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2018 Holidays at Universal Orlando

Discussion in 'Universal Orlando Events' started by Brian G., Mar 21, 2018.

  1. Imperius

    Imperius Veteran Member

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    Love frozen, but the hot just tasted weird. Not sure why but it tasted way more artificial.
     
  2. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: :) :toast:This vacation was specifically to experience the Holiday activities at Universal, plus adding in Mickey's Xmas party. We had never traveled to the parks at this time of year, but last year's additions to the Universal holiday schedule convinced us to give it a try. Our expectations were high, after following IU member comments and viewing some of the event POV's. Those high expectations were met and actually surpassed many times over. The Holidays at Universal are certainly immersive, magical and include a good number of WOW moments. It all starts at the on site hotel resorts. We stayed at Portofino, and they surprisingly again upgraded us to the same fifth floor bay balcony (12' X 15' balcony, only a handful of those on site) that we had on our recent May vacation. The lobby tree and decorations were beautiful & tasteful, and the 40 plus foot Bay Piazza real evergreen tree was impressive. The Italian singers sang some Xmas songs along with their usual selections in a longer than normal format, and Portofino lighted that massive tree as their show began. a truly breathless moment. We also traveled to the other hotel resorts to view their Christmas displays. Sapphire was probably the best of that group with a beautiful lobby tree and trees on every single floor of the resort. I'd highly recommend this hotel holiday hopping trip if you have the time, and we augmented it with stops at the Bistro & Strongwater Tavern bars for a holiday drink and toast. The offerings at the parks were excellent and provided us with "THE BEST" Universal vacation we have ever experienced.

    * Grinchmas was just pure 'Magical'. Seuss Landing, as Whoville, became our number one destination during this trip. Decorations were absolutely massive & beautiful. Pure holiday immersion. The 'Citizens' of Whoville, in a manner reminiscent of DHS when they had their full cast of Citizens of Hollywood in distant past years, put on entertaining skits and constantly interacted with the crowd. And the crowd was 'massive', even though these were still slow season overall park crowds. We visited Whoville often, early , mid and late day, and the crowds were always as huge as the Diagon or Hogsmeade crowds. And, as I've said before, be sure to ride the Seuss Trolley in the dark. It's many multiple time better with it's lighting package, plus the great views of the holiday decorations of Whoville. But the 'Crown Jewel' of this entire trip was the sound stage Grinchmas show. It was just Fantastic. Beautiful set, excellent singing and acting, amazing arrangement of music, and the show length is just right. This production is so entertaining we saw it four times, and could have easily seen it many more times without tiring of it. Every show reached seating capacity, even during this supposed slow season. Grinchmas was certainly a Wow moment.

    *Potter Christmas Projection Show was multiple times better than I expected. The projections, music and effects are quite chilling, and easily a Wow moment. We saw this show three times. Crowds are huge though, and I'd imagine it's quite difficult to get a spot once the Christmas week crowds arrive.

    *Hogsmeade decorations were elegant and tasteful. We didn't catch the Frog Choir Xmas Show. I just can't get into the Frog choir.

    *Macy's Parade....I'll never be able to watch the Macy's Parade on TV again. Universal's production is so much better and more entertaining. Better floats and better pacing, with no boring sections. Length is just right. Snow and graffiti falling from the top of the NYC buildings helps make the moments very magical. And for those who asked, yes, the Robot was in the parade. Santa, at the end, with his lighting of the beautiful massive tree across from Macy's is certainly a Wow moment. We watched the Parade, from Macy's area, four times during our stay. Can't get enough of it.....and to add, lot's of Snow at every show

    *NYC Christmas events; There's always Christmas on the streets of NYC. The Blues Brothers sketch is, as always, as good, if not better, with their holiday rendition. Marilyn Monroe show has a nice holiday touch. The Rockettes, though not listed on a schedule, make impromptu appearances in front of Macy's and perform their March of the Wooden Soldiers routine. The Stilt Walkers appear in Santa outfits, accompanied by elves, and perform a musical routine and photo op, in front of Macy's, periodically. And, throughout the day, Florida high school bands march through the streets, playing Christmas music. Plus Christmas music is piped through the NYC streets all day. Great immersion.

    *Barney Christmas Show in Kidzone would be a good show for the little tykes. It's well done for a kiddie show, but unfortunately it was very sparsely attended when we went.

    *Diagon decorations, like Hogsmeade, are elegant and tasteful. The Celestina Holiday Show was OK, but not as good as the regular show. The Xmas show tunes just didn't have a catchy sound.

