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.
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.
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..
Inside the club there are decorations and photo-ops everywhere.
The Green & Red Coconut Club also keeping a new Universal tradition with its own Mold-A-Matic machine, featuring a green Santa Claus.
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.
Toothsome also added a little holiday flair to its walk around characters Penelope Toothsome and her robot companion Jacques.
# 5 – Decorations
Inside the Universal theme parks, holiday decorations are everywhere you look. I absolutely love this time of year.
So many great touches in every area of the park, including albums as part of the decorations at Mel’s Diner.
Keep your head on a swivel, because you’ll see many nods to Universal attractions of year’s past…
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.
We saw this hand as part of photo-op experience earlier this year in a Tribute Store. So glad it can be repurposed.
# 4 – Holiday Tribute Store
Speaking of Tribute Stores, the Holiday Tribute Store is back and is as awesome as ever.
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.
The elevator “floors” are the actual rooms you are about to walk through in the Tribute Store.
Our last section of the store is themed to Earl the Squirrel and is super fun.
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…
The Tribute Store features TWO Mold-A-Matic machines. One features a mold of Earl the Squirrel.
While the other machine features The Grinch.
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.
Even the way out of the Tribute Store is filled with so many great references and Easter Eggs.
# 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!
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…
# 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.
It gives both lands a whole new feel at night with the lighting features.
The attractions have been giving some small Christmas plussing, such as these wreaths flanking the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Gifts with the luggage at King’s Cross for those riding the Hogwarts Express.
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.)
Over in Hogsmeade Village, the Frog Choir also gets a completely new set of songs, all themed to Christmas.
Look for seasonal snacks, such as the Ginger Newt (which was mentioned in book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)…
…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.)
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.
The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle projection show in Islands of Adventure is always a huge hit.
# 1 – Grinchmas in Seuss Landing
We recently did an entire article on GRINCHMAS in Seuss Landing, it’s that good.
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!
Decorations in Seuss Landing are absolutely everywhere.
Be sure to check out the seasonal offerings at Seuss Landing, including the Grinch Hot Cocoa Bomb.
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.
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.
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.