The holidays at Universal Orlando Resort are back, beginning Saturday, November 17 through Sunday, January 6, 2019. This year the festivities will be bigger and better than ever!
Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort
By now you should know that Universal Orlando Resort, is my favorite Central Florida playground. The one time of year I have yet to visit, is during the Holiday celebrations, maybe next year. However, I have compiled a list of all of the amazing events at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in 2018.
Christmas In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Due to its popularity in 2017, Universal has brought back Christmas in The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter for the 2018 holiday season.
In addition to both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, being fully decorated, you can also experience exclusive food and entertainment selections, including holiday songs by the Frog Choir and Celestina Warbeck. You will end your visit with a state-of-the-art projection show, called The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, which uses the iconic backdrop as its canvas.
Grinchmas at Seuss Landing
When the holiday season hits full swing, Seuss Landing is transformed into the world of Grinchmas.
Seuss Landing is packed with residents of Who-ville. A dozen of these fun and fancy-free characters can be found at any time as they interact among themselves and with guests, spreading their unique version of holiday cheer. Wherever you discover the Whos as you walk around Seuss Landing, feel free to introduce yourself and join in their fun.
What’s a visit to Grinchmas without The Grinch? He is our favorite character to meet, as you never know what he may do. Because the Grinch is so popular, he has his own photo area in the Seuss Landing bookstore with scheduled times, check your Universal app for details.
In addition to the merriment and fun to be found in the streets of Seuss Landing, Grinchmas also includes a stage production called the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, a half-hour live performance telling the story of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
The Grinch and Friends Character Breakfast
Want to get up-close and personal with your favorite Dr. Seuss characters? Start the day with The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast in Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous. Enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast with waffles, green eggs, ham sliders, French toast, and more, hosted by none other than, the Grinch. Tickets and reservations are required to attend, so be sure to book ahead of time.
Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s
The main event at Universal Studios during the holidays is Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s. Formerly called the Macy’s Parade, this new production features characters from such popular Universal properties as Minions, Shrek, and Madagascar on 15 “incredibly detailed” floats, including one dedicated to, Santa Claus. You will find amazing Macy’s balloons, as well as some designed just for this event.
Universal’s Holiday Parade is notable, because it runs every evening between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm, depending on park hours. No need to rush from an attraction to get a good viewing spot, there is plenty of time to catch the parade pass by.
Mannheim Steamroller, the biggest-selling Christmas artist of all time, returns to the Universal Music Plaza stage for the 2018 holiday season. Performances are on the weekends, and begin at 7 p.m. Best of all it’s included in park admission. Everyone in the family will enjoy this hour-long show.
While these are the two main events in the park during the Holiday’s it is also worth mentioning that Marilyn Monroe and the (Holiday) Diamond Bellas, The Blues Brothers Holiday Show and A Barney Holiday are also performed daily. Check the Universal App for times and locations.
Resort Hotel Celebrations
The fun isn’t just in the parks, the on-site hotels at Universal Orlando Resort offer a dynamic variety of celebrations. And the best part about Universal Orlando hotels, is that you can stay at one but play at them all!
Each hotel will have a nightly Hanukkah candle-lighting Ceremony during the holiday (Sunday, December 2 through Monday, December 10), beginning at sundown in the hotel lobby.
Loews Sapphire Falls
Christmas Tree-Lighting Ceremony
At 6:00 pm on Friday, November 23, guests can participate in a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in the lobby. Additional festive activities include ornament and stocking decorating and complimentary hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and cookies.
Ornament and stocking decorating
At two different times throughout the holidays, from 5:00 to 9:00 pm, guests can decorate their own stockings and ornaments. The cost is $9 per person.
From Thursday, November 22 to Saturday, November 24 (5:00 to 8:00 pm), the hotel will have “live entertainment” in the lobby. We don’t have many details, but I am sure it will be a great show!
Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Winter Wonderland and Christmas tree-lighting ceremony
On Friday, November 23, Cabana Bay’s tree-lighting ceremony will be held at 6:30. Both before and after, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, a Winter Wonderland will be held, which includes face painting, complimentary hot chocolate,and cookies.
Visits from Santa’s Elves
At select times on December 2, 9, 16, 23, and 25, Santa’s merry elves will meet-and-greet with guests in the lobby. The big man himself may also pop in from time to time.