    *Mannheim Steamroller: We absolutely loved this concert. We watched it both nights it played during our vacation. The second time we had a really great spot about 10 yards from the stage, center. This is certainly a high point of the Universal holidays, and we especially liked the final section with the Grinchmas cast singing with the orchestra. A definite Wow moment....and lots of Snow

    *USF in general, is decorated, very well, and Christmas music throughout most of the park really makes the atmosphere festive.

    *Port of Entry, at IOA, certainly fits the middle eastern vibe of Christmas. We enjoyed sitting there and enjoying the ambiance as we listened to the beautiful holiday music that fit the POE so well.

    Final thought: This was the Best of Universal vacations. We were completely fulfilled and immersed. Even the water taxis played Christmas tunes. We will definitely do this again in some future year. This trip has made our holiday season even better than before. And now we still have two weeks to enjoy the season before Christmas day. We had to change our drive route to skirt the oncoming severe weather driving home. And there was no trace of snow until we drove up to our hill top home. And greeting us here was a couple inches of beautiful white snow. Another Wow moment and a fitting end to our best vacation ever.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
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  3. TheGentTrent

    TheGentTrent Member

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    @ Mad Dog, were you able to get the hot Butterbeer? I've only had it once during the holiday season and enjoyed it, but they usually run out by the time I want one (I don't think I could handle such a sweet drink in the morning).
     
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  4. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Yes. I tried in Hogsmeade but the line was super long so I postponed. But when we ate at Leaky Caudron we both had it with our meal. It's quite good, but I like frozen better. Hot was Alene's favorite though....While on this point, I ordered the Holiday Dinner (Turkey etc,) at Leaky Cauldron. To say it was 'the best' quick service dinner I've ever had in any theme park would be an understatement. It was absolutely delicious and was a very large portion. If this exact dinner was served in a good sit down restaurant with silverware and regular plates, it would probably be more than twice the price.
     
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  5. TheGentTrent

    TheGentTrent Member

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    Glad to hear it. If you do come back during the same time frame again, try and make it up to Sea World. Every year, I can't imagine not visiting either park during the holiday season.
     
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  6. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Thanks. I've heard good things about Sea World's Christmas, and it looks like they have some of the same shows as BGW, which appears to have a fabulous Xmas presentation. I've been meaning to hit BGW, but just haven't made it yet. I'll probably add Sea World, and possibly Epcot to the next Orlando holiday trip to keep things new and fresh.
     
  7. Suprachica79

    Suprachica79 Rookie

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    I just returned from my weeklong stay during this holiday season and thought the universal offerings were phenomenal. I won’t go as detailed as Maddog, but the Grinchmas show was adorable and something I would definitely look at attend again. The hogwarts castle show blew me away and I’m not even a big Harry Potter buff, and although I am personally not big on parades, I can see it being very appealing to a lot of demographics. All the resorts were very nicely appointed for the season and if it’s in the budget, I’d like to make this a yearly trip, my wife and I enjoyed it that much.

    And I’ll have to go back so I can buy maddog and Alene and drink ;)
     
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  8. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    :thumbsup::toast:
     
  9. Ridgepole

    Ridgepole Member

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    The first week of December is simply fantastic. Unfortunately work dictated no trip this year. After enjoying the last five I'm a bit crushed. Glad you had a ball! :cheers:
     
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  10. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    I'll definitely go back in a couple of years. It was as enjoyable an experience as I've ever had. Perfect time also, before the crowd crush later in the month. And the hotel prices are really good in early Dec.
     
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  11. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    One thing I forgot to mention concerning the Universal Macy parade was the constant interaction of the parade performers with the crowd. The interaction was at a high level and really enhanced the parade experience. Kudos to the Universal TM's for being so energetic in their roles. And they really seemed to be enjoying themselves. That was a big positive.
     
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  12. Brian G.

    Brian G. Staff Member Administrator

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  13. AlexanderMBush

    AlexanderMBush Legendary Member

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  14. Alicia

    Alicia Premium Member

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  15. Alicia

    Alicia Premium Member

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    I love these videos so much! New one today

     
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  16. Imperius

    Imperius Veteran Member

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  17. Suprachica79

    Suprachica79 Rookie

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  18. quinnmac000

    quinnmac000 Veteran Member

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  19. Nick

    Nick Staff Member Moderator

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    It was inevitable. Disney makes a crazy amount of money on these types of parties. Universal was bound to capitalize eventually (just like they’ve been rolling out more character dining’s over the past year).
     
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  20. Alicia

    Alicia Premium Member

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    I LOVE THESE VIDEOS SO MUCH! The end credits on this is perfect.

     

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