UniversalParksBlog News for November 26th, 2023
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope that my American friends had a lovely week.
At Universal Studios, the calendar has already flipped to Christmas.
We’ll talk about what’s new and what’s coming soon in the latest UniversalParksBlog News.
The Holidays Arrive at Universal
‘Tis the season at your favorite theme park, and you can tell this from the weather.
Earlier this week, Universal Orlando Resort closed Volcano Bay for two days during what should have been a busy time.
Cold weather forced park officials to shut down Volcano Bay during Thanksgiving Week, which isn’t ideal.
With Volcano Bay open, some guests may have skipped Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Instead, those parks faced larger, colder crowds who weren’t crazy about the weather, especially when they rode outdoor roller coasters.
Thankfully, these sorts of cold spells are rare for Orlando, even in the winter.
Still, the chillier temperatures (in the 50s) did their job of setting the tone for the holiday week transition.
While Orlando theme parks give lip service to Thanksgiving, the Christmas season is how they make their money.
Not coincidentally, guests have already discovered the return of a beloved amenity at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle illuminated the darkness with a digital projection. Here’s a video of the delightful experience:
Of course, that was only the first of the returning holiday favorites. I’m happy to report that The Grinch has returned as well!
Here’s a clip of The Grinch and his loyal puppy. You’ll want to watch because that dog is VERY well-trained!
Max is a good boy! By the way, that costumed cast member playing The Grinch really did their homework with that vlogger.
Speaking of which, at the 13-minute mark of the same video, you can watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Universal’s annual holiday presentation.
Take the time to watch, as it will get you in the Christmas spirit!
More Holiday Updates at Universal
The Grinch-mas Who-liday Spectacular is always one of the high points of the Christmas season at the parks. You’ll find quite a bit more, though.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I should mention that The Grinch character greeting uses a standby queue rather than a digital one.
So, you’ll spend a bit more time in line, but the plus side is that you won’t worry whether the digital queue glitches on you, which is nice.
Universal has also brought back The Grinch and Friends Character Breakfast. This year’s event costs $58.99 plus tax for adults and $32.99 for kids ages 3 to 9.
This year’s menu includes Green Eggs and Ham (obviously), Grinch Cookies, Max Treats, and several thematic entrees. They include:
- Betty Lou Who’s Shakshuka
- Calamella’s Chicken and Waffles
- Cindy Lou Who’s Who Hash
- The Grinch Green Pancakes
- Lou Lou Who’s Green Eggs
- Mayor Augustus’s Green Eggs & Ham Pizza
- Mount Crumpet Biscuits and Gravy
- Stu Lou’s Scrambled Eggs
- Whobris Sausage Links
This is just a partial list of a surprisingly robust menu. Plus, you’ll meet characters like Sam-I-Am, The Grinch, and others during your meal.
I highly recommend this meal, but you should book quickly, as it is fairly popular and could sell out, especially during Christmas Week.
Also, the Universal Holiday Tour has returned this year. It’s a bit pricey at $99.99 plus tax, but look what you get!
- Exclusive Meet and Greets with the Grinch™ and his faithful dog, Max.
- Reserved seating for the Grinchmas™ Who-liday Spectacular.
- Light bites, desserts and more.
- Private Meet and Greet with Santa
- Priority access to one (1) pre-selected attraction (Subject to Tour itinerary at Universal’s discretion).
- An after-hours showing of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts™ Castle.
Even More Holiday Updates
I think you get the point about Universal’s holiday offerings. But the year doesn’t end at Christmas!
For those of you who want to attend the parks on New Year’s Eve, we just learned details.
Specifically, both Orlando theme parks will remain open until midnight on New Year’s Eve!
So, you’ll have your choice of Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios Florida.
Plus, Universal typically hosts a live band and fireworks at midnight are a certainty. It’ll be an exceptional way to ring in the New Year!
Theme Park Miscellany
I’ve got two other stories of note for this year and two more for calendar 2024.
This year’s holiday season contains one more surprise. When you visit Orlando International Airport, you’ll discover a special treat.
Earl the Squirrel has taken over at a pop-up holiday store that sells exclusive Universal park merchandise. It’s definitely worth a visit!
At the parks, Universal is in the final stages of authorizing facial recognition for park entry.
I previously discussed this, and UniversalParksBlog posted the breaking news in October.
This system is officially in technical rehearsal and could start soon.
As for 2024, the DreamWorks Land is nearly ready. We can tell this because park workers have installed the official sign! It’s here to stay!
Finally, the Mardi Gras celebration will return in 2024.
As part of Universal Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval, the Mardi Gras Float Ride & Dine Experience is now available for booking.
This year’s version will cost $84.99 plus tax for adults and will provide you with a reserved seat on a float! How great is that?
I hope you had a lovely holiday, everyone. Enjoy the start of the yuletide season!
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Main image: Universal Studios