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The Holidays Outside of Walt Disney World: Universal Orlando Resort

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Love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

No one does the holidays quite like Walt Disney World, but it is not the only game in town! Over the next few days I hope to share with you a few of the other local seasonal offerings. I’ll also mix in some Walt Disney World information, because this is going to be a big week!

The largest competitor that Walt Disney World has is Universal Orlando Resort. There are special touches throughout Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. There are of course decorations, and many of the shows such as Blues Brothers add a holiday theme.

There are a few things that I need to touch upon when it comes to the holidays at Universal. This is of course the home of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You’ll find Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida, and Hogsmeade (including Hogwarts Castle) at Islands of Adventure. There are holiday touches in Diagon Alley, including special food and drink offerings. You’ll want to be in Hogsmeade after dark, to see The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle. You can take the Hogwarts Express between the two parks, but you’ll need a park to park ticket.

Islands of Adventure is also the home of Seuss Landing, so it makes sense that the Grinch takes up residence during the holiday season. It’s called Grinchmas. There are special Whoville characters throughout the land, including the Grinch himself. The must-see live show is Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular. You can also try to get a reservation for the Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast.

Back at Universal Studios Florida, another must-see is Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s. You’ll feel like you’re at the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City! There are 15 floats, and plenty of oversized balloons. The parade wraps up with Santa himself, and this is the only place in either park where you will see him.

Finally, if you’re visiting on December 7, 8, 14, or 15, you will want to see Mannheim Steamroller at Universal Studios Florida. The concert starts at 7:00pm, and it lasts about an hour. If you’re still feeling Grinch-like, Mannheim Steamroller will change your mood.