How To Get The Most Out Of Holiday’s At Universal Orlando
I’ve never been shy about professing my love for Universal Orlando. Everything from their hotels to their restaurants to their rides are grade A first class as far as I’m concerned. I can’t even choose a favorite most of the time. Well, I’m lying because my favorites are Hard Rock Hotel, Cowfish and Spiderman but enough about me. Holiday’s at Universal Orlando are extra special with the fun Grinchmas show, Macy’s Holiday Parade and the Mannheim Steamroller concert added among other things to brighten the season’s festivities. Here’s how to get the most out of Holiday’s at Universal Orlando.
My biggest tip would be to budget all year round, maybe keep a special jar on the counter where you accumulate all the extra change from your pockets, swear words money, give up my Starbucks change..you know what I’m talking about. Anyway so budget all year round and make Holiday’s at Universal a big deal for your family. Nearly all the on-site hotels have some type of holiday happenings you can take advantage of during your stay. Remember when I was invited to write the review of the Cabana Bay Beach resort? Well that hotel offers holiday arts and crafts for kids and holiday dive in movies out at the pool. If you want to step it up a notch check out the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel where you can see a tree lighting, receive a visit from Santa, listen to carolers and a lot more. All the hotels offer even more season’s entertainment and if you stay longer you save more, about 35% more based on 3+ nights (estimation).
If you have little kids The Grinch and Friends Character Breakfast at Islands of Adventure might be a good place to start your day. Who can pass up a plate of Green Eggs and Ham? You get to meet The Grinch and The Cat in the Hat and more so this would be a big hit for any Dr. Suess fan young or old. $29.99 for adults and $16.99 for kids. Book the 10:00 AM seating and then have a heavy snack later in the day. It can serve as “brunch” and you won’t need to have another meal until dinner. That makes this character meal worth every penny!
Before I get much further let’s rewind back to the ticket booth. You’ve purchased your passes and made sure to factor in any discount your family could possibly receive. Do your homework please, there are almost always ways to get a discounted ticket. Read the website thoroughly, again, do your research. This is also the part where I will shout, purchase Universal Express passes. Yes, Universal Express tickets are a bit pricey I will admit ringing up at $40+ per person but they are worth every penny if you want to see it all during your stay. Especially since Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Diagon Alley rides do not accept Express tickets. You’ll need to save up valuable minutes to put towards these worlds.
So back to the holiday events. The Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular is a Broadway style show playing numerous times throughout the day in Suess Landing at Islands of Adventure. I’ve seen this show about 7 times and each time, not only do I cry a lot but it also just makes me really happy. They have original songs written by Mannheim Steamroller. The set on this show is impressive and did I mention there is a dog. Spencer loves the dog. Be sure to get there early as the line does fill up.
The Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios only takes place one time per day and seating is first come put your butt down on the curb of the road. In other words, it’s parade seating so get there early or else. Jen and I got there early and we still had to fight back the urge to accidentally on purpose bump a lady into the path of incoming parade floats because she wouldn’t get out of our personal space. I’d give yourself about 45 minutes before the show.
Many of the parade floats and balloons from the New York City Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are sent directly to Universal Orlando for this parade. It’s actually very neat, the parade is highly entertaining. I sing one of the songs in my head for no less than 3 months afterwards. Each year Universal and Macy’s introduce at least one new float or balloon to us and this year it was both. The Tom Turkey Balloonicle and The Holiday Lights Balloon (string of lights) were brand new and I have them both pictured in my collage above. After the parade is over you can stick around for the Christmas tree lighting which is always lovely.
Finally my absolute favorite part of each Universal holiday park event is Mannheim Steamroller. On select nights throughout the holiday season the band plays live at the Music Plaza Stage at Universal Studios. Get there early if you want to actually sit down otherwise it will be standing area only. Even that will be crowded. They will play a few of their famous songs and then they will backup a reading of The Grinch. If you’ve already watching The Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular this could be a bit redundant but if not it’s entertaining. They only sing, they don’t dance or act. I love Mannheim Steamroller, so much.
That’s Holiday’s at Universal in a nut shell. But that’s really not all of it. There are so many more things to do and see. Small things peppered (peppermint sticked) throughout the park to take part in or for you to purchase and enjoy. This is a great guide into how to get the most out of Holiday’s at Universal Orlando especially if you are able to come back a day or two because you stay in a hotel. Try and take it easy. It really is an ultimate season’s greeting. I hope you enjoy it as much as the Allport family.
*I received complimentary tickets in order to facilitate my review. Honestly this is a lot of work so I promise everything I write is true. My feet hurt and I’m exhausted.