What’s happening for the 2016 holidays at Universal Orlando
Beginning December 3, 2016, and running daily through January 1, families can celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort with the 15th anniversary of Macy’s Holiday Parade, the holiday cheer of Who-ville at Grinchmas, and musical performances by Mannheim Steamroller.
At Universal Studios Florida, the larger-than-life balloons as seen in the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City will fill the streets during the 15th anniversary Macy’s Holiday Parade. New to this year’s parade is the “Virginia” balloon depicting the 8-year old girl from the famed Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus newspaper editorial of the late 1800s, as well as the “Mother Ginger” special character from The Nutcracker, which will join the many popular balloons in the Macy’s Holiday Parade including “Big Man Santa” and the “Wiggleworm.”
At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, guests will come face-to-face with the mean, green one himself and be filled with holiday cheer as Grinchmas comes to life throughout Seuss Landing. Guests can discover the true meaning of Christmas in a live show, “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular,” featuring the Whos from Who-ville, or join the Grinch and friends for a delicious holiday breakfast buffet on select dates.
On select nights, modern Christmas music-makers Mannheim Steamroller return with the sweet sounds of the holiday season at Universal Studios Florida. Performances will take place on the Music Plaza Stage on December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18.
Access to Universal Orlando’s Holidays festivities is included in regular admission to the theme parks.
In addition, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without a New Year’s Eve party at Universal CityWalk. Guests can ring in the New Year at Universal CityWalk’s electrifying New Year’s Eve celebration featuring Orlando’s largest dance floor, endless entertainment and all-you-can-eat gourmet cuisine. Information about Eve event tickets will be released at a later date.
Outside the theme parks, the festivities continue at Universal Orlando’s five on-site hotels, including the all-new Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, which is celebrating its first holiday. All of Universal’s hotels will celebrate the season with visits from Santa and other characters; holiday movie screenings; Hanukkah candle lighting ceremonies; and more. Family-friendly hotel holiday events are detailed at this website and include:
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
• Holiday Harbor Nights (Friday, November 25; 6:30 p.m.–9 p.m.): An evening in seaside Italy with live holiday music, wine tasting and the grand illumination of the Christmas tree. Regular Admission $50 ($55 at the door); VIP $85 (plus tax). Adults 21 and up only. Call 407-503-1200 or visit this website for reservations.
• Thanksgiving Day buffet in Trattoria del Porto (Thursday, November 24; 11 a.m.-8 p.m.): Enjoy a Portofino-style Thanksgiving Day feast in Trattoria del Porto. Entertainment includes appearances by Universal Orlando characters, kids holiday crafts and activities table, face painter, and a balloonist. Adult $64 (plus tax); Child $18 (ages 3 – 9); Children under age 3 complimentary. Call 407.503.DINE (3463) or visit this website for reservations.
• Christmas Day buffet in Trattoria del Porto (Sunday, December 25; 11 a.m.–7 p.m.): Enjoy an Italian-style Christmas Day feast in Trattoria del Porto. Entertainment includes appearances by Universal Orlando characters, kids holiday crafts and activities table, face painter and a balloonist. Adult $64 (plus tax); Child $18 (ages 3 – 9); Children under age 3 complimentary. Call 407.503.DINE (3463) or visit this website for reservations.
• New Year’s Eve Party in the Piazza (Saturday, December 31; 8:30 p.m.-12 a.m.): Say bravo to the New Year at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel on the picturesque Harbor Piazza. Entertainment will include a live DJ, holiday activities and crafts area, face painter, balloonist, plenty of party favors to go around and a midnight sparkling wine toast to bring in the new year. Adults: $150 (plus tax); Children: $35; Children under 3 are complimentary. Call 407-503-1200 or visit this website for reservations.
Hard Rock Hotel
• Wine Riffs (Friday, December 2): Come experience one winery tell their stories as you indulge in the culinary pairings from our chefs, and feel the emotions of the music soundtracks that tie them all together. Join us for an evening exploring the relationship between wine, food, and music.
