut Club. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Most of the restaurants in CityWalk have unique menu options for the Christmas season, but no one did it better than the Santa’s Cookies & Milkshake option at Toothsome.

Santa’s Cookies & Milkshake. (photo by Hedgehog’s Corner)

Toothsome also added a little holiday flair to its walk around characters Penelope Toothsome and her robot companion Jacques.

Jacques with seasonal sprigs of evergreen and holly. (photo by Scott Sanders)

# 5 – Decorations

Inside the Universal theme parks, holiday decorations are everywhere you look. I absolutely love this time of year.

Lighting decorations. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

So many great touches in every area of the park, including albums as part of the decorations at Mel’s Diner.

Albums in the display at Mel’s Diner. (photo by Michael Carelli)

Keep your head on a swivel, because you’ll see many nods to Universal attractions of year’s past…

Jaws garland. photo by Michael Carelli)
Terminator 2 -3D garland. photo by Michael Carelli)
Ghostbusters Wreath. That’s straight up E-Ticket.  (photo by Michael Carelli)
Kongfrontation reference. (photo by Michael Carelli)

Universal continued it’s annual Holiday Tree Hunt, giving guests a scavenger hunt experience checking out various decorated Christmas trees across the two parks and CityWalk. It’s pretty much similar as to years past, except with the recent addition of an amazing larger-than-life King Kong hand to the retro-tree at the Legacy Store in Universal CityWalk.

Kong. (photo by Hedgehog’s Corner)

We saw this hand as part of photo-op experience earlier this year in a Tribute Store. So glad it can be repurposed.

Kong. (photo by Hedgehog’s Corner)
Kong. (photo by Hedgehog’s Corner)
Kong plush. (photo by Hedgehog’s Corner)

# 4 – Holiday Tribute Store

Speaking of Tribute Stores, the Holiday Tribute Store is back and is as awesome as ever.

2022 Holiday Tribute Store. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The first room of the Holiday Tribute Store has you walking through an area set up like a old timey department store, complete with a “meet Santa” gimmick. Before you get to the first room, you pass by a faux elevator for this mock department store.

2022 Holiday Tribute Store. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The elevator “floors” are the actual rooms you are about to walk through in the Tribute Store.

2022 Holiday Tribute Store. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Coca-Cola Santa in the New York Holiday part of the store. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Santa in the New York Holiday part of the store. (photo by Michael Carelli)
The Wizarding World section is themed to Hogsmeade Village. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Wizarding World. (photo by Hedgehog’s Corner)
The Grinch in the Who-ville section of the store. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Max in the Who-ville section. (photo by Michael Carelli)
A glimpse in a Who-ville window display. (photo by Michael Carelli)
The main point of the Holiday Tribute Store is to sell stuff, so there is merchandise throughout your journey inside the store. (photo by Michael Carelli)

Our last section of the store is themed to Earl the Squirrel and is super fun.

Earl the Squirrel. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Tons of great detail to check out. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Earl the Squirrel camper. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The Earl the Squirrel section of the Holiday Tribute Store features my favorite part of every Tribute Store, the snack case. Filled with seasonal goodies including these great snowman…

Double Cookie Dough Balls. (photo by Hedgehog’s Corner)
Hot Cocoa Bombs. (photo by Hedgehog’s Corner)
Cookies. (photo by Hedgehog’s Corner)
Mousse mugs. (photo by Hedgehog’s Corner)
Hot Cocoa Mousse Mug, (photo by Hedgehog’s Corner)

The Tribute Store features TWO Mold-A-Matic machines. One features a mold of Earl the Squirrel.

Earl the Squirrel Mold-A-Matic plastic mold. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

While the other machine features The Grinch.

We all know that Grinch is touchy. Careful, he’s also very frail. Have a box to take him home in. Interior measuring at least 5-1/4 x 2-3/4 x 2 inches. Wrap in tissues. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
All of the Mold-a-matic figures that have been available at Universal Orlando Resort since August 2020.
Front row is the current 7. Many seen here are in one of the color variations. (photo by @bireconstruct)

Keep your eyes open for so many incredible references throughout the Holiday Tribute Store. The two posters pictured below reference the recently closed Universal Classic Monsters Cafe and a tease for an Earl-Lando theme park featuring Earl the Squirrel.

Map of an upcoming Earl the Squirrel amusement park. Anyone know if @bioreconstruct has aerial photos of the construction site?

Even the way out of the Tribute Store is filled with so many great references and Easter Eggs.

Earl the Squirrel story books. Easily overlooked is the pickup truck with tree. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Exit photo-op. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 3 – Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s

Who doesn’t love a parade?!! For our family, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV every year is the official start of the Christmas season. Universal has its own version with the Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s in Universal Studios Florida. Not only are there the large balloons that are synonymous with the Macy’s parade in New York, but you’ll also see elaborate floats and tons of Team Members and characters walking the route as well. It’s a blast!

