Guide to the Holidays at Universal Orlando for 2023

Universal Orlando holiday season is here! Today I am sharing my guide to the Holidays at Universal Orlando to help plan your Christmas trip to Universal Orlando.

Christmas at Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and the Universal Orlando resorts is a festive time to plan your Universal Orlando vacation.

With holiday themed shows, treats and activities, Christmas at Universal is one of the best times to visit.

There is a such a special feeling when you walk through the theme parks lit up with holiday lights and festivities.

I remember our first Universal parade and when the snow started to fall at the end of the show we were all smiling from ear to ear. We are used to snow but “snow” falling in Florida hits differently.

Throughout the parks you will find holiday décor and special events to enjoy together. They feature some of your favorite Universal Orlando characters, as well as special holiday themed shows and treats at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

christmas at universal studios parade.
Santa Shrek and Fiona during the Macy’s Holiday Parade.

Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort

The holidays have taken over Universal Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure, and the Universal Orlando hotels and resorts making the parks a great place to celebrate the season with your family.

Universal’s holiday is at the parks and guests will need theme park tickets but you do not need a separate theme park admission ticket for the event.

There are special events that are an additional cost like the Universal’s Holiday Tour and The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast but all other festivities like live music, Holiday Tribute Store, Grinchmas in Seuss Landing, and Holiday parade are included in your regular admission.

Entrance of Universal Studios for Christmas.
Universal Studios Christmas decorations at the entrance.

2023 Holidays at Universal Orlando

  • Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s (Universal Studios)
  • Grinchmas (Universal’s Islands of Adventure)
  • Grinch Who-liday Spectacular: The story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Islands of Adventure)
  • Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle (Projection show at Islands of Adventure)
  • Holiday Tribute Store: Holiday themed rooms and gift shop. (Universal Studios)
  • Holiday Tree Hunt (Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s CityWalk)
  • Mannheim Steamroller Performances (Universal Studios, December 2, 3, 9, 10)
  • Festive Décor throughout the park and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Mistletoe Pines Village -Treat and Merchandise area in CityWalk. The roasted nuts were delicious!
treats at mistletoe pines village at universal citywalk orlando

When do the Holidays at Universal Orlando start?

Dates of the Holidays at Universal Orlando run from November 17, 2023 – December 31 2023.

Where do I buy tickets for Holidays at Universal Orlando?

You do not need special tickets for the Christmas at Universal Orlando events. You do need a park ticket.

Is Universal Orlando crowded on Christmas Day?

The holidays are always a busy time to visit the theme parks. Christmas Day will get busy! You can enjoy the holiday events at Universal before and after Christmas Day but expect large crowds as you get closer to the holidays.

Evenings tend to be busier during Christmastime because people want to experience the parade, nightly Hogwarts show, and Seuss Landing Who-ville.

christmas at universal studios parade.
Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s is a must see for your day at Universal Studios at Christmastime. Be sure to stay until the end to see Santa Claus.

Universal Studios has added holiday touches all through the park. The streets are lined with lights and wreaths, the parade is a must see, and the gigantic Christmas tree offers a great place to take a holiday family photo.

It is important to note that the parade and holiday areas are typically the most crowded. Attractions will have lower wait times during the parade.

Harry Potter World at Christmas

Harry Potter Christmas is celebrated in both of the Universal parks. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade receive the holiday treatment.

Christmas at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley

London and Diagon Alley are decorated for the season. You can enjoy a hot Butterbeer while enjoying a seasonal show from Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. Diagon Alley is located at Universal Studios.

Christmas at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Hogsmeade

Enjoy Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with a seasonal Frog Choir show and decorations throughout. At dusk the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts will be shown nightly on the castle until park close. Hogsmeade is at Universal Islands of Adventure

Universal Grinchmas

All the Grinchmas activities and shows are located at Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure.

Seuss Landing is one of my favorite areas at Islands of Adventure any day of the year. It is themed to Dr. Seuss and it wonderful to visit any time of the year but the holidays are really special.

