2015 Holidays at Universal

IzzyB

Premium Member
May 23, 2010
3,996
Orlando, FL
I like Grinchmas and the Parade, but it does feel a bit stale....
Again, I liked it. Just didn't get that wow, awesome feeling I get when watching Shamu Miracles and Candlelight. But then again it is all subjective. What one person likes another may not when it comes to shows and parades. I love Christmas season and I love and have to go see certain things. It is why I have been really wanting to see the Uni stuff. But nothing jumped out at me. The Parade was cool, but it was a seen it, done it, don't need to schedule to do it again. If I am there when it is happening I would stop and watch it though.

On a side note we did do Kidzone and even though it was a slow day there was a good amount of people back there. My daughter had a blast and was SOAKED from Curious George area. Glad we did it in case they close it soon. On a negative side, Uni kept the fans going after it got dark and us and bunch of other people who did water stuff were freezing waiting in line. Uni should really shut those things off after 5 PM in the winter months. Especially with as many water things as they have. It did get everyone talking to each other in the line and we met some nice people who shared Cheetos with my daughter lol
 

grizzlybarely

Veteran Member
Sep 20, 2009
1,249
Isla Nublar
Agreed that Uni's holiday game is the weakest of the big three. Truthfully, WDW just dominates this time of year. Uni's efforts are not necessarily bad, but WDW just goes nuts for Christmas.

I do wish so badly that they would replace that tree though. I get that they need a strong "tree" to support those giant ornaments, but it just looks like a big green cone.
 

JungleSkip

Premium Member
Feb 15, 2010
20,122
The Mushroom Kingdom
Agreed that Uni's holiday game is the weakest of the big three. Truthfully, WDW just dominates this time of year. Uni's efforts are not necessarily bad, but WDW just goes nuts for Christmas.
SeaWorld is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than WDW for Christmas. Outside the Osborn Lights, which are glowing away after this year, I don't think anything Disney does is much better than Universal's offerings, especially considering MK's offerings are behind a paywall up until the week of Christmas
 

Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 21, 2008
20,082
Orlando, FL
SeaWorld is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than WDW for Christmas. Outside the Osborn Lights, which are glowing away after this year, I don't think anything Disney does is much better than Universal's offerings, especially considering MK's offerings are behind a paywall up until the week of Christmas
Seconded. Especially since Epcot's Holidays Around the World ditched the FRIGGIN MONKEY KING!
 

IzzyB

Premium Member
May 23, 2010
3,996
Orlando, FL
Agreed, I have said for a long time Sea World kicks butt when it comes to the holidays. Their offerings are way better than Uni and Disney. I still think Disney has a slight edge over Uni only because I do like the Candlelight processional, Osborne Lights, Santas around the world, and their decorations in general around the park. Now next year it may be different since they lose the osborne lights. Unless they do something to replace them and Uni adds 1 or 2 more things Uni could tip the scales. But Uni is a long way off of touching Sea World.
 

UNIrd

Premium Member
Jul 18, 2008
6,244
I do hit UO for the Xmas offerings probably annually and it did feel a bit lacking this year. Maybe my timing was off but I didn't see any Who's in Seuss Landing in the evening as in years prior. Also, I noticed probably zero xmas decorations anywhere else but Seuss and Port of Entry in IOA. I think they could definitely make some vast improvements.

Also hit up SeaWorld Christmas last night for the first time and WOW.
 

SeventyOne

V.I.P.
Jul 1, 2010
2,658
Orlando
I agree, the parade was cool. Just not that feeling of oh I have to go see this every year type thing. I also agree I have never been impressed with Unis event staff. I feel like they have issues all around when it comes to that. Moving people, organizing people, and parking. I am not sure why some higher up doesn't go to Disney and see how these things are done and duplicate them. Of course I always question why Sea World doesn't go and see how Universal and Disney load people on rides and duplicate that too lol These parks never seem to want to improve on their weaknesses.
Simple but telling example--lack of "crosswalks" along the parade route. At Disney, they have roped off spots for people crossing MSUSA or whatever parade route open until a minute before the parade arrives. None of that at Universal. Instead, people trying to cross the street and push their way through the crowd that's been sitting/standing there an hour, just to get around the park.

Again, it's a little thing ... but the little things add up.
 

SeventyOne

V.I.P.
Jul 1, 2010
2,658
Orlando
I like Grinchmas and the Parade, but it does feel a bit stale....
Agreed. Lack of "IP" balloons to update in the parade I think plays a role. Exact same placement of Curious George, Grover, etc. doesn't help. And Mannheim feels a little played out--if you're just slapping a brand on a newly formed group, probably worth the little bit of extra money to license a TransSiberian Orchestra in 2015.
 

Joe

aka TestTrack321
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 15, 2012
11,668
Pittsburgh, PA
Simple but telling example--lack of "crosswalks" along the parade route. At Disney, they have roped off spots for people crossing MSUSA or whatever parade route open until a minute before the parade arrives. None of that at Universal. Instead, people trying to cross the street and push their way through the crowd that's been sitting/standing there an hour, just to get around the park.

Again, it's a little thing ... but the little things add up.
We stood right next to a cross walk in front of Horror Make-Up, problem was there was no congestion relief or walking lanes that directed to it. So when any action stopped RUN!
 

Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
19,058
Orlando
Agreed. Lack of "IP" balloons to update in the parade I think plays a role. Exact same placement of Curious George, Grover, etc. doesn't help. And Mannheim feels a little played out--if you're just slapping a brand on a newly formed group, probably worth the little bit of extra money to license a TransSiberian Orchestra in 2015.
The problem with the IP balloons is they are too big. They would fly them if they could, but they simply are too big.
 

Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
19,058
Orlando
And I will say I agree that Universal has some improvements to do entertainment wise for Holiday's. The same old stuff isn't gonna cut it year after year.

However, I don't expect Macy's to go anywhere anytime soon as they have a very close working relationship and many of the Pilots/handlers end up doing the New York version. This is sort of like a training camp for them.

I think USF isn't set up very well for big, glamorous holiday displays. Then again, I don't think of Sea World as being set up great either and they do wonderful things. They could always use the water like Sea world does and create a holiday version of CineSpec, synced to Christmas Lights.
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
17,621
Pittsburgh area
There's a way to have the time to do the Christmas decorations in Studios NYC to the max (starting early like they do at DHS) while still fitting it in with the HHN scarezone. Just do Christmas themed Horror Zones for HHN in NYC.:yikes: There's been a few dark Christmas movies. Or do an original version. Heh, "It's A Zombie Christmas". Zombies singing, "You're All I Want for Christmas". The Werewolf climbing the tree to put the star on top. All kinds of possibilities. It would be an easy transformation from HHN to Christmas Lights Galore. :lol: .........Of course, I'm not really serious. :whistle:
 

IzzyB

Premium Member
May 23, 2010
3,996
Orlando, FL
We stood right next to a cross walk in front of Horror Make-Up, problem was there was no congestion relief or walking lanes that directed to it. So when any action stopped RUN!
Our problem was you couldn't get where you wanted during parade time. Disney normally had a way to get where you want, but we couldn't get to the entrance of transformers to save our lives. We literally got directed in a circle and when we passed the same point we just decided to wait until the parade ended lol. Since it circles back to itself I think that is where the issues arise. We saw it at the beginning and then by the time it ended the end of the route had the beginning. So we got kind of stuck watching it again. We eventually determined we could have walked around the entire building but honestly that didn't sound like fun so we waited. They need cross places that staff mans.
 

Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
19,058
Orlando
Since it circles back to itself I think that is where the issues arise. We saw it at the beginning and then by the time it ended the end of the route had the beginning. So we got kind of stuck watching it again.
I know some people who went the other day and they had the exact same comment. Saw it, wanted to leave, but it came back, so they couldn't go anywhere.
 

Joe

aka TestTrack321
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 15, 2012
11,668
Pittsburgh, PA
Our problem was you couldn't get where you wanted during parade time. Disney normally had a way to get where you want, but we couldn't get to the entrance of transformers to save our lives. We literally got directed in a circle and when we passed the same point we just decided to wait until the parade ended lol. Since it circles back to itself I think that is where the issues arise. We saw it at the beginning and then by the time it ended the end of the route had the beginning. So we got kind of stuck watching it again. We eventually determined we could have walked around the entire building but honestly that didn't sound like fun so we waited. They need cross places that staff mans.
FWIW, I had several of the same issues at Disney over the past few years, just this one seemed odder? I dunno hard to describe. It wasn't less manned as a Disney parade, just some small logical issues that could easily be changed and cleaned up for a better experience?
 
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Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
19,058
Orlando
FWIW, I had several of the same issues at Disney over the past few years, just this one seemed odder? I dunno hard to describe. It wasn't as poor manned as a Disney parade, just some small logical issues that could easily be changed and cleaned up for a better experience?
You also have to take into account that on an average day, Disney is averaging around 45-50,000 people into MK (the only park with a parade). On absolute peak days, the park can handle 100,000 (as it did last year around New Years). Universal averages about 23-25,000 a day at USF. Peak days vary, but they don't go much farther beyond MK's average daily attendance as far as peak crowds.

So the point is, Universal has much less stress to deal with, they should be able to handle these situations a lot easier than CMs over at MK.
 

IzzyB

Premium Member
May 23, 2010
3,996
Orlando, FL
FWIW, I had several of the same issues at Disney over the past few years, just this one seemed odder? I dunno hard to describe. It wasn't as poor manned as a Disney parade, just some small logical issues that could easily be changed and cleaned up for a better experience?
I have had some issues around Thunder Mountain, but they normally stop and let guests quickly pass. I was never told to turn around and go in the complete opposite direction than I want to go and I have never been directed in a circle. So I think that is what made it different for me. It isn't the first time I had parade issues at Uni. I have to say they at least kept the crowds back off the roads unlike the Mardi Gras Parade. That was a disaster once because they didn't keep the crowds back and people with small children sitting down were getting trampled (like me). So I have to say that has improved and I didn't get trampled :) Some kids started to stand in the roadway and they fairly quickly came over and asked that everyone stay on the curb. So I was pleased about that.

I think because it was the first weekend it made it worse because the communication was way off. The one lady was saying to go down and keep the path open (basically keep moving) and that once we get past the gift shop there is a straight shot down to the entrance of Transformers. But once you got to the gift shop they were directing you into the gift shop and back to where you started. They wouldn't let you go down the express overflow queue even though they could have just dropped the chains and let you go down. It wasn't being used and wouldn't be used with such low waits. To make it worse, once the parade ended they dropped the chains and let a bunch of people who were watching the parade exit that way. I think if they could just sit down and figure out guest paths as the parade goes thru its routes and get everyone on the same page, it would be much better.