The holiday season has officially kicked off at Universal Orlando Resort! As with previous years, this means seasonal treats, sparkling decor, special entertainment, and Christmas music has returned to the parks. This year, holiday joy seems to spread further than ever around the resort, with the new addition of Mistletoe Pines Village in CityWalk. This tiny, tinsel-strewn town includes a selection of food and beverage vendors that sell delicious holiday treats and a returning favorite – Nutty Nog! Of course, the majority of Christmas festivities takes place within the parks themselves. Come with us as we channel our inner Saint Nick and enjoy Christmastime the Universal way!
This year, Universal Orlando is offering more holiday dishes and drinks than ever before. Our first stop for food was Mistletoe Pines Village in CityWalk, where we indulged in the Praline Holiday Bar: praline and dark chocolate mousse topped with whipped ganache – yum! Then, we ventured into Universal Studios Florida and found a food truck selling holiday-inspired bites in the Music Plaza. We tried The Bratwurst, which was composed of grilled bratwurst topped with mustard aioli and caramelized onion, and served with chips. We found it to be savory and scrumptious!
Treats are also available in the Tribute Store this year, where we snagged an Earl the Squirrel Gingerbread Cookie and Cookie Dough Bites. Each of these sweets were decadent and tasted just like Christmas. Finally, we topped off our holiday feast with a Nashville Hot Crispy Chicken Skewer that we found at a food truck in San Francisco, and it was tasty and full of flavor. Several other seasonal offerings can be found around the parks as well, including the Holiday Leftovers sandwich, several variations of Nutty Nog, and Hot Chocolate Bombs!
THE TRIBUTE STORE
Following the tradition of last year, the Holiday Tribute Store has returned just in time for Christmas celebrations at Universal Studios Florida! This themed shopping experience is composed of a small entry foyer and four highly themed rooms, boasting a large facade made to look like a charming, garland-lined barn. The first of the four rooms is designed to look like Santa’s workshop, with presents circling the ceiling and souveniors galore. Here, you can find the largest selection of speciality ornaments, as well as a fun photo op in Santa’s chair. In the second room, you’ll stumble into Earl the Squirrel’s Christmas Curios Museum & Emporium, where flashy Christmas lights and assorted holiday junk can be seen everywhere you look. Wax figures and a variety of yummy treats can be located here, making the entire room smell amazing!
The third room is themed as the Grinch’s lair, where you’ll come across michevious contraptions, Santa’s stolen sleigh, and – of course – all of the Grinch merhcandise you’ve ever dreamed of. Just around the corner lies the fourth room, which is the largest and grandest of them all. Walking into this last rooms feels like stepping right into the Yule Ball at Hogwarts Castle, where enchanted Christmas trees line the walls and a magical snowfall flutters over the checkout area. Harry Potter fans will find themsleves in holiday heaven!
Boredom is impossible at Universal during the holidays! Entertainment can be found all over each park, including special character meet and greets, live performances, the Holiday Tree Hunt, and more! Guest of all ages will enjoy the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular over at Islands of Adventure, as well as the Blues Brothers Holiday Show at Universal Studios Florida. If you’re a fan of the Wizarding World, you’ll want to check out the holiday rendition of Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees in Diagon Alley.
To close out your night in the most festive way, be sure not to miss Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, which takes place every night! This spectacular parade includes giant Macy’s balloons, iconic characters, talented dancers, and the big man himself – Santa Claus! This magical parade is one of our favorite holiday offerings each year, and we are jollier than ever to see it back in action.