Grinchmas, Macy’s Christmas Parade, and Other Holiday Must Dos at Universal Orlando

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A Grinchmas Christmas at Universal Orlando

Every year Universal’s Islands of Adventure transforms its Seuss Landing area into the whimsical world of Grinchmas. Dr. Seus fans will be happy to know that throughout day the Whos from Who-ville stroll through Seuss Landing, and The Grinch holds court inside the All The Books You Can Read store.

If you are looking for a fun Christmas picture make sure to visit with The Grinch who stole Christmas. He does take his jolly good time to interact with guests before each photograph, so be patient as it results in a long, slow-moving line. If meeting the Grinch is a priority, stop by at park opening.

An absolute must is the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular Show, a live show retelling Dr. Seuss’s classic holiday tale, starring The Grinch and featuring music recorded by Mannheim Steamroller. The half-hour musical is performed 6 to 8 times each day inside a soundstage located behind the Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous.



2016 Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular Show Times:

December 5-9, 12-14, and Jan 1:
  11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 4:45 p.m, 5:45 p.m.

December 3, 4, 10, 11, 15-31:  10:45 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 1:45 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.

Green Eggs and Ham with The Grinch and Friends

If you want to spend more time with The Grinch, consider a breakfast filled with holiday cheer and meet The Grinch himself at Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous. You can do so from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on December 3rd and 4th, December 8th through 11th, December 15th through 18th, and December 21st through 25th. Breakfast includes photo opportunities with The Grinch and other Dr. Seuss characters. If you want autographs, come prepared and bring an autograph book and pen with you. The breakfast costs $34.99 plus tax for adults and $20.99 plus tax for children 9 years and under.

Macy’s Holiday Parade is the Big Draw at Universal Studios

Over at Universal Studios the biggest thrill of the season is the Macy’s Holiday Parade. Did you know that when the legendary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ends in New York City, many of the balloons and floats are sent to Universal Studios Florida to become part of the holiday spectacular featuring marching bands and, of course, an appearance by Santa himself?

The parade is held daily at 5:00 p.m. from December 3rd through December 18th, as of December 19th and through January 1st, the parade begins at 8:00 p.m.


What’s even more exciting is that you too can march in the parade. I have carried a Macy’s star at the parade before and here is what you need to know to participate. You must be 18 years or older, at least 48 inches tall and 125 lbs., and able to lift 50 lbs. You must wear closed-toed shoes, speak English, and be capable of walking the mile-long route for up to an hour. The sign-up is held daily two hours before the parade start time in the KidZone near E.T. Adventure. A limited number of spots are available for guests each day, and you’ll have to sign a waiver to participate.

I loved the experience and I can guarantee you will too. The Macy’s star I carried was part of the Santa float and it was wonderful to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus prior to the start of the parade. However, nothing beat seeing all the cheering guests along the parade route.

If you have never seen the parade you should make sure to watch it at least once before deciding to be a part of it. Ideal viewing spots are near Mel’s Drive-In at the beginning of the route and near the large tree in New York toward the end. Reserved viewing areas for guests with disabilities are in front of Macy’s in New York; for Annual Passholders, look near Mel’s Drive-In.

On Delancey Street the Blues Brothers deliver a special Holiday Show, perform seasonal favorites such as “Blue Christmas” and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” At the end of their performance machines blow millions of tiny soap-like bubbles into the air, creating a gentle snowfall.

Barney, the purple dinosaur celebrates the season with a special version of his show. Small children will love A Barney Holiday even if they are not familiar with the children’s show.

The entire family will love the Mannheim Steamroller who are in concert on select nights. The one-hour show is held at 7:00 p.m. at the Universal Music Plaza stage. There is no reserved seating, and if you want to enjoy the concert, make sure to claim a seat at least 45 minutes prior to the show. This year the concerts will be held December 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, and 18th.


Universal Orlando Christmas celebrations start December 3rd and last through January 1st, 2017.

For an in-depth description of all there is to do at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure check out Seth Kubersky’s book The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando.

Have you celebrated Christmas at Universal Orlando before? Share your favorite parts in the comments!

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