Universal Orlando at Christmas 2023: Dates, Harry Potter, Tips, Decorations, and More!

The holidays at Universal Orlando offers plenty to see and do in terms of entertainment, activities, and seasonal decor. Experience an Universal Orlando Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, meet the Grinch during the celebration in Whoville, and enjoy the Universal Holiday parade.

Universal Orlando focuses their Christmas time festivities in two main themes: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Grinchmas. Along with these two main themes, you can also see holiday decor throughout the park from the festive decorations to characters wearing Santa hats! Seasonal food is also in abundance, especially in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This year’s holiday celebration takes place from November 17 2023 through December 31 2024.

Need a refresher on everything Universal Orlando has to offer? Make sure to check out our full guide with tips on how to get discount Universal Orlando tickets, what rides are offered, and a complete touring strategy.

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This is the best way to save and guarantee the best experience during your visit to Universal Orlando during Christmas! Read our full guide to Christmas at Walt Disney World here.

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter takes place for Universal Orlando Christmas is decked out to its full holiday best and definitely should make the top of your list! You will find celebratory holiday traditions in both Universal Studios Florida in the village of Hogsmeade and in Islands of Adventure in Diagon Alley.

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle in Hogsmeade

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle includes lights, music, and projections on the castle of Hogwarts which makes for a stunning display at Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure!

Check the entertainment schedule on the Universal Orlando app for daily times or ask the nearest park employee. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle show will typically begin in the evening and run every 30 minutes until park close.

But on nights that the park closes early, there may only be one show. Make sure you find out the time in advance so you don’t miss it for your Universal Orlando Christmas!

Holiday Frog Choir in HogsmeadeUniversal Studios christmas: holiday frog choir

Listen to some holiday songs from the choir of Hogwarts students and their croaking frogs at Hogsmeade in Universal’s lslands of Adventure!

Check the entertainment schedule on the Universal Orlando app for daily times or ask the nearest park employee.

Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees in Diagon AlleyCelestina Warbeck

King’s Cross Station in Universal Studios Florida features performances from Molly Weasley’s favorite singer- Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. The show features favorites you may recognize right from the pages of Harry Potter including  ‘A Cauldron Full Of Hot, Strong Love’, ‘You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart’, and ‘You Charmed The Heart Right Out Of Me’.

Check the entertainment schedule on the Universal Orlando app for daily times or ask the nearest park employee.

Universal Orlando Christmas Seasonal FoodClose up of holiday feast food at Universal Studios Hollywood

In the Harry Potter books, Harry and his friends enjoy a grand holiday feast at Hogwarts with all the fixings,

Harry had never in all his life had such a Christmas dinner. A hundred fat, roast turkeys; mountains of roast and boiled potatoes; platters of chipolatas; tureens of buttered peas, silver boats of thick, rich gravy and cranberry sauce — and stacks of wizard crackers every few feet along the table…

The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure offers a full holiday feast as a nod towards the Christmas dinner feast held at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series. The Holiday Feast includes a few courses such as butternut squash soup, beef wellington, oven roast turkey, sweet potato, dried cherries, and winter vegetables.

You can also find a variety of holiday sweets and seasonal drinks, such as warm butterbeer, around the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Christmas time.

Diagon Alley Holiday Decor in Islands of Adventure

Diagon Alley is also packed to the brim with plenty of holiday decor at Universal’s Islands of Adventure so it’s a must stop during your visit to see all the holiday fun at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Harry Potter Shopping at Universal Orlando Christmas

Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley offer a variety of amazing shops straight out of the pages of the Harry Potter series. You can expect these stores to put out all the stops when it comes to serving your holiday shopping needs.

Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s at Universal Studios Florida

Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s is a must see for your Universal Orlando Christmas. The parade features favorites such as the Minions, Santa Clause, characters from Madagascar and Shrek.

Santa Claus also makes an appearance during the parade which ends with the lighting of the park’s dazzling 80-foot Christmas Tree.

Check the entertainment schedule on the Universal Orlando app for daily times or ask the nearest park employee.

The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular at Universal’s Islands of AdventureThe Grinch stands in his sleigh full of presents while Max the dog wearing reindeer antlers sits at the helm in Universal Orlando's Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure also holds a celebration of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas in Seuss Landing with popular characters from the movie ready to share their Wholiday with your family for your Universal Orlando Christmas.

Meet the Grinch in Seuss Landing

Meet Grinch and Max in Seuss Landing and snap a picture with this dynamic duo.

