• Fri. Jan 14th, 2022

PHOTOS, VIDEO, REVIEW: Taste cookies and hot cocoa with the Grinch, meet Santa, experience the magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle and more on the Universal Holiday Tour

ByJanice K. Merrill

Nov 28, 2021

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Universal Orlando Resort is celebrating the most awe-inspiring celebration of the season! The Universal Holiday Tour is back for its second year and has added a lot more to the event. Guests will enjoy a six-hour structured tour with a small group and guide that includes a reserved visit to the Universal Holiday Parade with Macy’s, reserved seats for the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, an exclusive meet and greet with Santa Claus , cookies and hot chocolate with the Grinch, a special “Who & A” Q&A with the Whos of Whoville and an after-hours visit to Christmas Magic at Hogwarts Castle. Let’s get ready for a fun night of holiday cheer at the Universal Orlando Resort!

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Check-in for the tour was done inside Universal Studios Florida at Music Plaza, near the stage. We arrived just before 5pm and although there was a small crowd the team members quickly registered the guests using the name on the reservation. Each member of the group receives a bracelet to wear for the night. Once you have your bracelet, you can leave the area to go to the bathroom or have a drink or a snack. The team members informed the guests that there would be no stopping for food during the tour, so if they needed to go get food, now was the time to do so. Bring food with you and enjoy a little picnic in the grass while you wait for the parade to start.

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The tour includes a “Who and A” question and answer session with the Whos of Whoville. You can submit a question to the Whos to answer later in the evening. If you are going on tour this year, start thinking about a creative question because the show is really funny. It is one of the highlights of the evening.

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There is a large barricaded area in Music Plaza which is reserved for parade viewing. It’s an area big enough that you can lay out and sit or stand up alongside the barricades for a better view. While waiting for the Universal Holiday Parade with Macy’s to start, you can also take food from the food truck. Other than cookies and hot chocolate, there really isn’t any other food option available, so be sure to eat before the tour or grab something while waiting for the parade.

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After the parade you will meet your guide and the group will be escorted to the side door by Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. Everyone will have to show their bracelet when crossing the yard. It’s a really quick transition from watching the parade to sitting down for Grinchmas. The Grinchmas reserved seating area was in the back section of the theater which was not the largest seat in the theater in our opinion, but we still enjoyed the show. Check out our article here to see a video from this year’s Grinchmas Who-liday Show.

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Once the Grinchmas show is over, the entire group will be split into three smaller groups and will alternate between a question and answer session with the Whos, cookies and hot chocolate with the Grinch, and photos with Santa Claus. You will be able to do all of these activities, but not necessarily in the same order as our visit.

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Our first stop after Grinchmas was at Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-Pendous in Seuss Landing to have cookies and hot chocolate with the Grinch. We would have 40 minutes to spend time and enjoy his company.

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The Grinch was at the entrance to greet everyone briefly as they arrived. Guides inform guests that they can take a table and help themselves to cookies and hot chocolate as much as they want and that the Grinch will come to the tables and meet everyone.

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Cookies are buffet style with two types of iced sugar cookies. Help yourself to a few snacks, but don’t forget the hot chocolate!

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Cinnamon and peppermint syrups, chocolate shavings, candy cane chunks and marshmallows are available to add to your hot chocolate.

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We enjoyed dipping our cookies in the hot chocolate.

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You’ll have a lot of laughs watching the Grinch as he weaves his way through interacting with the guests.

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He’s not a fan of the guests crashing into his party when the Sky Trolley passes. This is a great opportunity to have some personal and fun interactions with the Grinch, so have your cameras ready. You can watch our fun interaction with him in the video below.

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After stocking up on cookies, we returned to the theater for the “Who and A” portion of the tour. This is a new addition this year and adds a lot of value as it is unique to the Holiday Tour.

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The narrator introduces Betty and Lou Who, Martha May and Carson, then asks them questions submitted by our group earlier in the evening. The improvisation type show is very funny and entertaining. You can see some of it in our video below.

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Who knew Lou Who was in the McGurkus Circus? He showed a pretty hidden talent, thanks to a guest’s question.

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Martha May looks delighted while Betty and Carson look concerned about Lou balancing a chair over her face!

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Our next stop was to visit the Christmas tree at Universal Studios Florida and take some photos in New York City. This is a great opportunity to take photos without any other guests.

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The group was taken to the area above Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon, to then meet Santa Claus. Santa Claus was lovely and it was nice to listen to him chat with each family. Everyone had a good laugh when a little boy asked for an espresso machine for Christmas, and Santa asked him if he should stay up late to do his homework.

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Each person on the tour received a Holiday Tree Hunt snowflake ornament, and each group also received a printed photo with Santa Claus. Our photo came out beautifully, and we will cherish it forever.

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We had some free time to take photos in the New York area after our whole group met Santa. Another unique photo opportunity in an empty park after closing.

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The last stop of the night is at Hogsmeade for a night tour of the Christmas Magic at Hogwarts Castle. This show is offered every night, but as part of the tour you will receive an exclusive tour after all other guests have left the park. While you wait for the show to start, you can take a stroll through Hogsmeade.

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You can buy butter beer in Hogshead, shop in Honeydukes and Dervish and Banges, or do wand magic in the country. It’s another great time to snap magical photos in a peaceful Hogsmeade at night.

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There is plenty of space to stretch out and enjoy the show from the bridge or directly in front of the castle. Find a place and enjoy!

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After the tour, your guide will escort you out of the park to CityWalk and send you on your way. The tour ends around 11pm, so it lasts a good 6 hours.

This tour is huge value and definitely worth taking. The price difference is not too much last year’s tour, but there is much more included. The tour structure went well and there was just the right amount of time spent on each activity. All in all, the Universal Holiday Tour is an amazing experience at a fantastic price and is a must see for anyone visiting the Universal Orlando Resort during the holiday season. The price ranges from $ 69.99 to $ 79.99, depending on the date, and annual pass holders can get $ 10 off per person. To reserve you can call 1-866-346-9350.

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