• Velvet Unplugged (Friday, December 9; 7:30 p.m.): Enjoy a laid back acoustic show in the heart of the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando. You can reserve a table for two or four or come and hang—we have plenty of standing room. $60 (plus tax) for a table of 4, $40 for a table of 2. Reserve tables here.
• The Kitchen Thanksgiving Buffet (Thursday, November 24; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. & 5 p.m.–10 p.m.): Jazz up your holiday with a rockin’ Thanksgiving day feast with Universal Orlando characters stopping by to hang out, Magic Man and kid’s cookie decorating activities. Adults: $59 (plus tax); Children: $20; Children under 3 are complimentary. Reserve online or call 407-503-DINE (3463).
• Rock-In 2017 Holiday Buffet & Lobby Party (Saturday, December 31; 8 p.m.-1 a.m.): Tune in to the New Year with multiple food and dessert stations, live stream of Times Square, a DJ spinning holiday songs, Universal Orlando characters, a midnight toast and more. Adults: $64 (plus tax); Children (3-9): $38; Children under 3 are complimentary. Purchase tickets here or call 407-503-2200.
Loews Royal Pacific Resort
• Jake’s Beer Dinner (Friday, December 9; 6:30 p.m.): Indulge in a four-course meal prepared by our award-winning chefs. Each course is expertly paired with craft and specialty beers. Purchase tickets online here.
• Islands Thanksgiving Holiday Buffet (Thursday, November 24; 11 a.m.-9 p.m.)
It’s a holiday feast with a tropical touch. Entertainment includes appearances by Universal Orlando characters, face painters and balloonists, musicians and hula dancers. Adults $58 (plus tax); Children (3-9) $26; Children under 3 are complimentary. Reserve a table here.
• Orchid Court New Year’s Eve Celebration: (Saturday, December 31): Savor the South Seas charm with h’ors d’ouevres, a live DJ, live stream of the ball drop and a champagne toast at midnight. Purchase tickets online here.
Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Sapphire Thanksgiving Holiday Buffet (Thursday, November 24; 10 a.m.-9 p.m.): Thanksgiving Day feast in the Amatista Cookhouse with family-friendly entertainment including appearances by Universal Orlando characters, face painters and balloonists. Adults: $58 (plus tax); Children (3-9): $24; Children under 3 are complimentary. Reserve online or call 407-503-DINE (3463).
Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
• Thanksgiving Special at Bayliner Diner (Thursday, November 24; 12 p.m.-11 p.m.): Traditional holiday favorites including turkey, stuffing, cranberry compote, mashed potatoes, gravy, candied yams and of course biscuits. Arts and crafts activities, movies playing in the Fun in the Sun recreation center, and the Thanksgiving Parade on the jumbo screens. Adults $16.99 (plus tax); Children (3-9) $7.99 (plus tax); Children under 3 are complimentary. Add on dessert for $2.00. Reservations are not required.
• Cabana Bay’s Tree Lighting Ceremony (Friday, November 25; 6:30 p.m.–8 p.m.): Witness as they illuminate the grand tree in the hotel lobby. There will be live entertainment in the Swizzle Lounge, a special guest to light the tree, face painters, meet and greets with Santa as well as some of your favorite Universal Orlando characters. We even have hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies for the kids.
• Christmas Day at Bayliner Diner (Sunday, December 25): Holiday movies in the Fun in the Sun recreation center all day plus, arts and crafts, milk and holiday cookies for the little ones. Adults $16.99 (plus tax); Children (3-9) $8.99 (plus tax); Children under 3 complimentary.
• New Year’s Eve at the Bayliner Diner (Saturday, December 31; 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m.): Live DJ, balloon artists, face painters, a balloon drop to ring in the new year and plenty of party favors to go around. Plus, there will be a carving station special for $16.99 (plus tax).
To get you excited for the festive season, here are some video highlights of last year’s Holidays at Universal festivities: