PHOTOS, VIDEO, REVIEW: Enjoy Cookies and Hot Cocoa with the Grinch, Meet Santa, Experience an After Hours Viewing of the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, and More on the Universal Holiday Tour

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Universal Orlando Resort is celebrating the Awesomest Celebration of the Season! The Universal Holiday Tour has returned for its second year and has added a lot more to the event. Guests will get a structured six-hour tour with a small group and a guide that includes reserved viewing for the Universal Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, reserved seating for the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, an exclusive meet and greet with Santa, cookies and hot cocoa with the Grinch, a special “Who & A” question and answer session with the Whos of Whoville, and an after-hours viewing of the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle. Let’s get ready for a fun-filled night of holiday cheer at the Universal Orlando Resort!


Check-in for the tour was located inside Universal Studios Florida in Music Plaza near the stage. We arrived just before 5 p.m., and even though there was a small crowd, Team Members quickly checked guests in by using the name on the reservation. Each member of the party is given a wristband to wear for the night. Once you have your wristband, you can leave the area to use the restroom or grab a drink or snack. Team Members were informing guests that there would be no stops for food during the tour, so if they needed to go and get food, now was the time to do it. Bring some food with you and enjoy a little picnic in the grass while waiting for the parade to start.


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


There’s a large barricaded area in Music Plaza that is reserved for parade viewing. It’s a large enough area that you can spread out and sit down or stand up along the barricades for a better view. While waiting for the Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s to start, you can also grab food from the food truck. Besides cookies and hot chocolate, there really isn’t any other opportunity to grab food, so be sure to eat before the tour or grab something while waiting for the parade.


After the parade, you’ll meet with your guide, and the group will be escorted to the side gate by Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. Everyone will need to show their wristband when crossing into the courtyard area. It’s a very quick transition from parade viewing to being seated for Grinchmas. The reserved seating area for Grinchmas was in the back section of the theater, which wasn’t the greatest seating in the theater in our opinion, but we still enjoyed the show. Check out our post here to see a video of this year’s Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular.


Once the Grinchmas show is over, the entire group will be divided into three smaller groups and rotate between a question and answer session with the Whos, cookies and hot cocoa with the Grinch, and photos with Santa. You will get to do all of those activities, but not necessarily in the same order as our tour.


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


The Grinch was at the entrance to briefly welcome everyone as they arrived. The guides inform guests that they can grab a table and help themselves to unlimited cookies and hot cocoa and that the Grinch will come around to the tables and meet with everyone.


The cookies are set up buffet-style with two types of frosted sugar cookies. Help yourself to some snacks, but don’t forget the hot cocoa!


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


We liked dunking our cookies in the hot cocoa.


You’ll get a lot of laughs watching the Grinch as he makes his way around interacting with guests.


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


After we had our fill of 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 since it’s unique to the Holiday Tour.

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


Who knew that Lou Who used to be in the Circus McGurkus? He showed off quite a hidden talent, thanks to one guest’s question.


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


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


The group was taken to the area above Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, to meet Santa next. Santa was delightful, and it was nice to listen to him chat with each family. Everyone got a good laugh when a little boy asked for an espresso machine for Christmas, and Santa asked him if he needed to stay up late doing homework.


Every person on the tour was gifted a Holiday Tree Hunt snowflake ornament, and each party was also gifted a printed photo with Santa. Our photo came out beautifully, and we will cherish it forever.


We had a little bit of free time to take photos in the New York area after our entire group had met Santa. Another unique photo opportunity in an empty park after closing.


The final stop of the night is to Hogsmeade for an after-hours viewing of the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle. This show is offered nightly, but as part of the tour, you will be given an exclusive viewing after all the other guests have left the park. While you wait for the show to start, you can roam around Hogsmeade.


You can buy Butterbeer at Hogshead, shop in Honeydukes and Dervish and Banges, or do wand magic in the land. This is another perfect time for magical photos in a quiet Hogsmeade at night.


There’s plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the show from the bridge or directly in front of the castle. Find a spot and enjoy!


After the tour, your guide will escort you out of the park back into CityWalk and send you on your way. The tour ends around 11 p.m., so it is a good 6 hours long.

This tour is a huge value and absolutely worth doing. The price difference isn’t too much more than last year’s tour, but there is a lot more included. The structure of the tour flowed well, and there was just the right amount of time spent at each activity. Overall, the Universal Holiday Tour is an amazing experience at a fantastic price and is a must for anyone visiting the Universal Orlando Resort during the holiday season. Pricing varies between $69.99 and $79.99, depending on the date, and Annual Passholders can get $10 off per person. To book, guests can call 1-866-346-9350.

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