7 Things You Must Do During the Holidays at Universal Orlando

While my family chose to stay home this year for the holidays, my nerdy little heart is dreaming of a Dr. Suess/Macy’s Parade/Hufflepuff/City Walk Christmas & New Year’s Eve at Universal Orlando. That’s right: I’m researching what might have been. Or might be in the future! Here are 7 things you must do during the holidays at Universal Orlando.

 

7 Things You Must Do During the Holidays at Universal Orlando. Perfect for Christmas or New Year's Eve trip planning at Harry Potter World!

photo: Mynerdylittlefamily.com

 

7 Things You Must Do During the Holidays at Universal Orlando

I make big plans, even when I’m not quite ready to execute them. This post is one of those big plans that someday– someday!– I’ll make happen.

Hey, I got to Washington DC for 4th of July, so you know I am not messing around with those “lifelong dream” things I talk about.

And yes, DC is lovely for Christmas, but y’all know me. I love a good theme park full of rides and crazy foods.

You can take the girl out of a theme park, but you can’t keep her from dreaming of a Grinchmas!

If you are making plans to travel to Universal Orlando this holiday season (this muggle is jealous!), then you know there’s a ton going on at the resorts and parks this year. Since this is a popular time of year for theme park travel, you’ll want to know the schedules of the best shows to help navigate the crowds. That’s why I’ve got 7 things you must do during the holidays at Universal Orlando.

 

1. Stay Onsite! Resort Options During The Holidays At Universal Orlando

Let’s start this hypothetical trip off right.

Book your Universal Orlando Resort (I can help- I’m a travel agent and a yuuuggee Universal Resort fan! Email me patty@parkandpreston.com).

You can’t go wrong by staying onsite for the holidays at Universal Orlando. With six resort options (and more on the way!) you can find something for every budget and level of comfort.

Check out the family suites at Cabana Bay for a fun retro Christmas at Universal Orlando, The Hard Rock Hotel for rockin’ good time, or the classy Loews Portofino Bay Hotel (Santa’s here!) for the upscale holiday experience.

All resorts are winners and all offer free transportation to the parks.

Each of the on-site hotels has Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve meal offerings as well. Here are the deets you’ll need to get your holiday meal ON!

Photo: Universal Orlando

Cabana Bay Christmas Tree. Photo: Mynerdylittlefamily.com

 

The information below has been shared from Universal Orlando Official Website:

LOEWS PORTOFINO BAY HOTEL
A Christmas day featuring turkey and mashed potatoes will be served from 11 am6p m at Trattoria del Porto. Price is $65/adults, $20/kids 3-9, Free/under 3.

Reservations may be made by calling 407-503-DINE or online.

HARD ROCK HOTEL
Christmas Eve dinner will be served from 6 pm10 pm at The Kitchen and features omelets and french toast. Price is $48/adults, $20/kids 3-9, Free/under 3.

On Christmas Day, The Kitchen will serve brunch from 10:30 am4 pm and dinner from 5 pm11 pm. Both meals feature turkey and mashed potatoes. Brunch is $58/adults, $20/kids 3-9, Free/under 3 and Dinner is $46/adults, $20/kids 3-9, Free/under 3.

Reservations may be made by calling 407-503-DINE or online.

LOEWS ROYAL PACIFIC HOTEL
Enjoy a Christmas Day Character Breakfast Buffet from 7 am to Noon at Jake’s American Bar. Price is $21.99/adults, $11.99/kids 3-9, Free/under 3. Or you can sleep in and eat at the Christmas Day Brunch Buffet in the Island’s Dining Room from 11 am9 pm. Price is $56/adults, $24/kids 3-9, Free/under 3.

Reservations may be made by calling 407-503-DINE or online.

 

7 Things You Must Do During the Holidays at Universal Orlando. Perfect for Christmas or New Year's Eve trip planning at Harry Potter World!

The Bayliner Diner at Cabana Bay has holiday meals for your family at an affordable cost.

 

LOEWS SAPPHIRE FALLS RESORT
Enjoy a Christmas Day Character Breakfast Buffet from 7 am to 11 am at Amatista Cookhouse. Price is $26.99/adults, $14.99/kids 3-9, Free/under 3. Or you can sleep in and eat at the Christmas Day Character Dinner Buffet from 11 am9 pm. Price is $56/adults, $24/kids 3-9, Free/under 3.