Seuss Landing is transformed into Who-Ville! The lights are bright and festive and everyone is wishing you a Merry Christmas.

The Grinch and The Who’s will be walking around entertaining guests and providing opportunities for photo ops.

Seuss Landing during the Holidays at Universal.
Seuss Landing during the Holidays.

The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular is back for the 2023 holidays at Universal!!

Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular gets incredibly busy and I suggest arriving at least 20 minutes before the show to get a seat. They are seating people in the old Blue Man Group theater.

We saw the first show of the day and I was happy we did because it only got busier. The show is worth it with songs and an outstanding Grinch who made us laugh and have so much fun.

Admission to Grinch Who-liday Spectacular is included with your daily admission.

Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular
Grinchmas Who-Liday Spectacular at Islands of Adventure.

I highly recommend visiting Seuss Landing at night and during the day. If you can only do it once try to visit at night. You will find it much busier with crowds, but it is glowing with lights and makes it feel like Christmas.

We were also very excited to see that Green Eggs and Ham was open to offer seasonal food and treats themed to the beloved Who characters.

We tried most everything on the menu and it was great! My pick would be green eggs and ham served over tater tots with cheese. It was delicious!

Green Eggs and Ham at Islands of Adventure.
Green Eggs and Ham at Islands of Adventure. Update: They no longer offer the smores dessert. 🙁

Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s

The Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s is back for the 2023 season. On our first visit to Universal Studios for the holidays I was really looking forward to the Macy’s Balloon parade.

The Universal Studios Holiday parade features Macy’s themed larger-than-life balloons just like the Thanksgiving parade. We have never seen the NYC parade, other than on TV, so this was a special treat.

You can see your favorite characters as giant holiday balloons and can’t help but smile. They have the Minions, Madagascar characters, traditional Macy’s balloons, and Santa.

macys parade at holidays at universal

Christmas at Universal Orlando Resorts

Guests staying on-site at the Universal Orlando resorts will find the lobby decorated and special activities for the holidays. At the Hard Rock Hotel guests will have special holiday meals and Christmas tree and Menorah Lighting.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort will have a Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl. Endless Summer-Surfside and Endless Summer-Dockside will have special holiday meals too.

Learn more about each resort here.

christmas at universal orlando cabana bay.

Holiday Tree Hunt at Universal Orlando

The Holiday Tree Hunt at the Universal Orlando resort was a fun surprise when we arrived at the park. It is a holiday tree scavenger hunt located through out Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Universal CityWalk.

The cost is $9.99 and guests receive an ornament at the completion of the scavenger hunt. (Update: Waiting for confirmation that this will return for 2023)

Holiday tree hunt at universal orlando
The ornaments show you all the stops along the Holiday Tree Hunt at Universal Orlando.

As you explore the parks you will stop in multiple shop locations searching for the Christmas trees. Once you find it you take your card up to the counter and receive a stamp.

When all stamps have been collected you visit the Park Plaza Holiday Shop at Universal Studios or the Port of Entry Christmas Shoppe at Islands of Adventure to collect your festive holiday gift.

I really loved doing this! It was easy to include the stops into our visit around the park and was so much fun! You do not have to complete the entire scavenger hunt to pick up your ornament.

tree at holidays at universal orlando.

Universal’s Holiday Tribute Store

Universal had great success with a Halloween store and they are doing it again with a Holiday Tribute store. This will include special teats and holiday themed merchandise.

There will be immersive holiday rooms including a Dr. Seuss The Grinch room. There will also be a Yule Ball holiday room to explore. Walking through these rooms were so much fun. It really gets you in the holiday spirit.

holiday tribute store at universal studios

Holidays at Universal: Mistletoe Pines at CityWalk

Guests can purchase treats through CityWalk at Mistletoe Pines. They have giant gingerbread cookies, roasted nuts, and many more delicious themed food options.

We picked up roasted nuts to snack on while we waited for the Holiday parade at Universal Studios.

The holidays at Universal Orlando is one of the best times to visit the parks.

Read Next: 70 Things You Must Do at Universal Orlando Resort

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