Check the entertainment schedule on the Universal Orlando app for daily times or ask the nearest park employee.

Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular during Universal Orlando ChristmasSeuss landing holiday decor

Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular at Islands of Adventure is the main show for entertainment during Grinchmas. The show stars the Grinch in the telling of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The show also features the spirited cast of Who-ville citizens and music recorded by Mannheim Steamroller. Make sure to get there early so you can get good seats- seats are first come, first serve. And no, you can’t use your Express Pass here to get seats!

Check the entertainment schedule on the Universal Orlando app for daily times or ask the nearest park employee.

The Grinch and Friends Character Breakfast 2023

You can also enjoy a mischievous breakfast with the Grinch himself during your Universal Orlando Christmas experience! As you eat, the Grinch will come around stealing bacon (sassy Grinch) and posing for photos as you dine a full buffet including green eggs and ham! Guests also receive access to one digital download photo as a keepsake from their encounter with the Grinch during this special opportunity.


$58.99+tax (ages 10+)
$32.99 + tax (ages 3-9)
Select dates Nov 17 – Dec 31.

The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast takes place in Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous in Universal’s Islands of Adventure. This breakfast requires advance reservations and tends to sell out quickly. Make your reservation here. 

Universal’s Holiday Tour 2023

Universal’s Holiday Tour includes special meet and greet opportunities, after hours park access plus holiday treats. The full list of what the tour includes here:

  • Exclusive Meet and Greet meeting with the Grinch and his faithful dog, Max
  • Reserved seating for the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular
  • Small plates including cookies, Who Hash, Chicken & Waffles, Popcorn Shrimp, plus non-alcoholic beverages and a hot cocoa bar at Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous
  • A private Santa meeting including one (1) My Universal Photos digital download per party.
  • An after-hours showing of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.

Pricing starts at $79.99 (plus tax) and separate theme park admission with a 2-Park 1-Day Park-to-Park ticket is required.

Tours will include multiple parties in the same tour group; up to 12 guests per tour. Tour pricing and availability vary depending upon the date and product selection. Theme park admission is not included in the listed price. Reservations and separate theme park admission are required. A forty-eight (48) hour cancellation notice is required for a full refund. Each guest must have a valid park-to-park admission ticket to participate in Universal’s Holiday Tour AND must be valid for the same calendar day as the Universal’s Holiday Tour ticket. Certain Bilingual guides may be available, but must be requested at time of booking.

Holiday Tribute Store 2023

The Holiday Tribute Store features four themed rooms of Who-ville, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Earl the Squirrel and New York vintage holiday decor.

You can find items like the Grinchmas popcorn bucket, Grinchmas Loungefly backpack, Hogwarts House-themed holiday ornaments, Earl the Squirrel spirit jersey plus a variety of treats in each themed room.

Mannheim Steamroller at Universal Studios FloridaUniversal Orlando Christmas: Mannheim Steamroller

Mannheim Steamroller, the best-selling holiday artist of all time, visits Universal Studios Florida for live performances which you can enjoy on select nights in the park.

December 2, 3, 9 and 10.

Check the entertainment schedule on the Universal Orlando app for daily times or ask the nearest park employee.

Universal Orlando Christmas Treats 2023

Universal Orlando’s holiday treat list includes classic treats plus savory fan favorites paying homage to popular stories featured in the parks.

  • Earl’s Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Acorn Bomb (available at TODAY Café and Battery Park – located alongside the lagoon near Mel’s Drive-In): A holiday fan-favorite is back, now themed to the beloved, original Universal character – Earl the Squirrel. The delicious beverage consists of a chocolate acorn shell filled with salted caramel and mini marshmallows, served with Italian hot chocolate.
  • Roast Beast Sandwich (available at Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous): Guests looking for comfort food flavors can savor the Roast Beast Sandwich – a mini meatloaf sandwich featuring French onion soup-dipped roast beef with a cheddar cheese sauce – and even a “secret” sauce – served on a pretzel bun.