Reservations may be made by calling 407-503-DINE or online.

UNIVERSAL’S CABANA BAY BEACH RESORT

The Bayliner Diner is home to a Christmas dinner from noon – 11pm priced at $16.99/adults, $7.99/kids 3-9, Free/under 3. 

 

2. Christmas In The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter

One of the highlights (and frankly, the main reason I started going to Universal Orlando) is spending time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Diagon Alley is hands-down the best themed “land” in any theme park I’ve visited (and I will totally fight you over it!).

7 Things You Must Do During the Holidays at Universal Orlando. Perfect for Christmas or New Year's Eve trip planning at Harry Potter World!

Photo: Universal Orlando

This year Universal Orlando added Christmas festivities to the Wizarding World and you don’t want to miss it!

London and its neighboring Diagon Alley are decked out in holiday colors and lights. Drinks and treats are, of course, themed for this time of year and buskers can be found singing carols at King’s Cross Station.

Make sure you stop and watch the Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees show: it’s a special one for this time of year.

She’s singing songs from her chart-topping album, Nothin’ Like a Holiday Spell. You’ll hear “Accio Christmas” and “My Baby Gave Me a Hippogriff for Christmas.”

 

7 Things You Must Do During the Holidays at Universal Orlando. Perfect for Christmas or New Year's Eve trip planning at Harry Potter World!

Photo: Universal Orlando

 

I’m over here nerding out over how Harry Potter Perfect this show has to be!

If you’ve been to Hogsmeade, you know the perpetual snow-covered village is just begging to be decked out for the holidays!

Add some garland and lights and you are in Christmas shopping heaven in this little town.

Don’t forget the seasonal drinks and treats here too. Grab your hot Butterbeer and a spot early for the projection show, The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts. The show does play multiple times a night and if you can hold out for one of the later shows you’ll have a better viewing experience.

 

3. Grinchmas Universal Orlando

Suess Landing is one of my little one’s favorite places at Universal Orlando. Since she also loves Christmas, I know she would get a kick out of The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular.

Can your heart grow three sizes during this show? I’m going to bet yes!

What is Grinchmas? Think…watching the live-action version of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” on stage. Hilarious and touching, it’s a holiday classic your family won’t want to miss.

Entrance to the show is included with your park tickets and it’s perfectly suitable for kids of all ages.

7 Things You Must Do During the Holidays at Universal Orlando. Perfect for Christmas or New Year's Eve trip planning at Harry Potter World!

At Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure, the popular Dr. Seuss book ÒHow the Grinch Stole ChristmasÓ is brought to life in the heartwarming live stage show, ÒGrinchmas Wholiday Spectacular,Ó starring The Grinch and the Whos from Whoville. Grinchmas is part of Universal Orlando ResortÕs Holidays celebration, running from Dec. 3 to Jan. 1 and featuring live entertainment that the whole family can enjoy.

My vote is to go to the first show or the last one, as both tend to be the least crowded options.

  • Nov 18 – Nov 21: 10:45 am (ASL), 11:45 am, 12:45 pm, 1:45 pm, 3:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 5:30 pm (ASL), 6:30 pm
  • Nov 22 – Nov 25: 10:45 am, 11:45 am (ASL), 12:45 pm, 1:45 pm, 3:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 5:30 pm (ASL), 6:30 pm
  • Nov 26 – Dec 2: 11:30 am (ASL), 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 3:45 pm, 4:45 pm, 5:45 pm (ASL)

*ASL = American Sign Language interpreters available at these showings

 

4. More Grinchmas With Kids At Universal Orlando

Need even more Grinchmas? Who doesn’t?!

You can also visit the main green man himself for an autograph and holiday Christmas picture!

Stop by Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous in Universal’s Islands of Adventure for Chrismas breakfast. This buffet meal includes a meet and greet at your table with the Grinch!

Breakfast is available from 8 am to 10 am during select dates this holiday season:

  • Nov. 18-19, 24-26,
  • Dec. 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 20-25

$34.99 for adults and $20.99 for children (plus tax); reservations are required.

