“What does Universal Orlando do for the holidays?” This was the question I asked myself as I realized that as a lifelong Floridian, I’d never been to Universal Orlando around Christmastime. I mean sure I’m a Disney Holiday Expert. I can get from the castle lighting ceremony to the drone show at Disney Springs to Jingle Bam at Hollywood Studios in the span of one night! But never had I journeyed to Universal to experience the holiday season through their lens.
So, lucky me! Universal invited me to come preview their Holiday offerings and I eagerly donned a new dress and trekked to Orlando early in the morning to see what all the “whoopla” was about! (PUNS)
So the first big draw was Grinchmas, which comes to life at Suess Landing at Islands of Adventure. Using a sound stage, this is a live stage performance of the story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Think the Jim Carrey version.
We were given a tour of the stage and it looks like it’s straight from the movie. I couldn’t resist grabbing a picture with this snowman!
When it came time for the show to begin, I began to see that it’s a wonderful mix of the classic Dr. Suess book and the Jim Carrey movie. The costumes and production value are good and the cast brings heart to the show and a wonderful message that isn’t normally what you hear in a theme park, “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!” I highly recommend adding this to your Christmas wishlist. It was a spectacle to be seen. Enjoy some pictures from the show.
Suess Island is also decorated for Christmas with imaginative decorations unique to the park.
We saw lot’s of families taking holiday pictures among the festive decorations.
We spent our first half of the day at Islands of Adventure and I just have to mention, I highly recommend springing for Express Passes if you can afford it. Especially if you’re coming on vacation during busy times. It is so nice to not have to worry about lines and be able to exist and enjoy yourself. Each time I have them I’m reminded how much more convenient it makes your vacation. Waiting in the long lines on busy days is a serious bummer. Especially when you’re trying to do it all. We just skipped from ride to ride and it was wonderful. THANK YOU Universal for reminding me how much easier the day goes with them! I already told my husband when we come back for our Cabana Bay trip (Look at me, with the vintage clothes, OF COURSE I LOVE CABANA BAY!) that we are getting Express passes so that we can RELAX. (and drink all the butter beer. ALL OF IT)
So after a lovely morning at Islands of Adventure we journeyed to Universal Studios for the evening so we could Experience the Macy’s Holiday Parade, in its 15th year (embarrassing that I haven’t ever seen it, am i right?) featuring some of the same larger-than-life balloons seen in this years famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Colorful holiday characters and fantasy-filled floats fill the streets of Universal Studios Florida followed by a tree-lighting ceremony by Santa Claus. New to this year’s parade is the “Virginia” balloon depicting the 8-year old girl from the famed Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus newspaper editorial of the late 1800s, as well as the “Mother Ginger” special character from The Nutcracker. We got to see all of these new characters before they debuted!! How incredible that they were JUST in the Thanksgiving parade!
Later, we saw the full parade and WOW! I mean, full disclosure, I’m a sucker for parades! But this was really great! Again, a very welcome change of scenery from what the other parks are doing. Put on some Christmas music and look through these photos to see what I mean.
So if you’ve ever dreamed of taking your family to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, but don’t want to deal with waiting for hours, no bathrooms, the cold, etc etc, maybe consider Universal instead! And if you’re a local? Prioritize going to Universal! their Holiday offerings really blew me away! Tell me what you think of the photos in the comments below! The rest of the park is gorgeous too AND on select evenings, they feature Mannheim Steamroller at the park, included with admission! I couldn’t believe it! And you don’t have to wait for a seat, you can just show up and be in the area and hear the music. Shocking, I know. Enjoy the Holiday Season! Have you been to Universal for the Holidays? What did you think?
Holidays at Universal Orlando runs December 3rd, 2016 – January 1st 2017!
Happy Holidays from @DisneyBySteph! Make sure to follow me on twitter and Instragram so we can talk about our love for the parks! I’ll see you all soon!
And speaking of Photography, did you know I am a professional photographer? Did you know you can hire me and I can take pictures of your event, your family, your vacation, or your wedding? Visit my website – PhotographyByStephenie.com or drop me a line at [email protected]