Celebrating the holiday season in Orlando can be a real treat for visitors! The parks get into the holiday spirit with fanciful decor, cheerful touches, and special surprises that add something extra to this time of year. At this time of year, the weekend temperatures can be a bit unpredictable, oscillating between “perfect weather” weekends and those that are a bit chillier. This past weekend, however, was just perfect. A light sweater warded off the chill in the morning and was taken off by mid-morning as the sun came out.
If you visit at this time of year, you will also find that the parks tend to have lighter crowds, the pace is less hurried and there is so much more you can see when you take the time to go at your own pace. Of course, that all changes for the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Each park has so much to do that it can be a tough decision on deciding where to start. However, rest assured, that whatever you decide to do, it will be fun! Today, we will take you on a tour of Universal Studios, skipping the big thrill rides to see some of the often-missed entertainment and capture a few lovely holiday views along the way.
As we enter Universal CityWalk, we make a beeline to the informational desk to ask which park had the early entrance between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. On this lovely day, the crowds headed to Islands of Adventure to begin their day. So… we chose Universal Studios as our destination to make the most of our time, knowing that we are getting into the park as it first opens at 9 AM, perfect to make the most of a full day. Right away, we took note of the new Voodoo Donuts restaurant that just opened. A perfect breakfast stop for our next visit. We will fuel our day in sugar and caffeine the next time we come. We get closer to the main entrance and we get this spectacular view! Yes, yes, yes, it’s a time to be Merry, wahoo!
Today, we are taking time to meet some important people in the parks. Every time we come here, it’s someone new so we stop to appreciate the fun that each of these epic characters bring and reminisce about the first time we enjoyed their storylines. Bumblebee, Doc Brown, and Beetlejuice.
A little-known secret is that Universal has an app where you can check on ride times. We consulted it throughout the morning to check for wait times in line to strategically enjoy the most rides with little to no wait. With that in mind we make our way around quickly, covering a lot of ground through some of our favorites, the Fast & Furious, Men in Black, the Simpson’s Ride, and ET.
Time flies in the park, and soon it is lunchtime and there is no place better to get something to eat in than in Diagon Alley. We walk the streets and take in the atmosphere as we make our way to the Leaky Cauldron. Today, we try the “Toad in a Hole” which is a dish made of sausages baked in a Yorkshire pudding batter, served with delicious caramelized onions and a side a minted peas and roasted carrots. It is absolutely delicious, and we gobble it right up before we remember that we should have taken a photo. Sorry readers! So instead, we snapped a picture of the interior atmosphere. Insider’s tip: we suggest you pay a visit to see the living framed pictures on the wall.
In the afternoon, we get our steps in and walk off lunch in Universal Town, a whole city built to create an illusion of being ‘downtown’. The store fronts are just that, imitations of real buildings but look so real and now they are covered in tinsel and ornaments. We have a few minutes to jump on the Mummy’s Revenge ride before coming back out to get a good view of the Christmas parade.
Nailed it! We are out right on time to see the floats of Secret Lives of Pets and Dora the Explorer. We know they are waving to the kids, but we cannot help but wave back! Oh, what fun it has been today! We check the time and it almost 4 PM so this is our goodbye until next time. We hope you enjoyed walking around the park with us, until next time!