Nov. 13 marked the beginning of the holiday festivities at Universal Orlando Resort.
Decorations are scattered around lands in both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, but you’ll find the most holiday cheer around the New York section of the Studios, including the resort’s big Christmas tree.
Naturally, this is also a prime location to find characters dressed in their holiday best.
The Holiday Tribute Store is back again for 2021. Along with special holiday treats and photo ops, the store features room themed around the Grinch and the Yule Ball from the “Harry Potter” films.
In Islands of Adventure. Hogsmeade has some extra holiday decor and the “Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” projection show has returned. But the bulk of the festive cheer can be found in Suess Landing, with the Whos of Whoville and the entrance to the returning “Grinchmas Who-holiday Spectacular” stage show.
In a change from past years, the show is now housed in the former Blue Man Group theater, so you’ll be just a few feet from Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit in the Studios. However, there’s no access to the show from the Studios.
The stage show, which is a short retelling of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” is largely unchanged from when it was performed in 2019, with the exception of all performers wearing masks (even though it’s optional for the audience).
Outside the parks, you can find a small holiday market called Mistletoe Pines Village in CityWalk, in front of the Universal Studios Store. While the prominent signage may make you think this is some substantial new offering, it’s really just three new booths interspersed with existing merchandise kiosks. Two of the new booths offer food, while another sells ornaments and caricatures.
At night, the holiday focus is all on the Studios with the Universal Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s. In a welcome change to the hours of waiting to keep a good spot for a Disney World parade, you can easily find an unobstructed view along the route as the parade begins.
The Macy’s balloons in the parade included a Minion, two of the kids of Donkey and Dragon from “Shrek,” and several generic Christmas characters. The parade routes starts near the edge of Central Park, winding through the front of the park until passing by the Christmas tree in New York, where Santa Claus (cue Buddy the Elf voice: “I know him!”) does the lighting.
The parade and the holiday festivities at Universal Orlando are scheduled to run until Jan. 2.