Universal Orlando at Christmas: Everything You Need to Know 2018

Updated 11/13/18. 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.

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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. And don’t forget, the Universal Holiday parade featuring Macy’s.

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 tickets, what rides are offered, and a complete touring strategy.

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Family of four walks through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter during snowfall

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter takes place for Universal Orlando Christmas from November 17th- January 6th. These areas are decked out to its full holiday best and definitely should make the top of your list!

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle in Hogsmeade

Hogwarst Castle show

This show debuted in 2017 and it’s back for the 2018 holiday season at Hosmeade in Universal’s lslands of Adventure!

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle includes lights, music, and projections on the castle of Hogwarts which makes for a stunning display.

Check the entertainment schedule on the Universal Orlando app for daily times or ask the nearest park employee. Typically, the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle show will 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 Hogsmeade

Universal Studios christmas: holiday frog choir

Listen to some holiday songs from the choir of Hogwarts students and their croaking frogs at Hosmeade 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

Celestina 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 reognize 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 Food

Close 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 2017 Holiday Feast included a few courses such as butternut squash soup, beef wellington, oven roast turkey, sweet potato, dried cherries, and winter vegetables. We expect the 2018 offering of a traditional English dinner to be just as delicious!

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.

Holiday Shopping at Universal Orlando Christmas

Harry Potter holiday ornament

Picture via Los Angeles Daily News

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.

The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

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.

The Who-tacular festivities with The Grinch, Max and all of Who-ville takes place November 17th – January 6th.

Meet the Grinch in Seuss Landing

Grinch with his hands reaching out

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 Christmas

Seuss 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

Grinch eating breakfast with a family

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.

This breakfast requires advance reservations and tends to sell out quickly. Make your reservation here. 

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

Minion float during the holiday parade

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.

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

Mannheim Steamroller at Universal Studios Florida

Universal Orlando Christmas: Mannheim Steamroller

Mannheim Steamroller, the best-selling holiday artist of all time, visits Universal Studios Florida for live performances.

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

Christmas Time at Universal Orlando

Minions holiday decor

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.
  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 an 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!

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