Holiday Tour at Universal Studios Orlando
by Kristin Darnell
November 29, 2020
Last night I decided to see what the brand new Holiday Tour at Universal Studios Orlando was all about, and it did not disappoint! My evening began by checking in at the VIP desk outside Universal Studios (fancy, right?). I then met up with my tour guide extraordinaire, Dani. Our group consisted of a total of 12, which was the perfect size and allowed for plenty of room for social distancing.
Our first stop was a practically empty Hollywood section of the Studios. It was the perfect opportunity to grab some pictures of the classic, glamorous Hollywood holiday decorations.
Next on the list was a meeting with my boyfriend, The Grinch, but first we had to get there. The Grinch was entertaining guests at Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-Pendous, which is at Islands of Adventure. We got to take a super exclusive backstage walkway, but no photos were allowed. We saw sound stages where filming occurs for game shows such as Deal or No Deal, shows for Nickelodeon, and even an occasional show for the other theme park in Orlando. Once in Seuss Landing, we met up with The Grinch for some yummy cookies and hot chocolate. There was plenty of time for photos with the main man, if he was in the mood. He is a little cranky. While there, each guest was given a stamped post card from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to fill out. We had the opportunity to mail them from Hogsmeade later in the evening. When our time with The Grinch was over, we headed back to the Studios for an exclusive visit to the Tribute Store.
The Tribute Store has 4 specific sections, classic Christmas, Dr. Seuss, Harry Potter, and Earl the Squirrel. Earl has risen to Universal Studios fame because a few years ago, Earl decided to make the wires in the Studios 72 foot tree his midnight snack. When Santa went to flip the lights on for the lighting ceremony, nothing. After every bulb was checked and every fuse was changed, out comes the squirrel that had decided to make the centerpiece of Universal Studios holiday decorations his home.
After our visit to the Tribute Store, it was time to see Universal’s Holiday Experience featuring Macy’s Balloons. Because Universal is not able to have a parade due to social distancing guidelines they have created this festive walk-through experience. We were able to get up close and personal with the larger than life balloons and Christmas floats. We even had the opportunity for photos with Santa.
Once the park closed, it was time for the main event, special after hours access to Hogsmeade for The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle. Our group had about 30 minutes to grab all the varieties of Butterbeer from Hog’s Head. If a more full bodied beer is your style, adult beer is available for purchase as well. While waiting for the castle show, the opportunity to mail our postcards that we filled out earlier in the evening from Hogsmeade and pick up our special gift, a Harry Potter Christmas tree ornament.
After the park is completely empty from park guests, the magical show begins. This is the ONLY chance someone will have to see the show. It is only offered for those who are part of the VIP Holiday Tour at Universal Studios Orlando. The next part of the tour is truly magical. Hogwarts Castle is lit with beautiful projections representing the magic of Christmas at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
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I have been a travel addict for a long time. I just love to go…whether we’re going down the street, across town, or across county I am ready. I especially love completely immersive experiences. That is how my love for Disney began. Having been as a child, I thought I knew what to expect when I arrived at the Magic Kingdom with my 4 year old son. Boy, was I wrong. Seeing him light up with each character meeting, hearing his squeal of excitement on the twists and turns of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, watching his grin ear to ear as the parades passed us by truly made me fall in love. Since our first family trip oh so many years ago, we have been Annual Passholders, Disney Cruise Line Castaway Club members, and even made it out to where it all started, Disneyland. An over planner by nature, I was always the vacation go to girl. In 2015, I decided to make it more than a hobby, to make it a career that I absolutely love. Whether it’s your first trip to Walt Disney World, your 10th Carnival Cruise, or a trail blazing trip to the wild west, I can help you get there.