Snowflakes. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Despicable Me unit. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Minion! (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Minion. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Penguins of Madagascar. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Madagascar balloon. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Madagascar balloon. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Three Blind Mice from the Shrek unit. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Big Bad Wolf from Shrek unit. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Gingy! (photo by Scott Sanders)
Balloon from the Shrek unit. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Shrek and family. (photo by Scott Sanders)
This means we’re getting close to The Big Guy… (photo by Scott Sanders)
Fan favorite Robot character. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Santa!! (photo by Scott Sanders)
Santa Claus. (photo by Scott Sanders)

You can see the Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s at Universal Studios Florida, and be sure to pay close attention to their main Christmas Tree because you just might see a certain squirrel peeking out at times…

Earl the Squirrel. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
How great is this? (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 2 – The Magic of Christmas in the Wizarding World

The witches and wizards of the Wizarding World do an amazing job decorating both Hogsmeade Village in Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida. There are decorations everywhere you look.

Hogsmeade Village. (photo by Michael Carelli)

It gives  both lands a whole new feel at night with the lighting features.

Hogsmeade Village. (photo by Michael Carelli)

The attractions have been giving some small Christmas plussing, such as these wreaths flanking the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Sorting Hat. (photo by Brian Hyde)

Gifts with the luggage at King’s Cross for those riding the Hogwarts Express.

King’s Cross. (photo by Brian Hyde)

A highlight of the Christmas season is the Nothing Like A Holiday Spell retheme for Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees inside Diagon Alley. The singing sorceress and her backup singers have new outfits and perform a completely different set than the one offered the rest of the year (which is also worth going out of your way to check out.)

Celestina Warbeck. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. (photo by Michael Carelli)

Over in Hogsmeade Village, the Frog Choir also gets a completely new set of songs, all themed to Christmas.

(photo by Michael Carelli)

Look for seasonal snacks, such as the Ginger Newt (which was mentioned in book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)…

Ginger Newt. (photo by Michael Carelli)

…and Harry Potter Christmas related items, such as ornaments featuring just about anything you could possibly want from the Wizarding World (from the Yule Ball to the Owl Post and everything in between.)

Butterbeer ornament. (photo by Michael Carelli)

Each Christmas season in the Wizarding World generally brings a deep cut from the Potter universe featuring a new wizard card in the Chocolate Frogs. This year features Beaumont Majoribanks.

Beaumont Majoribanks. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle projection show in Islands of Adventure is always a huge hit.

Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle. (photo by Michael Carelli)

# 1 – Grinchmas in Seuss Landing

We recently did an entire article on GRINCHMAS in Seuss Landing, it’s that good.

Grinchmas. (photo by Brian Hyde)

The Whos of Who-ville become walk around characters in the park during the Grinchmas season, and they are wonderful. They are part of the Who-ville decorating committee, so you can usually find them adding even more decorations to the land or even decorate the guests themselves!

Whos. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Who-ville decorating committee.
A resident of Who-ville, waiting for Journey of Water: Inspired by Moana to open at EPCOT. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Decorations in Seuss Landing are absolutely everywhere.

The Seuss High-In-The-Sky trolley can be seen behind various decorations in Seuss Landing. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Garland around One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. (photo by Michael Carelli)

Be sure to check out the seasonal offerings at Seuss Landing, including the Grinch Hot Cocoa Bomb.

Grinch Hot Chocolate Bomb. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)
Grinch Hot Chocolate Bomb. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)
Grinch Hot Chocolate Bomb. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas book cupcake. (photo by Michael Carelli)

If you can only do ONE thing during the holiday season at Universal, be sure to check out the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular. This is Universal’s best live-action stage show and features a shortened version of The Grinch movie starring Jim Carrey. It is absolutely off-the-charts good that has been made even better by the ability of the crew to use the Blue Man Group theater to perform in.

Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular. (photo by Scott Sanders)
The Grinch. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Whos. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Grinch taking a Christmas tree “back to the North Pole.” (photo by Michael Carelli)
Cindy Loo and The Grinch. (photo by Michael Carelli)

It’s not that easy to get into, but one of my personal favorite things during Grinchmas is Breakfast with The Grinch and Friends. I always love myself a good breakfast buffet, and getting to interact with The Grinch is always a highlight. Unfortunately this sells out fast, but each day there are generally a couple walk-ups accepted, so its worth trying if you are at Universal and looking for something fun to do with the family.

Breakfast with The Grinch and Friends. (photo by Michael Carelli)
The Grinch Green Pancakes. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Lou Lou Who’s Green Eggs. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Mayor Augustus’s Green Eggs & Ham Pizza. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Green Eggs Brownie pop. (photo by Michael Carelli)

So there you have it: The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Universal Orlando’s 2022 Christmas Celebration! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out the THEME PARK ENJOYMENT INDEX, giving a monthly recap of all the theme park news you need to know (and a lot more you don’t need to know, but we’re gonna tell you anyway). You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

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Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Digital Maestro Scott Walker, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, artist @SonderQuest, the mighty maven of merchandise Hedgehog’s Corner, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, the permit princess Alicia Stella, master cartographer Tommy Hawkins, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Absolutely no help was added by SeaWorld Influencer @SuperWeenieHtJr. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will  enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.

Puss In Boots photo op for The Last Wish, which is coming to theaters on Christmas weekend. (photo by Hedgehog’s Corner)

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