  • Grinch-Themed Treats (available in Seuss Landing): Some of the traditional sweet flavors the season brings can be found in an array of unique Grinch-themed sweets, including a Grinch Hot Chocolate Bomb, a Grinch Ice Cream Sandwich, and Grinch cookies, among others.
  • Santa’s Cookies and Milk “Shake” (available at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen): An iconic holiday treat comes to life as a delectable milkshake with Santa’s Cookies and Milk “Shake,” complete with cookie butter & vanilla ice cream, mini chocolate chip cookies, and topped with a delicious chocolate Christmas tree and sprinkles.
  • And for the seasonal cocktail aficionados, a selection of specialty beverages is available in Universal Studios Florida including:
    • The Nutty Nog, the classic Holiday treat with a creamy, frozen eggnog base
    • The Deluxe Nog, a luxurious Holiday drink served with Bacardi 8
    • The Fire Nog, a delicious liquid cinnamon-cream treat using fireball cinnamon whiskey

Christmas Time at Universal Orlando Tips

Between Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Universal Holiday Parade, and Grinchmas, there will be plenty of holiday entertainment to keep you busy.

Throughout the parks you will notice seasonal holiday decor, characters such as the beloved Minions in Christmas hats and festive outfits, and a variety of Christmas treats and souvenirs.

Since this time of year tends to be crowded, we have some additional tips and tricks to keep in mind for this holiday season as you enjoy your Universal Orlando Christmas:

  1. Arrive early- at least 30 minutes before the park opens. Not as many people do this at Universal Orlando as they do at Walt Disney World, you will be one of the first ones in if you come early!
  2. If you have the extra funds and want to cut ahead the crowds, consider purchasing an Express Pass so you can get to the front of the lines quicker.
  3. Plan ahead– know the park hours, entertainment schedule, and want you want to do first.
  4. If meeting the Grinch is at the top of your list, go there in the morning before the lines get long in the afternoon or consider taking advance of the holiday tour so you can get an prioritized meet and greet.
  5. When there are more than one Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle show, see the later timed one for lower crowd levels.
  6. Stay until the park closes– especially if you only have one day to spend.
  7. Consider staying at a Universal hotel to get early entry.
  8. Get spots early for the Universal Holiday Parade and the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular.
  9. Dress in layers– it can get chilly once the sun goes down!
  10. And don’t miss out on trying some warm holiday Butterbeer!

New Years Eve at Universal OrlandoImage result for New Years at Universal Orlando

Each Universal Orlando park offers a New Years Eve celebration for guests to enjoy after the holidays!

New Year’s Eve in Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Florida has live music, party zones, character meet and greets, pyrotechnics, confetti, and party favors.

New Year’s Eve at the Music Plaza Stage

  • Holiday Parade Character Dance Party
  • Live Band and DJ
  • Pyrotechnics and Confetti Midnight Moment

New Year’s Eve in Central Park

  • Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration
  • Character Dance Party
  • Live DJ
  • Pyrotechnics, Fountain and Light Midnight Moment

EVE at Universal CityWalk

EVE, is an electrifying New Year’s Eve celebration at Universal CityWalk with signature drinks. Guests can enjoy five incredible CityWalk clubs with live music and gourmet cuisine. Guests can also party on Orlando’s biggest outdoor dance floor. (Separately ticketed event. 21+ only.)

New Year’s Eve at Universal Orlando Hotels

Universal Orlando hotels offer New Years Eve activities offer special New Year’s Eve dinners and buffets along with live entertainment, midnight toasts and family activities.

Plan Your Universal Orlando Vacation Today!

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Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.

About Lindsay Brookshier

Lindsay is a college English instructor and has years of writing experience through various nonprofits, charities, newspapers, and online magazines. As the content director of Mickey Visit, she oversees article content and leads our fantastic team of writers to meet guest vacation needs. You can still find her writing weekly content to help make your Disney Parks trip fantastic here on Mickey Visit and Disney Dose- you can also view her recently featured posts on Disney Parks travel on Visit Anaheim, Nerd Wallet and SFGate. Lindsay comes from a dedicated Disney family and enjoys taking her son to the Disney parks as often as possible.

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5 comments add your comment

  1. This site was last updated 2/6/2020. I am trying to determine if Universal begins their Christmas season 11/16/2020. Some of the above information references 2019. I can’t tell which is Christmas 2019 and Christmas 2020. I am only interested in the upcoming Christmas, not last year’s.
    Thanks for your help.

    • Universal Orlando hasn’t released their dates for 2020 yet- we will update the guide with the dates once they release them. Usually the dates are pretty close from year to year so you could look at 2019’s dates to get an idea for this year!

  2. Has Universal released their dates for this holiday season? It seems to me these dates are from 2020 into 2021. I’m looking for dates for November 2021.

    • Universal hasn’t released their 2021 dates quite yet, we’ll update the guide once they do but the dates will likely be quite similar to what they were in 2020.

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