Holiday arts and crafts and movies
On December 25, from 10:00 am ’til 6:00 pm, visit the TV lounge for holiday arts and crafts and complimentary milk and Christmas cookies. In addition, holiday movies will be playing.
Christmas Day feast
From 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm, a special holiday menu will be available at Bayliner Diner, which includes a turkey and ham carving station, stuffing, cranberry compote, mashed potatoes, gravy, candied yams, and biscuits.
Loews Royal Pacific Resort
Christmas tree-lighting ceremony
At 6:00 pm on Friday, November 23, guests can participate in the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony that’s held poolside. Live music, a hula dancer, and complimentary treats, including hot chocolate, hot cider, and cookies. Afterwards, there will be a special dive-in movie: The Polar Express.
Ornament and stocking decorating
On Sunday, December 23 and Monday, December 24, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, guests can decorate their own stockings and ornaments. The cost is $9 per person.
Enjoy the Christmas classics, and complimentary milk and cookies for kids, from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Monday, December 24 in Orchid Court. Children will also have the opportunity to decorate their cookies.
Character Breakfast Buffet in Jake’s American Bar
Kick off your Christmas Day with a hearty holiday breakfast buffet from 7:00 to 11:00 am.
Adults: $22.99 | Children (ages 3-9): $12.99.
Add-on all-you-can-drink Mimosas and Bloody Marys: $12.
Christmas Day Brunch in Islands Dining Room
Dine in a tropical paradise on Christmas Day from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm for a holiday buffet featuring salads and cheese, jumbo shrimp, sushi rolls, stir fry, omelets, waffles, Citrus and Rosemary Brined Turkey with Cranberry Walnut Stuffing, an array of pastries, and more. Entertainment will include Universal Orlando characters, a musician, hula dancer, face painter, and balloonist.
Hard Rock Hotel
Christmas tree-lighting ceremony
From 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm on Friday, November 23, join a special guest who will illuminate Hard Rock’s massive tree in the lobby. Before the ceremony, there’ll be cookie decorating; afterwards, How the Grinch Stole Christmas will be screened.
Visits from Santa
If you dine at The Kitchen on December 7, 14, and 21 between the times of 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm, Mr. Claus will make a special visit.
Join Hard Rock for an evening exploring the relationship between wine, food, and music. The “multi-sensory” five-course dinner and wine pairings will be on Friday, November 30, and will cost $150.
The Kitchen Christmas Eve and Day offerings
On Christmas Eve (6:00 pm to 10:00 pm) and Day (5:00 pm to 11:00 pm), a special dinner will be offered. Guests can choose one soup or salad, one entrée, and one dessert.
Also on Christmas Day, a rockin’ brunch will be offered from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. Options include appetizers like cured salmon and imported cheeses, salads, a cold table with yogurt and fresh fruits, chef-carved items such as New York roast sirloin, and sides like mashed potatoes.
Loews Portofino Bay Resort
Holiday arts and crafts and movies
Visit the lobby from Friday, December 7 through Wednesday, January 2 for holiday arts and crafts. In addition, Christmas movies will be playing.
Meet Mr. and Mrs. Clause
From Friday, December 21 until Monday, December 24 (6:00 pm to 9:00 pm), you can meet Mr. and Mrs. Clause in the Harbor Piazza, in front of the giant Christmas tree. As an added bonus, during certain nights, professional photographers will be on hand.
Strolling holiday carolers
Enjoy strolling carolers throughout Portofino Bay from Friday, December 21 to Tuesday, December 25, 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
Seasonal beverages and cookies
Partake in some special holiday beverages and cookies in the hotel lobby.
Christmas Day Buffet in Trattoria del Porto
A Christmas Day Portofino-style buffet will be served from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm at Trattoria del Porto, featuring cold appetizers, domestic and imported cheeses, smoked salmon, fruit, pasta, seafood, soup, salads, omelets, risotto, carving stations, and more. Entertainment will include Universal Orlando characters, a children’s holiday craft and activity table, a face painter and balloonist, and live music.
Holiday Harbor Nights
At this annual Portofino Bay tradition, enjoy holiday music and a wine tasting all centered around a beautiful Christmas tree in the picturesque Harbor Piazza. It takes place on Friday, November 23, from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Regular admission is $55; a VIP ticket is $90. This is a 21 and over event.
And there you are, a full 2018 guide to Universal Orlando Resort Holiday Celebrations. What are you most looking forward to?