The Best Christmas Parties at Disney World and Universal Studios
When it comes to celebrating Christmas there are many magical and wonderful ways that you can spend it. Spending time at the Orlando theme parks is an experience unlike any other as the various parks go all out to make each Christmas extra amazing. So what should you expect on a trip to the region? We take a look at what Walt Disney World and Universal Studios have to offer during the festive season.
When to Go
Now, this might seem like an odd way to start, as you will want to go at Christmas. But that is the thing, the ‘Christmas’ period for these resorts starts in mid-November and goes on until early January, therefore picking the right time to go can help. This is particularly true as the week leading up to Christmas day and the time between Christmas day and New Year’s Day will see the parks packed, even more so than at any other time. So, if you dislike crowds you definitely won’t want to go during that period. The other thing to bear in mind is early December sees Orlando host the ‘Pop Warner Football Championships and Cheerleading competitions. So, this can mean that the parks in the first week of December are crowded out with pockets of crazy teenage groups. The thing to remember that at any point in December it is going to seem busier than normal crowds, so you want to plan accordingly.
Walt Disney World
The park has various events and features taking place all over it, and you will want to pick what you want to do.
- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – This is the biggest event at Walt Disney World, and it takes place in the Magic Kingdom. On days that this takes place it sees the park close at 6 pm to normal visitors and you need to get separate entry to join the party. This can mean that actually during the day the park is a little quieter than on days where there is no event. The event itself sees the park transformed into all things Christmas, with snow on Main Street, and many special parades and shows put on, alongside an excellent stage show and unlimited hot chocolate and cookies. This is worth experiencing if you have never seen it before. During the Christmas week, this even extends to during the day, so if you have a large family and can face the crowds this is a time to see it for free.
- Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays – This sees many great international offerings from the different world booths around the park, so you can sample traditional fare from many different countries. Think of it as a food and drink lite festival. There are also Candlelight processions around the park and many different holiday storyteller’s pop-up all over the place to regal you with festival tales.
- Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! – This is the Christmas centerpiece at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and it features a great show with fireworks and other media all centered around the Chinese Theatre.
- Other Events – There are also plenty of other Christmas themed events taking place in the parks above and the Animal Kingdom and Star War’s Galaxy’s Edge parks, so you are sure to find something to keep you festively entertained.
Christmas at Universal Studios is also done well and features a number of their greatest properties partaking in the magic of the season. These are largely centred around three properties of theirs. These are ‘The Grinch that Stole Christmas’, ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Minions’. Each will add their own Christmas flare to the proceedings.
- Christmas at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – For many this is the big one as Christmas played such a strong part of the books and the films. Both Diagon Ally and Hogsmede are transformed into Christmas places of wonder. So you will get experience what it must have felt like to be Harry, Ron or Hermione at Christmas. You will be able to sip a warm butterbeer as you listen to the Frog Chorus or the strains of Molly Weasley’s favorite band Celestina Warbeck. You will find plenty of other Christmas foods to sample and you can top it all off with a fantastic show called the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts which uses the famous castle as a backdrop for the show
- Grinchmas at Seuss Landing – The land of D.r Seuss is completely taken over by the Grinch during the festive period, so expect fun and games with aside off snark. There is so much to see and do all over the place that you can spend hours exploring it and interacting with the residents of Who-ville. You can indulge in character breakfasts just make sure the Grinch doesn’t steal your pancakes as well. This is all capped off by a spectacular stage show called the ‘Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular’ which sees the story of ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ being retold live on stage for you.
- Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s – This is the biggest show in Universal at Christmas and sees all of your favorite characters, most notably the minions, appear for a Christmas parade unlike any other. There are floats dedicated to many different film franchises and one for the big man, Santa himself, as well. The parade also has the classic Macy’s balloons, so you are sure to have a great time enjoying this one.
- Mannheim Steamroller – The best-selling Christmas artist of all time performs several concerts at Universal Studios over the Christmas period and our one of the best things to experience if you have never heard them before. Best of all it is included for free in your ticket. We do advise that you find a spot early though as this gets busy and there are no reserved areas. But their orchestral sounds will make you feel more festive than ever.