 

5. Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s

One of those lifelong dreams of mine is to spend Thanksgiving Day sitting on a curb in New York watching the Macy’s parade floats go by.

It hasn’t happened (yet!), but this version looks just as fun (and a little bit warmer!). Hey, I like warmth, even during my winter holidays!

 

7 Things You Must Do During the Holidays at Universal Orlando. Perfect for Christmas or New Year's Eve trip planning at Harry Potter World!

Photo: Universal Orlando

 

At Universal Studios, you’ll see Minions, Dreamworks characters, and of course, Santa riding floats down the street.

  • Nov. 18 – 28 Nov. 30 – Dec. 5 Dec. 8 – 17 at 5:30 pm
  • Nov. 29, Dec. 6 – Dec. 7 at 5 pm
  • Dec. 18 – Jan. 6 at 8 pm

 

6. Mannheim Steamroller

What’s a holiday season without Mannheim Steamroller music? It’s no holiday I want to be part of, I’ll tell you that!

The best-selling holiday artists of all time call Universal Orlando home during the holiday season. Don’t miss their live performances when you are at Universal Studios this year!

  • Nov. 18 – 19, 25 – 26,
  • Dec. 2 – 3,9 – 10, and 16 – 17.

 

7. Ring In New Year’s Eve at Universal Orlando

There’s one thing you can count on: Universal Orlando knows how to put on a party.

If you want nightlife, check out the offerings at City Walk. There are 6 clubs that will be open and ready for you to party into the new year!

 

7 Things You Must Do During the Holidays at Universal Orlando. Perfect for Christmas or New Year's Eve trip planning at Harry Potter World!

 

If you’re looking for great family meals, your resort (that you booked following suggestion #1, right?!) has the perfect night planned for you.

The information below has been shared from Universal Orlando Official Website:

LOEWS PORTOFINO BAY HOTEL
Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Harbor Piazza from 8:30 pm-midnight. Price is $150/adults, $35/kids 3-9, Free/under 3.

HARD ROCK HOTEL
Rock in the New Year from
5 pm11 pm at the New Year’s Eve Buffet + Rock-in 2018! New Year’s Eve Lobby Party priced $125/adults, $55/kids 3-9, Free/under 3. You can also skip the buffet and party from 8 pm1 am at the ROCK-in 2018! New Years Eve Lobby Party
priced at $70/adults, $40/kids 3-9, Free/under 3.

LOEWS ROYAL PACIFIC HOTEL
Ring in the New Year from 5 pm-midnight at the New Year’s Eve Buffet + Orchid Court Dessert Buffet for $85/adults, $35/kids 3-9, Free/under 3. Or skip the dinner buffet and attend from 7 pm-midnight for $40/adults, $20/kids 3-9, Free/under 3. Dinner is served at the Islands Dining Room and dessert in the Orchid Court Lounge.

Beer lovers won’t want to miss Jake’s “Best of 2017” Beer Dinner from 7 pm – 1 am at Jake’s Bar. Price is $65 and the party is only for adults age 21 and over.

LOEWS SAPPHIRE FALLS RESORT
A family New Year’s Eve Buffet runs from 5 pm-midnight at Amatista Cookhouse priced at $58/adults, $26/kids 3-9, Free/under 3. Adults 21 and older have their own New Year’s Eve Celebration from 10 pm2 am at Strong Water Tavern. Price is $70.80.

UNIVERSAL’S CABANA BAY
New Year’s Eve dining runs from 8pm – 12:30am for $16.99/adults, $7.99/kids 3-9, Free/under 3.

 

Alright- I’ve reconvinced myself. Not that it took much to do so!

Who’s spending the holidays at Universal Orlando? I’m dying to hear about it! 

 

7 Things You Must Do During the Holidays at Universal Orlando. Perfect for Christmas or New Year's Eve trip planning at Harry Potter World!

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Patty Holliday


Patty is a 40-ish mother of four living in Virginia. A bit geeky, sometimes sarcastic, lover of a candid confession. She's trying to love running, she swears. But much like her marathon, it’s taking a very long time. Ahem. She's searching for the perfect way to balance family, work, travel, and fitness. Perfect defined as high on fun, low on guilt.

TMOM Travel Writer

Copyright 2017, My No-Guilt Life | by Patty Holliday